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Nobel prize laureate imparts wisdom to Lincoln

by Serina Fang

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            A throng of students filled the Little Theater during fifth period on Friday, November 22, in anticipation for the lecture of physicist Dr. Douglas D. Osheroff, 1996 Nobel Prize Laureate in Physics. He is known for his work in experimental condensed matter physics, especially for his co-discovery of superfluidity in Helium-3.

            Described as an “excellent Renaissance man of the 21st century” by Dr. Ed Shapiro of the Nobel Laureate School Visit Program, Osheroff launches into a PowerPoint presentation titled “How Advances in Science are Made,” which details his research and findings as well as encouraging students to pursue their passions.

            "I found he himself inspiring as an example of somebody who had so much commitment to something he cared about," says biotech teacher George Cachianes.

             Osheroff begins his lecture describing the first 187 laureates in science as, “People who came from all walks of life. They are honest in all they do.” For the first part of his presentation, Osheroff listed many physics laureates who won awards from fields he has researched as well. Included among the research done by the list of notable scientists were Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) and its various functions and applications, measurement of radiation left over in the night sky from the Big Bang, and the invention of the Pomeranchuk Cell, a special cooling device, which led him and his team to discover superfluidity in Helium-3.

Osheroff’s advice for aspiring researchers is, “Use the best technology, and look in a region or parameter unexplored.”

Exploring the unknown is how Osheroff shared the 1996 Nobel Prize in Physics with his colleagues, David Lee and Robert C. Richardson. "If you've worked with the people you're sharing it with, it's a real blessing," says Osheroff in regards to sharing the prize.

Using a special hydraulic press known as a Pomeranchuk cell, Osheroff studied the behavior of Helium-3 at several thousandths of a degree of absolute zero. Superfluidity is a state of matter where matter behaves like a fluid but moves itself in a way that seems to defy gravity and surface tension, such as creeping upwards instead of dripping down, and everything else in the universe displays superfluidity at absolute zero except Helium-3. Helium-3 at a superfluid state can display superconductivity, a phenomenon of zero electrical resistance in matter, which can be used for power transmission, electric motors, et cetera.

Osheroff recalled the long work hours spent on the project to compress H3, returning home as late as four in the morning only to leave again two hours later. In fact, it was 2:40 am on April 20, 1972 when the discovery of the transition in the state of Helium-3 was made. However, Osheroff explained that his passion and dedication to his work made the hours seem less strenuous, and that he rather enjoyed being in the laboratory in the faint hours of the morning because “nobody bothers you when you’re working at 2am.”  

"I wasn't seeking the Nobel Prize," answered Osheroff after being asked if he expected to win with the discovery of H3 superfluidity. "I was researching the properties of matter near absolute zero. It's fun to ask nature about the properties of nature. That's how I perceive physics today."

The visit ended with a group photo of the audience with Dr. Osheroff as well as the event arrangers from the Nobel Laureate School Visit Program and BioCision and the Lincoln staff members in attendance. Dr. Osheroff’s visit is made possible by Nobel Laureate School Visit Program and the BioCision Co. located in Larkspur, Marin. "I hope the interaction will inspire students to connect and follow their passions," says Michelle Nemits from BioCision.

According to Dr. Ed Shapiro, he decided to arrange Osheroff's visit to Lincoln after listening to a suggestion made a Lincoln graduate. Osheroff appreciated being part of the program, stating, "This program…is remarkable. I love talking to young people about science, and this program is perfect."

A graduate of Cal Tech and Cornell, Osheroff urged the students in attendance to always take advantage of good opportunities. The audience enthusiastically responded to the lecture by asking question upon question during a lengthy Q and A session.

"I thought the questions are all good," says Osheroff. "I learn and I appreciate getting to know what you wanted to know. It helps me be a better speaker."

Lily Trinh, one of the students in attendance, describes her feelings after the lecture. "I was inspired by the lecture because Mr. Osheroff shows me that with motivation and persistence, one can achieve anything they want."

 

 

 

Filipino club fundraises for typhoon relief

by Christine Ong

 

    The Filipino club started fundraising money to benefit the victims of Typhoon Haiyan. The typhoon struck the Philippines and other Southeastern Asian countries from Nov 2 - Nov 11 and killed over 5,000 people. Devastated cities are receiving aid, but not all areas of the cities are being covered, making the rush to support aid programs much more important.

    Lincoln’s Filipino club started fundraising on Monday, Nov 11 by accepting donations in front of the main office during lunch and after school and through donation envelopes distributed to teachers. They aimed to reach their goal of $5,000 before Thanksgiving break, Nov 27. Over the course of those two weeks, they raised over $1,500.

   In addition to taking donations, the club bought lumpia from Kadok’s, a Filipino restaurant in Daly City, which also donated half of the total amount of lumpia, and offered preorders to the Lincoln faculty. They made $200 on that sale alone.

    The donations will be sent to the Red Cross Typhoon Appeal. Richard Sylvester, the sponsor of the Filipino club, said, “We felt like the American Red Cross was the most immediately trustworthy foundation; people have heard of it, so that’s what we went with… It makes people feel safe about where their money is going.”

    Red Cross is an international organization. "They are on everybody's side and on nobody's side. They’re neutral," said Bobby Crotwell, the sponsor of the Red Cross club. When money is sent to the Red Cross, the American Red Cross division will communicate with the Filipino Red Cross to find out what types of basic necessities, such as blankets, food and water, are needed and will use the donated money to buy those materials to send to the Philippines.

    In order to fundraise money for Red Cross, a group needs to register with them. Without a registration number, the group cannot prove their legitimacy. Providing a registration number ensures that the group is fundraising for the Red Cross and not their own benefit. Registration numbers can be verified by calling the Red Cross or emailing them at redcross.org. The Filipino club was registered for a fundraiser for the Philippines by Crotwell.

   Donation remains an important aspect of aid to Sylvester. “I think we, here, especially in the United States, San Francisco, we live a pretty privileged life,” Sylvester says. “We take so many things for granted, you know, just having running water or a place to sleep at night. Just in general around the world, not just in the Philippines, there’s just so many people with less than we have that we just kinda ignore sometimes… How much do we really need? We have more than we need here, so [we’re] just helping other people out.”

    Sylvester relates the fundraiser to the attitude of mass consumption around the holidays by saying, “It’s funny ‘cause all of this was happening around Black Friday time, you know, and my students were always asking me, ‘Hey, are you gonna shop for Black Friday?’ and it’s kinda like, ‘Oh, I kinda have other things [that] need my money right now. I don’t need a 70 inch TV right now.’”

    The fundraiser will continue when school resumes after the winter break, and the Filipino club and the Red Cross club will join efforts to fundraise money.

 

 

 

California Assemblyman visits Lincoln

by Hans Oberschelp

 

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            On December 3rd, Philip Ting, assemblyman of District 19, visited Abraham Lincoln High School to discuss both local and state issues with high school students. District 19 incorporates 450,000 residents of the western half of San Francisco and Daly City, and includes the homes of Lincoln students living on the west side as well as Lincoln itself.

            Most of the discussion focused around decreased funding of schools, increased funding of prisons and the California budget in general. As Ting explained, the California budget dropped from $100 billion to $80 billion, and it was necessary to make cuts to compensate.

            Ting mentioned that the California prison population has gone up as a result of harsher laws. He said, “We passed a lot of policies to make us feel safer. The one thing it did was put a lot of people in prison.” It costs on average $50,000 a year to keep an inmate in prison.

            Before budget cuts, California spent $45 billion on K-12 education and $10 billion on higher education. Even with cuts to the higher education budget, Cal Grants is rolling out a new program for middle class families. Cal Grants advertises funding up to 40% of tuition for families making $100,000 a year, but Ting pointed out, “The only thing I can guarantee is whatever you think [the amount] will be, it will change.”

            Other parts of the discussion touched on energy and health care. Ting affirmed that he was a big advocate of clean renewable energy. He wants to look into fracking as a potential source for natural gas while being careful to avoid contaminating water supplies. As for healthcare, Ting noted, “In California we're leading the way [for Obamacare].”

            Back in high school Ting took a self study course to prepare for one of the first AP Government tests. In college at UC Berkely, he fought against changes to the University of California admissions policy that would make it harder for Asian Americans to get accepted. After college Ting became involved in real estate for five years, specifically affordable housing. After that he became president of the Asian Law Caucus. Ting stumbled into politics, admitting that it was “sort of an accident.”

            Now, Ting works January to June and August to mid-September in Sacramento, and September to December in San Francisco. July is a month off. While he is in San Francisco, he can focus more on local policy because in Sacramento he is constantly busy talking to politicians.

            Ting believes that a good government works so well that its citizens take it for granted. He gave the example of the endless near free drinking water in San Francisco. He said, “When government functions well, it's one of those things you don't notice.”

 

Teen parents share experiences to teach and prevent pregnancy

by Christine Ong

 

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    Teen parents from Hilltop high school visited Ali Mayer's health class on Dec 10 to share their experiences and educate students on the consequences of teen pregnancy. The parents were accompanied by a representative of the Teen Pregnancy and Parenting Program, Athena Melbourne.

    She introduced the teen parents, Perla, Karla and Johanna, and initiated a game using a male and female volunteer. She tied two of their legs together with a string, which symbolized the permanent tie the parents had to each other. The volunteers had to complete a walk to the other side of the classroom and keep a small plastic baby held in between their tied legs.  When they reached the other side, the teen parents gave them realistic situations where they decided how to manage their money and buy materials for the baby.

    After the game, the teen parents shared their individual stories. They gave their reactions to their discovery of their pregnancy, their parents’ reactions and how they adjusted to supporting a child. Two out of the three girls were kicked out of their houses after telling their parents. Perla remembers her parents telling her “since I was ready to be a parent, I was ready for everything else.”

    After giving birth, the girls needed to support their babies. Karla says that three part time jobs are not enough to support her child.

    Melbourne says, “You don’t want to be pigeon-holed into a minimum wage job.”

    The parents advise students to wait to have sex. “I had to grow up at 14,” says Karla. "It's not worth a few minutes of pleasure to make a lifetime commitment to someone (the other parent) you don't even know. You think you know them, but you don't until you have a kid with them."

    If students still want to have sex, the program urges to use protection. “If your partner doesn’t want to use protection, that means they don’t care about you,” says Melbourne. “’No, it doesn’t feel good’ is not an excuse,” she continues, saying that if a partner does not want to use protection for the sake of his or her own sensual desires, he or she is not considering the other person.

    Melbourne emphasized standing firm in this decision. She viewed pregnancy as one of the better consequences of unprotected sex compared to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

    Despite using birth control, one of the parents still conceived a child. “The pill is 92% effective, but I guess I was just one of the eight percent,” says Johanna. The program advises using double protection, meaning both participants using birth control, to have a better chance of preventing pregnancy.

    If you are interested in contacting the Teenage Pregnancy and Parenting Program, they can be reached at (415) 695-8300 at extension 589. Participation in their program is free, or you can ask them for locations of local clinics that provide birth control and give free advice on teen pregnancy.