– By Mohammad Yousuf Mehmood
National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), H-12, Islamabad was host to an event called Science Bee on Saturday, the 22nd of December 2012. Teams from high schools and colleges of Rawalpindi and Islamabad, as well as undergraduate freshmen from NUST and other universities were invited to take part in the competition. This event was organized by NUST Science Society (NSS) and was held at the School of Chemical and Materials Engineering (SCME). The event was coordinated by Misha Mazhar and Syeda Qudsia of NSS. Ali Moeen Nawazish joined the audience as the Chief Guest for the event.
Science Bee was a competition that judged the scientific prowess of competing students in areas of theory and practice. It also tested basic skills like memory and response.
The event began with President of NSS, Sana Jehan Ansari, giving a speech about the curiosity of children and how it gradually decreases as they age. She added that the people who keep that passion for learning burning inside them are the ones that make great strides in the fields of science and technology.
The competition consisted of four rounds, each testing the individual knowledge and team work of the students. All the teams that attended the event were given written questions in the first round, “Mind Buzz”, related to Physics, Chemistry and Analytical thinking. For an hour each team solved a series of questions and the air was dense with whispers of “slight oxidation of alcohols” and “kinetic energy”.
The second round, “Compound Eyes” was a test of students’ memory and ability to absorb and digest information quickly. Four videos were shown to the teams, one at a time, and a questionnaire was given to them to solve for five minutes after each video. The topics that the videos covered ranged from astronomy and biology to astonishing facts about the world which we all inhabit and new developments in the fields of invention and discovery.
“Sting Mode” tested the students’ practical knowledge by giving them an experiment to perform. Provided with just a protractor, a bob and a piece of string, they were to find the height of SCME building.
After all these rounds, teams that performed the best were chosen for final round, the “Rapid Fire” round. The finalists were bombarded with question after question to answer in the smallest amount of time. These ranged from topics like the history of science to new discoveries being made.
Beside all this, the participants were also given the option to take the “Mensa IQ Test” organized by Pakistan Chapter of “Mensa International”, a High IQ Society and the oldest of its kind in the world. Mensa is an organization that recognizes brilliance worldwide regardless of age, creed, caste, colour, religion or class. Its tests consist of pictograms and pattern recognition questions, which are conspicuously missing any language at all, so that the tests are not language biased. The test guarantees automatic membership in the society if a score in the 98th percentile and above is achieved.
After all this the winners were announced. In ascending order, the teams were, Islamabad Model College, CEME, Rawalpindi and SMME NUST, Islamabad. They were presented with cash prizes up to Rs. 9000/- and shields.
The event concluded with Ali Moeen Nawazish, distinguished for his Pride of Performance Award by the Government of Pakistan for the world record he created by achieving 21 A’s, 1 B and 1 C in his A’ Levels, stressing on the participants to recognize the privilege they were born into and the opportunities they had received. He asked them to take full advantage of their talents and use them to benefit their now struggling nation.
– The writer is a Freshman at the School of Chemical and Materials Engineering and is an Executive member of NUST Science Society.
– Pictures by Aunn Raza and Umer Abubakr Malik