Th!nk Lab @ ‘Darpan’

Sensation of Experience sets in when Excitement opens up the doors to Commitment and Eagerness to Explore!
The same happened with us while working for ’Darpan’- The Exhibition at Rajatotsava where we, the Th!nkLab.CUBE family, had a ‘like-never-before’ experience.

For many people, the winning title of "the best exhibit” @ ANDC to Th!nk lab was a wonder moment. But we believe that good luck means hard work.
So where did this wonder come from?

A group of 15-20 students, without any guidance or supervision, who were so naive that they took almost an hour to make out the actual area of the stall to be provided, yes! It was a wonder to make a stall with three fully hand-made walls of exact dimensions.

A bunch of average students, who cannot submit (in my opinion) a class assignment without a few mistakes, prepared 8 scientific poster presentations with an unparalleled confidence. It was a wonder which came about due to the power of a ‘team’.

The wonder would not have been possible if we had professional photographers working with sophisticated lab cameras, the wonder was in the picture clarity of low price phone cameras and live organisms under simple microscopes.
 The wonder was in the eyes of the senior lecturers who found the clips of organisms amazing in spite of working with the same organisms for years!

The wonder was in presenting projects in a dimension of 12×12×12. It was in doing 12 -14 hours work for the exhibition, yet waiting for the next day to work more. The wonder was in doing all we did in less than a week.

The wonder was in our theme “Sophistication lies in the minds, not in the lab!”
All the members came together to work for the stall, expecting absolutely nothing for themselves but definitely having a strong zeal to make the stall best, and more importantly, to win the hearts of every person visiting the stall. Ideas came through each and every member of think lab, some were rejected and others were not, but ultimately we came up with final layout of our stall. One gave an idea and other turned it into reality. We knew, there was a tough competition as each and every exhibit would be one over the other. Fortunately, this never dimmed our enthusiasm, instead encouraged us to work more diligently. As the days of Rajatotsava were coming close, somewhere our team work strengthened more. We learned a lot of new things out of our forte. From art and craft to finance, it was a great management. Probably, it was the result of abiding by our principles of collaborating and never stop learning!
Our themed walls explaining the real taste of science really encouraged people those who visited the stall, no matter from which background or stream they belonged to. A brief description of the three walls goes as follows-

1. The Philosophy wall – so called as it depicted the present condition of science education in India and our approach towards the issue through the concept of think lab, where people discuss their ideas freely and can even work on them within their own capabilities. Quotations from eminent philosophers were depicted. We explained about CUBE ( Collaborative Understanding Biology Education ) which is an open online mailing discussion forum started from HBCSE - TIFR which helps students, professors and scientists from all over the world to get in touch with each other to do science with simple model organism yet solving some of the complex questions in biology .

2.  The Spectrum of organisms- this wall depicted a spectrum of organisms where we showcased our ongoing projects like epigenetically changes in hemoglobin gene of daphnia, regenerative trend in earthworms, the cellulolytic bacterial studies from earthworms, the behavioral changes in C. elegans and others.

3.  Glance @ think lab- third wall presented our journey which started about two years ago on 4 August, 2014. A beautiful collage of various conferences attended, trips to HBCSE, discussions like ‘chai pe charcha’ were made using less resources and more creativity.

The icing on the cake was a minute video of all model organisms we had observed under lab microscope. It attracted not only students but also teachers from many schools and colleges.

To make the stall come alive, we displayed some of our working cultures of earthworms, daphnia, microworms, C. elegans etc. Getting to hear from both scientific and non - scientific (people from non science background) once again made us  believe that living organisms are really fascinating to watch, especially when they are harboured far away from their natural homes or habitats.
This was the first time we got a platform to showcase cube inside our college. Many students and teachers from different departments were not even aware that there is such group in our college.
People from various places like NBRC, AIIMS, JNU, and Ambedkar University were simply impressed to see undergraduates doing such projects without any grants or sophisticated Lab.

The professionalism we showed in preparing the posters and presenting them deserved a big thumbs up. Things worked very well, as people showed extensive togetherness. Those three days in Rajatotsava were like mirror images of what we did in the past two years. The real happiness came when people started appreciating science through the vision of th!nklab.

This exhibition taught us that Science can be presented in a pampered way rather than simply through what is published in posters, papers and pamphlets. Some instances exhausted us to the core, but they tested our patience, the patience to not lose our ideals, the patience to be dedicated, the patience to work together. Yes, it was hard. It was rough too, but in the end, we were all ready to face the questions posed by everyone- from the innocent children to the learned doctorates.
And then a week long tiredness vanished and our faces lit up in just a single moment when our stall was announced best among 19 others demonstrating all the departments and societies of college. Notable thing is, we made science (which is supposed to be for geeks and boring) even more interesting than ‘drama and theatre’. It was magical moment for which we all had been waiting and it made 8 February of 2016, a historical day for all thinkers.
Th!nk Lab