IISc Open Day draws over 50,000 visitors

IISc Open Day draws over 50,000 visitors

An e-auto that moved people around the IISc during Open Day on Saturday. (R) A contraption set up outside the Centre for Product Design and Manufacturing. DH PHOTOS/AKHIL KADIDAL

The Indian Institute of Science (IISc) pulled out all the stops to showcase some of its best and brightest scientific endeavours during its annual Open Day 2020 on Saturday.

The event attracted public in largest numbers yet. “IISc open day was the most successful, today. A police report indicates we had a footfall of over 50,000,” an IISc official said.

The official added that the event, serving as a bridge between the 101-year-old Institute and the public, saw the arrival of nearly 500 school buses, plus an about 2,500 cars and 4,000 two-wheelers.

“The main attraction was the possibility of seeing cutting-edge science that is generally off-limits to the public on most other days. I think this shows the public’s healthy interest in science,” said Professor Rahul Pandit, this year’s in charge of Open Day.

Thirty-nine out of 42 departments at IISc participated, plus the associated Science Gallery. Together, they showcased over a hundred exhibits ranging from drones being used in rural areas for afforestation to panels on infectious diseases, to a soap-fueled boat, a chemical nebulae, to an art exhibit made out of lake sediments and microbes that reside in the soil, to tornadoes whirling in large test tubes to strange magnetic levitation experiments. In the midst of all these were dozens of educational programmes intended to enlighten the public on not only the world around them but also the world of the near future, such as advanced nanotechnology. 

At the Center for Infrastructure, Sustainable Transportation and Urban Planning, visitors were told of how random lane changing and being slow to apply acceleration in vehicles resulted in traffic chaos that many Bengalureans are used to. 

“Humans are the problem. By removing them from the equation, traffic can be more efficient,” intoned a voice from a presentation, hinting the future was in autonomous vehicles. 

Elsewhere, IISc students and professors showed off indigenously developed technology such as a head-up display for cars, showing the information for the driver on the windscreen. 

“The system, being developed for the French automotive technology company Faurecia, could see the traditional car dashboard being replaced by a touchscreen windscreen,” said Prof Pradipta Biswas.

At the Interdisciplinary Centre for Energy Research, visitors were regaled by the launch of a model every 45 minutes from 9.30 am to 5 pm, but one particular stable, a drone flight show, was conspicuously absent. 

Staff at the Department of Aerospace Engineering said the drone team was away, taking part in an international competition overseas. 

While the large footfall was a source of pride for the administration, the sheer numbers overwhelmed the 15 e-autos deployed to move people around the campus.