IISER Kolkata opens it's gates to communicate science


Srujana Mohanty

  The Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Kolkata organised it's first 'Open Day',on 27th February 2020. A day before National Science Day, IISER Kolkata opened it’s gates(and labs of course) to everyone - students, office-goers, workers, vendors alike.


  Scientific institutions have been stereotyped as ivory towers, where scientists and academicians are known to toil and arrive at breakthroughs. “This Open Day at IISER Kolkata aims at letting everyone know, what a usual day at IISER Kolkata looks like, what goes on in the laboratories and how the tax-payers money is being utilized”, said Dr. Anindita Bhadra who was one of the primary organizers of this event.

  By 10:30 in the morning, IISER Kolkata was hustling and bustling with more than 300 enthusiastic and inquisitive participants, some of whom came from cities as far as 60 kms away. Undergraduate and graduate students from Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda Centenary College, Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya, Scottish Church College, Ashutosh College, Adamas University, Bidhanagar College, Chandernagore college, Barasat College and Jadavpur college had turned up in huge numbers. High school students from Kancharapara Municipal Polytechnic High School, accompanied by their teachers, also participated and were equally eager about the science and higher education opportunities at IISER Kolkata.


  The graduate students and research scholars of IISER Kolkata, had set up posters in their respective departments, show-casing their work, which they explained in a simplistic manner to the curious young minds. Language was no bar, as the volunteers coordinated among themselves to try and explain science in vernacular languages to suit their audience. The discussions initiated long-drawn question and answer sessions at times. The researchers answered them in detail and to the satisfaction of the eager audience.

  An awestruck Arnab, from the eighth grade, said he could not understand much of what is going on in the labs but he thoroughly enjoyed looking at all the instruments and chemicals and computers and that he would like to learn working on them someday.

  Meghna , a zoology undergrad, interested in Microbiology and Cell Culture said she could relate between the laboratory research here with the course content back at college.


  The second half of the Open Day proceeded with the IISER Kolkata faculty, addressing the crowd and motivating them into careers of basic science research. They encouraged the students to pursue science with passion and love.

  Although the first Open Day at IISER Kolkata was announced on an impulse, and preparations were made within a week, a great team of research scholars, faculty and staff members rose to the call and made the event successful. IISER Kolkata hopes to carry forward the trend, and through initiatives like this, the researchers hope to do their part in bridging the gap between scientists and the general public.

Picture Credits: Dr. Anindita Bhadra, IISER Kolkata

Srujana Mohanty is a second year BS-MS student at IISER Kolkata. She aspires to major in Chemistry and writes blogs and does editing in her free time. She looks forward to running her own blogging website someday.

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