A website by science enthusiasts gains traction during the lockdown

If it’s Comet Neowise that enthuses Padmasree, an engineering pupil from Thiruvananthapuram, Keerthana Vengatesan, an undergraduate pupil in arithmetic from Attur, is fascinated by the size of a lightning bolt. Neha P, a physics graduate from Bengaluru, is obsessive about black holes, whereas Indhirakumar Balakrishnan, a biotechnologist from Namakkal, has gone deep into the meals habits of tribesmen in the Kalahari desert.

They are amongst 100-plus science enthusiasts who type the spine of the portal shasthrasnehi.com. The pandemic-induced lockdown has seen the formation of a number of on-line communities and this science portal is amongst them. Within two months or so, the discussion board has emerged as a rising neighborhood of science buffs unfold throughout India.

“A group of us had attended a course on astrophysics and cosmology conducted by Amateur Astronomers Organisation (AASTRO) in Thiruvananthapuram in 2018. We kept in touch and used to hold discussions and interactions that eventually resulted in the launch of a science blog in Malayalam. We shifted to English to make it accessible to non-Malayali friends. During the lockdown we shared articles among our network of friends and that did wonders. The write-ups were widely read and when more people joined the group we launched the website in May,” says Arun S, a physics graduate and co-founder of the discussion board.

Among those that contribute articles on the web page are college and faculty college students, graduates and postgraduates, engineers, researchers, lecturers, scientists and expertise consultants. Anand Narayanan, affiliate professor, Department of Earth and Space Science, Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology, is the useful resource individual. Co-founders of the web page are Abhijith Prakash Mangattu, presently working with the Ministry of Education in the UAE and Sreebala PS, closing yr undergraduate pupil in Physics at St John’s College, Kollam.

Keeping it easy

“Our motto is ‘Science for Society’. So we convey scientific information in simple language and try to avoid all jargon. Whenever our members come across a scientific fact or development in a journal or any platform, they write on that topic in a way that can be understood by all,” says Arun. The articles, vetted by the editorial board, fall beneath classes akin to expertise, normal science, area science, earth science, chemistry, arithmetic and puzzles and life sciences. The staff maintains the website and designs pictures for the articles. Writers themselves can select the matter and are anticipated to provide at the least one article per 30 days.

The staff provides that the discussion board has been appreciated by scientists and consultants from different international locations. Arun cites an article by Suad Kadeem Khan on historical crocodiles that walked like dinosaurs. Suad, pursuing BSc Biotechnology in UAE, had primarily based her piece on the findings of Anthony Romilio, a palaeontologist and analysis affiliate at The University of Queensland. “When we contacted the University to give us permission to use the images, they wanted to know the reason for our request. Once we explained the mission of the forum, Dr Anthony himself mailed us and allowed us to use the images. They have extended their support for our website,” says Arun.

The website shasthrasnehi.com gives updates about upcoming space events such as the launch of NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter

The website shasthrasnehi.com offers updates about upcoming area occasions akin to the launch of NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter
| Photo Credit:

While the ‘one-minute read’ part is widespread, many observe the science calendar as nicely. The latter offers details about vital scientific occasions scheduled each month. For instance, programmes like the area stroll and launch of NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter, which could be watched reside on the web page of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), have a eager following. Lecture collection have additionally been a success, particularly the one on astrophotography by Abhijith. Shastrasnehi, which means ‘science lover’, has additionally began ‘Children’s weblog’ for college college students to submit their articles.

Audio interviews with eminent scientists/researchers and a YouTube channel are in the pipeline. The staff plans to achieve out to kids in tribal areas as nicely. “We will soon launch Sisterblogs, where members can write in their own regional language. Looking ahead, we hope to reach 1,000 members in a couple of years, including enthusiasts from across the world. We also want to highlight scientific research in India and throw light on achievements of scientists in the country,” Arun says.

To develop into a member, contact [email protected] or 97465 20118 (WhatsApp).

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