Scientists on Sunday exhorted young minds to think what they can do for their country. They were speaking at the 46th International Physics Olympiad, which is being hosted by India for the first time since its conception in 1967. It was inaugurated in Mumbai on Sunday at the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education (HBCSE), Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR).
Professor Anwesh Mazumdar, convenor of the academic competition, called it a “grand meeting place for the brightest minds”, with over 400 students from 86 countries participating in the event. Prof Vijay Singh, former national coordinator of the Science Olympiads, called it “the celebration of the very best in pre-university physics”.
Citing the contribution of the architect of India’s nuclear power programme, Dr Homi J Bhabha’s, in the field of science, Dr R K Sinha, chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission and secretary, Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), asked students to think of what they can do to advance the field of science in their own countries. “If you all think of what you can do for your country when you are here, this programme will be a success,” he said. The DAE along with the Department of Science & Technology of the government of India are supporting the event.
According to Mustansir Barma, former director of TIFR, the programme is a platform for students to meet with peers from various countries, “What you will take away, besides the medals, is friendships. You will get know people of your age from across the world, across various fields, national boundaries and other divisions,” he said, addressing the students.
A second-time participant and student from Turkey, Bural Catli, echoed this remark. “The thing I’m most looking forward to is meeting people. It’s great to meet and talk to so many different people who like the same thing as you,” he said.
The nine-day long academic competition comprises two examinations, theoretical and practical, which will be held on July 7 and July 9 respectively. The questions have been prepared by an academic team and will be ratified by the international board, which consists of participating teachers from all the countries. The medals will be given away at a closing ceremony on July 12.