Edgar Smit, a Senior this year at International High
School, remembers being interested in the sciences
since he was young, when he would spend hours reading about the subject. Over time his love for the sciences hasn’t changed, but his approach to it has. From
a voracious reader of the way things work, Edgar is now
an avid doer, applying theory to practice as any good
scientist would do. This past summer, leading up to his
senior year, Edgar completed an internship at UC Berkeley in the Materials Science and Engineering department
working on nanoparticle assemblies using different
instruments to study the structure of various polymers.
Meanwhile, Edgar relates his experience in the UC
UC Berkeley Intern Uses Art and Engineering to Explain Nano Objects
Berkeley lab to his work at International High School.
Students in Grade 12 Art are asked to choose a theme
for their work. Without surprise, Edgar chose the topic of
nano materials and how to make them understandable.
He is focusing on atomic force and imaged polymers
for his first project. “One of my art projects this year
involves creating a catapult as a tool to measure dif-
ferent mass, and by building it using the concept of a
mass spectrometer—an instrument I used during my
internship that can calculate the mass of a molecule,”
says Edgar. “This catapult can be used to shoot multiple
materials covered in paint to esthetically illustrate the
mass of an object based on the distance traveled.”
For his Art projects, including this catapult, Edgar uses
International High School’s newly launched Design Lab.
When asked about it, he notes how project options have
expanded with access to all the instruments and tools
available in this new space. In his free time, he’s also
using the Design Lab to create a laser guitar using a 3D
printer and plans to use one of the lab’s laser cutters to
shape the wood of his guitar.
Now graduated and finished with his French Bac, this
trilingual teen (he speaks Dutch in addition to French
and English) has narrowed down what he wants to
pursue in years to come. “I love Engineering and the
application of materials,” says Edgar. “This is what I will
pursue after graduation.”
Edgar Smit with the catapult he designed in the school’s
newly inaugurated Design Lab.
the aisles and I really had to step outside my comfort
zone to be able to talk to different people. Having had
such an eye-opening experience, I also want other
people to experience it.
What did you present at this conference?
Back in December of 2014, I took part in the American
Geophysical Union Conference, which had over 24,000
participants. I was invited because I did a research
poster on sand crabs—they are little crabs in the sand at
Two of my mentors, my CiS boss and a PhD candidate
studying youth interactions in the science field, also
presented at the conference.