Applications close on January 31st, 2024     |     The online aptitude test for the Lodha Genius Programme is scheduled for February 3, 2024.

Science Project Presentation at Ashoka Lodha Genius Programme

I had earlier written about starting at the Ashoka University campus as part of the Lodha Genius Programme (LGP). The last 2 weeks were by far the most hectic — but also the best. With the month-long summer school coming to an end, we were torn between rushing to finish our final projects and maximising time with friends. Out of the 6 Science projects we were offered, I chose to take part in Quantitative (Computational) Biology and Science Communication.

In Quantitative (Computational) Biology, my Pod, the Quant Squad, worked on ‘Fish Speciation and Evolution of a Surviving Species Into Another Through Change in Food Consumed’. We studied whether or not it was possible for a species to evolve into another entirely, and go extinct itself, with the help of a computational model that was designed from scratch. Through the classes we had with Prof. Sugat Dabholkar and Prof. Sudipta Tang, we learned a new programming language called the Net Logo, which was designed by Northwestern University. The model we created showed that the bi-directional evolution and speciation would ensure that no species of fish went extinct. I had fun answering questions at the end of our presentation.

My second project, Science Communication (SciComm), was about explaining misconceptions regarding Blackholes to middle schoolers. Our group initially wanted to explain concepts regarding black holes, but then realised during our research that there were lots of areas that we couldn’t determine as true or false as high schoolers ourselves. With guidance from Prof. Siddharth Kankaria, we decided to present misconceptions of black holes as a comparison of the views held by middle schoolers versus high schoolers. First, we sent out an 11-question MCQ survey to middle schoolers to understand whether or not they thought certain misconceptions about black holes were true. Subsequently, for high schoolers (other LGP participants), our group incorporated the questionnaire in the format of a game show and got their responses during our presentation. To explain the misconceptions, we also compiled a video with interviews we had taken with Dr Priyamvada Natarajan, who wonderfully clarified a few of them. For the remaining misconceptions, our group explained these to the LGP audience in person. The interactive method of presentation helped us engage the audience and made it a more enjoyable experience for all.

We spent long hours debating over the best presentation techniques and worked well into the night in the library. It was a bit of a struggle coordinating timings with all group members, but all of us showed surprising resilience and determination. All projects that were presented in the last 2 days had fantastic presentation quality and extremely confident speakers. The Closing Ceremony which was held afterwards was incredibly bittersweet, and I will be writing more about it and my experience in my next post.