Year 2015 saw India striding into the Guinness Book: for ‘the largest practical science lesson’. Conducted by 2,000 school students from Delhi and the National Capital Region as part of India International Science Festival at IIT Delhi in December, the feat bettered the existing world record in the category set by a group of 1,339 Irish school pupils.
“The largest practical science lesson is 2,000 participants, achieved by Vijnana Bharati (India), in Delhi, India, on 7 December 2015. Participants worked in small teams to complete experiments as part of the lesson that focused on catalysts, the Guinness Book mentioned on its website.
The 2,000 school students of the 9th to 12th standard — 50 each drawn from 40 schools, both government and private — participated in the 65-minute-long programme. Prof. K. Girish Kumar of Cochin University of Science and Technology in Kerala conceptualised the experiments and led the team conducting the session.
A major feature of the exercise was ‘Elephant Tooth Paste Experiment’ in which hydrogen peroxide underwent catalytic decomposition in the presence of iodide, resulting in the liberation of a large amount of oxygen and foaming up to resemble a giant toothpaste being squeezed. The other experiment was discoloration of methylene blue by hydrogen peroxide.
The event was conducted under the close scrutiny of three independent observers— Mr Dharmendra Kumar, Senior Police Commissioner, Delhi; Mr Arup Kumar Mishra, Director, Assam State Council for Science and Technology; and Prof. Akhil Ahamed, former Vice Chancellor, Mysore University. Also, there were 40 stewards, whose task was to affirm that students did complete the experiment successfully.
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