By the time kids graduate from high school in the U.S., only 37% are proficient in basic math skills.

Quick caveat here: this statistic is based off of NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) scores which, like all standardized tests, is not a particularly accurate measure of a person’s “intelligence” and has faced its fair share of criticisms. However, it is the only independent measurement that compares an even cross section of America and does deserve a reasonable degree of merit. …


Perspective shifting is a skill we all have to develop because as a child, we are mentally incapable of differentiating between private knowledge (what we know) and public knowledge (what others know).

In an experiment demonstrating this, a young child is placed in a room and shown the hiding place of a toy. Another researcher goes in and pretends to look for the toy. Until a certain age, the child will be confused that the researcher is looking in the wrong places. After all, if I know where the toy is, why wouldn’t you?

Stepping into someone else’s shoes is…


One of the most impressive parts of Frozen was the realistic portrayal of snow.

Watch the video to see the different snow simulations :)

If you think about it, that’s actually something really hard to produce accurately. We’ve all had experience with snow so when we see graphics that have low resolution or behave slightly off, it jumps out at us. And while you know what would happen if you threw a snowball against the wall or picked up a pile and let it fall through your fingers, accurately describing it would be really hard.

Snow is one of those…


The Finite Element Method is a commonly used tool in engineering used to understand natural processes. It’s kind of like if you had to count a pile of marbles. You wouldn’t be able to just stare at the pile and figure out how many marbles there were. You’d probably group the marbles into 5’s or 10’s and then count the larger groups.

In FEM:

  • You take a surface and cut it up into small groups called elements.
  • Then you find a simpler representation of the element (instead of 1+1+1+1+1, you’d say a group of 5).
  • And finally, combine all of…


How many “sections” are there in the following image?

I’m guessing you probably said 3 — orange, walkway, blue.

Now try to describe the middle section.

There is a walkway with two people, a man and a woman, and they are holding an umbrella. The leaves above are brownish.

That just divided that one section into 5 more sections. And obviously, you could keep going.

The point here is that you’re able to subdivide a large image into sections that share some similarity. …


Most medical devices are made of metals, plastics, and other synthetic elements.

What’s the issue with that?

Well, your body is made of organic biomaterials.

So that means that inorganic medical devices automatically will be incompatible with your biological systems. What if we could do medicine using biomaterials?

We’ve survived this long using inorganic materials you might say. And yes, that’s true, but there are a lot of other benefits to using organic materials.

  1. Compatibility — The more similar the two things you put together, the more likely they are to integrate.
  2. Flexibility — Your body and biological processes are…

Proteins cary out all of the physiological processes in the human body yet we only know the structure of 20% of them. That means we have a very minimal understanding of the biological complexities that make life possible.

Further, if something goes wrong and a person gets a chronic disease, often we are unable to provide a cure simply because we do not know the detailed mechanisms causing it. And if you have protein cascades in which multiple different proteins interact and trigger each other like in Alzheimer’s, the problem becomes exponentially harder.

We literally do not understand at a…


At Macula X, we love working on the hardest problems, diving deep into the research, brainstorming solutions, and making our vision a reality. That’s what we’re doing in the field of protein structure determination.

There are over 20,000 proteins in the human proteome, proteins that carry out all of our cellular processes from metabolism to growth to the manipulation of genetic material. So understanding exactly what these proteins are and how they carry out these functions is crucial to understanding the human body and physiological processes.

Further, understanding what can go wrong and how we can fix it will enable…


I recently got the chance to attend World Summit AI Americas … which means that as a mere high schooler, I was able to spend two days sitting in the basement listening to some of the leading experts on AI talk about their work and got the chance to talk to a few of them!!

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the conference was moved to a virtual format and I want to take a moment to thank the InspiredMinds team who made that possible. In fact, the experience was almost richer because it was online. …


This is a continuation of Computational Materials Science Part 2 — Multipoint Statistics, so I would highly recommend reading that first. That covered computing and visualized multipoint statistics which told us how parts of a structure were related.

Now comes the really important part, how we can actually use all of this to determine facts about the material.

Principal Component Analysis

A major challenge in computational materials science is the sheer amount of data, most of which is essentially useless in a given scenario. Think of how many different parameters you could use to painstakingly detail a material’s descriptors. …

Kiran Mak

At 17 years old, I love learning and am interested in materials science, education, and environmental sustainability.

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