‘Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research’, in short “INSPIRE” is an innovative programme, sponsored and managed by the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India, for attraction of talent to science. DST entrusted GD Goenka University, with the responsibility to organize a Science Camp during Jan 9-13, 2017. In this forum, 181 students of Class XI and XII from Rewari, Sirsa, Sohna, Palwal, Sonipat, Rohtak, Dharuhera, Gurgaon and Delhi had registered. Students who secured A1 grade in CBSE or 88.8% in Haryana Board in Class X or 95% in ICSE Board were eligible to participate in the Science Camp. It was a great opportunity for the young students to interact with renowned scientists of national and international repute during these five days and get exposed to hands-on learning in advanced laboratories.

The Science Camp was inaugurated with the lighting of lamp in the morning of 9th January, 2017. Prof. (Dr.) Deependra Kumar Jha, Vice Chancellor, GD Goenka University; Prof. (Dr.) Sudeep Sharma, Assistant Dean, School of Engineering; Keynote Speaker and Mentor, Padmashree Prof. (Dr.) K. L. Chopra and Prof. (Dr.) Alok Bhattacharya, Mentor, graced the occasion with their august presence. School children and University officials and faculty members were present during this session. An introduction was given to the Science Camp and the audience was welcomed by Prof. (Dr.) Sudeep Sharma, Assistant Dean, School of Engineering. This was followed by the Vice Chancellor’s address and the keynote speech by Padmashree, Prof. (Dr.) K. L. Chopra.

During the course of the week, ten mentoring sessions were held. Prof. (Dr.) K. L. Chopra, Padmashree and former Director of IIT, Kharagpur was the first mentor who delivered a talk entitled “From atoms to Nanomatter”. Prof. Chopra highlighted the fundamentals of nanoscience and discussed about the various nanomaterials that can be devised. Prof. (Dr.) Alok Bhattacharya, former Dean, School of Life Sciences at Jawaharlal Nehru University was the mentor of the second session. He enlightened the students about the basic unit of life, cell and the hereditary material, DNA during the session on “Pursuit of Science in India”.

Prof. (Dr.) Naveen Garg of CSE Department IIT, Delhi delivered a talk on “Crypotographic Protocols and Primitives” in which he discussed about the basics and the significance of encrypted data. Prof. (Dr.) N. K. Tyagi, research scientist and former Director of Central Soil Salinity Research Institute (CSSRI), Karnal mentored a session on “Sustainable Agricultural Development under Climate Change” and hinted at smart agriculture.

Dr. Tokeer Ahmad, Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry, Jamia Millia Islamia University, New Delhi spoke about “Nanotechnology: Science at Nanoscale” and emphasized on nanomaterial as potential material for use in various sectors including defense and medical. Prof. A. B. Bhattacharya, Chairman of the Board of Governors at NIT, Durgarpur mentored a session on “Path to Invent & Innovate” and motivated students for research and discussed about application of classical methodologies to solve problems.

Dr. Sandeep Saxena, scientist at National Institute of Immunology (NII), New Delhi was invited to conduct a session on “Learning Science by Participatory and Innovative Techniques” where he informed students about genomic techniques leading to personalized medicines. Prof. (Dr.) Ajit Iqbal Singh, an INSA Emeritus Scientist delivered a talk on “Moving Mathematical Moments” in which she illustrated the wonder of Mathematics through different examples.

Prof. (Dr.) D.S. Rawat from Dept. of Chemistry, University of Delhi discussed about “Chemistry, Human Life and Environment” and highlighted Green Chemistry as potential method for reduction of chemical waste and its harmful effect. Prof. (Dr.) P.K. Joshi from School of Environmental Sciences, Jawahar lal Nehru University, New Delhi mentored a session on “Geoinformatics for Environmental Management” in which he talked about new achievements regarding land and agriculture mapping using remote sensing technology. All the sessions were very interesting and informative for the students. The feedback of students regarding the sessions was really positive and all of them felt that they have learnt something new from these talks.

During the second half of the day throughout the week, students got an exposure to various interesting experiments and applications related to Physics, Chemistry, Life Sciences, Earth Sciences and Mathematics. They worked innlabs of Chemistry, Civil Engineering, Computer Science, Forensic Science and Pharmacy. Agastya International Foundation hosted a special hands-on interactive science model session entitled ‘Science Simplified’. The weeklong Science Camp focused on the basic and the emerging concepts in Science and Technology.

An essay writing competition was organized for all the students. Topics were given on the spot. They could write on any one of the following topics, ‘Renewable and Non-renewable Energy, ‘Make in India’ and ‘Recycling and Processing of Waste to Conserve Resources’. Paras Yadav from Vivekananda Senior Secondary School, Rewari won the first prize, Khyati Gaur from Jain Bharati Mrigavati Vidyalaya got the second prize and Ishika from Little Angels Senior Secondary School won the third prize. In Poster making Competition, the students participated in a group of five members and the best two posters were awarded. Based on the experience gained by the students during the various Lab sessions, some more competitions were organized, such as Electronic Hardware Design, Bridge Making Competition, Logo Designing. A Quiz Competition and Sudoku Competition were also held. Talent Hunt Competition was also organized for the students. Accommodation for the students was provided in the Campus hostels and they enjoyed their evening recess time at the gym, cafeteria, indoor game facility centre etc. Students expressed their wonderful experience during the Science Camp in Campus.

On the evening of 13th January, prior to the Valedictory Session, winners of the Talent Hunt Competition staged their performances. Assistant Dean, School of Engineering, Prof. (Dr.) Sudeep Sharma presented a brief report of the Science Camp and also updated the students about GD Goenka University during the Valedictory Session on January 13, 2017. This was followed by a prize distribution ceremony in which all the winners of the various competitions were awarded. To do the honours, Vice Chancellor, Prof. (Dr.) D.K. Jha and Assistant Dean, School of Engineering, Prof. (Dr.) Sudeep Sharma were present on the dais. Vice Chancellor, Prof. (Dr.) D.K. Jha delivered the concluding remarks of the INSPIRE Science Camp Programme. All the participating students received INSPIRE Science Camp certificates. An event like this cannot happen overnight; the wheels start rolling months ago and requires a lot of planning. So, Vote of Thanks was presented by the Coordinator of DST INSPIRE Science Camp at GD Goenka University, Prof. (Dr.) Anshu Gupta to conclude the 5-day event.

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