Science Express Details
Ministry of Railways has decided to run Science Express an exhibition special train in favour of the Ministry of Science and Technology. Following are the details.
Science Express is a flagship programme of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India. It is an innovative mobile science exhibition mounted on a 16 coach AC train, travelling across India since October 2007. Since then, it has made eight tours of the country, travelling about 1,53,000 km and exhibiting at 495 locations. Over its 1712 exhibition days, Science Express received an overwhelming response and 1.64 crore, visitors. Science Express has become the largest, the longest-running and the most visited mobile science exhibition and has twelve entries in the Limca Book of Records.
Science Express Phase I to IV showcased cutting-edge research in Science and Technology being carried out worldwide. Phase V to VII was based on the theme of biodiversity and as ‘Science Express Biodiversity Special (SEBS)’, it showcased the rich biodiversity of India and its conservation measures. Phase VIII as ‘Science Express Climate Action Special (SECAS)’ highlighted the global challenge of climate change.
The current ninth phase of the Science Express as SECAS II was flagged off on 17 February 2017 from Delhi Safdarjung Railway Station by Shri Suresh Prabhu, Minister of Railways; Dr Harsh Vardhan, Minister of Science and Technology and Earth Sciences; and Late Shri Anil Madhav Dave, Minister of State (I/C) for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India. The current tour of SECAS is scheduled from 17 February to 8 September 2017, during which it will be exhibited at 68 stations across India, covering 19000 km. SECAS is focusing on Climate Change and Science and Technology. The exhibition conveys a message about Climate Change and is also a good opportunity to generate dialogue and discussion.
The SECAS II is a unique collaborative initiative of Department of Science and Technology (DST), Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Railways, Government of India; Wildlife Institute of India (WII) and Vikram A Sarabhai Community Science Centre (VASCSC).
Climate Change is an important environmental issue, with many short terms and long term impacts. From shifting weather patterns that threaten food production, to rising sea levels that increase the risk of catastrophic flooding, the impacts of climate change are not just global in scope and unprecedented in scale but they also more severely affect the poor and marginalized people. However, there is very little understanding of climate change and its impacts. The state-of-the-art exhibition on board the SECAS aims to create awareness among various sections of society as to how climate change can be combated through mitigation and adaptation.
The Paris Agreement entered into force on 4 November 2016. The Paris Agreement’s central aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change and to strengthen the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change. The first session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA 1) took place in Marrakech in November 2016. The Conference successfully demonstrated to the world that the implementation of the Paris Agreement is underway and the constructive spirit of multilateral cooperation on climate change continues. Science Express, redesigned as SECAS, intends to contribute towards increasing understanding of the science of climate change, the observed and anticipated impacts, and different possible responses. The previous 3 phases of Science Express were rolled out as a joint initiative of DST and MoEFCC as Biodiversity Special and showcased the myriad biodiversity of India. Thus it was rational to shift the focus to the theme ‘Climate Change’ as it will affect the biodiversity of not just India but the entire globe as well.
Of the 16 coaches of SECAS, exhibition in 8 coaches put up by MoEFCC, is exclusively devoted to information, case studies and material related to various aspect of Climate change, the underlying science, impacts, adaptation activities, mitigation solutions and policy approaches in a manner that is easy to understand and interesting for not just school students but also the masses. In the rest of the rake, there are exhibits and activities put up by DBT and DST.
The broad theme covered in each exhibition coach is as follows:
- Coach 1
- Understanding Climate Change – Insights in the climate as a system, the greenhouse gas effect and the underlying reasons for climate change with the key message that the current change in the climate is due to human activities.
- Coach 2:
- Impact of Climate Change – How temperature rise, monsoon variations, sea-level rise are predicted to affect vital sectors like water, agriculture, forests and biodiversity, and human health and ways to reduce these.
- Coach 3 and 4:
- Adaptation – Concepts of adaptation and examples from day to day life, adaptation strategies and stories from the field. Adaptation options in urban and rural contexts and the adaptation actions India is taking.
- Coach 5 and 6:
- Mitigation – Concept and definition with examples, emphasis on restoring balance, enhancing sinks and reducing emission through Renewable Energy (RE) technologies. Various programmes implemented by India and low carbon strategies and an ambitious goal to increase RE footprint.
- Coach 7:
- International Negotiations for Climate Change – Introduction to UNFCCC, IPCC and internationally agreed on action and targets. Explaining the concept of equity and common but differential responsibility, the Kyoto protocol and other key outcomes of major COP, Paris Agreement, etc.
- Coach 8:
- Positive Actions – What can one do at school, on roads, at home and in offices and focus on the concept of lifestyle choices with the key message ‘Increase your Handprint. Decrease your Footprint’.
- Coach 9 and 10:
- The exhibition put up by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India, covering themes like Biotechnology for bioresources and nature conservation with emphasis on Tiger Conservation and Chemical Ecology and India’s research and development initiatives in the field of Biotechnology.
- Coach 11:
- The exhibition put up by the National Innovation Foundation (NIF) showcasing select innovations, demonstrating the ingenuity of common people and an innovative project which uses augmented reality techniques. Also, an exhibition on themes like Innovations in SandT, Science Education, Technological solutions for societal development, etc.
- Coach 12:
- A Kids Zone is set up for children from Std. 5 and below to participate in fun-filled activities, games and puzzles in science, mathematics and environment.
- Coach 13:
- The Joy of Science (JOS) Hands-on Lab in this coach is a space where students from Std. 6-10 can perform experiments and activities to understand concepts in environment, science and mathematics in an interesting manner. A training facility is also set up for orientation of teachers here.
Solar panels have been installed on the rooftop of Science Express coaches 11-13, as a collaborative effort of DST and CEL, for harnessing solar energy. At each halt of SECAS, activities are planned to engage visitors across different age groups to reinforce its message. An exciting and much sought-after Outreach Programme is also conducted in local schools/institutions along with activities on the railway platforms. In addition, informative take-away material is made available for wider distribution amongst schools and visitors.
DST has entrusted Vikram A Sarabhai Community Science Centre (VASCSC), Ahmedabad with the task of managing the SECAS across India. VASCSC’s team of qualified, trained and highly motivated Science Communicators travelling with the train explain and interpret the exhibition, answers queries, facilitate the visitors and conduct complementary activities.
The exhibition is open to all but primarily targets students and teachers. More information is available on the website www.sciencexpress.in. For visit to the exhibition or any queries, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the team aboard the train on 09428405407. School students can participate in the JOS Lab in small batches of up to 20 students, by prior registration.
Team-SECAS solicits cooperation from all the concerned departments, media, institutions and individuals in giving wider publicity to this prestigious exhibition-on-wheels so that a large number of visitors are benefited.