On January 17, 2014, five of us students from eighth grade (Dhruv, Sahithi, Tarang, Vishwa, Rishub) participated in the’2nd Edition of the Prize of the Apprentice Scientist
‘. named after the book written by a French researcher, Nicole Ostrowsky. The competition took place at Pondicherry. This was a National-level science competition where groups of eighth graders from all over India came to participate. This competition was organized by “Lycee Francias de Pondicherry”, a French international school in Pondicherry. The Elimination Round took place in 9 different Cities Including Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata, Kerala, Pondicherry and many more. From each of these cities 3 Teams qualify to the Finals with 2 extra from Pondicherry where the finals are held. The Finals are held at the French School “Lycee Francais De Pondicherry”.
At 10:30, the competition began. We were given a total of three hours to complete. 12 experiments, something hard for even a group of 5 to do (actually, none of us noticed anyone finish on time; they gave 10 extra minutes, and even so, we barely finished with those extra minutes). We got a booklet with some papers (our experiments, with questions we had to answer in a grid-ish notebook), some other items on our table (with little space to spare), and, that’s it! We were set… (hopefully)
The first half of the experiments were the simpler ones, mostly on plane mirrors simple properties of light such as light travels in a straight line. They took little time, compared to the rest. We had quickly just done it (sounds like Nike – just do it). Those questions took nearly 2 pages, not at all half of the booklet.
Experiment 7 might have been the longest, or second longest. Tarang worked on that- lets just say that Tarang spent a ton of time, easily longer than half the time. The instructors who walked alone around paid special attention to this one (and our dissection – I’ll get that later), and checked our teamwork (We think we lost a few marks there).
Experiments till 12 had more or less optics, lenses and how eyes work (dissection of a sheep’s eye perfect (and one of the few, if not the only one, to get it so), credit to Rishub, according to Dhruv, who helped him). Lenses: graphs, grids, plans, scales to which we had to experiment them with.
We didn’t get any light bulbs or flash lights, just a candle and a point source (DIY with a red white board marker – not exactly the laser pointer).
The most challenging one might have been the last.
The practical (everyone who tried to study was sorely disappointed) competition was over.
After lunch, we all gathered for the prize ceremony. They had invited the governor of Pondicherry, the council general from France, the director of Anna University and many more. First there were a few speeches by these dignitaries. After that came the much awaited awards ceremony!
We won the second prize. It was just a wonderful and thrilling experience!