Craig D’Souza | Staff Writer
Combining biotechnology and puzzle-solving, AlignIT gave every participant a chance to put their minds to the test. The event consisted of a single round spread over two days. Each participant was allotted two randomly generated DNA sequences. They had to align these sequences and fill up a blank matrix according to a scoring scheme provided to them. The first to complete their sequence with the correct answer was ultimately declared the winner. As expected, this event needed some quick thinking and was not everyone’s cup of tea, as only a little over 50% of the participants ended up getting the right answer. “I am interested in proteins and biochemistry, so I initially saw this as an opportunity to learn something new. However, when the rules were explained to me, I realised it was more of a newspaper puzzle, something I enjoy solving. The 5 to 6 minutes it took to solve the grid were a tense few minutes as it required some quick math. Kudos to the organisers for such a unique experience,” said Sushant Shekhar, the winner of the event.
“Organising and handling a technical event virtually was challenging for sure, but it only made me grasp the essence of the ‘new normal’ better. It was a good experience—tiring, but fun! ” said Simar Sharma, the event head. The fact that the event was held virtually did affect the turnout, as only one-third of the 30 people that registered ended up making an appearance. However, this neither affected the participants nor the organisers, resulting in the event being a smooth success.
Swastika Shankar | Staff Writer
Bio Debate required budding bio-engineers to think logically and conjure up ideas to solve problems in the field of biology. Biological warfare is fast becoming a grave issue around the world. The first round was mainly aimed at educating participants about bio-weapons, its relevance to the present pandemic, and it’s future in the world of biological warfare in times to come. Keeping this theme in mind, participants debated on biological weapons as a means of security in present times. They were split into two groups and given time to research about the topic. After they were ready with their statements, they presented it in front of everyone on a Zoom meeting. To spice things up, teams were allowed to ask two counter-questions to each participant who put forth ideas.
The second and final round was an interesting take on biological problem solving being done by developing countries. Each finalist was given a second or third-tier country and asked to tackle the problem using their country’s resources. Participants brainstorming ideas to tackle issues gave it a mini-MUN resemblance. After presenting their solutions, the other teams had the opportunity to cross-question them.
“The problem statement was framed in such a way that coming up with a solution would be very tough. But the participants did their research well and came up with feasible solutions,” said Ashish Kumar, an organiser, upon being asked about the final round of the event. All the participants gained a lot of knowledge about the field of biology while having fun and competing amongst themselves at the same time.
Experience the Enigma
Mehr Chawla | Staff Writer
Experience the Enigma, spread over two days, was a murder mystery revolving around an explosion in a laboratory. The event effectively included biotechnology within an intricately woven storyline. The event was conducted on Zoom and had a considerable turnout with as many as 200 teams—of one to three members each—registering for the preliminary round. Teams were asked to join the events based on predefined time slots which ensured the smooth run of the event.
The first round was a quiz that tested the reasoning and basic knowledge of the participants. They were given ten questions pertaining to crime scenes that were presented as riddles along with relevant clues. Teams that solved questions correctly, within the least amount of time, garnered more points and surged ahead of the rest.
Round two gave the teams a taste of the real murder mystery. Owing to the tight competition, a total of thirteen teams were selected for the final round. Every team had to attend two meetings. The first meeting gave them the opportunity to choose any three of the six evidences available and analyse the various possibilities. They also had the option of choosing to listen to call recordings of witnesses. The second meeting gave teams a chance to crack the puzzle as they got to interrogate the ‘suspects’. Organisers of the event had been trained beforehand to play the part of witnesses and suspects.
The team that made the right choices based on their findings scored the most points. The top three winners were selected on the basis of the relevance of their findings, the accuracy of deductions, and their thought process of arriving at conclusions. “The event garnered a lot of appreciation and enthusiasm from all the participants that took part in it,” said Rohitraj Roy, an organizer.
Featured Image Credits: Social Media and Graphics, TechTatva’20