Physics Behind Superheroes

In physics class, we got to choose a superhero and do research about them, specifically the physics/biology behind their super powers. I chose Violet Parr from the Incredible and below is my paper:

Violet Parr, also known as Vi to her family and friends or the oldest and only daughter of Bob and Helen Parr (Mr. and Mrs. Incredibles) from the Incredibles. She was depicted as the gloomy and shy teenager that would always hide with her long black hair and her invisibility.

To be able to be invisible, light needs to bend around the object so that it doesn’t emit shadows and it has to be able to not create any reflection. In order to do bend light, Violet’s body needs to have a negative refractive index. Refractive index is how refractive a wave is; refraction is when waves (light or sound..) go from one medium to another which makes it change both in speed and direction. Glass, for example, is a very low refractive substance because everything we see through it, is the same. So, when an object is has a negative refraction index, it refracts the light so much that it changes its directions and angles in many places to go around the object making it the object invisible because light doesn’t hit it. In the movie, violet gets to go invisible whenever she wants, like, when she didn’t want her crush to see her looking but we are still clueless on how does she control the power.

Another thing Violet is able to do is creating force field, an invisible protection bubble usually seen in science fictional movies. There are four foundational forces or interactions: gravitational force, electromagnetic force, the weak interaction, and the strong interaction. The only force that will be closest to being able to create force fields is electromagnetic. Although electromagnetic force absorb things, but matters like rubber can’t be absorbed by this force. Super strong electromagnetic force or bond could create plasma, the “fourth matter”. Plasma is gas heated in extreme temperature; this is very rare on earth (ex. Lightning strikes), but it can be found the galaxy, like, stars and the sun. Then, really strong plasma bond (connected to each other) could potentially make a forcefield. In order to do this, I think, Violet’s body needs a lot of energy, so much that it’s not possible for typical human beings because it might burn us, to create plasma.

In conclusion, these powers are possible but not exact in our real world. For example, the idea of creating force fields only has plasma that being the closest thing to it. If it was written, obviously it would be easier because our minds can imagine things that are not possible in the real world. Though the movies might adjust to what looks good and more logical.


HIV/AIDS Workshop

Today I had the honors to participate in the HIV(Human Immunodeficiency Virus)/AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) workshop led by a group of Liger students that has been studying about the topic as an exploration for seven weeks. At the beginning there was a session introducing us to the workshop and the differences about HIV and AIDS, where HIV is the virus and AIDS is the syndrome. They were explaining how our T-helper cells help combat the virus. We were also given a red ribbon that represents the solidarity of people who are HIV/AIDS positive. After that we were divided into four different groups going around to four different sessions. The sessions were General HIV information, Transmission/Prevention, Treatment, and Stigmas/Discrimination.

There were activities/simulations about the session’s topic, for example, we took “pills” that were candies that were grouped into protocols since there are difference pills and amount between all the three lines of HIV treatment. The simulation was for us to understand the struggle of keeping up with the time of taking the pills and how hard it must be for people who are HIV positive. They might get questioned as to why are they taking so many pills or what are they for or they are busy with work that they can’t take the pills on instructed times. They’re scared of telling people about their condition due to the stereotypes of HIV positive people. It is contagious but only through unprotected sexual intercourse, but isn’t transmitted through skin contact, sharing food, or even kissing.

After this four-hour workshop, talking about specific matters relevant to HIV/AIDS, I am informed and understood that HIV/AIDS is not a repercussion of bad doings and that HIV positive people are not disgusting, it just means that they have a higher chance of getting other diseases like tuberculosis and cancer.. Together we combat discrimination against people living with HIV.

Mission statement:Cambodian youth combating HIV/AIDS discrimination through normalizing conversations, dispelling common myths, and raising awareness about HIV/AIDS transmission, prevention, and treatment.

Women in STEM

Looking at gender issues from a science point of view, specifically physics, there are not many women involved the STEM field. Physics require maths, so I think that not many females are involved due to the fact that they are taught that “girls are not good at math” or might feel that they would bring all girls down if they even tried to do math. When a girl fail to do math, people criticize the whole female sex. On the other when a guy fail to do math, people only criticize HIM, saying HE’s dumb. 

In our physics class this week, we focused on women in STEM; our assignment was to write a biography about a female scientist. Attached below is my writing of Mae C. Jemison. 

Gender Summit

I was one of the organizers/session leaders of the CHANGE Gender Summit, where CHANGE stands for Creating Humanitarian Awareness for the Necessity of Gender Equity, which was held at the Liger Leadership Academy campus on the 26th (English) and 27th (Khmer) of January. The summit was created within an exploration group called Gender Equity where a group of 12 students with two facilitators discussed and created a blog about gender related issues such as violence, stereotypes, women and men involvement in the issues.

The summit consists of four different sections under the theme of “Empower Change while Preserving Culture”; the topics were chosen based of off what we discussed and learned about in class which are language usage, economic, culture and power. These four sessions were led by eight students, two in each, where guided different activities and discussions related to the topics. There were two who was making sure the event run smoothly and was responsible for contacting schools and the other two were pulling out participants (high school students) from each session to ask about their opinion with questions such as:

  1. Being a woman, what are the pressure that is being put on you?
  2. Have you ever discuss these gender issues with your parents?
    1. If not, are you willing too?
    2. If yes, how did they react?

Another student and I led the Language Usage session; we led discussions and activities about stereotypes, the LGBTQ+ community, the connotations and denotations of words such as girls and gay. To me, language is very important when it comes to describing something or rather someone. Different words are used to put labels on people and to differentiate all genders (LGBTQ+) but when they’re absent, one’s identity might be ignored as well. In Khmer culture, there are one word to describe LGBTQ+ people, ខ្ទើយ (khteuy),which is very disappointing and sad because those people couldn’t find a way to express their identity besides, their sexualities are not the same; we can’t use just one word to describe them all. During the sessions, both in Khmer and English, there were moments where I was really impressed with the participants understanding of gender equity and that it’s not a women’s issues, it’s an issue for everyone. Not only females are struggling to fight for their rights to enter any jobs they’re passionate about that are seen to be “males’ jobs” (science, technology..) but males also face those problems due to the fact that they’re restricted by society, which is us, to pursue careers that are seen as “females’ jobs” (ballet dancer, beauty artist…).

In conclusion, at the end of the summit, I realized how different people have different opinions about gender equity because in my mind, the idea that people have the same opinion as me that everyone should fight for equity and that it is an everyone’s issue. This realization was really important to me because living at Liger limits me from outside world, although it’s an amazing place, I don’t get to see how scary it is out there, and that one day when I graduate from here to walk my own paths I’d probably have to face and approach those who have different opinions from me regarding gender equity.

“The problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.”– Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie → link to CHANGE blog



Geographical Information System

Geographical Information System, also known as GIS, is a system used for capturing, store, analyzing and interpreting spatial data. Apps such as, Google Maps, Google Earth, Google Street and GPS (Global Positioning System) is a type of GIS. In past five weeks, every Friday afternoon, a couple of other Liger students and I have been going to a GIS training course at Open Development Cambodia, a non-governmental organization in Phnom Penh that runs a “Open Data” website. Throughout the course I learned about different types of files (.sph, .dbf,..) and how to use ArcMap to create maps.

Below are some of the products:

A map of my province
A map of Cambodia (2014)

Trip to RDI

This isn’t my first time going to RDI (Resource Development International). The first few times we went there was to learn generally what they were doing, which were making ceramic water filters, water quality testing and hydroponics though this time me and the other 12 students went to specifically learn more about hydroponics.

Snoul Trip

During the To Spray or Not To Spray exploration, our team of 12 students and two facilitators went on field trip in Snoul, Kratie from September 2nd to 4th. Throughout the trip we got to visit organic farms, learned how to make organic pesticides, visited a rubber plantation and factory , planted and harvested carrots. We also went to CEDAC or Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture to learn about how they help, teach and encourage farmers for their farm to become organic, create their own groups for financial support and more.

Learning how to make organic pesticides from yeast, water and mirco-organisms

Harvesting carrots at an organic farm

Research Paper and Book Structure

In khmer class we observe how different books have different components to them, for example, some books (Khmer) doesn’t have a synopsis or acknowledgement. We also learned about writing a research paper and sources we can use.


We are currently learning about static equilibrium, friction and inclined planes. During the learning of concepts, I know new words like unbalanced force, static friction, kinetic friction, f_max and static equilibrium. We also used Khan Academy to practice those skills in general or when preparing for a quiz/test in addition to review questions given by our facilitator.

This is one of the questions we did:

Inclined planes: **Hard problem** A box of mass M = 10 Kg rests on a 35° inclined plane with the horizontal. A string is used to keep the box in equilibrium(this means all the forces are balanced). The string makes an angle of 25 ° with the inclined plane. The coefficient of friction between the box and the inclined plane is 0.3.

Draw the forces acting on the box, including all components.
Determine the tension force applied to the string. (You may find that you have two equations with two unknowns…think about what you usually have to do in this kind of situation.)
We are currently learning about static equilibrium, friction and inclined planes. During the learning of concepts, I know new words like unbalanced force, static friction, kinetic friction, f_max and static equilibrium. We also used Khan Academy to practice those skills in general or when preparing for a quiz/test in addition to review questions given by our facilitator.

First PSAT

Since the start of the school year I’ve been working on the SAT prep using Khan Academy for both math and literacy. For my first PSAT, I felt very nervous although I know that this is just to measure my progress and what I need to focus on. For the math section, I found most of the questions hard since I’ve never learned them before and got them wrong, but in result I have more to practice and learn to prepare for my next PSAT.