New Delhi: An attempt was made to set a new world record for the largest practical science lesson by 2,000 schoolchildren from Delhi and the NCR region here on Monday.
The event, jointly organised by Vijnana Bharati (VIBHA) and the ministries of Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, at IIT Delhi was held as part of the 5th India International Science Festival (IISF) 2015.
Fifty students of Class 9 to 12 each were drawn from 40 government and private schools to set the Guinness World Record.
Students conducted two science practicals, both related to catalysis, a process that makes chemical reactions faster without any additional input of energy and is extensively used in manufacturing some 90 percent products used in the world today.
A major feature of the exercise was 'Elephant Tooth 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 discolouration of methylene blue by hydrogen peroxide.
Shobit Ranjan, a student from Amity International School, Saket, said: "After a demonstration was given to us, we completed the experiment within 5 minutes. It's a different thrill to take part in such events and conduct experiments on our own."
Jyoti Francis, a physics teacher from Salwan Public School,Delhi, said this would encourage girls to enter the field of science. "Such experiments should be demonstrated in the schools as well."
On the occasion, union Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani said efforts were required for similar festivals in all states, and hoped a bigger attempt would be made in the capital in about six months to set the world record of 'The Largest Practical Science Lesson'.
"Hopefully, 6-7 months down the line, we would be able to make even a bigger attempt at the world record by assembling 20,000 students at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Delhi," she said while addressing the schoolchildren at the IIT Delhi.
The existing world record is held by a group of 1,339 Irish school pupils for mass chromatography practical.
Union Science and Technology and Earth Sciences Minister Harsh Vardhan and Vijnana Bharati (VIBHA) president Vijay P. Bhatkar also attended the event.
A. Jayakumar, secretary general of VIBHA, said the experiment was conducted in a glitch-free manner.
"All students conducted the experiment successfully. We will be sending the result to the Guinness Book this evening (Monday). Hopefully, the results will be declared by 12th or 13th," Jayakumar told IANS.
"It sends a message to the entire science community in the world that India can do so much more in the field of Science and Technology. It's an eye opener to the government as well. Through such attempts, students from every district in India will be excited to come forward and join science," he said.
The largest practical science lesson before this event was conducted at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast, capital city of Northern Ireland, on February 24 this year.