A week on, renowned scientists, Nobel Laureates and international students will descend on Navi Mumbai, as India will host the 2010 Asian Science Camp for the first time.
Pegged as an "expression of Asian identity", the camp in its fourth year, aims to inspire first and second year science students to get serious about the subject through first hand interactions with scientists and Nobel laureates Richard Ernst and Makota Kobayashi.
The camp, to be held from August 17 to 21, is financially supported by the Department of Science and Technology and Department of Atomic Energy.
"In the coming decades, science will assume great importance especially in Asia. The camp is therefore a means to motivate younger generations to pursue research and not just science," said H.C. Pradhan, director, Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education that is hosting the camp.
"The camp will give students an idea on what it takes to be world class scientists." The camp has another first too. This year, biology will also make an appearance, apart from the usual physics and chemistry subjects.
"Since science is increasingly getting interdisciplinary, we decided to add biology. But this is just a one-off agreement," said Pradhan. "The organising committee will decide if the subject must become a regular feature in future science camps."
Mustansir Barma, director, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, the host organisation, said, "Homi Bhabha felt the need to involve young people for research and also free interaction between scientists across countries. The camp will bring true his strongly held wishes," said Barma.
Of the 185 participating students, 30 will represent India while the remaining are from SAARC countries such as China, Japan, Vietnam, Nepal, Egypt, Pakistan, New Zealand and Kazakhstan.
Though invited, Afghanistan, Philippines, Australia and Bangladesh will not be represented. Through lectures and discussions, scientists will talk about their experiences with science, how they cracked the codes and answer queries posed to them. The previous camps were held at Taipei (2007), Bali (2008) and Japan (2009).