You may think that most of Ancient Egypt has already been discovered and that there is not much new to find. However, that is not the case. Even as recently as the last couple of years, there have been multiple discoveries of vast new burial sites in the region of Saqqara, located in Giza Governorate, Egypt. In November of 2020, archeologists found over 100 wooden sarcophagi, some of them with mummies inside, and over 40 funerary statues. These artifacts were from 2,500 years ago and “in perfect condition of preservation” according to Khaled el-Enany, the Egyptian Minister of tourism and antiquities. Even more recently, in January of 2021, archeologists found 50 more tombs in Saqqara. To share this discovery with the public, Harvard University has created a special virtual tour of one of the excavated tombs.
Archeologists Examining Artifacts at Saqqara
(Link to Tour)
This year, the 6th grade Ancient Civilizations history class at Science Academy has been learning about Ancient Egypt. We first studied the geography of Egypt, how the Nile helped the Egyptian people, culture, and their civilization flourish and survive, as well as how the Nile Valley protected Egyptian civilization from outside forces. Then, we started to learn about the Old Kingdom and the Middle Kingdom, briefly touching upon the Early Dynastic Period. We also learned about the pharaohs who ruled during those periods. Most pharaohs had elaborate, mysterious, and mesmerizing stories behind them, parts of which are still missing and lost in history. We also looked at the Step Pyramid of Djoser, the Great Pyramids of Giza, Hatshepsut’s Temple, and many other important monuments and tombs that were built during the time of Khufu and various other pharaohs. In addition, we delved deeply into the Egyptian pantheon of gods and their rich culture, as well as some of the Egyptians’ advances in mathematics, astronomy, and medicine. Finally, we covered the New Kingdom and its rulers, as well as the sad end to the civilization that was the prime trading center for centuries and the home to one of most beautiful civilizations for over 3,000 years.
As a final project, our class was asked to give an opportunity to work on an Extra Credit project where we wrote an original piece about Egyptian culture as well as an original art piece inspired by Egyptian culture. Here is a gallery of some of the students’ wonderful work.
Hymn to the Nile
by Muaz Reza
All hail to the Nile, the greatest river there is.
Who submerges thyself among the barren lands of Egypt.
Bringing growth to places visibly uninhabitable
Allowing life to sprout and thrive with great joy.
As your water calmly floods our dry lands
It brings pleasure to even the heaviest of frowns
Not a single heart grim, not a single heart sullen.
But brimming with life, awakened for the new season.
Your waters are what allowed us to grow
First a colony, then a kingdom, then finally an empire
We will cherish the gifts that you have provided us
For without them, we would surely cease to exist.
And as we harvest the bountiful crops
Which grow in the fertile lands you have provided
We await once again, your magnificent arrival.
To begin the cycle of life all over again.
Miracles of Ancient Egypt: The Snake-Man and his Master
by Tarisha Hasan
As a farmer, Ahmed worked his fields and tended to the city projects and tombs when the fields were flooded. One day, however, the pharaoh’s only son had died of a mysterious disease. All the citizens panicked, for they knew the pharaoh was aged and nearing the end of his life. As he helped in building the tomb for the prince, he wondered if there was still hope. After the tomb was complete, Ahmed went home to consider the current situation. The late pharaoh’s officials were still trying to find someone.
Ahmed decided that it was finally time to do something. He took to training carefully as a scribe. He hired an artisan to carve a cartouche for the new pharaoh, who was female. The artisan obliged. When the carving was finished, a courier was instructed to deliver the stone carving. However, there was a problem: the weather was bleak and overcast. After a while, it was agreed that the carving should be delivered in a protective covering. When it was finally delivered, however, a lightning bolt struck the herald while he was making his way back.
Back at his mansion, Ahmed was calmly reading a papyrus scroll in his library with his hired artisan when another courier of his came running to his door.
“Master!” Hossain called. Ahmed suddenly turned his head in the direction of the cry. He ran to his other courier as he was certain his prior request would go smoothly.
“What is the matter?” Ahmed was worried. Never before had a close one of his get injured on his watch. The courier said that someone was injured, and they both set
out to save their ally.
By the time they found the first courier, he was in a doctor’s office, lying wounded and exhausted. Hossain asked the doctor how his colleague had become the way he did. The answer was shocking.
“The lightning strike was an omen.”
“What exactly do you mean by this?”
“It’s hard to say. Nevertheless, see that he stays safe. Come back again if he displays any more symptoms.”
Ahmed slowly nodded. He and Hossain carefully carried their ally back home, taking care that they carried him high enough. When they finally got back home, the injured messenger was put to rest.
The next morning, the ill courier began to show signs of severe illness. When he was awakened, it was revealed that the courier’s right hand was growing scales. The same had ha
ppened to his left hand, raising worries. Even after the scales were removed, they kept growing back.
“You’ll have to go to a priest,” the physician said. Even after he tried the spells that they prescribed, they only partially worked. Some of the scales did disappear, but they soon began growing back.
“What shall we do with you, Asaad?” Ahmed asked. “All the cures we tried either don’t work or only work temporarily.” Asaad simply replied, “The reason why there is no permanent cure is that this was destined to happen.” This struck the other two silent for a couple moments. Ahmed then said, “So you knew this was all going to happen?” Assad related his whole story of the particular circumstances he grew up in and how it contributed to his developing lizard-like appearance.
“The only thing you can do right now is let the transformation happen and leave me in peace.” Ahmed realized that there really was no point in trying to find a cure. As a result, he instructed his other herald to make accommodations for Asaad while he went into his chamber to write an entry on his small papyrus journal. A few days later, Asaad was still the same person he was before he became lizard-like. However, word had spread in his town, and people came to inquire after the strange lizard-man he kept as a servant. Ahmed tried his best to keep all the visitors at a distance, but it was no use. Smaller reptilians were not usually common where he lived, let alone hybrids of humans and lizards.
When Ahmed tried to rest after a long day, he found that he was unable to, as he had spent all day fielding requests from his clients to write letters for them. He decided to take a drink that Hossain had offered him, and then after that, he slept rather uneasily through the night. When he woke up, he was more determined than ever to find out the cause of this mutation. He researched for days without stopping, and that’s when he finally found out the cause.
It was revealed that Assad had come from a family of snake charmers outside of Egypt’s borders and that he had caught a rare and incurable disease after a snake bit him. He did survive, but at a great price: he was to become a snake-man. A valuable lesson was learned from this event: no matter how hard one tried, there are times where fate was inevitable and had to take its course.
A Memorable Day in the Life of an Egyptian Farmer
by Mayukh Day
It’s August and the day of the annual flooding of the Nile. This annual flood has been an important natural cycle in Egypt since ancient times. Today is the day where it’s decided how much water Mafas II gets throughout the year.In the morning the farmer, Mafas II, gave a prayer to Osiris, the god of agriculture for lots of water today. Since his wife is pregnant and can give birth at any time, Mafas II, gave a prayer to Bes, the guardian god of childbirth. Next, he ate
his breakfast and set off into the fields, imagining what he would do in the fields today.
In the fields, he first uses the shaduf to irrigate his fields carefully. Then, he puts the stone markings for his boundary of water. After all that hard work, Mafas gathers a few cattle and a few ducks for his meals. Then he returns back to his house for supper.
Then he gives evening prayer to Bes, the guardian god of childbirth, and Osiris, the god of agriculture. For supper he eats meat, bread, and beer. After supper he plays twenty squares and Senet with his son. He stays up late when everyone in the family sleeps.
Then at the dark of night, the farmer paddles nervously out and shifts the stones to steal a few feet of water from his neighbors. Mafas knows this is very profitable, but the penalty of this crime could mean death. Thankfully, no one noticed him do this crime. Mafas goes to bed dreaming of his day tomorrow.
by Ava-Ray Pributsky
I walk down the dusty dirt path as I head to do some research at The House of Life, to look up medical papyri for how to treat a headache. My patient Abasi, one of many grandchildren of Rameses II, has been complaining of a sharp pain in the back of his head every morning for the past week. Having been trained by my father Djehutyemheb, a wise scribe and physician to the royal family, I am now able to care for royalty. I have given him amulets from the Goddess Isis and the God Heke. Isis is invoked because Abasi is sick and Heka to make the prayer more powerful. I will continue to look for additional cures. It is 1259 B.C.E, and Pharaoh Ramses is in rule. Kemet has just signed a peace treaty with the Hittites, who we have been battling with for several years. I have not known a time when we were not in war with them. Ramses II has spent too much money on fighting, so he decided to make peace with them.
This is the first peace treaty ever for Kemet. I am intercepted on my path by Maat, a young girl servant to Ramses II who has only just started working at the palace Ramesseum. “Naunet, Sese’s daughter Meritamun has a growth in her left eye! She is deeply upset and refuses to go outside for fear of people seeing her.” I try to calm her down and explain to her how I will create a mixture of red ochre that I can get from Abubakar at the temple, green eye-paint of malachite that I can pick up at the House of Life, and honey from the beehive near my house, and I will come to the palace and apply this to the growth two times per day. I also will take some black tea leaves, wrap them in muslin, soak them in hot water, and apply it to the eye. Finally, I will give Meritamun an amulet with the eye of Horus for her to wear. I continue my way down to The House of Life, thinking about the incantations to be prepared.
When the Sun Did Not Rise
by Genessis Gomez
Deep in the underworld there was a serpent called Apophis who detested the sun god Ra. Every night as Ra descended to the underworld for his nightly trip, Apophis was ready with another scheme. That fateful morning was coming, as people started to wake up confused that the sun had not risen. Farmers and merchants walked with lanterns to the places they usually worked confused, thinking that they woke up earlier and that the sun was going to rise very soon. But the priests, who knew about the serpent Apophis, hurried to the temples to help Ra.
The hours started to go by and the farmers, merchants, and even slaves started to worry. As the priests started to gather what they needed and muttered spells from the Book of Dead, the people outside started to pray very loud hoping that Ra was not dead. Back in the underworld, Ra received the prayers and spells (spells were also put on Apophis which was making him weaker). Ra received more power from the human praises above and soon enough he was able to fight off Apophis. He continued to float through the underworld and the sun started to rise again. From that day on, the Egyptians prayed that Ra had a safe passage and never forgot to thank him for the light he gave them every day.
Oh, What Greatness Comes When the Nile Flows
by Ezra Ipsa
Greatness that comes when the Nile flows,
It gives life to Egypt watering fields warmed by Ra,
Allowing our crops to grow so our cattle can live,
And we have food to eat.
Home of the fish, you give us grain and create barley,
Letting us ensure perpetuity to the temples,
And for the gods.
When offerings are made it is thanks to you,
Spreading all through Egypt, the creator of greatness,
You give us water to drink and to give to our livestock.
O, what greatness comes when the Nile flows,
It lets us thrive and prosper,
Like one with the gods we praise you,
For all you have done for us.
A Day In the Life of an Ancient Egyptian Scribe
by Jordin Lin
The sun leaked through the window of the Abasi’s adobe house. He frowned; morning had arrived. Hardly awake, he stood up from his bed and went to take a quick bath. Once finished, he got dressed into more appropriate clothing: a waist-to-knee kilt with a sheer blouse. Abasi was a stern man, as his name did mean ‘stern.’ He was very serious about his role as a scribe. The man absolutely despised it when something got in the way of him doing his job, so he made sure to meticulously plan out his day every morning so that everything would go smoothly. After changing into his outfit, he walked over to his nearby table to eat breakfast. The breakfast he usually ate was simple: lentils, bread, and eggs; it was enough to keep him going until the next meal.
Once he finished with his breakfast, he took out a small piece of papyrus, a thin, reed brush, and some ink. He slowly wrote down a detailed plan of how his day was going, starting from when he finished his breakfast. The main, and only, event on his schedule was to go down to the village and write down what was happening, specifically about the workers as did their labor. After 10 minutes of a walk in the hot sun, Abasi arrived at the nearby village. He looked around and took out his plan for the day. First, he would watch the over farmers, then the carpenter, then the washerman, then lastly, the maker of pots. Placing the note back into his small bag, he readjusted his posture, making sure he looked as presentable as possible
With one last stroke, he was finished for the day. Abasi nodded to the maker of pots, indicating that it was time for him to leave. The pot-maker nodded back at Abasi as he started to place up his papyrus, ink, and reed brush back into his small bag. Once Abasi completed packing up his materials, he exited the workshop. Surprised, he noticed that the sky was already quite dark. He had not noticed how much time had flown by. Quickening his pace, he speed-walked back to his house, ready to eat dinner and go to sleep. Abasi loved the sense of fulfillment every time he did his job without realizing the passing time. Today was such an example. Hours of work felt like only a few minutes. He lied down into his bed, smiling to himself. Rolling onto his side, he fell asleep, preparing for the next day.
Egypt Unearths New Mummies Dating Back 2,500 Years – New York Times
50 ancient coffins uncovered at Egypt’s Saqqara necropolis – The Guardian
Five-thousand-year-old Egyptian tomb opens for virtual tour – The Guardian
Tomb of Queen Meresankh III – Harvard UniversityRead More
ASB is proud to announce Supernova Spirit Week from Friday, March 12th to Friday, March 19th with many special events planned throughout for students to engage in. Kicking off Spirit Week will be the celebration of Pi Day on Friday, March 12th with activities including a Pi Memorization Contest during Advisory and the sharing of pies of all kinds via social media. Our ASB officers are excited to share what they have planned: “During School Spirit Week, students can celebrate their school pride by participating in activities related to the school’s sports teams, wearing school colors, and competing in special Spirit Week contests.” Be sure to check the SA Student Body Outreach group on Schoology for updates, and get ready to participate in events, win prizes, and have lots of fun!
As many of you know, Pi Day is traditionally celebrated on March 14th because pi begins with 3.14; however, since 3/14 falls on a Sunday this year, we’re celebrating on 3/12. Pi is the symbol (𝛑) used to represent a mathematical constant — the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter — which is approximately 3.14159. Pi is unusual in that it is an infinite, non-repeating decimal, which makes memorizing it challenging. The current Guinness World Record is held by Lu Chao of China, who in 2005 recited 67,890 digits of pi. Pi Day is an annual opportunity for math enthusiasts to recite pi, talk to their friends about math, and to eat pie. You can show your 3.14 spirit by designing, decorating, or creating your own pie, whether it’s pizza, fruit pie, quiche, tart, pot pie, or cookie, and then share your masterpiece with your fellow Supernovas on Instagram with #SupernovaPiDay. As ASB president Jaden Penhaskashi said, “We want to relive our favorite memories of Pi Day, even if it is in a digital format!” Don’t forget to join ASB during Advisory period on Friday, March 12th for some fun Pi Day activities.
Supernova Spirit Week continues the following week with fun activities planned for each day. Monday, March 15th is Crazy Hair Day. This competition is to find who can create the craziest hairstyle. Using your camera or profile picture, show us your wild hairdo! Tuesday, March 16th is Happiness Day! In this positive event, show us what makes you smile! You will be able to submit phrases and poems on what makes you smile and ASB will make a gallery. On Saint Patrick’s Day, Wednesday, March 17th, turn on your camera and wear green, or have a profile picture of anything green. There will also be a Mad Libs activity at 3:30pm in an ASB Zoom. March 18th is Decade Day! Wear an outfit from your favorite decade or have a profile picture of anything related. Lastly, Movie Night! On March 19th, middle school and high school students will watch their selected movies on Zoom at 7:00 pm. There will be a poll posted in S.A. Student Outreach to determine which movie is the most popular for middle school and which for high school. Spirit Week is a fun way to celebrate Science Academy school spirit and participate in many exciting activities!Read More
by Ryan Lee
As we approach the one-year anniversary of the shutdown of in-person classes at LAUSD due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it seems a meaningful time to reflect on this once-in-a-century event, especially with the newly-increasing availability of effective vaccines. Although the toll that COVID has taken across the country and around the world has been terrible, the speed with which doctors and scientists have been able to develop tests, therapeutics, treatments, and now vaccines has been truly awe-inspiring. As it turns out, viruses have been around since long before 2020, and even the mighty Romans and the undefeatable Mongols have fallen victim to them. In order to better understand this invisible enemy, we need to learn about the structure of viruses themselves and how they infiltrate our body. Since 1892, virologists have dedicated their lives to studying viruses, trying to discover how these mysterious balls of proteins, which lack life itself but can affect so many, can upend our lives so systematically.
The Structure and Description of Viruses
Before we ponder about how viruses infect our bodies, we have to know that there are many different types. Generally, there are four types of viral structures. Many modify themselves to add proteins to their outer shell to facilitate the integration of their genetic material.
Helical Viruses, such as the Tobacco Mosaic Virus, are usually a protein capsid surrounding a single helical RNA molecule. They are the simplest viruses and look like rigid rods. The second type is a polyhedral Virus, typically known to be isohedral. They usually contain DNA in the center of their capsule and are covered in protein spikes. Some examples of these are Adenoviruses.
Spherical Viruses look like small toy balls. They contain RNA-protein complexes and are usually studded with Glycoprotein spikes that enable them to interact with the cell’s recognition and cell-communication mechanisms. They are the most mutatable viruses, as their RNA is susceptible to mutations that may benefit them. Examples of these viruses include Influenza (the flu), HIV, and Covid-19. Finally, Complex viruses are viruses that have multiple parts, consisting of tails, fibers, and a head. They grab ahold of the host with a tail fiber and inject their Genetic Material into the host. This type of virus is usually composed of bacteriophages, viruses that only affect bacteria.
Orthocoronavirinae, of which SARS CoV-2 is a member of, is a subfamily of fairly complex spherical Viruses.The SARS-CoV 2 contains 29 different proteins, including its glycoprotein spikes, which it shares 80% of its amino acids with its predecessor, the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) virus. SARS CoV-2 and it’s family, the coronaviruses, known as Coronaviradae, are characterized by being RNA viruses and its famous Glycoprotein Spikes. The virus, SARS CoV-2, does not have a binomial taxonomic name so far. The Family is named after the latin word, “Corona”, which translates to “The crown”. The Virus uses its spikes to latch onto the angiotensin-converting Enzyme 2 (ACE2). The other 28 proteins are not very important, as only three of them make up the actual structure of the virus. One group of the other 25 proteins are expressed as two huge polyproteins and then cleaves into 16 smaller proteins, and these proteins help regulate how the proteins of its offspring are made and how it sneaks through its host’s immune system. The Third type of protein is called accessory proteins. They don’t need these proteins to replicate, however they need them to counteract the immune system. Covid-19 is more infectious than its predecessor parent, the SARS virus. SARS CoV-2 is usually called, “The coronavirus”, or “The novel Coronavirus”, however, the latter describes the virus better. SARS CoV-2 is a coronavirus, a family of viruses, includes many mammalian RNA viruses such as Mink coronavirus and Bat coronavirus CDPHE15.
Illustration of SARS-COV2
Glycoprotein (RBD = Receptor
The Brief History of Viruses
Humans have always been aware that something has been ruining their precious tobacco crops and caused death. However, they simply did not know why or what sickened them, they assumed it was a bacteria or some other infectious agent.
It wasn’t until 1883 when Adolf Mayer, a German Scientist, discovered the characteristic traits of a virus. Adolf Mayer discovered that he could transmit the ailment by rubbing the sap extracted from the diseased leaves of the tobacco plant onto healthy plants. After unsuccessful searches for an infectious microbe, he determined that it was caused by tiny bacteria. Years later, Dmitri Ivanowsky, a Russian biologist, passed the sap through a filter that was known to remove the smallest bacteria. After an unsuccessful attempt, he determined that there was a smaller bacteria or the toxin made by the bacteria made it through.
Dutch botanist Martinus Beijerinck carried out experiments to show that the filtered agent in the sap can still replicate. He also discovered that the agent would not grow without a host. He is known as the father of Virology because he had voiced the concept of a virus. The Virus became known as the Tobacco Mosaic Virus.
How Viruses Replicate
A virus, which most people know and agree with, enters the cell and spreads its genetic material, overriding the host cell’s machinery and making more cells. This is known as the lytic cycle. Contrariwise, there is another reproductive cycle, and it is called the lysogenic cycle, which is not well known.
The lytic cycle is the reason why we get sick. The virus enters the cell and releases its genetic material. The genetic material then replicates itself for later use and transcribes the genome into mRNA, which is sent to the endomembrane system to create proteins. Somewhere in the cell, the Machinery starts to assemble the proteins and the replicated DNA into new viruses. This process will kill the cell, and replication of DNA may bring about mutations to the virus, making viruses such as the flu resistant to old vaccines.
The lysogenic cycle of the cell is typically characterized by the cell not dying or doing anything. The virus attaches itself to the cell, injects its genome, and simply does not kill the cell. Instead, the genome integrates itself into the cell’s chromosomes and waits for certain factors to burst or not. The cell may divide and produce a population of cells infected with the virus. The genetic material may exit the bacterial chromosome, which can become the point where the lytic or the lysogenic cycle initiates.
Vaccines are a way for us to build immunity to a virus that humans have never encountered before. Before elaborating on the mechanics of immunity, it’s important to understand the basic mechanisms of vaccines. A vaccine is essentially a weakened version of the virus, an enzyme that inhibits the binding of the glycoproteins or receptors of the virus, or just the glycoproteins of the virus. In the immune system, there are three types of immune cells, the B cells, the T cells, and the macrophage. The B cells float around the body, binding to any foreign substance. After it binds to the virus, the B cell releases all of its receptors on its body, leaving the virus floating with the receptor binding to it. The B cell then starts to rapidly undergo mitosis to give rise to a group of cells that create the antigen receptor. The macrophage then comes and eats the virus. The T-cell, on the other hand, roams the circulatory system and keeps an eye out for infected cells. They are covered in receptors that bind to parts of the virus. An infected cell will usually present a piece of the antigen on an MHC molecule, causing the T-cell to bind to it and trigger an immune response. The immune system remembers this virus by using memory B-cells, a cluster of long-lived cells that remain to wait until the next viral infection by the same virus.
Every year, a person has to take a vaccine for the flu, a highly contagious and fast-mutating RNA virus. A new vaccine is made every year for the strains of the virus that are most prevalent. We can create a vaccine for SARS-CoV 2, yet its characteristic of being a notorious RNA virus creates the need for us to monitor its mutations and create a future-proof vaccine. But how is a vaccine made?
Since there are many types of viruses, there are many different types of vaccines. The flu virus, which is a spherical Virus, requires the use of dead viruses to force the body to create antibodies for the specific strain for that year. This is called an inactivated vaccine. Some vaccines, such as chickenpox or mumps virus, use a weakened or normal version of the virus to cause the body to fight the infection. This type of vaccine is called a live-attenuated vaccine. Subunit, recombinant, polysaccharide, and conjugate vaccines are pieces of the virus that trigger strong immune responses that can protect the person from future infections from the virus.
The Coronavirus Vaccine, in simplest terms, is a piece of mRNA that codes for the Glycoproteins on the virus which allows the virus to get into the cell. The mRNA is harmless and a subunit Vaccine. The mRNA gets into a nearby cell and the cell makes the protein. The cell then displays the protein on the MHC molecule, allowing the T-cells to see it and create an immune response. The antibodies are made and the Memory B-cells are ready to release the Antibodies when the cell is invaded again. The RNA Vaccine is particularly effective on the Coronavirus since it poses the least risk to the body and is easy to make.
Although it has been a diabolic time, particularly for those who have lost loved ones to the disease, we are fortunate that our knowledge of viruses and the human body has allowed modern medical science to create vaccines and eradicate diseases much more rapidly than the past. Even just a year ago, we thought the earliest an effective vaccine would be available was 18-24 months, but here we are with not just one, but three vaccines which have been very effective in preventing COVID infections and serious illness. While we will need to continue to be vigilant against the coronavirus and its variants for some time to come, something that looks more like normal life seems to be possible again soon.
Timeline of Events of Coronavirus
Additional information available here: https://www.who.int/news/item/29-06-2020-covidtimeline
Nature News, Nature Publishing Group, https://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/the-origins-of-viruses-14398218/.
“COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker.” Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society (RAPS), https://www.raps.org/news-and-articles/news-articles/2020/3/covid-19-vaccine-tracker.
“Different COVID-19 Vaccines.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines.html.
“Digital Collections – National Library of Medicine.” U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, https://collections.nlm.nih.gov/bookviewer?PID=nlm:nlmuid-2569009R-bk#page/46/mode/2up.
“Immunization Basics.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 16 May 2018, https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/imz-basics.htm.
Jarus, Owen. “20 Of the Worst Epidemics and Pandemics in History.” LiveScience, Purch, 20 Mar. 2020, https://www.livescience.com/worst-epidemics-and-pandemics-in-history.html.
“Outbreak: 10 of the Worst Pandemics in History By Staff.” Outbreak: 10 of the Worst Pandemics in History, https://www.mphonline.org/worst-pandemics-in-history/.
Santora, Tara. “2020-2021 Flu Shot Ingredients: What Is in the Flu Shot, and Why?” Fatherly, 14 Jan. 2021, https://www.fatherly.com/health-science/flu-shot-ingredients-flu-vaccine/.
“Understanding MRNA COVID-19 Vaccines.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines/mrna.html.
“Vaccine Types.” Vaccines, https://www.vaccines.gov/basics/types.
“Variola Virus (Smallpox).” Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, https://www.centerforhealthsecurity.org/our-work/publications/smallpox-fact-sheet.
“View of Andrew Brown’s ‘Earnest Endeavor’: The Federal Gazette’s Role in Philadelphia’s Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793: Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography.” View of Andrew Brown’s “Earnest Endeavor”: The Federal Gazette’s Role in Philadelphia’s Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793 | Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, https://journals.psu.edu/pmhb/article/view/45107/44828.Read More
In 1970, 51 years ago, a new tradition was formed. It was derived from a similar history week created in 1926, and is now called Black History Month. In February, African American history is celebrated during this tradition by the United States and Canada (October for the Netherlands and United Kingdom). During Black History Month, we learn about and celebrate influential individuals and events of African American history. There are many sources and lots of information you can learn; the below Google Slide presentation, created by the Book Endz library club, has interesting facts and videos on famous African Americans, highlighting Black authors, for every day of February!
Google Slide: (click on link) Black History Month Day by Day Presentation
By Milan Riley
On Tuesday, January 19th, 2021, board member Kelly Gonez made an announcement for the Board District 6 community. The BD6 3rd Annual Art Contest is now open! This year, the competition will be completely virtual because of the pandemic. All Pre-K to 12th grade students attending a LAUSD school in Board District 6 (BD6) can participate.
Students can create one original piece of artwork based on this year’s theme “Hope and Resilience”, which was inspired by the pandemic. Artwork can be hand drawn or created digitally. Participants can turn in their artwork here, using Google Forms. The deadline for turning in artwork is February 14, 2020!
The Officer of Board Member Kelly Gonez will have permission from those submitting the form to share artwork and/or use it to promote the BD6 art contest with marketing materials such as social media, virtual exhibit, and more.
Students are encouraged to spread the word and visit their website here . If anyone has questions about the contest, they can call their office at 213-241-6388 or email them at email@example.com .
By Desmond Devine
Although some students might be a bit sad that Winter Break is ending, the Associated Student Body of the Science Academy STEM Magnet will make sure that coming back to school is a fun experience! Each day, ASB will post an update on their Schoology Group, S.A. Student Body Outreach, containing the day’s question and a Google Form to submit an answer. Correct answers will be entered in a lottery and the winner will receive extra English credit (plus bragging rights)! The Bonus Game will continue each day until Friday, January 22nd.
The question for Tuesday, January 12th was, “What is the powerhouse of the cell?”. The answer was “The Mitochondria” and the lottery winner was Alma S. of Grade 8!
The question for Wednesday, January 13th was, “Which brain structure regulates circadian rhythms in humans?”. The answer was “Suprachiasmatic nucleus” and the winner was Ryan P. of Grade 8!
The question for Thursday, January 14th was, “What is the band of axons that connect the left and right hemispheres of the brain?”. The answer was “Corpus callosum” and the winner was Ava-Ray P. of Grade 6!
The question for Friday, January 15th was, “What are the SI units of the measure of the compactness of a substance? (Hint: “compactness”)”. The answer was “Kg/m^3” and the winner was Nikita A. of Grade 11!
The question for Tuesday, January 19th was, “Where are inverses of exponentiation not found?”. The answer was “The patterns found on a dog’s paw” and the winner was Justin K. of Grade 6!
The question for Wednesday, January 20th was, “What is the theory of psychology that argues that the emotional response of a person evokes the physiological experience?”. The winner was Alex R. of Grade 7!
The question for Thursday, January 21st was, “(v^3+4v^2-54v-85) / (v+9)”. The winner was Peter H. of Grade 11!
The question for Friday, January 22nd is, “What is the empirical formula of Fructose 2, 6 bisphosphate?”.Read More
By Emily Corona
On October 31st, seven members of the Science Academy Debate Club took on their first Tri-County Forensics League (TCFL) Novice Speech Tournament with great success. The Debate Club consists of the high school students at the Science Academy, sponsored by Mr. Brooker, who have had prior experience with debate in their English classes. Now, these students have taken the initiative, using their skills developed from intramural debate, and dove into the competitive sphere against other school teams. The students participating hailed from a myriad of schools across the district, and were assigned number scores to determine their overall placements. The tournament itself, held over Zoom, consisted of thirteen different categories, two of which the team participated in on Saturday morning.
The team did incredibly well, with three participants from the Science Academy ranking in the top five in Spontaneous Argumentation. The argumentation was impromptu, and the students had no prior knowledge of the topics given. In this form of debate, participants are given one minute to prepare after the topic is presented, and after must argue their given stance. Some of the featured topics given included TikTok and its potential threat to national security, teachers sharing political views in classrooms, and sports teams and political slogans, according to Sarah Lane. Based on their argumentation and overall performance in comparison to other students in their breakout room, participants were awarded points. Sarah, an 11th grader and Debate Club historian, proudly placed first in the Spontaneous Argumentation event, netting over 289 total points. Leila Muney, tenth grader and Debate Club vice president, placed second and earned over 282 points for her performance. Mary Sarukhanyan, a 10th grader and current president of Speech and Debate Club, placed a close fourth in the event, as well, gaining 280 points.
One of the team members also placed in the top three in the Original Oratory event. Gregory Kislik, an 11th grader, placed third for his speech about misinformation, scoring an impressive 272 points. Greg was kind enough to provide portions of his oratory, which was to be prewritten and prerecorded for judging at the tournament. Greg’s speech, “An Untrue Truth”, talks about the need to be correct and how reliable sources can be subject to bias, as well as how misinformation has even permeated the scientific community:
“Researcher bias and error is a factor which can mislead the public because of the researcher’s perceived authority over a certain subject. Errors such as publication bias, in which publishing is based on outcome, reporting bias, which is the reporting of only positive outcomes (and neglecting negative ones), as well as spin (how the data is framed) are commonplace throughout research.”
Greg’s speech is an insightful look into the realm of misinformation, and how it affects everyone down to the sources thought to be unquestionably credible. The witty humor, coupled with the informational sources, provide an interesting take on something we often pay no mind to in the scientific community. It’s easy to see why he received such a high placement.
Overall, the team performed exceptionally well for their first official Speech and Debate tournament. Taking the majority of the top five of spontaneous argumentation, and securing a spot in the top three of the original oratory, club president and representative Mary Sarukhanyan is proud of her team. Mary commented on the team’s performance and experience going into their first tournament with the TCFL, saying:
“Everyone on the team was really nervous going into it, being our first time and over Zoom too. But we made a splash with our standings and even received comments from the co-president of our circuit. The team is thrilled with what we achieved and we’re preparing to kill it at our next event.”
It’s safe to say the Science Academy community is incredibly proud of how the team did in their tournament, and excitedly awaits the next one!Read More
by Ava-Ray Pributsky, Mariia Grigoreva and Desmond Devine
As we prepare to celebrate the holidays, it’s wonderful to recognize the diversity of winter celebrations: Hanukkah, Advent, Las Posadas, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, the New Year, Epiphany/Three Kings Day. So many ways to celebrate and honor traditions and cultures from around the world and through a large expanse of history. Here are a few of the ways some of these holidays are celebrated by our Journalism Club students.
Mariia’s Holiday Traditions:
Very soon, more than 2 billion people will be celebrating Christmas. Some honor it as a religious holiday, while many more will celebrate it even if they are not Christian. Here are my family’s holiday traditions:
In most families in Russia, Christmas is actually celebrated on January 7th, because this is the date considered to be Christmas by Orthodox Christians, who use the Julian calendar, which predates the modern Gregorian calendar. However many families, including mine, combine it with the New Year holiday and celebrate them both on one day, December 31st.
Around 3 weeks before Christmas, we decorate the Christmas tree. We put many candies on the tree as decorations and every day before Christmas, we can eat one. If not all of them are gone, we eat what’s left on New Year’s Eve night.
In my family, we like to change the menu, but there are two common salads that we always eat on New Year and Christmas: “Olivie Salad” and “Herring under a Fur Coat”
Olivie Salad Recipe:
2 medium carrot
1 chicken breast
1 can of peas
5 salted cucumbers
Bake the chicken (30min on 350 degrees), Cook and cut eggs, carrots and potatoes into large dice. After the chicken has cooled somewhat, cut into large chunks. Chop up the rest of the ingredients and mix all together. Add mayo and your perfect salad is ready to eat.
Note: usually served cold, so put in the fridge before you eat it.
While my sister, my mother, and I prepare food, we usually have 2 very old movies playing, which we watch every single year: The Irony of Fate and Ivan Vasilievich: Back to the Future.
On the 31st of December, while the clock is striking 12 am, the adults make a wish. They write it on paper, burn it into a glass with champagne, and drink. Some just make a wish and drink, but everything has to be done while the clock is striking midnight. That is an important part of the tradition.
After everyone eats, we call all our relatives and give our best wishes for the New Year. Afterwards, we open the presents and listen to Christmas/New Year songs. In my family, we don’t wait until morning and open our presents around 1am.
Ava-Ray’s Holiday Traditions:
Decorate the House:
In my family, we celebrate Hanukkah, but we also put up a winter tree with lights and ornaments. Many of the ornaments are handmade. Each year we make a new ornament to represent the year. What should it be for this year? Maybe a mask or a vaccine syringe?
Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows:
A mashed sweet potato with butter and maple syrup topped with melted marshmallows. This is what my Grandmother and her mother made during Thanksgiving and the winter holidays every year. It reminds me of sitting with my family at the table, being together and eating wonderful food. This dish is very sweet and is often served as dessert in my household. A sweet dish to remind me of sweet memories.
Lighting the Menorah:
Every year in my family, we light the Menorah and say the prayers of Hanukkah. My dad tells the story of how the Jewish people did not have enough oil to light their temple lights because the temple had been raided and ransacked. They found only a small amount of oil in the rubble. They thought it would only last for a day or two, but it lasted 8 full nights. That is the Hanukkah miracle, that there was light during the darkness, during the pain. We have latkes and corned beef sandwiches and then we get our Hanukkah gifts. The holiday is about comfort, good food, and games. We each try and think of our reasons to be thankful and how we have made it to this Hanukkah.
Latkes and Applesauce:
Savory potato pancakes (almost like hash browns) with sweet apple sauce on top. When I was really little, my favorite part of Hanukkah was the latkes. Savory, buttery, potato goodness with sweet applesauce for dinner? Yum! My family would gobble down 3 latkes each at the very least. I would stuff my face with yummy food until I could not eat any more and then sit down on the couch and fall asleep.
Baba’s Latke Recipe:
6 large potatoes, grated
1 large onion, grated
2 eggs, well beaten
2 tablespoons of flour
1 teaspoon of salt
A pinch of pepper
4 tablespoons of oil
Peel the potatoes and onions. Grate potatoes and onions or use a Cuisinart and drain the extra juice. Add eggs, flour, salt, and pepper. Mix well. Heat oil in a large skillet and drop the batter in by spoonful. Fry to a deep brown on both sides. Serve with applesauce, sour cream, or vanilla yogurt. Geschmack! (Yiddish for licking the plate goodness!)
Prayer on the first night of Hanukkah: Praised are you, our God, ruler of the universe, who has given us life and sustained us and enabled us to reach this season. I am so thankful to be with my family on this Hanukkah. I know there are many people across the country and around the world, including in my own family, who have not made it to this Hanukkah. I think about them and say a prayer for them.
Have you ever wondered why our calendar is the way it is? Why certain holidays are recognized on specific days? Sure, Christmas was the day Jesus was said to have been born and the 4th of July is the day America declared its independence, but what about the other ones? Is there any deeper reason why holidays are celebrated at a certain time in the year other than “tradition”? Let’s consider the celebration of the New Year and my proposal for a more scientific and seasonally accurate date for the holiday.
Our calendar, along with many other aspects of our culture, stems from Roman civilization. On December 31st, Romans would have a feast and celebrate Janus, the god of new beginnings. He was said to have two faces, one looking to the past and the other towards the future. This evolved into our New Year celebration today, but to be honest it doesn’t make much rational sense and feels a bit arbitrary as a date to start the year. A more practical celebration would be on Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, since this is when our days start to become longer again and the seasonal cycle of Earth resets. Recognizing Winter Solstice as New Year’s Day would give the holiday an astronomical purpose and might make us more mindful towards the cyclical nature of our solar system.
[Roman God Janus]
Whichever holidays you and your family celebrate and however you celebrate them, we are all so happy for our health, our family’s health, making it through the 2020 Fall semester of The Science Academy, and the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccines. We wish good health and happiness to all, and look forward to a very happy, hopeful, and healthy New Year!Read More
By Barrie Komsky
December 15, 2020
On October 27, the Los Angeles Dodgers erased decades of frustration and disappointment by winning the World Series for the first time since 1988. They beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 in the sixth game of the World Series to bring Los Angeles their second championship of the month. As the great Dodgers announcer Vin Scully once said, “In a year so improbable, the impossible has happened.”
The 2020 baseball season was unlike any other. For the first time in baseball history, the World Series was played at a neutral site, the Texas Rangers’ Globe Life Field, which the Dodgers made their home. It was played in a bubble with only 11,500 fans in attendance each game. Teams played only 60 games, rather than the typical 162. But the Dodgers rose above these challenges and did what nobody thought was possible: going the distance after years of falling short.
The team could not have come so far without the help of Clayton Kershaw, who has been a staple of the Dodgers organization since 2008. He had every honor and achievement in baseball aside from a World Series ring. He took home the National League Cy Young Award in 2011, 2013, and 2014, when he also was named Most Valuable Player. On June 18 of that year, he pitched his first career no-hitter, arguably the greatest in baseball history. He has constantly dazzled in the regular season, but quickly became known as a “playoff choker,” showing barely average statistics in the month of October. This year, Clayton Kershaw changed his legacy forever. There are no more missing pieces for the future Hall of Famer. His 4-1 record combined with a 2.93 ERA and 37 strikeouts, all career highs for the 32-year-old ace, gave him all he’s truly wanted: a championship for his team. “We won the World Series. I don’t care about legacy. I don’t care about what happened last year. I don’t care about what people think…The 2020 Dodgers won the World Series. Who cares about all that other stuff?” the veteran ace told Bill Plunkett when asked how he felt about his success.
Perhaps the only Dodger with a more impressive postseason than Kershaw was Corey Seager, whose eight postseason home runs and .328 batting average led to being named MVP of both the World Series and NLCS, a nail-biting seven game series against the Atlanta Braves. Seager was only the eighth player in the history of Major League Baseball to bring home both awards. “This team was incredible all throughout the year, all throughout the postseason,” Seager, known for his modesty, stated. “We never stopped. We were ready to go as soon as the bell was called. And once it did, we kept rolling.” He drove in the go-ahead run in the sixth inning of the game, after Rays’ manager Kevin Cash controversially removed Blake Snell, who, through 5.1 innings, struck out 9 and allowed only two hits, one of which resulted in a run, from the game.
Both Kershaw and Seager dazzled throughout the regular season as well, but no impact was greater than that of Mookie Betts, who was traded from the Red Sox in February. In 55 games, Betts accumulated 16 home runs, 39 RBIs, 10 stolen bases, and a .292 batting average. Betts won the National League’s Gold Glove Award for his position of right field for the fifth consecutive year. He became a finalist for MVP, along with the Braves’ Freddie Freeman, the eventual winner, and the Padres’ Manny Machado. Betts took home the award in 2018 with Boston, when his team beat the Dodgers in the World Series. In the postseason, Betts batted .296 with 8 doubles, 6 stolen bases, and an eighth-inning home run in game 6 to extend the lead. He also scored the go-ahead run in the sixth inning, taking advantage of the Rays’ decision to remove Blake Snell from the game. “I think at that point, I was like, ‘I got a chance,’” Betts said of the situation following the win. “Snell was rolling… I wasn’t asking any questions, though. I was just like, ‘Hey, your manager said you gotta go, next guy’s coming in.’ At that point, I tried to put an at-bat together and go from there.” In addition to his brilliance on offense, Mookie Betts made an impact larger than any other on the field, making seemingly impossible plays nightly.
Many will compare Betts’ remarkable first season as a Dodger to that of Kirk Gibson in 1988. After a successful career with the Detroit Tigers and a World Series win in 1984, Gibson, a free agent, signed with Los Angeles. The team, against all odds, found themselves in the World Series, set to play the powerful Oakland A’s. Kirk Gibson, having injured both legs in the previous series, was set to sit this one out. In Game 1, the Dodgers found themselves down 4-3 with two outs in the bottom of the 9th inning. Dennis Eckersley had just walked Mike Davis when Kirk Gibson, barely able to walk, hobbled up to the plate, hoping for a miracle. When the count reached 2-2, Mike Davis stole second base, knowing that Gibson would be unable to run. On the very next pitch, Gibson launched his legendary home run to right field, giving the Dodgers the Game 1 win. The Dodgers would go on to win the series in five games. This year’s Dodgers, just like the 1988 team, didn’t have an easy path to success.
The team won a seven-game battle to make a World Series appearance, beating the Atlanta Braves after losing the first two games and three of the first four, something that had not occurred since 2004. Games 5, 6, and 7 games included a Will Smith home run off of Will Smith that gave the Dodgers a lead and more defensive heroics from Mookie Betts and the rest of the Dodgers’ outfield. In a nail-biter game seven, Atlanta took a 1-0 lead in the first inning and extended it with a Dansby Swanson home run in the second. In the third inning, a Will Smith single tied the score at 2, but Austin Riley’s RBI single in the fourth gave the Braves a 3-2 lead. Freedie Freeman would have hit a home run in the fifth inning if not for Mookie Betts. Then, Kike Hernandez hit a game-tying home run in the sixth inning, and Cody Bellinger put them in front in the seventh, a lead Los Angeles held on to thanks to three perfect innings from Julio Urias. “We’re resilient,” said Bellinger of the win. “I think when you see every day the lineup we have—we can do this. Why can’t we do this? We’ve won three games before, all the time.”
The win did not come without controversy, as Justin Turner, who’s pregame COVID test came back inconclusive, was pulled from the game in the 8th inning when a positive result was received. When the game ended, Turner and his wife Kourtney made their way to the field, unmasked, and were seen hugging teammates. Turner even participated in taking a team photo and holding the trophy. Following the celebration, Turner tweeted the following: “Thanks to everyone reaching out! I feel great, no symptoms at all. Just experienced every emotion you can possibly imagine. Can’t believe I couldn’t be out there to celebrate with my guys! So proud of this team & unbelievably happy for the City of L.A.” After careful consideration, the league agreed that Turner should not be punished for his actions, as the bubble they created was unsafe. Turner released an apology which called his actions inexcusable, claiming to have been caught up in the moment.
Despite the controversy and excuses by other fans, however, the Dodgers used their talents and nothing else to win their first World Series since 1988, and that’s all that will be remembered years from now. Congratulations to the 2020 World Series Champions Los Angeles Dodgers!Read More