Perse Studio

Independent-learning super-curriculum projects: reading, research and ideas shared by Perse students


Exobiology: The Hunt for Extraterrestrial Life

Samir C, Yr 13

What is astrobiology? Astrobiology is a true melting pot of scientific fields. It is the study of the origin, evolution and distribution of life within the universe; astrobiologists must consider how life can arise, survive and thrive on a planetary body. As perhaps the only field of study yet to prove that its subject matter actually exists, the field is at the forefront of scientific research. In the article, written for the Young Scientists’ Journal (YSJ), I discuss abiogenesis on Earth, our earliest ancestors and the search for life on Mars, Europa and Enceladus.


>>Click here to view full article<<

Photo by NASA’s Galileo Spacecraft: Surface Geology of Europa

NASA: Public Domain


SAGE Presentation, RDFZ Xishan School in Beijing

Jonny F and Gawtham R, Yr 13

In September, we went to RDFZ Xishan School in Beijing as winners of the Project Passport Competition. Our project examined some of the differences between a modern education in UK and China, with a particular focus on modern language education. Overall, despite noting some variations between the two schools, we were struck by how both the two schools and people in them had far more in common than they did differences. We really enjoyed the trip and learnt a huge amount from it. Many thanks to the wonderful people at RDFZ Xishan who hosted us so well and Nanyang Girls’ high that financed the trip. The following presentation documents some of our project and trip which will be more formally written up at a later date.

>>Full Presentation Here<<


Perception is an Illusion

Natalie M, Year 13

I recently read a book called ‘The Brain’ by David Eagleman, which discussed some of the big questions on consciousness and perception and linked them with physical neural mechanisms. I was fascinated by the interface between mind and brain and was particularly intrigued to learn more about the use of functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and whether it can be used to measure quantifiable differences in people’s perception of a common stimulus. Inspired by this, I wrote an essay entitled “Perception is an illusion” where I explore some of these ideas further.

>>View Full Essay Here<<

Photo by Janaka Dharmasena. Published on 17 June 2012

Mini-Investigation: Differentiation and its Applications (Calculus Part One)

Varun R, Year 7

This essay is my Mini-Investigation topic for the Michaelmas and first two weeks of the Lent term. This is not really an ‘investigation’ as such. During my homework slot, I have learnt new things and this is basically a summary of what I have learnt. It is split into ‘Sections’ which loosely follow each week’s work (This is somewhat inaccurate due to the fact that for some weeks, I did more than others). My Topic of Research is about Differentiation and its applications. Differentiation is one of the two key ideas of calculus (A very interesting branch of Mathematics). The other key idea is Integration (I will be studying this for my second Mini-Investigation this year). This topic is a follow up of Algebra and Functions of sorts. I will start by explaining key Ideas before moving on to harder applications.

>>View Full Investigation Here<<

Photo by Janaka Dharmasena. Published on 17 June 2012
Stock photo – Image ID: 10086649

Photo by prozac1. Published on 07 July 2010

What makes Provence distinctive?

Matthew F, Year 7

In this essay I will be talking about the different features that make Provence distinctive. I will look at three main things; its history, its culture and its geographical landscape. Afterwards I will compare these features to other places I have been to. Hopefully by the end of this essay you will share my belief that Provence really is an incredible, fascinating and intriguing place with so many hidden wonders that you wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else in the world.

Provence has a fascinating history as it has been influenced by so many cultures and countries. Provence has been in invaded many times. Even Before Provence got invaded by the Romans it had been inhabited by the Celts in nine hundred BC and then invaded by the Greeks in six hundred BC. However in the second century AD Provence got invaded by the Romans and the most famous architecture and historical background from Provence comes from the Roman times. Just like many other areas it never stood a chance defending itself against the might of the Roman army. Intriguingly Provence was the first Province to be taken by the Romans outside of Italy. This gave the Romans plenty of time to leave their mark on the Provencal architecture and history.

>>View Full Essay Here<<

Photo by prozac1. Published on 07 July 2010
Stock photo – Image ID: 10018518

Photo by dream designs. Published on 06 November 2013

Is there a link between DNA and Obesity?

Rohail A, Year 8

People become obese for different reasons. Some people might eat a lot of high calorie foods but not become obese and some people might not eat very much but still become obese. Is becoming obese some people’s fate? It seems that there is more that what meets the eye. Could this be because of DNA? I will be presenting what I have researched to answer this question: Is there a link between DNA and Obesity?

But first we will have to start with the simple questions:

What is Obesity?

Obesity describes someone who is very overweight and has a lot of body fat. People use BMI, which means Body Mass Index, to see if you are a healthy weight for your height.

>>View Full Essay Here<<


Photo by dream designs. Published on 06 November 2013
Stock photo – Image ID: 100215691

Photo by cooldesign. Published on 01 October 2013

How will Artificial Intelligence Affect Our Jobs in the Future?

Elspeth R, Year 8

In this project I will explore how the use of AI (Artificial Intelligence) will affect our jobs in the future. I think this is important, as we are possibly on the fringes of another revolution. We may choose to accept this change. We may not. But most importantly, is this progress, or our slide into redundancy?

Firstly I will define Artificial Intelligence. This is harder than it sounds, as intelligence itself has quite a hazy definition. The Oxford Dictionary defines AI as ‘The theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages .’ But this means that any artificial 1 beings, including statistical generators such as Google Translate are intelligent, as they have speech recognition software, translate between languages and make decisions on which word fits most  with the input. Most would still agree that Google translate is not intelligent, merely a program drawing matched words from a database. This then begs the question, what is intelligent?

>>View Full Essay Here<<

Photo by cooldesign. Published on 01 October 2013
Stock photo – Image ID: 100205380