Lab E-News

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

All Schools

  • Seniors Rajan Aggarwal and Justin Whitehouse named Siemens semifinalists

    Rajan Aggarwal and Justin Whitehouse have both been named semifinalists in this year’s Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology, the nation’s premier science research competition for high school students. Both students participated last summer in Lab’s Science Summer Link Program.

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    Rajan Aggarwal and Justin Whitehouse have both been named semifinalists in this year’s Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology, the nation’s premier science research competition for high school students. Both students participated last summer in Lab’s Science Summer Link Program.

    Previous Labbies recognized by the Siemens competition include:

    • Marissa Suchyta, ’10 national level winner awarded a $40,000 scholarship in 2009
    • Amartya Das, ’13 semifinalist in 2012
    • Danny Zhang, ’13 semifinalist in 2012
    • Alexandra Radway, ’14 semifinalist in 2013

    Established in 1999, the competition seeks to promote excellence by encouraging students to undertake individual or team research projects. It fosters intensive research that improves students' understanding of the value of scientific study and informs their consideration of future careers in these disciplines. Each year, Siemens receives more than 1,500 entries and 300 are chosen as semifinalists or regional finalists. More about this year’s semifinalists:

    Rajan Aggarwal

    • Mentor: Cheng Chin, UChicago professor in physics, the Enrico Fermi Institute and the James Franck Institute
    • Topic: “High-Accuracy, Low-Cost Alternative Approach to Time-of-Flight Laser Ranging”
    • About the project: While the ubiquity of laser rangefinders is without question, one of its most traditional approaches, the pulsed time-of-flight (TOF) method, is not. The TOF method of determining distance is perhaps the most common technique of determining distance with a laser, but its requirement of a highly specialized pulse-generator (or mode-locked/Q-switched laser) has limited its scope, practicality and range. An alternative approach is presented, one which does not utilize any of the things mentioned above, maintains a very high level of accuracy and precision and has a much lower cost. Production of one such model was prepared, and its calibration tested. With further research and testing, this method could become even more precise than a traditional pulsed TOF rangefinder (sub-µm discrimination) and provide a new outlook into the possibilities of laser range-finding.

    Justin Whitehouse

    • Mentor: Laurens Mets, UChicago associate professor, Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology, Committee on Genetics
    • Topic: “Discovery of Activity of the Undocumented Phosphomevalonate Decarboxylase in Methanothermobacter thermautotrophicus: A Possible Renewable Source of Isobutene Production”
    • About the project: The mevalonate pathway, in all eukaryotes, proves the central biochemical pathway toward the production of precursor chemicals to all isoprenoid compounds. While archaea share this mevalonate pathway, they lack genes for the production of two central enzymes found in eukaryotes. It was predicted that archaea instead have two analogous enzymes, isopentenylphosphate kinase and phosphomevalonate decarboxylase. This paper documents the finding of the phosphomevalonate decarboxylase in Methanothermobacter thermautotrophicus. To determine activity, assays were run using an input substrate of 3-hydroxy-3-methylbutyric acid, which reacts with the diphosphomevalonate decarboxylase enzyme found in eukaryotes to form isobutene. Subsequent assays were carried out to determine the ATP dependence of the enzyme and its ability to function aerobically. The phosphomevalonate decarboxylase, besides successfully producing isobutene form the input substrate, seems to function in aerobic conditions, and lack requirements for exogenous ATP to produce isobutene. Because of these characteristics, and the fact that isobutene can dimerize into isooctane, the discovered enzyme may have implications as a fuel source. It is clear that the phosphomevalonate decarboxylase exists, and it may very well provide a biological and renewable way to produce isobutene.
  • Update on Historic Campus renovations

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    Most importantly, thank the you for your patience and cooperation as a major portion of the Historic Campus renovation has come to a completion. Here is a brief summary of what is new and some of the major activities that will unfold over the next year:

    • Blaine and Middle School renovations are substantially complete, classes are moved in, the Lower School library is open and beautiful, children are playing in the landscaped Blaine courtyard, and teaching and learning are going on just as they should.
    • The 59th Street carline process is back to normal and the Judd visitor parking is fully re-opened. The visitor spaces are along the east side of Kimbark, south of the Judd entrance and will soon be marked by a freshly-painted orange curb. Visitors must sign in and obtain a parking permit at the Judd security desk.
    • Construction of the Gordon Parks Arts Hall is on track, and there is every expectation that it will be open as planned for the 2015–2016 school year.
    • The next series of renovations will begin after school lets out in June 2015. These include the renovations of Judd Hall (which be will be made fully available for Lab use), the Belfield towers, and Café Lab.
  • Solar eclipse viewing, today, October 23, 4:30, Midway in front of Blaine entrance

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    Families are invited to join U-High math teacher and NASA Solar System Ambassador Volunteer Paul Gunty to view the partial solar eclipse today, on the Midway outside of Blaine Hall, beginning around 4:30 p.m. He will have solar viewing glasses and a sunspotter for viewing. The eclipse will be visible, weather-permitting, until almost sunset, around 5:45 p.m.

  • Bizaarnival, Lab’s annual Halloween celebration, October 25, noon–4 p.m., Sunny Gym; Volunteers needed

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    This year, Bizaarnival will celebrate the "Day of the Dead." Heroes, fairies, and wizards of all ages and sizes are welcome. We’re still looking for volunteers, so please sign up!

  • Professional Development Day—No classes, November 7

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    There will be no classes for students on Friday, November 7, as faculty members spend the day in professional development.

  • Halloween safety tips from UCPD

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    The University of Chicago Police Department would like to remind parents (and children) that being safe is a team effort. Below are a few recommended safety tips:

    • Parents should examine candy carefully before children are allowed to eat it.
    • Children under the age of 12 should not be alone at night without adult supervision.
    • Put electronic devices down, keep heads up, and walk, do not run.
    • Use glow sticks or flashlights to be seen by drivers.
    • Wear light colors and use face paint or makeup instead of masks, which can obstruct vision.
  • Tickets available: Salon Lab cocktail event: Midterm Elections, October 28

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    Tickets are still available for this “Salon Lab” evening of insightful and timely discussion with UChicago professors (and Lab parents) Cathy J. Cohen, Mark Hansen, and William Howell. How will the 2014 midterm elections reflect the electorate’s widespread dissatisfaction with Congress? Which issues will have the most effect on voters?

    Contact Andrew Waldner at 773-702-0578 or for more information.

    • Hosts: Lab parents Lisa Walker, MBA’91 and William Rudnick, MBA’97
    • Location: DLA Piper, 203 North LaSalle Drive
    • When: Tuesday, October 28, 2014 @ 6 p.m.
    • Tickets: $100
  • Tickets available: Salon Lab cocktail event: Inside the Court Theatre: An Evening with Artistic Director Charles Newell, November 18

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    Tickets are still available for this “Salon Lab” evening: a unique opportunity to hear from, and have a conversation with, Lab parent and award-winning Court Theatre Artistic Director Charles Newell. Get an inside view of the choices he and the Court Theatre team make along their way to their renowned productions.

    Contact Andrew Waldner at 773-702-0578 or for more information.

    • Hosts: Lab parents Swati Mehta and Bobby Mehta, MBA’81
    • Location: Court Theatre, 5535 South Ellis Avenue
    • When: Tuesday, November 18, 2014 @ 6 p.m. Tickets: $100
  • Connections 2015 kickoff meeting: Monday, October 27, 8:30 a.m.

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    Connections is Lab’s annual fundraising gala. Organized by the Office of Alumni Relations and Development and a group of Lab parent and alumni volunteers, all proceeds from Connections 2015 will benefit student financial aid. Please RSVP to Elizabeth Pesce, 773-702-0578, in the Office of Alumni Relations and Development if you would like to attend the meeting or if you are interested in getting involved.

  • U-High Theatre presents That’s Absurd, An Evening of Positively Ridiculous Relationships, October 30–November 1

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    That’s Absurd is a collection of several one-act plays as well as scenes from longer plays. All work is from the Theatre of the Absurd period of modern drama and each segment will explore different levels of personal relationships.

    All performances are in the High School Theatre, Judd 126, at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 30, Friday, October 31, and Saturday, November 1. Tickets are $10 and are on sale in the High School lobby.

High School

  • Jennifer Xue, ’14, published by Concord Review

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    Congratulations to Jennifer Xue, Class of 2014, for having her research paper on Eli Whitney, the inventor of the cotton gin, published in The Concord Review. The Concord Review recognizes and publishes exemplary history essays by high school students in the English-speaking world. It remains the only quarterly journal in the world to publish the academic work of secondary students.

  • High School testing calendar for final two weeks of fall quarter

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    This calendar was created to ensure that students do not have more than three major exams, assessments, or papers in one day during the last two weeks of the quarter.

  • Academic support services: Math tutor and Writers’ Center hours

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    High School students in need of additional support with math or writing in any subject area are able to access that assistance through Lab’s math tutor or Writer’s Center. The math tutor’s availability is posted outside Rowley Library. No appointment is needed. Writers’ Center information can be found here.

  • Beijing Exchange 2014–2015

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    Planning for the second year of our exchange with Beijing No. 4 High School is underway. There are two parts to the exchange: the student trip to China and hosting our student guests from Beijing No. 4 High School.

    • The trip: The trip will run for three weeks this summer (mid-June to early July). If you are in the Chinese Program, you are eligible to go. Last year the cost was $3,000. Students will enjoy numerous historical and cultural excursions, as well as spend time at Beijing No. 4. While staying in Beijing, Lab students will be hosted by families of the high school students.
    • Hosting: Twelve students from Beijing No.4 High School will visit Lab from January 17 to February 8. We are seeking host families to host them. Hosting families typically have a child in the Chinese program who is planning to travel to China with the exchange, but that is not a prerequisite.

    If you would like more information about either portion of the program, traveling or hosting (or both!), please contact Jin Yin: jyin@ucls.uchicago.edu

  • Fall quarter midterm comments available in PowerSchool, October 21

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    If you have misplaced your login or password or would like to receive the midterms in the mail, please contact the High School Office, Ms. Arrington or Ms. Robison, 773-702-9446. An email will be sent notifying you when the comments are available.

  • Parent/teacher conferences, November 6: Sign-up begins October 20

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    Parent/teacher conferences will be on Thursday, November 6, 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. and 3–7 p.m Parents should call the High School office (773-702-9446) to schedule a time to meet with teachers. There will be no classes on November 7 for High School students.

Middle School

  • Parent conferences, no classes: Grades 6–7, Friday, October 24

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    There are no grades 6–7 classes. Grade 8 has an all-grade science field trip.

  • Eighth grade science field trip: Friday, October 24

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    Eighth grade students will have an all-grade science field trip to the state park in La Grange, Illinois. Students should report to their regular 8 a.m. advisories where they will be dismissed. Students should wear comfortable, weather-appropriate clothing and shoes and bring a sack lunch.

  • Picture retake day: Wednesday, October 29

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    A portion of the proceeds from Picture Day orders benefits the Parents’ Association. Contact Ann Grissom or Alejandra Linquist with questions or to volunteer.

  • Eighth grade fall interim grades available in PowerSchool, November 5

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    An email will be sent notifying parents when grades are available.

  • Eighth grade parent conferences, no classes: November 6

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    Grade 8 parent conferences are held during the day. Grades 6–7 will follow the regular class schedule.

  • Giant Gym Night, November 14, 7–9 p.m.

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    Your child will not want to miss Giant Gym Night, a PE teacher-supervised evening of games and activities in all of Lab's gyms—even the swimming pool will be open for part of the evening. This is a great opportunity for kids to have a safe night out with friends and enjoy plenty of activity choices. Volunteers are welcome and encouraged for this PA-sponsored event—we're hoping for six volunteers, so please sign up! Unfortunately, siblings cannot be accommodated.

Lower School

  • Parent/teacher conferences, grades 3–5, October 24; No school or Extended Day

  • Library schedule on parent/teacher conference day

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    Blaine Library will be closed to students on October 24. Librarians will be available for any parent who wishes to meet with them, but students will not be able to use the library on October 24.

  • Picture Retake Day, Wednesday, October 29

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    If your child missed Picture Day, don’t worry--they can have a picture taken on Retake Day, Wednesday, October 29. A portion of the proceeds from Picture Day orders benefits the Parents’ Association. Schedule a reshoot and indicate the reason so that Picture Day can provide you with the best photograph of your child the second time around. Pre-registration is recommended but not mandatory. Contact Ann Grissom or Alejandra Linquist with questions or to volunteer.

  • “Halloween Haunted Drop-Off,” Friday, October 31, 7:45–8:30 a.m., Blaine Lobby

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    Parents are invited to continue our Halloween tradition this year by starting off the day in the Haunted Lobby. Stop by the Blaine Lobby at drop-off and enjoy coffee and Halloween treats, and take photos of your child in costume. After the kids go off to their Halloween adventures, stay behind for a spooky social with fellow parents. If you have questions or would like to help decorate the lobby, photograph kids, or donate treats, contact Claudia Roeder-Leuz.

  • Lab Talks: Life with Lower School students: Balancing the Schedule, November 4, 8:30–9:30 a.m. and 6–7 p.m., Blaine S221

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    Join Lower School counselors Cathy Gruber, LCPC, and Melissa Steger, LCSW, in the first of a series of discussions that will use current pop culture articles, Ted Talks, and other media to engage in a thoughtful discourse with other parents. Questions and to RSVP, email Ms. Steger or Ms. Gruber.

  • Bookswap is coming November 10: How to donate books

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    Clean off your shelves, we need your books! Children are invited to bring in their gently used books to Lab's annual Bookswap.

    • Lower School students can bring books to their classrooms November 10–12.
    • N–5 grade classrooms will go to Bookswap November 17–20 at Blaine.

    For every book brought in, your child will receive a ticket that can be exchanged for a book donated by a classmate. Children may also deposit tickets in the raffle for several brand-new books. Leftover books are donated to a local organization in need.

N/K & Primary Schools

  • Parent/teacher conferences, grades N–2: Friday, October 24. No school or Extended Day

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    Parent/teacher conferences for NK and PS will be will be Friday, October 24. There is no school for grades N-2. There are no Extended Day programs for N–2 on October 24. Parent/teacher conferences for NK and PS will be will be Friday, October 24. There is no school for grades N-2. There are no Extended Day programs for N–2 on October 24.

  • Picture Retake Day for grades N–2, Thursday, October 30

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    Picture Retake Day for Earl Shapiro Hall is Thursday, October 30. Schedule a reshoot and indicate the reason so that Picture Day can provide you with the best photograph of your child the second time around. Pre-registration is recommended but not mandatory.

  • Halloween Parade, Friday, October 31, 9:30 a.m.

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    Our annual Halloween Parade will take place on Thursday, October 31 at 9:30 a.m. Students and teachers will parade through Earl Shapiro Hall gathering in the Gym (K–2) and in the main lobby (N3–N4) for music programs of our favorite Halloween songs. Parents are invited to watch in the first and second floor little lobbies. A map of the parade route will be sent home prior to the parade.

  • Bookswap is coming in November. How to donate books

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    Please take a look at your bookshelves, we need your books next month! For every book brought in, your child will receive a ticket that can be exchanged for a book donated by a classmate. Children may also deposit tickets in the raffle for several brand-new books. Leftover books are donated to a local organization in need.

    • Students can bring books to the classroom November 10–12.
    • N–5 classrooms will go to Bookswap November 17–20 at Blaine.
  • Help the ESH Nurses collect extra clothes

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    The ESH nurse’s office is in need of extra clothes for boys and girls, ages 3–9 years old. In particular, they are in need of: socks, pants/leggings, underwear, long sleeve shirts, and even shoes. And it’s never too early to start collecting mittens as well. Used or new, as long as it's clean. Contact Maggie Williamson with questions.

Archives

Issue: Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

Upcoming Events

Tue. 10/21

Sign-up for Parent/Teacher Conferences

High School Office 8:00am - 4:00pm Thru 11/4/2014
Thu. 10/23

Solar eclipse viewing

Midway 12:00pm
Fri. 10/24

NK Parent Teacher Conferences - NO SCHOOL

Earl Shapiro Hall

8th Grade Science Trip

State Park, La Grange IL 8:00am - 2:35pm

LS Parent/Teacher Conferences - NO SCHOOL

Blaine classrooms 8:00am - 3:00pm

6th & 7th Grade Conferences - No 6th and 7th Grade Classes

8:00am - 3:00pm
Sat. 10/25

Bizaarnival

Sunny Gym (Historic Campus) 12:00pm - 4:00pm
Mon. 10/27

Connections 2015 kickoff meeting

8:30am
Wed. 10/29

LS Picture Retake Day

Blaine Hall

MS Picture Retakes

TBA
Thu. 10/30

Picture Retake Day for ESH

Earl Shapiro Hall

HS Fall Theatre Production

7:30pm - 9:30pm Thru 11/1/2014
Fri. 10/31

Halloween Haunted Dropoff

Blaine Lobby 7:45am - 8:30am
Tue. 11/04

Lab Talks: Life with Lower School students: Balancing the Schedule

Blaine S221 8:30am - 9:30am

Lab Talks: Life with Lower School students: Balancing the Schedule

Blaine S221 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Wed. 11/05

8th Grade Fall Interim Reports Available

Thu. 11/06

8th Grade Conferences: 6th and 7th Grade Classes

Fri. 11/07

Faculty Professional Development Day--No School

Mon. 11/10

Bookswap collections

Blaine classrooms Thru 11/12/2014
Fri. 11/14

Giant Gym Night

7:00pm - 9:00pm