Campus: CSU Northridge -- July 8, 2002

Junior High and High School Students Get Their Research Published

More than 380 junior high and high school students from the San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles area recently got an opportunity to get their research published with the help of Cal State Northridge's biology professor Steven Oppenheimer.

Oppenheimer each year publishes the Journal of Student Research Abstract. This year the journal contains 37 research abstracts in areas of Astronomy, Comparison, Environmental Biology, Vibrate Biology and Physics.

"The journal, is, we believe, the only national journal that showcases many student research projects in abstract form," Oppenheimer said. "Many of the teachers whose students publish in the journal have been trained in my National Science Foundation and Eisenhower research experiences programs. National security depends upon producing top research scientists. These programs and the journal begin the process of producing research scientists at a very young age."

Gregory Zem, co-author of the journal and a science teacher at Ernest Lawrence Middle School in Chatsworth, recently won the Distinguished Research Award sponsored by the National Science Foundation and Eisenhower Professional Development programs. He was recognized for implementing high quality science research in his classes. Which translated to the quality research his students presented at the Student Research Symposium held at CSUN last month.
Among the projects in the journal is work by Sandra Madrid, Mayra Lugo, Chantan Pom and Nandita Pal (teacher) at Robert Fulton Middle School at Van Nuys. They did an experiment to find out whether cats' eyes glow in the dark.

They made a model of a cat's eye by using a coffee can and covered the top end with a piece of circular construction paper. At the center of the paper circle, they cut an oval opening representing the pupil of a cat's eye.

They took the model into a dark room and repeatedly to slit the paper to represent varying pupil sizes, while shining a flashlight into the model's eyes.

The research group concluded that the cat's eyes do not glow in the dark. The glow from the animal's eyes is due to the reflection of external light.

"The back of each cat's eyes has mirror like cells that can reflect the light. These cells are filled with a chemical called guanine that reflects even the smallest amount of light and plus floods the eyeball with light, causing it to appear to glow," their report in the journal stated.
K-12 science teachers can obtain a free copy of the journal by contacting Steve Oppenheimer at (818) 677-3336 or e-mail him at All other individuals can purchase a copy by sending a check for $25 payable to CSUN Foundation, Cancer Center, and sending it to: Steve Oppenheimer, Editor, Biology Dept., California State University, Northridge, Northridge, CA 91330-8303.

Contacts: Yvette Gonzalez or Carmen Ramos Chandler
(818) 677-2130

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