Students make a beeline to Science Express

The sparkling white ‘Science Express’, which arrived at the Cantonment Railway Station here on Thursday, has an entire coach dedicated to the burning issue.

This innovative science exhibition, mounted on a specially designed air-conditioned train, aims to spread scientific awareness in the country. It is now undertaking its third annual trip (billed phase-III) around the country and its second visit to Bangalore. The Max-Planck Society, Germany has developed this venture in collaboration with Department of Science and Technology, Government of India and Vikram A Sarabhai Community Science Centre (VASCSC).

The train arrived at platform three of the station around 10.30 am. After it was formally declared open by Additional Divisional Railway Manager, Bangalore Railway Division, Ravi Valluri, hordes of students made a dash to partake of the knowledge in store inside.

Varied issues

Thirteen of the 16 coaches showcase exhibitions on various topics. Coach eight, earmarked for climate, is based on the theme, ‘Climate Change - Cause, Effect and Mitigation.’  A 45-minute talk featuring Al Gore and video clippings on climatic changes, has the visitors, glued to the screen.

Another interesting display is a huge board with 12 promises related to conserving energy and improving the environment imprinted on them. Push buttons are provided next to each item. Some of them run as follows: “I will use public transport”, “I will walk or cycle whenever possible’, “I will switch off fans and lights”. You need to push a button next to it if you agree to abide by them, informs Jamsheed, a communicator from VASCSC. Pushing the button will psychologically create some kind of binding on a person, he adds. A globe, connected to a screen, which makes characters speak in ten languages becoming extinct is a popular among the crowd, informs Priyanka Rajput, managing this section. Jarawa (Andaman Islands), Chintang (Nepal), Motuna (Papua New Guinea) languages are among them.

Yogin, class VII student of St Germain High School had dashed straight from school after he heard about the train from his father, a railway employee. “Overall, it is very informative. I was fascinated with the tools used by chimpanzees in Africa to crack nuts,” he said. The lab, which permits each student up to a maximum of 20 experiments turned out to be a huge hit with students.

The train, which commenced from Gandhinagar in Gujarat will criss-cross 56 cities in a span of 208 days before returning to its starting point on 27 April, 2010. It will be stationed at Cantonment station till Monday (December 14) and then proceed to Mysore.
As many as 3,259 visitors including 2,349 from 25 schools had stepped in to the train by 5 pm on Thursday, informed Raghav Pandya, Acting Manager of the ‘Science Express’. “We are expecting 25,000 visitors during its halt in the City,” he said. Public can visit the train between 10 am and 5 pm. Entry is free.

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