Thursday 17 May 2018

Dr Karl Visits Petrosains

On Friday, 9th February 2018, a well-known Australian scientist and science communicator, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki shared his deep affection for science with about 80 secondary crème de la crème students we invited from Sekolah Sultan Alam Shah, SBPI Rawang, SBPI Gombak and Sekolah Menengah Sains Hulu Selangor. The engagement sessions titled “Great Moments in Science” were arranged by Petrosains, in collaboration with the Australian High Commission with the objective of encouraging and embarking young audiences on the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).  Here are some of his sharing that I found very interesting that I further dug about. 

Who are you, a scientist or an engineer? Dr Karl discussed the difference between scientist and engineer where a scientist is a person who works on discovering something that no one has discovered before. On the other hand, an engineer is a person that designs and fix something to work better. The main key to innovating and to invent is Top down, Bottom up that refer to when we want to do a thing, we need to start from something big to small or vice versa. An example of good engineering invention is 3D Printer which adds values to our life. The printer can help us to customize things ourselves instead of purchasing bulk-produced items such as toys and even a house! Do you know that we do have an in-house 3D printers running in our Maker Lab in Petrosains?

Are you surprised to know that our trachea looks just like a vacuum cleaner or a washing machine hose? A strong cartilage is essential to our respiratory system as it prevents the trachea to collapse. Back in 2012, an adorable baby Garrett Peterson was born with a defective windpipe. His condition, known as Tracheobronchomalacia, left his trachea so weak the littlest thing could make it collapse, cutting off his ability to breathe. 

Two experts from the University of Michigan Dr Glenn Green, an associate professor of pediatric otolaryngology and biomedical engineer Scott Hollister, had gotten emergency clearance from the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to carry out the treatment on the baby. After doing a CT scan of Garrett's trachea and bronchi, Hollister used a 3D printer to create a splint out of a biopolymer called polycaprolactone; PCL. PCL is malleable; it can be designed into all kinds of intricate structures. When a splint is created using PCL, it becomes a sort of biological placeholder, braces the structures while the body heals around it. 

As time passes, PCL degrades and is excreted out of the body, hopefully leaving behind a healed organ. A splint was placed around Garrett's right and left bronchi to expand his airway, and while it acts as support it also helps the defected organ to heal optimally with less stress. The doctors say the splint will be absorbed by Garrett's body during the next three years as his airways grow stronger. In the meantime, Garrett is breathing easier and needs less help from the ventilator. 

The audience was beamed with incredible flows of information and actively responded with out of the box questions and queries. One of the issues that have been brought to attention by the audience is if the person chose to be immortal, does the person will still be ageing and change (read: deteriorate *chuckles*) physically? There is a more interesting issue was discussed during this session hence I will meet you in my next write up on cloning our organs! 

I. Splint - a strip of rigid material used for supporting and immobilizing a broken bone when it has been set.
II. Otolaryngology - surgical subspecialty within medicine that deals with conditions of the ear, nose, and throat (ENT) and related structures of the head and neck.

Reference & further readings:

Shared by Hani Nordin
Guest Blogger

What is e-waste?

You probably think you are familiar with the concept of recycling, knowing what materials can be recycled and what not. But do you know the concept of electronics waste (e-waste)? 
First of all, what is e-waste? Department of Environment Malaysia (DOE) defines it as “a broken, non-working or old/obsolete electric electronic appliance”. It usually comes with the term “household e-waste” which means e-waste that comes from household, commercial and institutional. 

E-waste is becoming a trendy issue when the demands of electronic equipment growing exponentially across the digital age, followed by the high disposal rate of e-waste. While there are a lot of findings suggesting that improper e-waste disposal can harm the environment and the human, the big issue of e-waste management comes in.

Speaking of e-waste management, many Malaysians do not know that e-waste should be treated differently from other household waste and recycle items. According to a 100-respondents small-scale survey done by Malaysian Digest (2017), there are 90% of respondents do not recycle their electronics. Among the 90 people, 60% of them claim themselves unsure what to do with the old electronics or devices.

The issue brought to here is that how e-waste can be properly handled and why it should? The info-graphics below can help you to gain some information about e-waste. 

E-wastes management is one of the issues highlighted by Department of Environment Malaysia (DOE) since 2015. You can always go to the DOE Household E-waste official site: to search for more updates and information.

Additional readings: 

Shared by Sue
Guest Blogger


We all know seaweed grows underwater. However, there are a lot more to seaweed than just that. Learn more through the infographic below and expand your knowledge about seaweed.

Shared by Lisa
Guest Blogger

Monday 14 May 2018

Another SAHABAT: Banun - the Jahai's

The beautiful Lake Temenggor

Tasik Temenggor greeted us with a bluish tint when we headed for SK Banun, and the surrounding green lush forest gave us a safari like feeling. The challenge with the school kids according to the headmaster is their very low attendance,
and we were thinking -  can we make them stay over the weekend for the camp program? Read on.

Some go by boat or bamboo raft to their homes in the remote village and will stay for a week or two before returning back to school. Illiteracy is rampant among the students with only few that can read even though many can write alphabets. 

Hats off to the teachers who are willing to sacrifice their effort and comfort in staying at make do quarters that lack modern amenities. Our team put up anywhere ‘sleepable’.

Throughout the 4 days, 3 nights camp -- our hands-on activity proved popular!! So does the students stay? They did!! All 61 of them.
The teachers do take some of our hands-on activities for their use in teaching for their class. 

Our hope for this school kids is that -- If we improve their attendance to school is already an achievement. And if by any chance one or two student gets interested in science that is a miracle.

The closing ceremony was done by En Abdul Mutalib, Education Officer from JAKOA who was with us throughout the program.

Home to many wild animals, we did cross path with wild elephants crossing the road –a bit scary though exciting.

Mat Le

Mat Le is the person in charge of the camp, and if Mat Le can do it…. you can too!! Next year proposed venue is National Park Endau Rompin…. any takers?

Enjoy the photos, this is their home … ..and in a way,  their heaven on earth.

..the valley they lived…

..their playground...

..hands-on on a rainbow...

..launching their catapult...

Till then,

Shared by Fozi Wazir
Guest Blogger

Tuesday 8 May 2018

How Does Petrosains Empower Teachers To Create Creative & Fun School Curriculum?

Continuing from the project we began in 2016, Program Sentuhan Ilmu PETRONAS (PSIP) is now coming to the 3rd year of implementation. As part of its CSR engagement program under the Education Pillar, PETRONAS EdL has appointed Petrosains Sdn Bhd as the provider of PSIP since 2016 in the states of Kedah and Terengganu. In 2017, PETRONAS added in Melaka and Johor while maintaining the 2 initial states. The PSIP program is planned to benefit pupils and teachers from the selected ‘Sekolah Kurang Murid’ (SKM) schools.

As we hoped to impact the targeted students learning experience, we realized that it can be accomplished through providing (1) the students with inspiring activities and (2) the teachers with ideas for the multitude of teaching approaches that inspire. As for the teachers, give them freedom for creativity and make them inspired and they will thrive in helping the children learn at optimum capability. Although the initial focus of the program was to develop Science-Maths teachers to be STEM-inclined, we had to improvise along the way to include pedagogical development for other non-science/maths teachers. Our improvised modules also were later designed to cater broader classroom practice across many subjects.

Enjoy the selected photos of the event :

 We did a framing for the teacher participants before the activities to set for what is to follow and to expect in the one-and-the-half day workshop

 The teachers engaged in the hands-on learning on 'Respiration Organs & Habitats of Animals'

 Mr Fakhrin presented a science demonstration to the teachers on combustion; to convince audiences on the three elements required for combustion. Science demonstration is an art  to 21st-century teaching                     

Ms Linda presented classical mathematics demonstration entitled 'Mathematika'

For notes and photos on the event moments, please visit our Petrosains Educators Facebook page:

Shared by Imran Arif
Guest Blogger

Environmental Program by Petrosains Playsmart Johor Bahru

Among the best mountain hiking in Malaysia and the notable story of Puteri Gunung Ledang, our latest program on Environment Day was held at Taman Negara Gunung Ledang, Sagil, on 28th March 2018. Collaborations include Perbadanan Taman Negara Johor (PTNJ), Perbadanan Perpustakaan  Awam Johor (PPAJ), Jabatan Pendidikan Negeri Johor (JPNJ) and EM Malaysia Groups. The program received overwhelming participation from SMK Ledang, SMK Sri Tangkak, University Technology Mara Segamat (UITM) and special contributions by staff and volunteers that came all the way from Petrosains KL, through Petrosains Volunteer Community - Sharing from the Heart.

The program was kicked off with ice breaking, followed by an awesome science show performance related to the environment by Muhammad Al Awwab. Later on the warming up session, the main activities continued at 5 stations:

Kolam Mahligai   : River deepening,  by digging out dried leaves from the river  
Tree Station          : Trees planting and accumulating fallen branches 
Pondok Station    : Wash and scrub moss on the wood surface
Kolam Lagenda   : River deepening,  by digging out dried leaves from the river  
Chalet Station      : Accumulating dried leaves into the compose seed area 

The climax of the program was throwing mud balls into the river. 

What is a mud ball?

Mudball is an Effective Microorganisms created by Professor Dr Teruo Higa from Japan to activate local and native microorganisms that live in ground and water and maximizes their natural power.  In Malaysia, the EM Malaysia Groups are one of the pioneers in mud ball production and they sponsored 500 mud balls for this program. These mud balls purportedly contain properties that will purify water, better water quality and solve sanitation problems. In polluted rivers, accumulated sludge (rotten organic material) is in a state of oxygen deficiency, since there is a little oxygen dissolved in the water. Inside the sludge, harmful fermentation bacteria produce harmful gasses such as methane, ammonia and hydrogen sulfide by decomposing organic matter without oxygen. When mud balls are added to the water with that condition, they become embedded in the surface of the sludge and effective fermentation bacteria contained in mud balls start to decompose the sludge. 

We believe this program is a continuous effort to show our appreciation towards the environment.  


Shared by Zul Haniff
Guest Blogger