By Vinod Varshney
School children of Delhi (National Capital Region) have finally broken the world record of conducting the biggest science practical at one location. Two thousand science students had gathered at the IIT, Delhi on December 7 during the India International Science Festival to conduct the practical named ‘Elephant’s Toothpaste’. Reliable sources say officials of the Guinness Book of World Records have intimated the minster of science & technology, Dr Harsh Vardhan about the acceptance of the claim made by the organisers on the practical.
This largest-ever science practical done by 2,000 students was meticulously planned by coordinator, Prof K Girish Kumar, the senior professor of chemistry in Cochin University of S&T. Expressing happiness at the news, he told ‘Blog for Science’ that the event would create a new environment of learning and teaching of science in the country and such events should be repeated regularly. ‘My message to the bright children of the country is that they should pursue pure science rather than rushing to become doctors and engineers’.
Before this practical, the largest one was conducted at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast on February 24 this year when 1,339 primary school students of 7th and 8th standard from Belfast had participated in a mass chromatography practical. That effort was supported and conducted by The Royal Society of Chemistry, London.
Sources indicated that the science & technology and human resources development ministers, Dr Harsh Vardhan and Smriti Irani respectively, might announce anytime soon the next such event which would be ten times bigger than this. The plan would entail arranging 20,000 students from across India at the Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium to conduct the practical.
The science practical on such a big scale would certainly induce young students towards science across the country. The India International Science Festival was also organised with this purpose in mind by the TIFAC as the nodal agency with the help of various departments of the science & technology ministry and earth sciences. The initiative was taken by Vijnana Bharti, an RSS-linked outfit that had being working for science popularization in several states.
The demonstration of the record-breaking practical ‘Elephant’s Toothpaste’ in which nitrogen peroxide’s disintegration was speeded up by use of a catalyst to create huge froth possible to be made by an elephant, was done and explained by Dr I Anitha, an associate professor of chemistry with Maharaja’s College, Ernakulam and Ammu Rosin Jose, a CSIR research fellow in the Cochin University of Science & Technology. Another CSIR research fellow working with the same university, Shalini Menon had taught the theory part of the practical to the students, belonging to class 9th to 12th.