A report on INSPIRE SCIENCE CAMP
Inspire – Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research conducted by the Department of Life Science, commenced on 21st October 2019 in the beautiful campus of Bangalore University, with an inaugural program presided by Dr. Kiran Kumar, former chairman of ISRO, Dr. N R Shetty, National Institute of Technology, Karnataka, Dr. K R Venugopal, Principal, University Visvesvaraya College of Engineering, Dr. Shivashankar, Chairman, Department of Life Sciences, Bangalore University. Duly followed by a talk by Dr. Kiran Kumar about the “Indian Space Research Program”. The participants were taken through the amazing stories behind some of the most successful space missions like Chandrayaan I, Mangalyaan, and the Chandrayaan ll and some mind-boggling satellites. Kiran Sir concluded on a note that ‘Learning is never-ending’ and urged students to enjoy the process of learning.
The post-lunch session was filled with Math and its connection to life. Dr. R Vasudeva presented a lecture on the “Probability Theory” with a medley of its applications ranging from the unknown outcomes in a game to population explosion through interesting mathematical methods like the
Poisson distribution and branching process. It was followed by an essay competition on the topic “Waste recycling for resource conservation”. All enigmatic ideas flowed onto paper in just 30 minutes.
Organized in groups named after famous scientists like C V Raman, Shakuntala Devi, and Kamala Sohoni, the participants dived into the wonderful world of Science with exhibits by the students pursuing their degrees. Day 1 of the camp concluded with a cultural program at the end of the day revived the rhapsody in students with a melange of music and dance. On the whole, it was a great prelude to the journey of learning and innovation.
The 2nd day of INSPIRE began with a lecture by Sharath Ananthamurthy on “Motion in the microscopic world” with special emphasis on the Brownian motion of particles. One of the highlights was Newton’s story, dismissing the general myth of an Apple falling – that lead to the discovery of gravitation. The world of Math was unveiled in “Calculus and its applications” by Dr. S Pranesh, Christ University.
Mathematics is undoubtedly an expression of the human mind – of logic, analysis, and construction. From the honeycombs to forensic fingerprints, Calculus reigns our lives. The students got an opportunity to visit the various Departments of the University.
With the rains welcoming the sun rays, we advanced to the 3 rd day of INSPIRE with, Dr. Raghavan Varadarajan, from IISc presenting about “Designing proteins for HIV – 1 and influenza”.
The progress that we and at the same time the viruses have made has dappled history. The challenges to developing the vaccines and the deadliest enemies to human life were emphasized. Dr. S Asha Devi, Bangalore University, spoke about “Diet and exercise for a healthy brain”. It revolved around the Free radical theory, mental fitness, supplements to fight oxidative stress, benefits of grape seeds and the importance of exercise. The most awaited event – The Science Quiz, aired with a multitude of brain-racking questions. Post lunch, some visits to the laboratories in the Department of Life Sciences focused on imparting knowledge about staining techniques, determining blood groups, the insect world, medicinal plants, the principle behind IVF and a myriad of miracles of Science. The
the evening was on ode to the Kings of Reptiles by Priyanka Swami, through a workshop on “The Big Four – the four common venomous snakes of India”.
Communication has evolved to be an integral part of our lives. This was asserted through a lecture on the 3rd day by Dr. Rohini Balakrishnan, from IISc on “Communication in the cacophony”. The various strategies used by crickets in particular, like seasonal, temporal and spatial partitioning are optimized like mobile phone networks. “Climate change – Past, Present, and Future” by Dr. J Srinivasan was a ride through the ice age, the revolutions – to the challenges faced by the 21st century. This was followed by the ‘Best out of waste’ activity. Post lunch, a rhetorical talk – “Smart metals by Urban mining and environmental protection” by Dr. Keshav Bulbule, totally gripped the students until the time elapsed. There couldn’t have been a better end without the “Buffalo to Mridangam” documentary.
The 4th day of the camp was filled with Mesmer for another great learning and melancholy at the same time since it was the last. Unlike the routine, students had a rejuvenating session in the morning with some aerobics and exercise. With the doubled up energy, there was a session by Dr. Madhusudan, Assistant Director of Bangalore Planetarium on some experiments. This was followed by a reflection on “Career choices” by Dr. Anita Kurup, it was finally time for the valedictory. It was a medley of awards, memories, feedback, and distribution of certificates.