Classroom: Space mission to spot them young | Deccan Chronicle
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Classroom: Space mission to spot them young

DC | Krishna Kumar K. E | 10th Oct 2013
A model rocket being launched by Kozhikode students who took part in a competition organised by the ISRO in association with
Regional Science Centre as part of the World Space Week.	— DC
A model rocket being launched by Kozhikode students who took part in a competition organised by the ISRO in association with Regional Science Centre as part of the World Space Week. — DC

Kochi: It was a matter of pride that two eminent Keralites, ex-ISRO chief Dr G.Madhavan Nair and his successor, Dr K.Radhakrishnan, had figured prominently in the launch of Chandrayaan-1, India's first unmanned mission to the moon. Chandrayaan-2 scheduled for 2016, will see them in action again, to carry the mission to another level.

Surely, students of the state have much to look forward to with such illustrious role models before them. In fact, these eminent space scientists are on a mission to spot child prodigies who can be groomed into future scientists.

“We’re forming a private society which will first try to tap resources like efficient teachers. Ways and means for adequate funding will also be looked into. Those who are genuinely interested in shaping future scientists are welcome to join the initiative. Our aim is to provide infrastructure like good laboratories and study material in schools so as to ignite the minds of these children”, said Dr Madhavan Nair.

The scientist, who played a pivotal role in the design and development of the cryogenic engine for GSLV, is already associated with the Vikram Sarabhai Space Gallery, set up at the science park in Kakkanad.

“It won’t be a formal science training institute. By the next academic year, a programme would be rolled out to identify kids with a scientific temperament, right from the primary level. They will be provided the right ambience where they can carry out experiments. Apart from this, they will be given ample time to interact with scientific greats like A.P.J.Abdul Kalam, M.S.Swaminathan and Anil Kakodkar, to begin with”, he said.

However, he feels the government should also “do more” when it comes to infrastructure. That would be the only way to tap the rich potential in the state, he said. “We’ve a space gallery only in Thiruvananthapuram and Kannur. More such science parks and planetariums should be set up so that an interest could be generated in young minds”.

The Vikram Sarabhai Science Park is the nodal centre for this year’s World Space Week celebrations. “This year, outreach programmes are being held at various schools on the theme ‘Exploring Mars; Discovering Earth’. Classes will be conducted on basic science. Quiz programmes, debates and poster-designing contests among others, will be held in over 200 schools. The concluding event would be held at the Cochin Refinery School on Thursday”,  said Suchitra Shyjinth, Project Head of Science Park.

Surely, a visible change is taking place and this could perhaps explain the reasons for the achievements of Kerala students at the national and international level. Two class XI students of Bhavan’s Vidya Mandir, Girinagar - Aparna Sanjay and Vimal Sugunan, made it to the World Science Exhibition with their research and presentation on how used tyres could be effectively utilised as a seawall.

Similarly, a team led by Jithu Vijayakumar and Sahla Sathar of the Bhavan’s Adarsha Vidyalaya, Kakkanad, bagged the top prize at the IBETO Science Competition conducted by the Model Engineering College with their exhibit Vertical axis windmills, that could be more effective than the traditional horizontal ones.

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