Science Briefs : Science sector celebrates SG50

Science sector celebrates SG50

For Singapore's 50th birthday this year, the science and technology sector here is celebrating with a year-long series of events.

From now until the end of the year, members of the public can visit science exhibitions held in malls and university campuses, and also get the chance to tour the labs at Fusionopolis and Biopolis - the science hubs of Singapore.

The lab tours will take place during the Science Jubilee@one-north next Friday.

During the event, visitors can also go for science talks, such as one by a senior artist from Lucasfilm Singapore, the firm which created visual effects for the Transformers series; and enjoy performances by a band that makes music with high-tech equipment, including a laser harp.

There will also be events tailored for the scientific community.

These range from conferences to competitions and forums to connect entrepreneurs, industry professionals, researchers, scholars and students.

Science@50 is organised by the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star), the National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Management University and the Singapore University of Technology and Design.

Book on sudden cardiac death

A book on sudden cardiac death, written by a cardiologist from Gleneagles Hospital, was launched on Wednesday at the Singapore Heart Foundation's Heart Wellness Centre.

Titled Understanding And Preventing Sudden Death: Your Life Matters, the book is a consolidation of existing knowledge about the condition and the best ways to prevent it.

Sudden cardiac death is an uncommon condition in which the victim's heart function ceases abruptly, killing the person.

It was written by Dr Mak Koon-Hou, a heart doctor with a clinical interest in interventional cardiology. He also served as director of the Singapore Heart Foundation for over 10 years.

There are various causes for sudden cardiac death, including genetics and chronic heart conditions. The book uses historical accounts, anecdotes and illustrations to help readers learn more about it.

Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong wrote in the book's preface: "We can start by developing greater awareness of this health issue and by educating ourselves... I congratulate Dr Mak for his contribution to the community on this important subject, and recommend the book for its easy read and practical usefulness."

The book is available at all major bookstores for $55 (hardcover) and $28 (paperback).

Concrete link to urban heat

The urban heat-island effect has long been observed to raise the temperature of big cities by 1-3 deg C, because of the presence of impervious surfaces such as asphalt, concrete and buildings that disrupt the natural cooling effect provided by vegetation.

The United States' National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) has found in a new study that the presence of greenery is an essential factor in limiting urban heating.

It is the first study to make an assessment of urbanisation impacts for the entire continental United States, Nasa said in a statement on Wednesday.

The biggest effect of such impervious surfaces is causing a difference in surface temperature between an urban area and surrounding vegetation.

The researchers, using multiple satellites' observations of urban areas and their surroundings combined into a model, found that, on average, areas covered in part by impervious surfaces had a summer temperature 1.9 deg C higher than surrounding rural areas. In winter, the temperature difference was 1.5 deg C higher in urban areas.

The study was published this month in science journal Environmental Research Letters.

Compiled by Audrey Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 28, 2015, with the headline 'ScienceBriefs'. Print Edition | Subscribe