Pune: Thousands of students and science enthusiasts from all over the state, thronged the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) campus at Narayangaon, 76 kilometres from Pune. The GMRT is hosting a two-day science exhibition on the occasion of Science Day.
‘Science Day’ is celebrated on February 28 to commemorate the submission of a paper on ‘Scattering of Light’ by CV Raman in 1928, who won a Nobel Prize for his explanation of this phenomenon, which came to be called the ‘Raman Effect’. The celebrations at the GMRT campus were one of the many activities being held across the country on Science Day.
The programme was inaugurated by Jayant N Khobragade, Joint Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy. Khobragade said that though it might not feel so, atomic research has multiple applications in rural areas.
“The Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) has created more than 40 seeds which require little to no chemical fertilisers or pesticides. We also carry out research regarding irradiation of foodgrain and perishables to help preserve them,” said Khobragade, adding, “All these applications are developed at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre.”
J Solanki of the National Centre for Radio Astrophysics (NCRA), said, “We have been holding this event for Science Day for many years. Earlier it used to be a one-day activity, but looking at the response, we made it a two-day programme.” Solanki, addressing students from various schools, said the exhibition was an open space. “The most important thing you can do is ask questions that you are curious about. Like, Why is the sky blue? These questions will help you learn,” he said.
Dharam Vir Lal, Assistant Professor at NCRA, said, “This is an attempt to make science appealing and accessible. Many of the rural colleges and schools have a few such activities to create engagement with science. In which case, every year, Science Day at GMRT sees thousands of students attend the programme.”
Students, who were looking at more than 40 science exhibits from participating schools, colleges and organisations, looked happy and curious. “I am here with my friends. All of us came on a bicycle from our village, which is 4-5 kilometres from here. The floating balloon and the cycle water sprinkler were exciting,” said 12-year-old Dhananjay Jadhav, from a Zilla Parishad school near Narayangaon.
SS Manjul, a scientist, who was manning the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) stall, said he was pleased with the response. “Students have been coming up, brimming with curiosity. One of them asked me when India will develop a retrievable rocket like SpaceX did. I was very impressed,” he said.