Periyar Science and Technology Centre Students turn ideas into Visible Exhibits

Periyar Science and Technology Centre Students sets up Innovative Exhibits

At the Periyar Science and Technology Centre on Monday morning, students bustled around, setting up innovative exhibits with ideas on how to “Save our Mother Earth” for the centre’s annual inter-school contest.

Thermocol, cardboard and small plants were everywhere as the students depicted their ideas in various forms — from a melting globe perched on an ice cream cone and disaster warning systems to a miniature biodiversity reserve and working models for rainwater harvesting.

In contrast with the enthusiasm in the exhibition hall, veteran educationalist M. Anandakrishnan presented the gloomy statistics in the auditorium: the percentage of high school graduates entering science degree courses has almost halved since the 1970s.

“In recent years, the proportion has come down to 17 per cent [from 30 per cent].

And even this 17 per cent are choosing sciences as a second option and not as their first choice,” said the chairman of the Madras Institute of Development Studies and the former Vice-Chancellor of Anna University.

The chief guest at the exhibition, A. Sivathanu Pillai, agreed. “Science plus application equals technology. But what is happening now is that technology is getting more emphasis than science…We are promoting the application without strengthening the base.”

Dr. Pillai is the chief executive of the Indo-Russian missile manufacturer BrahMos Aerospace and the research chief of the Defence Research and Development Organisation.

While no formulae have been approved yet, initial design studies are now on to develop the second generation BrahMos missile, which will have a speed 5 to 7 times that of sound, said Dr. Pillai. Other projects in the pipeline include submarine and aircraft launch capabilities for BrahMos, missile to missile technology and the long range ballistic missile Agni III.

Prototype development for an un manned underwater vehicle is also in an advanced stage, he said