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Science broken down to its basics

Aruna V. Iyer
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Educational system needs to be revamped to include more practical applications

attentive lot: Anil Manekar, Director, Nehru Science Centre, Mumbai, interacting with students during a workshop in Tiruchi on Monday. PHOTO:R.M. RAJARATHINAM.
attentive lot: Anil Manekar, Director, Nehru Science Centre, Mumbai, interacting with students during a workshop in Tiruchi on Monday. PHOTO:R.M. RAJARATHINAM.

Several scientific concepts that are used in daily life were demonstrated here on Monday at the Anna Science Centre- Planetarium-but with the help of just hands, a plain sheet of paper and a visiting card.

Simplicity combined with practical experimentation was the essence of the interaction between the city' high school students and Anil Manekar, Director, Nehru Science Centre, Mumbai.

Organised to commemorate the declaration of 2011 as the International Year of Chemistry, the interactive session was aimed at dispelling the inherent fear and hatred of science common among school students today.

“In today's educational system, the curriculum is such that it hardly provides the students with the opportunity to actually perform experiments. Scientific concepts, learnt solely from the point of an examination, fail to make students aware of their practical applications,” said Mr. Manekar while speaking to presspersons. “The educational system needs to be revamped to make way for more practice-oriented teaching methodology.

Schools and colleges teaching science should inculcate research as a process within their students.”

Talking about why practical's in science has been limited to the bare minimum in educational institutions, T.M. Alagiri Swamy Raju, Project Director, Anna Science Centre- Planetarium said, “The instruments and materials required by many experiments in science (especially chemistry) are not a one-time investment. The need to replace them periodically and the recurring expenditure involved seems to have deterred many institutions from taking it up seriously.”

During his interaction with the students, Mr. Manekar stressed on the need to be constantly curious in science.

“Science is nothing but our ever evolving understanding of nature. Therefore no one can sit back and relax saying all that there is to be invented has already been he said.

He engaged the students with interesting anecdotes about eminent scientists like Sir C.V. Raman, Thomas Alva Edison and Wright Brothers.

Using no real equipments or instruments he demonstrated the concepts that work within refrigerators and air conditioners, the human body's reaction time and reflex actions, and friction.

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