Touch a Scientist and You Touch a Child

Touch a Scientist and You Touch a Child

Earlier this year we wrote about the Annual Children’s Science Congress that is organised by National Council for Science & Technology Communication (NCSTC) and how last year, a city school had created a record by sending the most number of entries from single school. Another national record for Thane at last year’s Congress was that seven of its projects reached the final round – the maximum from any one city at the level of the national convention.

For those readers who are unaware, NCSTC is an apex organisation of the Government of India that endeavours to popularise science and technology by stimulating scientific and technological disposition. NCSTC has been founded by Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India. The State Science Council of all the States along with prominent NGOs working in the field of science are the members of this organisation.

The results of the first elimination round for this year’s congress were declared on October 02, 2003 at the New English High School at Ram Maruti Road. As many as 65 projects were submitted from 14 city schools.

This year’s theme, like last year, is "Food Systems towards Nutrition for all." The first round was judged by prominent people from the foods and nutrition industry. Food technologists, dieticians, medical practitioners, academicians and food manufacturing professionals were among the 15 judges who selected 24 projects for the district level which will be held in ShreeRang Vidyala in Thane on November 15, 2003. At the district level, 12 projects will be selected to participate at the State Level Congress which will be held on December 06 and 07 at Barshi, Sholapur.

Judging by the entries that the organisers have received so far, there is no reason why students from Thane will not repeat last year’s splendid performance. In fact, so impressed is Surendra Dighe with one project from ShreeRang Vidyalaya English, that he has decided to sent it to the Intel Science Fair also. The topic of this project is "Improvement in Food Production" while its sub-topic is "Improvement in Food Production through Bio-Seed Dressing Method." The title of the project is "To study the effect of Bio-Seed Dressing on the growth, yield and quality of Crop." While the group project leader is Zeeshan Sayyed, its members are Niteesh Kulkarni, Vrishi Patil, Rucha Vakhariya, Prajakta Dhamorikar. The guide teacher is Shweta Sawant.

The group seemed to have worked rather hard on the project. They collected various materials such as Neem seed powder, Neem leaves powder, Custard apple seed powder and so on. They visited various villages to observe the methods of plantation of bhendi ((Lady Fingers) and also to collect information regarding fertilizers, pesticides and so on. They analysed their data from various sources and began to dress the seeds of bhendi in their school lab and planted the same in the background of their school. After observations they concluded that treated seeds show more resistance to pests than untreated ones. They firmly believe that "bio-pesticides used for seed dressing are promising, cheap, eco-friendly, will help the farmers to depend less on chemicals and also help increase productivity."

Dighe, who serves on the national governing body of the NCSTC, says "Thane has a lot of talented students and with proper guidance, can go places." If recent reports are any indications, Dighe is bang on target. Thane’s Maithili Dalvi from Sulochanadevi Singhania School was one of the 12 award-winning students from all over India, who were selected through national trials, and had participated in the annual Intel Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Cleveland, Ohio in May. They were part of 1300-odd students from 35 countries, who exhibited their award-winning science projects at the annual Fair.

American Writer Ray Bradbury once said, "Touch a scientist and you touch a child." His words certainly apply to the Thane’s young scientists.

Watch this space for updates on the performance of city students as the Science Congress reaches its culmination between December 27 and December 31, 2003 at Lucknow.

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