Author: Milton Magazine

Successful Year for Robotics Team

The robotics team started off the spring season with three robots qualifying for the U.S. Open Robotics Championship. Unfortunately, that tournament and two other spring championship tournaments were canceled because of COVID-19. But under the leadership of team captains Diego Domenig ’20, Avery Miller ’20, and Tony Tao ’20, the team had a solid year and was unwavering in the commitment and work it put into the robots. Ryan Shue ‘23, who drives one of the robots, says, “It’s great to work with people who have the same interests as you. And it’s a fun way to apply that interest in and knowledge of engineering.” The team participates in VEX Robotics, an after-school program that challenges students to design and build robots that compete against others to complete certain tasks in a small arena. Team members meet in the basement of the Art and Media Center. “They’re here all the time, until 6 p.m. on weekdays and later on Fridays,” says Chris Hales, chair of the Computer Science Department. “They are so dedicated. They put in the time so they can improve and succeed.” One of Shue’s and Tao’s favorite competitions this year was the Night at the Museum, held at the National Air and Space Museum in Virginia. Sixty of the best high school teams from around the world competed in a room holding the space shuttle...

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Students’ Honors Biology Project Becomes Published Research

Emma Bradley ’20 and Kiran Biddinger ’20 wanted to perform a “complicated” lab experiment for the Honors Biology class they took as juniors. One year later, their findings were published in the Journal of Emerging Investigators, a monthly publication that features the work of middle school, high school, and college students. “It was really difficult to figure out what we were going to do,” Bradley says. “We were in the lab all the time, for weeks straight.” Their report, “Temperatures of 20°C produce increased net primary production in Chlorella sp.,” was accepted by the journal in October 2019. The work must be sponsored by a faculty member—the duo’s sponsor was Science Department Chair Julie Seplaki—and undergo an extensive editing process before it can be published. The pair join Alaina Cherry ’20 and Allison Reilly ’20, whose paper “Longer Exposure to 2% India Ink Increases Average Number of Vacuoles in Tetrahymena pyriformis” was published in October 2019 by the journal. In their experiment, Bradley and Biddinger found that chlorella—a kind of single-cell green algae—reached maximum efficiency around 20° Celsius (about 68° Fahrenheit). Chlorella is an autotroph, which means it can produce its own food and energy from its surroundings, including light, water, and carbon dioxide. Net primary production is the rate at which the organism photosynthesizes, minus its cellular respiration. In this process, chlorella can turn carbon dioxide into glucose....

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Poet Robert Pinsky 
on Translating Dante’s 
Inferno

Three-term U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky discussed his translation of Dante’s Inferno last winter with students taking “Founding Voices: Literature from the Ancient World through the Renaissance.” In a free-flowing conversation, an affable Pinsky answered students’ questions about his translation, which they were reading in class. He explained that his full translation came about after he was invited to translate one of the Inferno cantos for an anthology. He also helped another poet with his assigned canto and realized how much he enjoyed the work. “I’m very interested in difficulty—a worthy difficulty—not trivial or canned,” Pinsky said. “I realized with this, I had a difficulty that I really loved.” The full translation took a year of work and then another year of showing his work to colleagues and Italian friends. “You can’t translate Italian sounds into English; you have to find an equivalent,” Pinsky said. “So if a word sounds great in Italian, you have to find a word that sounds great in English.” When asked by a student if he ever had to compromise, Pinsky laughed and said he had two answers: “Absolutely never. And every second.” He also discussed the challenge of translating poetry lines from a language that has many more syllables than English does. In order to run the two translations side-by-side in the book, the English translation was “padded” with white space. Pinsky read...

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Student’s Weekly Crossword Was a Hit

The weekly crossword puzzle of Margot Becker ‘20 was a fun and challenging Friday must-do for many students and adults around campus. Individuals and teams of students rushed each week to complete the challenging 15×15 published on the inside back page of The Milton Paper. Becker gave out prizes in a variety of categories and emailed out the names of all those who completed the puzzle correctly. Even after remote learning from home began after March break, Becker continued to email the puzzle to the Milton Academy community and run lists of the winners. “I wanted it to be that if you send it in and it’s right, you get a reward of some kind, regardless of your speed,” Becker says. “I started a ‘beautiful completion’ prize’ for the best-looking puzzles. My whole aim was to encourage everyone to do these, have a good time, and get something out of it.” Becker says she began making crosswords her junior year on her own, first just sketching some and then making 5×5 puzzles, or “minis.” Using a software program called Phil, she progressed to the “midi” size and then to the more difficult 15×15 format, which is the size of the New York Times weekday crossword. Becker’s love of crosswords started early. “I’m from a crossword family,” she says.  “My grandfather did two a day until the day he died.” ...

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Massachusetts Scholastic Art and Writing Winners

A “remarkable” number of student writers and artists were recognized by the Massachusetts Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, the nation’s longest-running competition to identify creative talent among students. Thirty-one students earned 43 writing honors and 19 students earned 34 art honors. In writing, Anne Kwok ’21 received numerous awards in poetry and fiction including three Gold Keys, one Silver Key, and one Honorable Mention. For her poem “Aubade For My Sister,” she also received an American Voices and Visions Medal, the highest regional Scholastic honor. “It is one of the more abstract poems I’ve written,” says Kwok, who was taking the creative writing course and the poetry half course. “I’m experimenting with new forms of writing and exploring different poetry forms.” Last fall, her work was also recognized by the Foyles Young Poets competition, when she was awarded Commended Poet. Kwok says she has always loved writing, but at Milton she has more opportunities to write poetry. She has also enjoyed having visiting poets on campus,including Gregory Pardlo, who spent time in her class: “I’d been struggling a lot with appropriating someone else’s voice, and he told me it’s about finding the individual story and to focus on that.” Erica Yip ’20, who earned a Gold Key and a Silver Key in poetry, was also a finalist in the 2020 Young Arts National Competition for a play script adapted...

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