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The Salters’ Chemistry Camp – Department of Chemistry

The Department of Chemistry celebrated MIT’s Diamond Jubilee by organizing “The Salters’ Chemistry Camp”. It was a three-day residential camp organized for approximately sixty students studying in the ninth grade (14-15 years of age) in Government schools. Various programmes such as practical activities, chemical demonstrations, and fun lectures delivered in local languages were organized for them. The programme also enabled them to socialise with like-minded students.

The Salters’ Institute undertakes an exciting project – working with the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) – to deliver a joint five-year “Inspirational Chemistry Programme” in India. This project has been sponsored by Yusef Hamied – a leading Indian philanthropist and pioneer in the pharmaceutical industry – with the hope to enhance the skills and knowledge of Indian Chemistry teachers, inspire students to study Chemistry at University by applying their own expertise in education, and combining this with the experience of partners in India.

This camp is usually conducted in association with premier educational institutions of our country like IISc, IISER, NIT, etc. Now, for the first time, the Royal Society of Chemistry (UK) associated with Manipal University to conduct this camp – which is the second Salters’ Camp in Karnataka after the one in IISc.

Seventy students from various schools of Udupi district participated in the programme. Before the hands-on experiments, the students were educated on laboratory safety. The experiments included Forensic Challenge, Slime, Colour Creation, Crystallization, Clock Reaction, and Hydrogel Investigation. The Forensic Challenge experiment was conducted to detect the chemicals present in materials collected from a crime scene.

Along with the practical sessions, the students had the opportunity to listen and interact with eminent scientists of Chemistry. Dr. Nithyananda Shetty from the Department of Chemistry (NITK, Surathkal) exemplified the complicated theoretical aspects of Chemistry and mentioned the importance of thinking out of the box to face challenges and innovate new findings. Dr. B S Sherigara, former Vice-Chancellor of Kuvempu University mentioned serendipity in science and explained the importance of developing analytical thinking in daily activities. Both the speakers made a marked impact on the young minds and motivated them to take up Science, and Chemistry in particular as their future course.

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