Title of submission
A Report on the IISc Open Day field visit
A Report on the IISc Open Day field visit
Field trips are very essential as far as student teachers are concerned. It will provide a potential impact to students’ cognitive skills, knowledge, interests and future career. Field trips offer a unique opportunity for students to create connections which will help them gain understanding and develop an enjoyment of learning. Experimental activities should play a significant role in any science classroom. And students who acquire hands-on authentic experience may develop curiosity and interest leading to a desire to learn more. Once student teachers are empowered in such way, they will enable the students to develop interest in science which may lead to improved learning or improved science literacy.
On the 4th of February 2017, as part of the Walk With a Scholar Programme, I got a chance to visit the prestigious institution, Indian Institute of Science,(IISc), Bangalore on its ‘Open Day’. Walk a Scholar (WWS) programme is an initiative of the Government of Kerala for undergraduate students in Arts, Science and Commerce with an aim to shape their future career. The journey started on 3rd of February 2017 with my three mentors and other mentees. I boarded the Kochuveli express at 4:45pm and reached Bangalore the next morning.
About IISc Bangalore
IISc is known for its prestigious courses related to pure sciences and is the best institute for research in India. It is a public institute deemed to be a university for research and higher education in science and engineering, located about four kilometres from Bangalore city railway station. The institute was established in 1909 with the active support from Jamsetji Tata and Krishna Raja Wadiyar and thus is also locally known as “Tata Institute”.
The tradition of IISc Open Day
IISc held its Open Day every year to commemorate the birth anniversary of JN Tata, founder of the institution. The event featured open display of IISc’s experiments and research for the public – an exercise to kindle the scientific temper among the masses. The significance of the event was to share upcoming technology and further developments of science in future. The main aim of Open Day was to attract children to understand the power of science so that they can contribute to the field in future.
We reached IISc by 8:30am on 4th February. We were truly amazed by the campus size and its scenic beauty. Stretching over many acres, the campus houses some of the beautiful architectural works and some of the rare botanical species. We were allowed to rent cycles to travel to different parts of the campus but I preferred walking .Maps, eateries, water and helpdesks were provided. The research activities of the departments were showcased. I and my friends had a good interaction with the research scholars.
First I visited the JN Tata memorial block where a spectacular exhibition was arranged. The building had a grand rustic look. Then with my few friends, I went to the Aerospace Engineering Department and had a small interaction with the research scholars. We were informed that the improved and modern infrastructure has helped in initiating new research activities and has fostered collaborations among the researchers within the department, institute and outside. The department has seven faculty laboratories of which a few were open to us. The Airshow organised by the department was amazing. It comprised of the flying of unmanned aerovehicle developed by the faculty and research scholars. It was really interesting and inspiring.
Then I visited the Centre for Nano Science and Engineering (CeNSE) and was guided by a wonderful student of IISc. It was informed that the nanoscience lab was built on a raised surface and was completely isolated from the rest of the labs, so as to maintain the constant conditions in the research centre and to avoid external vibrations. The lab was divided into different rooms. Along the way, I saw many students and professors adorned in anti-static clothing to prevent repulsion from the machines the work with. Various models and posters relating to the recent developments in nanoscience were displayed outside. Detailed explanation was given for each of them. The scholars and students were so interactive.
The Mathematics Department was the next one I came across. The department held an outstanding poster display on the glimpse of the history and development of mathematics and great mathematicians. The most striking event was the treasure hunt and breath-taking competitions on mathematics puzzles and problems. Along with my two friends, I was lucky enough to participate in the puzzle solving and banged 2nd prize. A screencast of the life of mathematicians and how the best of problems are solved was also held. It was really a good exposure and made us all proud and motivated.
I decided to visit another department before lunch and went to Centre for Earth Sciences. The department showcased interesting posters and exhibitions on ancient and rare rocks and gemstones. There was a cool display of the evolutionary history of life on Earth. The demonstration of different geological features such as folds, faults etc was quite interesting. Due to the huge rush, only two from my team could participate in the Quiz Wizz conducted.
Walking through the IISc campus was an interesting and pleasant experience. After a small lunch, along with my friends, I continued roaming around the campus exploring the exciting science and technology initiatives and activities of the institute. The Open Day featured popular lectures, experimental demonstrations, quiz contests, scientific competions and exhibitions by various departments.
The visit to Centre for High Energy Physics (CHEP) was splendid and will be cherished forever. I still crave for a revisit. It was indeed an inspiring experience rekindling the scientific temper in me. I was first directed to the CHEP laboratory. There was a magnificent demonstration of thunder and lightening. It was really breath-taking to have such a first-hand observation. At the entrance, posters on standard model and Higgs theory, quantum computation, dark matter, black holes and string theory were showcased.
Another spectacular event was the Kids Zone. We were informed that it was the first time IISc was hosting such an event. Out of curiosity, I made a small visit to the Kids zone. Basic school level experiments were demonstrated by IISc students from different departments under one roof. I was happy to see the school children excited with the experimental demos and am sure that this collective effort will help to intrigue curiosity in young minds.
By this time it was time for us to take our leave. Due to the lack of time, though I was able to visit only a very few departments, I learnt a lot about the campus and am sure that I have utilized the available time to the fullest. Taking from Aerospace department to Centre for High Energy Physics, each department had something to show which actually were unforeseen. The visit came to end leaving me amazed and inspired.
Outcome and Implications
I feel indeed lucky to get a chance to visit the IISc campus and take look around the few departments. I was able to know the current innovative research works being carried out in those departments. Numerous live experiments showcased along with scientific demos and exhibitions proved that science is fun too. It was a great platform to explore, experience and enjoy the wonders of science. Many might say that within a few years, Artificial Intelligence is going to take over all the jobs but after visiting IISc’s labs, I have come to the conclusion that research in the science and tech sector is one job that AI can never take over. Every small device we have today has been built from scratch by researchers and aspiring students after a lot of hardwork and human intelligence. If we ever take time to look into the research and experiments being done in institutes like this, we will be shocked at the developments that they are making. While we sit back and complain about how our country isn’t on par with the other nations , there are professors and researchers experimenting every minute on how to overcome and create new solutions to further our development. The trip kindled the scientific temper and aspired me to work hard and make my own contribion to the scientific world. It was really a motivational visit.