Written by Ajinkya Kawale
BASED ON subjects such as artificial intelligence (AI) and neuroscience, astronomy, life sciences and others, the India Science Festival 2020 commenced at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune, on Saturday.
The two-day programme has been organised by Aspiring Minds in association with academic partner, Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute at Harvard University, and includes experiments, discussions and seminars from various scientists.
Varun Aggarwal, co-founder of Aspiring Minds, said he was hopeful of engaging scientists in a variety of policy discussions and making connections for future collaborations.
At one of the exhibition centres, Saurabh Chandra, co-founder of an autonomous industrial vehicle manufacturer, Ati Motors, said the Indian industry was interested in implementing self-driving technology.
“The vehicle functions in Indian industry conditions like rough areas, bad lighting, indoor and outdoor spaces. Our first commercial deployment is for a company in Chennai where the vehicle will be used to move trolleys weighing 700 kg for half a kilometre every day.”
Aman Aggarwal, a PhD student from the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bengaluru, presented an experiment on the response of motor neurons of genetically modified flies to a change in temperature.
“We examine these experiments to understand the importance of neurons and by looking at a smaller part of the brain, we could know how they modify the behaviour of an organism.”
Jerry Tan, managing director of Lattel robotics, a Singapore-based AI robotics education company, said he intended to promote the learning of science and technology among the students of India.
“I want more students to learn about AI and its application. Students can develop algorithms and solve problems in the environment.”
One of the speakers at the festival, Pawan Sinha, a professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), said there was an example of merging basic science and societal service.
Sinha was present to discuss ‘Project Prakash: Merging science and service’.