作者：Kaden Chuang 莊廷耀
Chemistry, in many ways, has been a building block of humanity just as how atoms are building blocks of matter. Given how the development of modern technology is inextricably linked to our fundamental understanding of chemistry, it is no surprise that many students like me have a passion towards the subject and are willing to spend time outside of school to have a greater understanding of it. As such, the Madame Curie Chemistry Camp proved to be a meaningful experience for us students in more ways than one.
As a junior who will graduate from college in a matter of years, I have a budding interest in many different subjects in school but have a hard time in choosing one to major in due to my lack of knowledge regarding the professional work behind such subjects. In this respect, the camp helped me by widening my view towards chemistry and its various applications, providing me with practical insight towards choosing this field as a profession. The guest speakers, for example, were invaluable in educating me about the potential of chemistry in the modern world. From presentations on iron manufacturing to the talk about the role of AMOLED and plastics in the technology of the future, I was able to witness just how much chemistry has affected and will affect our lives. My sense of understanding towards this field was further widened with our trips to the Industrial Technology Research Institute(ITRI) and National Tsing Hua University. The exhibition building in ITRI showcased the organization’s most recent products, displaying a variety of up-and-coming innovations that are each notable in their own right. What was displayed in the institute showed me the potency of chemistry in a way our chemistry teachers were never able to do, making me appreciate chemistry more than I used to. On the other hand,I witnessed how university students studied chemistry during my visit to NTHU, observing their laboratories as well as performing an experiment myself. Since I will potentially study chemistry when attending university, this experience helped in preparing me for what might come in when I graduate. Overall, I left the camp with both an increased understanding and curiosity towards the subject.
Seeing as the camp was attended by elite students across Taiwan, I expected it to be a grim and serious experience but was instead surprised by how fun it turned out to be. This was especially true when I first heard about the quiz that had to be taken by all students. Knowing the importance of assessment scores both in my school and in a traditional Taiwanese school, I feared that failing the quiz would lead others to assume that I have poor chemistry skills and in turn indicate that I do not belong with the other students in this gathering. Contrary to my fears, the quiz turned out to be a cooperative activity that was mainly done out of fun. Rather than recalling chemistry facts off my head, I found myself interacting with the other students and slowly learning more about them as people. Ultimately, my thoughts towards the quiz reflect my overall attitude towards the camp itself. Just like the quiz, I had initial apprehensions in attending the event but left pleasantly surprised by the end. Throughout the week, I was repeatedly caught off guard by how each activity was not only educational but also enjoyable. In fact, the activity I dreaded the most- the group presentation- ended becoming the highlight of my time in this camp. It was during the coordination and preparation of the presentation that I could learn more about them and eventually regard them as friends. Therefore, I left satisfied, not only because of my newfound knowledge but also because of the memorable events that occurred during my time there.