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Working magic with sciences

Commerce might be the most popular subject at DU, but it is the science students who are set to reap benefits of change and initiative this session, reports Swaha Sahoo.
Hindustan Times | By Swaha Sahoo, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUN 07, 2008 07:59 PM IST

Commerce might be the most popular subject at Delhi University, but it is the science students who are set to reap benefits of change and initiative this session. With a first of its kind science research centre at the university and tie-ups with major research labs, undergraduate students will get a taste of research.

Beginning early

The DS Kothari Center for Research and Innovation in Science Education at Miranda House promises an early exposure to research activities for students. It will also help them publish papers and encourage them to go for higher studies.

Undergraduates from any DU college can apply to work at the DS Kothari center. “Not enough students are coming to basic sciences,” said Pratibha Jolly, principal, Miranda House. “We will encourage students to take up small research projects during summer vacation, so that they explore their potential,” said Jolly.

Science students will also get a first hand experience of the functioning of some of India’s best research labs — the National Physical Laboratory, Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences and the Laser Science and Technology Center, the laboratory of Defence Research and Development Organisation. “The University has tied up with the premier research institutes to begin summer workshops for undergraduates. Students will attend lectures by scientists and also work alongside them in the laboratories,” said Deepak Pental, Vice-Chancellor of DU.

Students will work in the fields like nanotechnology, molecule discovery and physical techniques in biology among others.

Equipped for future

Last year, Rs 20 crore worth of equipment was given to colleges to refurbish laboratories. “Hands on training is necessary and equipment was the need of the hour,” said Savithri Singh, principal of Acharya Narendra Dev College. “Now we have a microscope with a camera and projection system and have received good electronic balances,” she said. The introduction of internal assessment has given students an opportunity to do hands-on projects. “Projects teach students to work in teams, present data scientifically and explore issues,” Singh said.

The industry edge

The Biotechnology Centre at South Campus is working on interface between industry and academics. “We want the industry to set up R&D facilities at the center. We will provide them with space and in turn they will involve our faculty and students in projects and give them exposure,” said Prof Akshay Pradhan. A huge Bioinformatics programme is also being set up at DU with industry collaboration.

Careers options

Opportunities in pure sciences have increased with the economy opening up. “To be able to excel in areas like Nanotechnology, Biochemistry and Bioinformatics, fundamentals in pure sciences should be strong,” said Jolly.

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