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BARC throws open its doors to science college students

For Puneet Gaur, 21, the time spent at the molecular biology division at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) at Trombay, was more exciting than anything he had imagined.

mumbai Updated: Dec 12, 2011 02:09 IST
Snehal Rebello

For Puneet Gaur, 21, the time spent at the molecular biology division at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) at Trombay, was more exciting than anything he had imagined.

"Though we've been learning about the hi-tech equipment in our textbooks, our laboratory doesn't have them. We never expected to see them even at the BARC laboratory," said Gaur, a third-year microbiology student of Swami Vivekanand College, Chembur.

Gaur and 29 of his classmates visited BARC in October. The group is part of the steady stream of college students - from Class 11 onwards - gaining access to BARC, which hitherto allowed students' visits on rare occasions.

Apart from Mumbai, students from Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Gujarat have also visited BARC in the past four months.

"We wanted students to see science in action so that it motivates them to pursue the subject as a career," said RK Sinha, director, BARC. "We would like them to know the benefits of atomic energy in fields such as agriculture and health care."

BARC has been hosting visits from at least two colleges every month and applications are pouring in. "It's imperative that students know about the development of nuclear technology and power in India. It will prompt them to think of the field as a career option after their graduation by joining the BARC training school," said PS Singh, principal, IDUBS Junior College, Bhandup.

"Visits to premier centres such as BARC will help retain good talent in the country," said professor Hema Varadarajan, head of the microbiology department at Swami Vivekanand College.

BARC staff has also been visiting campuses across the country to address students as part of their societal outreach programme.