Celebrate the scientist in you with two exciting DIYs
Imagine being a part of a mission that will script the history of a nation. What if you were a part of a team of top scientists and researchers, secretly executing this mission. Doesn’t this sound like the storyline of a spy thriller? Wait! This is the true story of India’s Operation Shakti or Pokhran – II, which was launched on May 11, 1998.
The country’s top notch scientists and researchers put in their heart and soul for the success of this ambitious project. Operation Shakti was the brainchild of former president late Dr APJ Abdul Kalam and his team of prolific scientists, including Dr Rajagopala Chidambaram, K Santhanam, Dr Anil Kakodkar, M S Ramakumar, S K Sikka, Dr D D Sood, G Govindrajan, S K Gupta among others.
May 11, 1998, is an important day in the history of science and technology in India, as it marked three remarkable events that put India on the global map, as one of the tech-empowered nations in the world.
The three defining events are:
Shakti or Pokhran II was an experiment launched to test India’s nuclear power. A series of five nuclear tests were conducted in Pokhran, Rajasthan. These experiments resulted in India becoming the sixth nuclear country in the world.
Hansa-3, an aircraft built by the National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL), was successfully test flown in Bangalore. It was the first indigenously built aircraft in the country, making way to become self-sustained in the field of aeronautical sciences.
Trishul: A full-range guided flight of Trishul-a missile developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)-was successfully test fired on this day. It was one of the Navy’s first anti-sea skimming missile.
Given these successes in the field of technology, May 11 was declared as the National Technology Day by former Prime Minister late Atal Bihari Vajpayee. He envisioned this day to ‘symbolize the quest for scientific inquiry, technological creativity and translation of that quest in the integration of Science, Society and Industry.’ The Indian government celebrates this day by awarding innovations by individuals and industries in the field of science and technology every year, since then.
Now that you know the story behind the historic May 11, you may wonder as students, what could you do? Perhaps, celebrate science in everyday life.
This National Technology Day, let the scientist in you bloom! We have two Do It Yourself (DIY) experiments for you. We’re sure these experiments will pique your curiosity and teach you a lesson or two in science.
DIY Experiment: Hot and Cold Air Experiment
Grades: 4 – 8
- Two wide mouth containers
- A two-litre plastic bottle with a narrow mouth
- Lukewarm water
- Ice cubes
- Cold water
- A balloon
How to do it?
- Fill one container with lukewarm water and the other with cold water (add ice cubes to the container).
- Now, blow and stretch the balloon and place it on the mouth of the bottle.
- Place the bottle with the balloon in the lukewarm water container and observe for a minute. You’ll see that the balloon begins to inflate with hot air.
- Remove the bottle from the lukewarm water container and put it in the cold water container. Observe it for a minute and you’ll see that the balloon begins to deflate and contract to its original state.
- Repeat steps 3 and 4 and observe the balloon inflate and deflate.
Science Behind the Experiment
The plastic bottle contains air in the form of gases. Gases expand when they’re warm. The heat acts as the energy that expands the gases and makes it dense. As a result, the balloon inflates. Similarly, gases contract in cold surroundings. The cool air doesn’t have much energy so it contracts the air, making it less dense. Hence, the balloon deflates. Dense gases always float on top of less dense gases. This is how parachutes work. Dense hot air in the parachute balloon makes it float in cooler air.
DIY Experiment: The Sound Wave Experiment
Grade: 9 – 12
- A wooden ruler
- Two different size spoons
- A four-feet-long woolen string
How to do it?
- Create a loop in the middle of the woolen string and insert the spoon in the loop.
- Gently pull the loop so that the spoon hangs in the centre and you have equally long strings on either side. Place the spoon such that it hangs just below your waist.
- Now, wrap both ends of the string on your index finger and place them near your ears. The set up looks like you’re about to plug them into your ears.
- Gently hit the hollow part of the spoon with the ruler (ask your siblings or parents to help you with this). Then, you’ll hear the sound waves.
- You can experiment further by hitting the spoon harder to hear it louder.
Science Behind the Experiment
When you hit the spoon with the ruler, it vibrates, creating sound waves. These waves travel up the woolen string all the way to your ears. Here, the woolen sting acts as a conductor (it’s an object that allows sound to pass through it easily). The wool allows for the continuity of the sound waves, which creates reverberation. That’s why, you continue to hear the sound for a little longer after hitting the spoon.
Let us know in comments about your experience in doing these DIYs. Are you curious to know more about these topics? Watch the videos given below to get a better understanding:
Charu, a feminist and an accidental writer, is yet to master the art of writing about herself. Always curious to learn new stuff, she ends up spending a lot of time unlearning the incorrect lessons. She enjoys all sorts of stories – real, fictional, new, old, hers and would love hearing yours too. Feel free to ping her at firstname.lastname@example.org to share anything that you think is worth sharing.