Outreach#5: St Xavier’s College (Autonomous), Mumbai

Date: 3rd Apr 2019
Place: Geology Postgraduate Lab, St Xavier’s College (Autonomous), Mumbai
Number of participants: 20
After almost an year of working on the DBT – Prakash Lab India Foldscope Phase 1 project, we managed to conduct a Foldscope workshop on our home ground at St Xavier’s. The students had got to work with the Foldscope at various points in their regular practicals or as part of the Honours project, but the teachers were all very curious about it. So, when we finally got down to organizing the session, we had participation from not just from biological science teachers (Botany, Life Science & Biochemistry, Zoology), but also those from Geology, Chemistry, Statistics, Mathematics and even Mass Media, Psychology, Anthropology and Sociology! Right at the outset, we would like to express our sincere gratitude to our Principal, Dr Rajendra Shinde, and Vice Principal (Science), Dr Hrishikesh Samant, for extending their cooperation and constant encouragement in all our ventures, Foldscope and otherwise. Special thanks are due to Dr Samant for loan of the Geology post graduate lab for conducting the workshop and for the highlight of the session – the polarizer effect with the Foldscope.

Despite the end semester paper corrections going on, all teachers patiently sat through and thoroughly enjoyed the session. As one of them said, “It reminds me of my school days, playing with paper, origami and childhood curiosity!” The teachers assembled the Foldscope and prepared their own slides (a first for many after their school days) of leaf, flower, water and mineral samples. With childlike enthusiasm they ooh-ed and aah-ed as they viewed their samples through the Foldscope. The loudest WOW! was elicited for Dr Samant who whisked out a small sheet of polarizing paper and held it against the Foldscope lens to turn a bland Pyroxene (augite) crystal into a colourful rainbow! The session ended on a very joyous note with the exam correction stress all gone and certificates and Foldscope kits distributed to the participants.

Special thanks to Siddhi and Infant, students of the Life Science dept, for assisting with the workshop.

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