Hello/ नमस्ते/ ہیلو unicellular and multi cellular organisms. This is Sohil Bhatia, a 19 year old art student from Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore, India. Currently in the second year of college and indulging myself in different spheres from art, design and theatre to microbiology.
No wonder my friends call me two faced. Here I am with my second side i.e.science, not too bright but still wavering. I have always been interested in science especially biology but was more inclined towards art so landed up in a design school. It’s been one whole year since I have been off science and surprisingly, even after my horrible scores in 11th and 12th grade, it does not seem like an alien language.
DAY ONE - TWENTY FOURTH MAY, TWO THOUSAND AND ELEVEN
Like I had assumed, the class began with a discussion on what we were on for. Gradually, it grew to some basic learning and research about synthetic biology, DNA, genes, cells et cetera, to wake up the brain cells that’d been off theoretical knowledge for a while. To make the learning part fun, I resorted to interactive cell and DNA models and playing quizzes on the internet. I also looked up some videos that explained with diagrams to make it easier for me to apprehend. I also came across a very well designed ‘drag and drop the cell part’ game.
Later in the day we talked about existence of life that is formless. The rest of the time was spent thinking of a new form of life. These were the ideas I came up with.
1) A living organism that eats the waste protein from the human body resulting in less hair growth.
2) A bacteria that lives on human skin and eats up all the waste excreted there i.e. oil, sweat and salts for it’s survival.
DAY TWO - TWENTY FIFTH MAY, TWO THOUSAND AND ELEVEN
It was DNA extraction day and I was stirred up by the idea of it. But the class began with a presentation by Allison Kudla about her work. Her work exhibit was extremely inspiring and I felt she had done a commendable job by bringing together art(traditional as well as digital), science and technology. To learn more about her work, you could visit www.allisonx.com. After the presentation we got our hands on the test tubes. DNA extraction was as much fun as it sounds.
Materials Required -
1) Salt water
2) Liquid Soap
3) Rubbing alcohol from a medical store
4) Test tube
Steps for DNA extraction-
1) Take some salt water and play with it in your mouth,
2) Spit out in a test tube.
3) Slowly pour some liquid soap along the side of the test tube and let it stay for 2 minutes.
4) Gntly pour 10-12 drops of alcohol in the test tube, again along the side.
5) The translucent white thing gradually rising into the alcohol layer and floating is your DNA.
Subsequently came the time for DNA burial which seemed quite interesting. Considering I come from a Hindu family where a corpse is not buried but burned, I decide to do the same with my DNA. I made a pyre with some dry stems, poured my DNA over it and put it to fire.
DAY THREE - TWENTY SIXTH MAY, TWO THOUSAND AND ELEVEN
The day was inaugurated by itemization of equipment for a microbiology lab. In the process I came across some fancy equipment names and functions. I and two fellow classmates, decided to make the centrifuge. We sat down to sketch our ideas, since most of it had to be made by recycling waste/easily available resources, justifying why we call it the 'Jugaad' lab.
1) Using a mixer grinder or a blender. (mechanical)
2) Using a table fan. (mechanical)
3) Using the chain wheels of bicycles. (manual)
Currently we've planned to work on either of the first two ideas since the RPM achieved by the manual centrifuge won't be as much is required.
Later in the day we started figuring out how to make a stable and user friendly microscope wth an inverted webcam lens. I'm really excited about how the final microscope is going to look as all of us came up with some great concepts as a result of brainstorming,
DAY FOUR - TWENTY SEVENTH MAY, TWO THOUSAND AND ELEVEN
The day began with some serious questions to ponder upon.
What is life according to you?
I feel all things around you that have the potential to be happy, have life.
Do you have the right to modify another living organism?
I have no right to modify and decide the life of a living thing, but I do have the right to do something that might benefit me or even the organism in some ways. And yes, I feel evolution is extremely important for sustenance.
What is design according to you?
Design is the ability to think logically, emotionally and numerically. And the ability to make things simpler/better by using these patterns of thinking.