The SAVITRIBAI Phule Pune University was the only university in higher education in India which participated in the ongoing fifth India International Science Festival (IISF) in Kolkata, but the university seemed to have little science to display at the event.
The festival saw a host of bustling stalls put up by several national-level scientific institutions functioning under the Department of Science and Technology, Department of Biotechnology, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and Ministry of Earth Sciences.
The SPPU stall, however, only displayed posters with information on courses run under the Design Innovation Centre (DIC), and others on CNC machining and the decentralised waste management practiced on the campus. Not too many visitors or curious onlookers were seen near the SPPU stall.
The Indian Express visited the exhibition organised at Biswa Bangla Convention Centre, the main venue of IISF, twice, and the SPPU volunteers were not present at the stall on either occasion.
While the SPPU’s presence was lacklustre, stalls by several prominent scientific institutions from Pune — Inter University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), TIFR – National Centre for Radio Astrophysics (NCRA), Agharkar Research Institute, CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory (NCL) and Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) — managed to draw decent crowds.
The popular science models put up by these institutions included the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) and Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), among others.
At the exhibition, the display centre of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) was particularly popular, with school students thronging the stall and seeking answers about what caused the Vikram lander to crash during Chandrayaan-2.