December 16, 2011
School of Engineering, Coimbatore
With the environmental crisis in the world today, the search is on for a clean source of energy. Fuel cells generate electricity quietly and efficiently, without dangerous emissions. These convert chemical energy from a fuel into electricity via chemical reactions.
Research is ongoing world-wide to see if fuel cells may provide a viable long-term solution. At Amrita’s Coimbatore campus also, several projects were initiated. The Department of Sciences in collaboration with the Department of Chemical Engineering and Material Sciences is working on a cheaper alternative to the Nafion membrane currently used in fuel cells.
Faculty members and students from the Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering are examining fuel cells for use with windmills. A student of Mechanical Engineering is working on the channeling of flow within a fuel cell.
Details of these projects were explained to nearly 250 enthusiastic students who came from 20 high schools in Tamil Nadu to participate in the two-day Science Awareness Camp, Vigyan, at Amrita’s Coimbatore campus, during December 2-3, 2011.
“The goal of our camp was to provide an exposure to the fascinating world of science and technology,” stated Dr. Prasanna Ramani, Assistant Professor, Department of Sciences, who convened the camp.
“We also wanted students to understand that science is the base of engineering,” he added.
Further reiterating these points, Dr. M. P. Chandrasekharan, Dean, School of Engineering, who spoke at the inauguration, said, “The sciences form the foundations of any technology. Without a thorough understanding of the concepts of science, no progress can be made in technology.”
“Ignoring the basic sciences is akin to laying a weak foundation for a structure, which would result in the collapse of the structure eventually,” added Dr. N. S. Pandian, Dean, Postgraduate Programs, who also spoke.
Smt. Geeta Varadan, Director, Advanced Data Processing Research Institute, ISRO, who inaugurated the camp highlighted various technological advancements that have transformed human life in recent years and pointed out that these were made possible by basic research in the sciences.
During the two camp days, students interacted with experts and participated in several hands-on demos and experiments. Dr Harish of IIT Madras explained concepts of basic physics in the areas of optics, electricity and magnetism. Dr. Abraham John S. from Gandhigram Rural University, Dindigul, spoke about Chemistry in Daily Life: Challenges.
Participating students didn’t just listen to the experts, they shared their knowledge as well, through 28 project and 18 poster presentations. The best presentations received awards.
“Vigyan 2011 provided very good inspiration for school students,” shared Ms. Imayatharasi, teacher from Setupati Higher Secondary School in Madurai, who accompanied her students to the Amrita campus.
“The demos and talks were highly informative,” she added.