You might have dropped a lemon down several times, but have you ever wondered how the white spots on the floor came? Have you encountered the term “vertical farming?”

Ask the finalists and spectators of the first edition of ‘Catalyst – a science quiz with a difference’ organised by The Hindu Newspaper in Education (NIE) here on Monday, you are likely to find answers for these and more.

Whether it was the answer on the citric acid in the lemon causing a “bleach effect” on the floor, or that on adopting farming practices in a vertical model to save space, participants took quiz master Giri Balasubaramaniam by surprise on several occasions.

About 2,150 students from nearly 230 schools across the State and Puducherry took part in the preliminary round, and six teams qualified for the exciting finals. From identifying an unfamiliar image as an artificial heart to connecting the Charminar and plague (Sultan Muhammad Quli Qutub Shah is said to have built it to symbolise the elimination of a plague epidemic in his city), the audience, too contributed very interesting trivia to the quiz.

For Keshav V. and Aaslesh Y. from Vidya Mandir Mylapore, who emerged winners after consistently accumulating points in each of the rounds, the victory comes just before the board examinations. The Class XII students, who won Rs.25,000 cash, trophies and gifts, were all smiles.

Hari Krishna Vetharenian and Rahij Ramsharan from S.B.O.A. School and Junior College put up an impressive show, cracking almost all answers of the last few questions. They were the runners-up. A.R. Pranavi and P. Swetha of St. Patricks, Puducherry, also displayed remarkable quizzing, competing for the second place till the very last tie-breaker, and won the third place.

The other finalists were Rohan Jaishankar and Tanmay Shankar from Bala Vidya Mandir, Chennai, M. Manavalan and R. Theakarajan from Petit Seminaire, Puducherry and A. Ariff Mohammed Tajdeen and A.V.Krishnan from Bhavan’s Rajaji Vidyashram, Chennai.

Chief guest K. Ramamurthy, Director, Madras Atomic Power Station, Kalpakkam, who gave away the prices, said science and innovative technology must not be used for destructive purposes, but to make lives of human beings better. Sathyabama University was the title sponsor, while New Cadbury Bournvita + + was the associate sponsor. Style One, Linc Pens and Oxford University Press were the gift sponsors. Nimbooz by 7Up was the beverage partner, NDTV Hindu was the channel partner, and Jeppiaar Packaged Drinking Water was the H2O partner.

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Meera SrinivasanJune 28, 2012