Over 35 students from various schools in and around Chennai, who were part of the second summer programme organised by the Research Science Initiative Chennai (RSIC), have several tales to take back to their friends in school.
The stories are likely to range from experiences of listening to an expert speak on nano particles to their tryst with monkeys in their hostel rooms on the wooded IIT-Madras campus where they stayed for more than a month.
The programme, conducted by the Padma Seshadri group of schools, in collaboration with IIT-Madras and the Chennai Mathematical Institute, was aimed at giving an experience of science enrichment and research for high school students.
Senior academicians from the collaborating institutions and other partnering institutions such as the Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Anna University and Sastra University delivered lectures on various science disciplines and some of them mentored students on a research project that they will take up during the programme. Students were also exposed to the arts through the extramural lectures.
Sharing his thoughts at the valedictory of the summer programme on Friday, Kaushik Swaminathan, one of the participants, said: “No two lectures were similar. The topics chosen were very interesting.”
Sahana, another participant, found the visit to Sastra University fascinating. Shruti Ravindranath spoke of the discussions during the lectures and Karthik recalled the fun the group had and said the experience, besides exposing them to interesting areas in science, also gave them an opportunity to make new friends.
As part of the valedictory session, D. Balasubramanian, Director of Research, LV Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad, made a presentation on trees, highlighting the variety in them.
Mrs. Y.G.Parthasarathy, Chief Patron, RSIC, and dean and director, PSBB Group of Schools, said the summer programme was an opportunity to pay attention to the top 2 per cent of students, who excelled in academics. “It is those in the top 2 per cent who will eventually be leaders in tomorrow's India. It is heartening to see that about 15 per cent of the participants are girls,” she said.
Director of IIT-Madras and Chief Patron of RSI-Chennai M.S. Ananth commended Mrs.Y.G.P. for her initiative.
Joann P. DiGennaro, president, Centre for Excellence in Education, McLean, VA, USA, said it was not an easy task to set up the RSI in India. Urging students to put to use the knowledge gained from the summer programme, she said: “What is critical is not what you know, but what you do with what you know,” she said. RSIC Chairmen V. Balakrishnan and K. Mangala Sunder, Chief Coordinator Vijayalakshmi Srivatsan and Principal of PSBB Nungambakkam Valli Arunachalam spoke.