Shillong, the Scotland of the east, is always a place of wonder and one of my favourite cities. I was fortunate to participate in ISRO’s YUVIKA 2023. This article is a humble attempt to share this unique experience with the readers.
YUVIKA - Young Scientist Programme,"Yuva Vigyani Karyakram,
It is a special two weeks residential programme that ISRO designed for school children aimed at catching them young. The goal of YUVIKA is to teach young students the fundamentals of space technology, science, and applications.
THE VENUE : North East Space Application Center (NESAC)
It is as pretty as the picture, nestled in the midst of pine forests. YUVIKA students are accommodated in the outreach block which has an academic block and a hostel. I had never ever imagined introducing myself on a mic and it happened. I was caught off guard and messed up on my first opportunity. But what amazed me was that the scientists were way too friendly, interactive and simple in handling things. I have never had an image of any scientist in this way.
The accommodation, stimulating interactions and interesting activities made it a wholesome stay. The lectures about space were fascinating to me to learn about our bright sun,the twinkling stars,our earth, planets, galaxies, and the cosmos which can’t be fitted in this little space.
The Activities & Engagements
Recalling the activities & experiments in which we participated in the programme still excites me. It was made possible with a lot of patience and hardwork of the scientists. They made us work in a new team each day to ensure mingling with all participants.
- ROCKET ACTIVITY : My most favourite activity was Rocket activity that helped me to learn about the insides of a rocket evidently. It was amazing to see our rocket fly high up in the sky. It is clearly a big deal in making an enormous rocket for ISRO.
- SOFT LANDING: The activity on soft landing was spectacular. As they gave us a task of dropping an egg tied with a balloon from a height without breaking. I thought it would break but we were fortunate my team’s egg landed smoothly. It was enthralling to know that we can do awesome things as a team and if we try wholeheartedly and confidently.
- ROBOTICS: We had a complicated robotics activity in which we assembled a joystick control car. The beauty of this car is that it can detect humidity, temperature and air pressure. We saw many magnificent drones which actually can be used for remote sensing.
- GOOGLE EARTH SESSION: This session was informative and we learnt how to see the other planetary surfaces using google earth. It was thrilling to look through a real Telescope but unable to see much as it was a gloomy starless sky.
- 3D TECHNOLOGY : We were also introduced to 3D technology and making our own 3D glasses. The concept of remote sensing balloons helped me relate to the shooting down of a Chinese spy balloon over the arctic ocean by the US army.
- PRESENTATIONS: We were assigned with a team wise project presentation. The topics ranged from birth and evolution of stars, tectonic plates and seismicity,plantation in other terrestrial planets, the red planet, food and space technology, designing of spacesuits and the uses of 2.5D.
- QUIZ : They also conducted a quiz program on space and I was delighted to win the third prize as a team.
This program helped me in many ways –
- Improved my confidence level. My anxiety and stage fear got reduced due to the various presentations in the workshop.
- It made me get obsessed with scientists, stars ,planets, our cosmos & many more! The scientists had guided us entirely throughout the program.
- Space careers are not only about scientists and engineers; we can even become a space artist.
- Made many friends and a lifetime of memories
I also want to share a few tips learnt from the interaction with the scientists.
- They advised us to understand every topic from our school curriculum rather thean rote learning.
- We were told to stop learning for marks and develop interest in science.
- We have to question everything in order to learn and understand our cosmos.
- Read more books on science and space.
Anyone can become a scientist if we have passion, compassion and patience. We need to know more about the universe and its evolution, so that no one can fool us. The space is for everyone.
Even if you are not a scientist you can still appreciate your planet, your neighbouring planets, the shining stars and the Universe. There is always a scope for a career in space science as what we know till now is just a drop in the Ocean.