Delhi school students to attempt record-breaking feat


New Delhi, Dec 5: School students from the national capital will have a date with the Guinness Book on Monday (Dec 7) as they congregate at the IIT Delhi to attempt a world record for conducting ‘the largest practical science laboratory experiment’.

A total of 2,000 science students from Classes XI to XII — 50 each drawn from 40 schools, both government and private — will conduct two science practicals, both related to catalysis, a process which makes chemical reactions faster without any additional input of energy. The process is extensively used in manufacture of some 90 per cent of products that the world uses today.  

The existing record for the largest practical science lesson is held by 1,339 primary school students of Classes VII and VIII from Belfast (Ireland) who participated in a mass chromatography practical. That event, supported and conducted by The Royal Society of Chemistry, London, was conducted at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast on February 24 this year.

This largest-ever science teaching session, along with the practical to be done simultaneously by all the participating students, has been meticulously planned at the five-day India International Science Festival (IISF), which began at the IIT Delhi yesterday.   

The experiment will be preceded by an hour-long lecture by Dr I Anitha, an associate professor of chemistry at Maharaja’s College, Ernakulam, who would teach the theory of catalysis and its uses to the students. After this, Ammu Rosin Jose and Shalini Menon, both CSIR research fellows in the Cochin University of Science & Technology (CUSAT), will demonstrate the practical to be followed by the students on their respective practical tables allotted to them.

Prof K Girish Kumar, senior professor of chemistry in Cochin University of S&T, who is coordinating the mega event, said if the event goes as planned, the students would be breaking not only the Guinness world record, but also that of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Huge screens are being set up for the 2,000 students to follow the teachers who would be directing the practical lessons. Five students will share each table provided with the equipment and chemicals needed for the experiment. There will be 40 stewards to observe students’ work. They will witnesses to affirm that students completed the experiment successfully and report the accomplishment to representatives of the Guinness Book of World Records. 

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