Staff Reporter

Thiruvananthapuram: The second edition of the annual science and technology festival of the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST), ‘Conscientia 2010', will be held here from Thursday to Sunday.

The former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, who is also the Chancellor of the IIST, will inaugurate the festival on the IIST campus at Velion Thursday. ISRO Chairman K. Radhakrishnan will preside over the inaugural function.

The first edition of ‘Conscientia' had only the students of IIST and the Indian Institute of Science, Education and Research participating in the events. However, this year the festival has attracted participation from premier technology institutions and major engineering colleges across the country, the organisers of the festival said here on Wednesday.

A host of inter-collegiate events, workshops and lectures have been planned during the four-day festival, with a special focus on astronomy, space science and aerospace engineering. Altogether 28 events have been planned and the contests range from developing new hypothesis for unexplained astronomical phenomena or futuristic propulsion technologies to building robots, amphibian vehicles, gliders and ornithopters.

Apart from this, four workshops on robotics, quantum computing, powered glider making and ethical hacking have been planned as part of the festival.

Several lectures by well-known scientists and academicians will be conducted as part of ‘Conscientia 2010'. T. Padmanabhan, Professor and Dean of the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Pune, will be delivering a lecture, while Jill Tarter, Director of the Centre for SETI Research, will address the students through a video conference.

A unique and interesting star-gazing and amateur astronomy session has been planned, in which the telescopes built by the students of IIST will be put to use.

Poster presentations on cosmology, advanced technologies and an air show using radio-controlled aircrafts have also been planned, the organisers said.