Every year 28th of February is celebrated as National Science Day to commemorate the discovery of ‘Raman Effect’ on February 28, 1928 by Sir C V Raman. IISER Pune celebrated this year’s Science Day with a host of programmes and activities. The day-long event began with the screening of a short film made by the Science and Media Centre at IISER Pune, on this year’s theme: Science for nation building. The film showcased Dr. Anjan Banerjee’s (Associate Professor, IISER Pune) research on genetics and developmental regulation of the potato plant.
Prof. L S Shashidhara (Dean of Research and Faculty, IISER Pune) then briefly addressed the visiting students, highlighting the role of scientific research in technological progress of India in the post-independence era. He affirmed that it was important to integrate basic science with applied fields like engineering, stating that through its various educational programmes IISER Pune aims to introduce research at an early stage in science education.
Prof. Satishchandra Ogale (Scientist, National Chemical Laboratory, Pune) gave a talk on ‘Supercapacitor: A super-fast way to store and retrieve energy’. Beginning with an introduction to various forms of energy, he outlined how our daily life today revolved around appliances that use electrical energy. In years to come the demand for small power devices various applications ranging from agriculture to sensors in cars is likely to rise. Citing many examples, Prof. Ogale illustrated how supercapacitors are a technology of the future due to their ability to charge and discharge much faster than regular capacitors and batteries. He explained the technical aspects of supercapacitors using analogies from day-to-day life that the audience could easily connect with. He then went on to describe the supercapacitors made in his laboratory using easily available materials like waste products from sugar factories and used paper. His students gave a demonstration of a hand-made supercapacitor that was sufficiently charged in just a couple of minutes to power a small rotary fan.
Two IISER Pune students, Arun Tanpure and Bijoyananda Mishra, shared their experiences of an internship with the Royal Society for Chemistry (RSC). In 2014, they spent three months working with the RSC editorial office where they got a first-hand glimpse into the world of scientific publishing. They gave the audience an overview of the activities of the RSC and described the various stages that a research article goes through before it gets published.
The 1st Pauling Memorial Inter-school Quiz Competition jointly conducted by the students’ Science Club and Quiz Club got an overwhelming response. One hundred and ninety teams from schools across Pune participated in the preliminary round. The preliminary round consisted of twenty quirky, well-picked questions from varied areas of science. Five teams ultimately made it to the stage for the keenly contested finals. Two rounds of directed questions; one fun, guess-the-scientist tie breaker; and an exciting rapid fire round later, the students from SES Gurukul were declared as the champions with Vikhe Patil Memorial School picking up the runner-up trophy.
In his inspiring lecture, Prof. Pandit B. Vidyasagar (Vice Chancellor, Nanded University) shared his views about dissemination of science in society. Outlining the dire need of spreading scientific temper, he enumerated the various aspects involved in science popularization. He elucidated the means that can be used for this and also recounted several of his experiences of science propagation. He also described innovative ways like the use of rhymes and poems that can be employed to bring scientific concepts closer to the people.
The last event of the day was a play titled ‘The New Radiation’ presented by IISER Pune Drama Club. The performance, produced entirely by students, depicted Sir C V Raman’s experiments in optics, discovery of the Raman Effect and his subsequent Nobel Prize.
An all-day exhibition on ‘History of Science’ was arranged in the Lecture Hall Complex. This series of illustrated posters summarized the milestone discoveries and inventions in various areas of science over the years. An exhibition and sale of scientific books and CDs was also organized. Dr. Sheela Donde, in-charge of outreach activities at IISER Pune and organizer of the Science Day events, thanked the volunteers for their efforts and the audience for their enthusiastic response bringing the day’s proceedings to an end.