While the scientific sessions went on at various halls attended by mostly delegates, the science exhibition drew and delighted the crowd on all five days of the 98th Indian Science Congress at SRM University. Stalls were put up by institutions of higher education, corporates and government agencies but it was the Pride of India that showcased the achievements of ISRO, DRDO, CSIR, ICMR among others that drew the crowds, mostly school students, in thousands every day. Electronics and Radar Development Establishment, Bangalore, had showcased its radars Bharani, Aslesha and Rohini attracting every student who passed by.

The scientists were busy all day explaining the functioning of early warning systems. “If you throw a ball on the wall, it rebounds. Similarly, the radar transmits electro magnetic waves which intercepted by objects returns the waves which are received at the radar,” said Vikram Thankur, Scientist-B. It was the ISRO rockets that enthralled the crowd though with mobile cameras flashing incessantly as most took pictures standing next to the displays. Not everyone was interested in the products. There were a lot of queries from students on the courses offered by the National Institute of Food Technology, Entrepreneurship and Management of the Ministry of Food Processing. “Students were keen on placements at the institute,” said A.R. Reshma, a student of SRM University, and a volunteer at the pavilion. P. Balamurugan, assistant controller, and his colleagues at the Intellectual Property Office, Chennai, were tirelessly distributing pamphlets to the college and school students at the exhibition. The reasons are obvious. India has lesser number of patents and the patent culture was yet to pick up in educational institutions. “Students need to be familiarised with patent, processes involved and benefits of it,” he said.

It is with this hope of spreading the scientific temper that the Indian Science Congress is happening annually.

B Aravind Kumar,

in Chennai