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National Science Day

The Institute celebrated the “National Science Day” on 5th March 2017 with a series of public lectures delivered by our very own faculty members across various departments. The event was declared open by Prof. Devang V. Khakhar, the Director, who in his address  emphasized on the work done by Dr. C. V. Raman in the field of physics and the applications of his research, much later, in technology.

The very first lecture in this celebration was delivered by Prof.  Ruchi Anand from the Department of Chemistry. She spoke on topic “X-Ray Crystallography: Photography at an Atomic Level”, wherein she enumerated the use of X-rays in determining the structure of crystals (e.g. proteins) and in determining levels of water pollution. Following this was the lecture on  “Mathematics behind the Computer” where Prof. Srikanth Srinivasan from the Department of Mathematics talked  about the various historical developments in mathematics which led to the notion of a universal computer- the idea that programs and data share the same memory.

Prof. Varun Bhalerao from the Department of Physics, on this occasion gave a very interesting lecture on “Building a Space Telescope” while Prof. Kiran Kondabagil from the Department of Biosciences and Bioengineering presented on “Viruses and Tree of Life Conundrum”. He spoke about the ambiguity among scientists regarding the inclusion of viruses in the tree of life and also about their omnipresence in our body and environment.

The talks were followed by a panel discussion on “Bringing together science and technology at IIT Bombay” where Prof. R. K. Shevgaonkar, Electrical Engg, Prof. Prita Pant, MEMS, and Prof. Subimal Ghosh, Civil Engg lamented the fact that many undergraduates are not exposed to research work. Proper emphasis on seminar courses, guided by professors, was one of the suggestions to get UG students involved.

There was a general agreement among the panelists regarding the very little formal collaboration between scientists and engineers in IITB. The reasons cited for this were the mindset gap between the two parties, lack of avenues for conversation and fear of stepping out of one’s comfort zone. They also agreed to the fact that there is a presense of expertise in the institute in various fields but there is a need for more opportunities to link them to places where it might actually be of use.

Many suggestions were also floated to alleviate these drawbacks – informal Faculty-Students interactions; weekly or monthly seminars on ongoing research; updated online institute faculty brochures with information about research interests; institutional investment for collaborative projects; flexibility and de-compartmentalization of PG programs; encouraging interdisciplinary PhDs; one or two day general talks (along the lines of TED talks) for new faculties to showcase their interests and mingle with old faculties; use of CERN resources; and obtaining funding for long-term scientific research.

The event was a huge success with a lot of participation from student as well the faculty community.