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Science Popularization

A Memorable Camp for Ignited Minds

Poetry by Manvi

A bundle of candles were already lighted earlier during the first camp. Now was the time to reinvent the wheel. Yet again young fertile minds assembled at the base camp at Kandoli, Dehradun but this time the students were from the hills of Garhwals to enjoy the science fun activities and discover the science based intricacies behind the nuances of life.
Last time, with a mix of activities at reputed institutes and hands on training, the children were very much enthralled. However, this time, the Local Project Expert Committee advocated that the children should be made to visit more number of institutes of varied fields and also should be taught the concept of 'Farmgate to Market'. This was due to the fact that children residing at remote areas had fewer opportunities for getting exposure to state-of-the-art labs. As a consequence it was decided to include more exposure visits in the next training camp. Apparently a tour was therefore planned to a company of prominence i.e. Himalayan Drugs Institute where perhaps all the value chain of the products marketed by the company are showcased. They had a museum, a herbal garden, manufacturing unit and a packaging unit. Apart from this, a visit to ONGC museum and Regional Science Center was also included.
Sponsored by NCSTC, DST, New Delhi under the motivational programmes, the second ignited camp was organized from 8th to 12th June at a picturesque location at Kandoli. Providing a platform for the young minds to cultivate the proper spirit of inquiry for understanding 'Life' using science based progress was the key theme. This time around 78 Children from three districts of Garhwal namely Rudraprayag, Chamoli & Dehradun ranging from class 6th to class 12th participated in the workshop.
The camp had plethora of activities, all included under the title 'Scienfun'. As the name suggests, it was to learn while having fun. The five day residential camp started with an ince breaking session coordinated y Dr. D.S. Pundir, HIMAD, Chamoli. After that the inaugural session was conducted at the newly built auditorium at UCOST premises. The dignitaries Padma Shri Prof A.N. Purohit, Chairman of LPEC & Dr. LMS Palni, Co-Chairman of LPEC addressed the students. Prof Purohit prodded the children to have an enquiring mind and the ability to question the mysteries of life while Dr. Palni appreciated this initiative and motivated the children to see the external world with open eyes. Dr. Rajendra Dobhal, Director General UCOST elaborated on the schedule of the training camp and its significance for the state. Later the group went to the Regional Science Center and played on the science based swings installed at the science park and learnt about the exhibits displayed. This was followed by a wonderful presentation on the world of aquatic fauna-the fishes by Dr. D.P. Uniyal, UCOST. To lighten the mood after the day long presentations & lectures, a hands on training on the art of Origami was given by Dr. Anandi Joshi.
Next day i.e. on 9th , the day started a little bit early as the children were taken to witness the much revered passing out parade at Indian Military Academy. This was followed by the one and a half day visit to UPES where they were shown rock museum, rigzone, biofuel laboratory, engines, automotive laboratory, school of design, fire safety mechanism etc. A major attraction during the visit was the mechatronics lab/ robotics. The children had a visual treat of a flying unmanned aerial vehicle/quad-copter as was shown in three idiots movie. The trip concluded with a general quiz where Hritik Maurya class X was awarded the first prize. The children enjoyed the trip immensely. The idea behind visiting labs was to enable them to connect with the prevalent scientific challenges, aspects & methods.
On 10th, the early morning began with the nature trail led by Shanker Dutt, to nearby forests where the excited children collected different plant samples for preparing herbariums. Apart from this, the dry riverbed nearby had ample opportunity for the children to learn about different rocks and soil formation. Later after the visit to the UPES, herbarium preparation was done on the plants collected by the children themselves. Explaining about the science behind so called miracles, Mr Jitender Bhatnagar removed some of the fallacies & mysteries behind the extraordinary claims by touts. A major attraction of the camp was the making and playing techniques of puppets and ways of science communication through puppets by Man mohan lal and K K Rai.
On 11th the children had a busy schedule as two institutes were to be covered. In morning, they visited ONGC museum, where Mr. Sanjay Jain guided them to the various exhibits and explained about the various mechanisms of petroleum extraction & refining. The tour ended with a quiz. After lunch the students were taken to the campus of IIRS, where Dr. Vinay Kumar explained the knity grity of satellites (PSLVs, GSLV, Mars mission etc.), how they are propelled to the space and its various purposes with the help of models and movies. In the evening, the clear sky made the day with the students being enlightened about constellations, stars, black holes etc. by star gazing activity.
On 12th morning, students visited the Himalayan Drugs Institute. Dr. Farooq with his illustrious and amiable personality mesmerized the participants and evoked them to pursue science by showcasing the history of the indigenous company Himalayan Drugs. They visited the museum, botanical garden and the manufacturing unit of the institute. Later post lunch, they again came to UCOST where a session on Intellectual Property Rights & its various segments including patents and copyrights by Mr. Anil Kumar, PIC, UCOST was also cherished by the children. Dr. Kirti Joshi, winding up the session quizzed the children about the training camp and as well as their experiences. It was an honour to have Ms. Indu Puri, NCSTC, New Delhi, who explained the children about the various programmes of DST and asked them about their experiences. The camp culminated with a valedictory session where Ms. Puri distributed the certificates. Rakshit Bhatt bagged the Best Ignited Mind award while Himani Joshi got the award for the most creative leader of the camp. Next day in the morning the children left for their home destinations.
Tanuja Panwar, Class VIII, Rudraprayag enjoyed her trip to the camp immensely, especially the visit to the regional science center and the subir raha oil museum and wished to join the camp again. Hritik Maurya, Class X, loved the Regional Science center the most and was shocked to hear his name announced during the quiz competition at UPES, when he won the prize. Himani Kathait, Class 10th, Rudraprayag felt lucky to be at the camp as she learnt many science based activities within this short period of time. She ensured that she will definitely try to implement what she has learnt in her future. Manav Joshi, very nicely explained that while coming to the camp he had thought he will be made to learn lessons regarding science, however after the camp he realized that the camp was focused to make students confident & inspire them to progress and do not hesitate. He learnt to be punctual & systematic in life.

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Glimpse of the Session
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