Creating Cardiac Conduction Model

It is a well known fact that the human heart uses electrical currents in order to keep the cardiac muscles pumping in time. The current it taken to the muscle cells by conducting cells which pass the current through the heart to the correct places. The sinoatrial node is the originator of the signal which then moves to activate the atria and then the ventricles.

Diagram of the heart with conduction system shown, thank you to Madhero88 on Wikipedia for producing this diagram. (Various collections of cells are shown and named, they each have unique jobs but are irrelevant here)

Now I actually have been diagnosed with having first degree heart block, which is so minor it doesn’t even cause noticeable bradycardia (slowing of heart beat). This means that the due to a lack of conductivity in my heart there is a slight delay between the contraction of the atria and the ventricles although not enough to have any noticeable adverse effects. For others though, it can be a lot more serious. Cardiovascular diseased cause the highest number of deaths in the world according to the World Health Organisation (WHO?), with many of these being caused by arrhythmias.

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How Heart Cells Could Be Treated To Avoid Cardiac Arrest

When people have myocardial infarctions (heart attacks) the cardiomyocytes (heart muscle cells) can suffer hypoxia (lack of oxygen) and so apoptosis (the death of cells) can occur. The (very complicatedly named) effects can be mitigated through a process called angiogenesis. This is where new blood vessels are created rapidly in order to perforate some living tissue and in this case combat the hypoxia. Now when it comes to treating and intervening in patients with growing areas of dead cells (the infarct) in the heart, fitting a catheter is the most reliable cure. Cell based therapies or those that angiogenic assistance could be used to treat the growing risk of a heart attack but no clinical trials have proven them to be a success. It can be seen as worrying that in the last fifty years (the nobel prize for cardiac catheters was awarded in 1956) there have been no more advancements or great innovations.

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And The Results Are In

So the closing ceremony was held earlier today and so the results for the competition are in. Britain has done incrsdibly well this year achieving five medals, two gold, one silver and two bronze. Unfortunately Rob, the subject of our first interview, has to leave early for a quick start to a holiday in Cambodia. Luckily in his rapid few words in the hours before his parting he was able to give a final comment. “Such an amazing experience, too brilliant to describe in words.”

Excursion Epitome

So, with the closing ceremony being held tomorrow we have attended all the trips we will attend. I though that a quick overview of each one might be a useful record to look back on in future years.

Museum Dirgantara Mandala (Indonesian Air Force Museum) – This was a trip to the air force museum which seemed to be, in most part, a hangar filled with the planes, helicopters and the occasional mounted radar. There was a large section filled with uniforms and flags and other military specimens but without being able to read Indonesian there was little I could glean from their accompanying labels.

Desa Tembi Village – This was where we went to a traditional Indonesian village. Admittedly it was traditional Indonesian village in the middle Yogyakarta as I’m pretty sure the Indonesian government pays it to remain traditional for tourists. It was none the less very enjoyable. There were some of the original antique instruments there and we got to hear a band play them. We also got a chance to wade into a paddy field and plant a row of rice, a sufficiently muddy affair.

Kraton Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat – This was a palace, very literally. Although I’m almost certain Indonesia is now a republic, the Sultan of Yogyakarta still rules over this palace or some technicality like that. We actually got to hear a speech given by the Sultan’s cousin as well as walk around the palace which was quite exquisite. There was actually a museum recalling the history of the palace which was a bit embarrassing as it turned out British forces had actually ransacked it a few centuries ago and nicked a whole lot of gold and gems before setting the palace on fire.

The Ullen Sentalu Museum as well as Merapi Lava Tour were unfortunately both cancelled due to the issues mentioned earlier. Luckily the trip to Borobudur, the Buddhist temple (monument perhaps?) was saved. I think that this easily qualifies as the most interesting of all the trips. The best way to describe Borobudur is like a very ornate pyramid. There are multiple levels, like the steps of the pyramid, but each one has various intricacies and impressive carvings. There are 504 statues of one of the Buddha sitting around the temple, 126 on each side. It is said that anyone who visits Borobudur has automatically passed the requirements to obtain Nirvana (Moksha?).

All these trips were wonderful and the insight into Indonesia’s history and culture is something that I can not say enough good things nor rank it too highly. To be able to visit such brilliant places is truly makes me and everyone at the IPHO fortunate. My thanks, as well as everyone else’s on the British team, goes to the Indonesian government and the International Physics Olympiad committee.

Interview 3

Now so far the other interviews that have been published have been written back in Britain. This is the first interview actually in Indonesia and it is with the one student who, when asked for an epithet, described herself as “me,” Weida Liaa.

So Weida, how the think the tests went?

Wait the others didn’t have this question, I think this is unfair.

Yea, but what is your actual view of the tests?

Quite challenging.

Can you elaborate?


Very funny, you’re the most incooperative interviewee yet.

Okay, I think the experiment was harder, the first one was on diffusion of salt solutions and it took half an hour to get the results for the first part of the first experiment. The second was on using a magnetic trap for graphite and I didn’t get very far in the second experiment.

What were you doing for the five hour wait the day before?

Waiting? (Begins choking on particularly spicey carrot)

(I give a stoney glare)

Okay, Okay, I went and talked to the Greek team, the Egyptian team, they were all very nice. I also talked to some of the liaison officers, apart from that I waited.

What was your teams reaction to the exam being cancelled that day?

Well I think <redacted> they were unhappy and distressed about having to wait for the joy of finding out what challenges the committee had come up for us. <redacted>

And so are you hopeful about getting a gold tommorow?

I can hope all I like and it’ll make no difference. If all five of us get a bronze medal, I think I’d be happy with that. (Begins rambling quoting Disney songs for no apparent reason).

Well I think the stress has finally got to her. Tomorrow, I’ll be back with, unfortunately, our final interview with Robbie King. An ace sailor and hopeful mathematician. Until then, goodnight.

A Quick Interlude

So I’m back, with all the students having completed both papers connections to the Internet have been restored. Overall it has been lovely, but some aspects it has been a complete disaster. For a start everything was confiscated two days before I expected leaving me scrambling to schedule the posts I had written. This was mostly my fault for procrastinating for so long. However the real problem came with the translation of the question papers. Industrious, for instance, is a word I would not use to describe the process. To sum it up, the translation for the experimental paper was so slow the test itself was set back an hour, then four and then suspended all together. It had to be done the next day (resulting in a breaking of the statute stating that a full day must be left between the exams) and the almost cancelling of the trip to Borobudur. Luckily things have been set straight although it is the trip to the volcano museum that will be lost as the temple excursion has been arranged for tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll be able to get back to the interviews, perhaps within the temple itself. Until tomorrow, goodnight.