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CATALYSIS- the Biochemical Society

It has been 30 years since the Department of Biochemistry, Sri Venkateswara College sent out their first batch of undergraduates into the world of scientific research and opportunities. This academically fulfilling journey for both teachers and students has made us teachers realize the importance of inculcating in students the ability to think beyond the curriculum; towards implementing classroom teaching to real life situations. Our focus on education has never been pure academics, in fact our strength lies in sensitizing our students to global challenges and inspiring them to ideate innovative solutions for improving the quality of life. This thought was the breeding ground for the genesis of ‘CATALYSIS’, the Biochemical society of Sri Venkateswara College in the year 2004. As is apparent from its name the society aims at catalysing the young minds of students to imagine, create and ideate innovative thoughts and put them into action. The society has played a pivotal role in providing a platform for students to express, explore and experience the joy of science. These 3 E’s are fulfilled through a variety of programs undertaken annually under the aegis of Catalysis.

The first edition of catalysis was highlighted with a one day symposium and exhibition called “Ayurveda to Nanaotechnology” in which eminent scientists were invited for talks and students were encouraged to present papers and posters in an inter-college competition. This paved the way for the years ahead and now invited lectures, exhibitions and Panel discussions are a few of the many annual events organized under the Catalysis banner.

In the year 2005, the Society released its first magazine aptly named ‘EXPRESSIONS’. This annual departmental magazine is a unique blend of scientific information and creativity and serves to encourage the literary abilities in students. Since its inception, the magazine has always been theme based and works towards highlighting the important aspects, information, advances and impact of a particular scientific topic. The student editorial board with the guidance of some teachers edit articles from both students and staff. One important feature presented in the magazine is an interview conducted by students on an eminent personality. The magazine also serves as a yearbook showcasing the events held in the department in the past 12 months.

The year 2010 saw the launch of the annual inter-college competition ‘AMALGAM’. This team event as is evident by its name is not a simple quiz competition but a ‘mixed -bag event’ that focuses on judging the on-the-spot problem solving, conceptual understanding, critical and analytical thinking abilities of the participants. The nature of the questions asked are multi and interdisciplinary and thus encourages the participants to think with a holistic and integrative approach. The 3-4 hr long final event, for only 6 teams who have cleared an MCQ based preliminary test, has multiple rounds which include Pictionary, dumb charades, Mad-ads, connecting the dots and Who-dun-it – all with a scientific twist to it apart from some pure science rounds. The idea behind this competition is to make students release that science and logical thought is not boring but fun and enjoyable. The same year also saw the inauguration of the wall magazine which is a pictorial representation of a particular theme on a poster board.

2017 was a busy year for Catalysis and 3 new ideas were initiated. One was the annual Alumni lecture series titled ‘Career Crossroads’ during which 2-3 department alumni are invited to discuss their career paths and counsel students towards future opportunities. Another was the theme-based photography competition and the selected photographs are published in the magazine.

The third is ‘MINDSPAR’ the ideathon event that provides a platform to students wherein they can present, project and defend innovative solutions to societal problems with respect to their scientific, ecological and commercial viability. The genesis of Mindspar was in tune with the changing pattern of education, where we felt the need to introduce an event that connects Science education to the Reality of the society around us. The current buzzword is ‘Innovation’ and the young minds uncluttered with straitjacketed thoughts are the best place to tap for innovative ideas Science has leapfrogged from discovery to invention to innovation. And this much-flogged word “innovation” itself needs a rethink. Yes, everyone would agree that reinventing the wheel is a bad and wasteful idea, but changing the wheel to suit the changes in society is innovation; as exemplified by the snow tyres. Similarly, discarding some tried and tested processes in society and science as being outdated may not be such a good idea, viewing them under the innovation lens could promote changes that could lead to an evolution in process that is beneficial to society.

The department has therefore now expanded its view on education and gone way beyond the simple academic confines of a syllabus, to undertaking co- academic activities that not only help provide the students with a multi and interdisciplinary outlook on ‘Self, Society and Science’, but also makes learning an experience to cherish and enjoy.

Meet Our Team

President: Rhythm Bharti Vice President: Hrithik Kumar Secretary 1: Khushboo Arora Secretary 2: Ayushree Shekar Treasurer 1: Kriti Gupta Treasurer 2: Nandika Sahani Chief- Editor: Subhro Basu Mind Spar In Charge: Saruby Sharma Amalgam In Charge: Satyakam Sharma Wall Magazine In Charge: Smriti Raina

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Alumni talk with SHIVA SRIRAM, batch 2014 on ‘ Bridging the gap between science and industry’