The Chennai Science festival hosted by the Science City on January 27 in Anna Gem Science Park School was not only a repository of quirky experiments, and a plethora of working models, but also a ticket to explore a wide range of career opportunities.
Based on the theme ‘Celebrating science in everyday life’, nearly 100 stalls in the fest featured a mind-boggling array of simple yet insightful projects on diverse topics, ranging from marine biodiversity, and aeromodelling, to myriad applications of nano-science and cutting edge possibilities of biotechnology. The colourful models and posters on different types of diseases that affect poultry, displays that decoded the workings of a DNA, and a series of do-it-yourself tests that unravelled tricks to track food adulteration in common food items, were some of the other highlights of the four-day expo.
Institutes including IIT-M, Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University and Anna University, Chennai designed the framework for exhibits on promising fields including basic sciences, veterinary sciences, health and environment.
Of course, having fun with science is the take away, feel students. “It’s awesome to see so many experiments in one room,” said V Akash, a Class 9 student and life science-enthusiast, who got a heads-up on microbiology, his area of interest.
The fest got its formula right for maths buffs. Whacky puzzles and learning kits of the Ramanujam Museum and Math education centre witnessed tiny tots try their luck with peg boards and spiked abacuses to decode classroom concepts. Undeniably, it turned out to be a major draw among the young and the old.
As part of an initiative to encourage school students to opt for a job that combines their interest and ability, a discussion chaired by eminent panelists Prof V D Swaminathan, Dept of Psychology, University of Madras and Dr M Saibaba, associate director-RMG, Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research reflected on the need for youngsters to explore opportunities available outside mainstream careers.
In perhaps the most endearing scene in the discussion Dr Saibaba urged students to take inspiration from the animated character Po, from Kung Fu Panda, who finds out that ‘the secret to happiness is following your heart’. “Look within yourself, you will realise your true passion,” he said.
Focus on adolescent health
Lack of awareness about the long-term benefits of exercise is the prevalent trend among adolescents, said the experts, including psychologists and nutritionists, who underlined a host of dietary requirements that are key to having a healthy adolescence, in a panel discussion on ‘adolescent health’. They underscored how unhealthy habits, such as skipping meals and sleep- deprivation could result in hormonal imbalances in the body.
Steering the way for a celebration of the scientific temperament, lectures on problems in adolescence, health, education and sustainable energy by eminent scientists were spelled out the over four days for the public.
The festival came to a fitting finale with a valedictory function on January 30.