In addition to Hebrew and English, Portman has studied or can speak French, Japanese, and German. She has recently been learning to speak Arabic. She also understands Spanish.
As a student, Portman co-authored two research papers which were published in professional scientific journals. Her 1998 high school paper on the "Enzymatic Production of Hydrogen" was entered in the Intel Science Talent Search. In 2002, she contributed to a study on memory called "Frontal Lobe Activation During Object Permanence" during her psychology studies at Harvard.
- Going to a party, for me, is as much a learning experience as, you know, sitting in a lecture.
- I don't love studying. I hate studying. I like learning. Learning is beautiful.
- There's so much else to do in the world. To just be interested in doing films would limit my life.
Title: Frontal lobe activation during object permanence: Data from near-infrared spectroscopy
Author(s): Baird AA, Kagan J, Gaudette T, Walz KA, Hershlag N, Boas DA
Source: NEUROIMAGE 16 (4): 1120-1126 AUG 2002
Document Type: Article
Cited References: 24 Times Cited: 23
Abstract: The ability to create and hold a mental schema of an object is one of the milestones in cognitive development. Developmental scientists have named the behavioral manifestation of this competence object permanence. Convergent evidence indicates that frontal lobe maturation plays a critical role in the display of object permanence, but methodological and ethical constrains have made it difficult to collect neurophysiological evidence from awake, behaving infants. Near-infrared spectroscopy provides a noninvasive assessment of changes in oxy- and deoxyhemoglobin and total hemoglobin concentration within a prescribed region. The evidence described in this report reveals that the emergence of object permanence is related to an increase in hemoglobin concentration in frontal cortex.
A Simple Method To Demonstrate the Enzymatic Production of Hydrogen from Sugar
Natalie Hershlag Syosset High School, Syosset, NY 11791
Ian Hurley Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, North Shore University Hospital, Manhasset, NY 11030
Jonathan Woodward Chemical Technology Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN 37831-6194
October 1998 Vol. 75 No. 10p. 1270
Full Text (PDF)
There is current interest in and concern for the development of environmentally friendly bioprocesses whereby biomass and the biodegradable content of municipal wastes can be converted to useful forms of energy. For example, cellulose, a glucose polymer that is the principal component of biomass and paper waste, can be enzymatically degraded to glucose, which can subsequently be converted by fermentation or further enzymatic reaction to fuels such as ethanol or hydrogen. These products represent alternative energy sources to fossil fuels such as oil. Demonstration of the relevant reactions in high-school and undergraduate college laboratories would have value not only in illustrating environmentally friendly biotechnology for the utilization of renewable energy sources, such as cellulosic wastes, but could also be used to teach the principles of enzyme-catalyzed reactions. In the experimental protocol described here, it has been demonstrated that the common sugar glucose can be used to produce hydrogen using two enzymes, glucose dehydrogenase and hydrogenase. No sophisticated or expensive hydrogen detection equipment is required-only a redox dye, benzyl viologen, which turns purple when it is reduced. The color can be detected by a simple colorimeter. Furthermore, it is shown that the renewable resource cellulose, in its soluble derivative from carboxymethylcellulose, as well as aspen-wood waste, is also a source of hydrogen if the enzyme cellulase is included in the reaction mixture.