Twenty-two years after Kolkata got its Science City—the largest science promotion centre in the sub-continent—13 smaller versions of the city’s top attraction for kids, will be opened across the country this year. The 14th facility, which is coming up in Guwahati at a cost of Rs 200 crore, will be full-scale science city as big as the one in Kolkata.
The National Council for Science Museums (NCSM), which is responsible for spreading scientific temper through such centres, has said that final touches are being given to the new facilities and most of them would start functioning soon.
The Kolkata Science City, too, will get a facelift this year. While it has spent Rs 22 crore on the Space Theatre revamp, another Rs 20 crore will be spent on other facilities, including a sprawling food court.
The 13 smaller science centres, being built at a cost of Rs 30 crore each, are at various stages of completion. They are in Kottayam in Kerala, Bargarh in Odisha, Udaipur in Tripura, Palampur in Himachal Pradesh, Almora in Uttarakhand, Gaya in Bihar, Kokrajhar in Assam, Udaipur in Rajasthan, Mayabundar in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh, Rajahmundry in Andhra Pradesh, Srinagar in Jammu & Kashmir and Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh.
‘Each science centre to have local theme’
Guwahati, though, will get a full-scale science city, similar to the one in Kolkata. “It is a mammoth project. On the one hand, we will have our most popular science exploration units where kids can get introduced to basic principles of science. On the other, we will have galleries showcasing latest progresses in information technology, computer science, robotics, nano technology, astronomy and mathematics,” said NCSM director-general Arijit Dutta Chowdhury.
All shows or exhibits will be graded so that young students and common people get introduced to them in a nontechnical way. “The idea is to inculcate the culture of science among people and to allay all sorts of fears and stiffness that people develop towards science due to lack of exposure,” Dutta Chowdhury said, adding that life-like dinosaur models that have become a symbol of the Kolkata Science City is being replicated at Guwahati and the 13 other smaller centres.
At these centres, a basic exploration hall for children will be a permanent fixture. Each will have a central theme according to the scientific need/demand of the place where they are being set up. For example, the centre at Palampur, Himachal, located in the seismic zone will have a big exhibition highlighting earthquakes and region-specific tectonic movements.
Similarly, the science centre at Gaya will focus on the history of science and technology with a special reference to maths and astronomy that got an impetus during and after the Buddha. The centre at Jabalpur will showcase a fossil park since a large number of dinosaur fossils and eggs have been found there. Similarly, the science centre at Almora, Uttarakhand, will focus on how global warming has negatively affected the flora and fauna of the Himalayas. The centre in Kashmir will delve into the rich cultural heritage of the place, revolving around apples, walnuts and saffron.
“There are some native horticultural and preservation techniques that need to be showcased to the world. This is part of our cultural heritage and needs conservation,” said Dutta Chowdhury.
Source: Telegraph India