Looking back at Asian Science Camp – 2016

Few months before six delegates of Nepal were selected for Asian Science Camp ( ASC ) 2016 by CV analysis , essay submission and interview. Nepal has been sending it’s delegates in ASC since 2009. This year Sachin Dangi, Aasish Poudel , Prince Agarwal , Bishnu Bhatta , Shrutee Gupta and Sanskar Maratha were selected to represent Nepal in ASC 2016 lead by Team Mentor Gopal Bhandari.

Asian Science Camp is a common platform for science students all over Asia to come together, work together in projects based on new science themes and have discussion with Nobel laureates as well as world renowned science minds.

Asian Science Camp 2016 was held from Aug 21 to Aug 27 in Banglore, India where 24 countries of Asia ( including Australia and Newzeland ) took part. The notable speakers were Professor Takaaki Kajita ( Nobel prize in physics in 2015 ) , Cedric Villani ( Field medalist in Mathematics ) , J Georg Bednorz ( Nobel laureate in Chemistry ) , CNR Rao ( Bharat Ratna ) , HC Verma , Ajay Sood and many others.

During the camp Delegates of all countries were teamed up together in group of six. I had a Japanese , a Turkish, a Chinese , an Indian and a Taiwanese in my group. We prepared a Poster Based upon Genomic Medicine with Quantum computing with light. This is a unheard topic to large population of Nepal who study science. Personally I had only heard a bit about quantum computers. Adding light to it has a entire new prospective and after the level of research we did during camp, Now I can explain it to a layman as well.

To be a scientist you do not have to have a sophisticated lab, learn to derive science from the surrounding you live in. This was one of my major learning in the camp. Examples like theory of flocking was discovered by looking at group of ants moving in a circle. Graphene was discovered when two people were playing with graphite for no purpose and so on and so far. Learn to explain every thing that happens in surrounding with respect to science . Ask the question Why ? , most of the things you will be able to explain with science but there will be things which you will not be able to answer . Then ask a bigger Why followed by How , it is then that discoveries are made. This is my major learning from the camp.

Sachin Dangi with Professor Takaaki Kajita ( 2015 Nobel prize winner in Physics )

Sachin Dangi with Professor Takaaki Kajita ( 2015 Nobel prize winner in Physics )

For a country like Nepal that does not have any Nobel prize winners of it’s own. To be with Nobel laureate and discuss on vivid theories is a great achievement. A new methodology we need to start implementing is the way teachers answer the question asked by students. Here if a student asks question to a teacher , s/he is given answer directly. For example “ Sir, What is the value of pi ?” answer we get “ 3.1415…” but if same answer was asked by teacher to find out by research. The student have known things from, it’s history , it’s meaning and could have derived answer in own way. We must start tradition of letting our students research for the answer themselves rather than telling them answer directly. In the camp one delegate from India asked Cedric Villani about a derivation , Cedric did not answered the question instead he prescribed him a book and asked the delegate find the answer himself.

National Delegates of Nepal with Professor Cedric Villani ( Field Medallist in Mathematics )

National Delegates of Nepal with Professor Cedric Villani ( Field Medallist in Mathematics )

We were taken to Nano technology and neuro lab of Indian Institute of Science as a part of field visit. That visit lighted a spark in my mind. Most of us run in life , we look forward to the day when we will say the golden words “ I m going to my office “ but really few people think of saying “ I am going to my Laboratory”. There must stand a group of people to have vibe of going to lab rather than office to bring a scientific revolution in nation. Then we will have our own Nano lab built up , our own satellites rotating earth and our own MIT and Harvard in which global citizens will face a tough competition to apply.

Bringing up entire Asia under one roof and organizing such camps might not be possible for us now. We can still organize National science camp of Nepal. We can choose students from all over the country, keep them together in a University then invite famous professors to give a lectures and also take them to a lab visit. This act will inspire students to love science. Further this will also build up a nation wide competition among students to get selected for camp so they will start studying more nicely. Ultimately it will make science a tradition rather than a subject in Nepal and produce more skilled and independent population for future.

By Sachin Dangi (ASC 2016 Participant)

Posted in Blog, featured.