National Science Day 2021

On the special occasion of National Science Day 2021, The Science Paradox brings to you two thrilling contests:

  1. Sci-Art contest: 2020 2.0
  2. Sci-fi writing contest: Twist-The-Tail

2020.20 : Sci-art contest

This contest brings science and art together by challenging the contestants to come up with creative, unique, and contextual art pieces. Looking at the 2021 theme of “Future of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI)” from a slightly different perspective, we encourage the contestants to imagine how STI could have rendered a better 2020 for the world.

2020 is your canvas, Science is your palette, and Creativity is your brush. Curate your version of how the past year could have fared better in a scientific sense.

Winner (Critic’s Choice): Jayakrishnan Nair

 

The dark background represents the reality of 2020 and the glow of the painting represents the 2020 version 2.0. The year 2020, had been a year of dropped plans, shocking reality, unexpected falls, nightmares which ultimately led to depression and anxiety for a lot many people across the globe,

The painting illustrates a human controlling his brain from a neuroscience perspective.

The guitar is represented as a neuron, sending musical notes as neurotransmitters is a representation of positive thoughts controlling the brain; and helping in keeping the person calm which is represented with a bluish glow!!!

The orientation of the complex DNA is the representation of the complex life that can easily orient with a calm mind with an ever-flowing stream of positive thoughts!!!

.  .  .

Winner (Popular Choice): Sushant Navarat

 

 

Geology & fascinating minerals played a vital role in development of various other branches of science; let it be optics, nuclear physics, inorganic chemistry or metallurgy.
‘If minerals are brought to life’ 
Meet –
Prof. Olivine– The first mineral to form from Magma), hence he is quite old. Each clothing layer represents – minerals into which olivine alters, as Pyroxene> Amphibole> Mica> Plagioclase
Lord Zircon– The mineral which contains Radioactive Uranium and was used to determine the age of Earth) It is one of the durable minerals hence it is shown the oldest. The four and a half beads in his hands represent age of the earth, 4.5 Billion years.
Quartz– One the most abundant mineral as well as the mineral with many varieties: Purple hairs-Amethyst, Orange boots-Citrine) it is the last mineral to form from Magma, hence shown young. It was used in stone-age, therefore the primitive attire.
Miss Garnet– The mineral which was as important as metals during the industrial revolution due to its abrasive properties. also, it is used as a semiprecious ornamental stone.
Colossal Calcite– The most abundant mineral after quartz, which is weak & brittle, it has 3 planes of cleavages along which it breaks.

.  .  .

 

Contest Rules:

  1. Any form of artwork will be accepted. All entries must be submitted preferably in PNG format, although JPG/JPEG formats are also accepted.
  2. Submissions must be mailed to [email protected] with a subject titled “Sci-Art Contest”.
  3. A short description of the art piece must be provided in not more than 200 words.
  4. One entry is allowed per contestant per contest.
  5. Maximum file size is 25 MB.
  6. For all digital entries, the source image with vector information has to be provided in the email. Without this, the entry is invalid. Tracing of copyrighted images will lead to immediate disqualification.
  7. The deadline for submission is Saturday, 27th February 2021, 11.59 PM IST. The deadline will not be extended.
  8. There will be two winners, one based purely on Critic’s Choice and another based on Popular Choice. For the Popular Choice, all the submitted entries will be uploaded on our social media platforms (Instagram/Twitter/LinkedIn) on 28th February 2021. The illustration that receives the highest number of likes/reshares/retweets tagging the The Science Paradox handle and with the hashtag #alternate2020, will be chosen as the winner.
  9. Winners of both Critic’s Choice and Popular Choice will be announced on 1st March 2021, 12 PM IST and the winning pieces will be featured on the website as well on all social media platforms.
  10. The winners shall be provided with a certificate of achievement and an opportunity to work with the team of illustrators for the upcoming episode of The Science Paradox magazine in April.

Judging Rubrics:

  1. Creativity
  2. Presentation
  3. Scientific relevance
  4. Uniqueness (Any plagiarism will lead to disqualification)

Twist-The-Tail : Sci-Fi Writing Contest

On the special occasion of National Science Day 2021, The Science Paradox brings to you a thrilling Sci-Fi Writing contest: Twist-The-Tail!

This contest brings science and fiction together by challenging the contestants to weave their own quirky culmination to their favourite science fiction movie/show/novel. Looking at the 2021 theme “Future of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI)” from a sci-fi perspective, we encourage the contestants to imagine beyond the possibilities that today’s science holds for us and come up with a futuristic climax to existing sci-fi tales.

Winner of Twist-The-Tail Contest: Amartya Pradhan

Awakenings: A Sci-Savvy Movie about a ‘Dope’Amine!

Do you believe in miracles? Or is it only limited to movies? Imagine you are treating patients for a condition that can’t be treated using the current knowledge or tools. You somehow administer a drug used for another disease, and it dramatically improves the state of your patients. Miracle, isn’t it? Oliver Sacks describes a similar memoir in his book, Awakenings, where he narrates how a miraculous drug ‘awakened’ his catatonic patients! Awakenings was later adapted into a movie by Penny Marshall.

About a century ago, humankind faced another epidemic – it was the outbreak of encephalitis lethargica, a rare form of sleeping sickness. The disease somehow attacks the nervous system, which causes an inability to speak and move, a state known as catatonia. Dr. Malcolm Sayer, the protagonist, observes that his patients mentally feel the stimulus like a piece of familiar music, name call, or simply, a touch!

Think of it as a person – let’s name him Amartya – who is super lazy (analogous to a catatonic patient’s brain). This is because he has no motivation (no dopamine hit to the basal ganglia, the brain’s motor control center). Dopamine is essential in movement as it can modulate the balance between striatal direct and indirect pathways. Going back to the story – even though Amartya realizes he has a lot to do, his lack of motivation doesn’t allow him to work – just like catatonic patients who can’t move or speak despite the feeling of its need. In the movie, Dr. Sayer attends a conference where he comes to know about a drug, L-DOPA, which was being used to treat Parkinson’s disease. Sayer experimentally administered L-DOPA to his catatonic patients. Miraculously, all of his patients came out of catatonia. It’s like when Amartya receives ‘flying chappals’ from his parents! Suddenly, Amartya gets all the motivation to work.

Likewise, L-DOPA is converted into dopamine in the brain that hits the basal ganglia. However, motivation to work in Amartya is short-lived! Even flying chappals don’t motivate him to work anymore. Analogously, response to L-DOPA was short-lived in Sayer’s patients. It was emotionally depicted when Leonard had his last lunch with Paula before he went back to his catatonic state.

Oliver Sacks’s ‘Awakenings’ prompts one to appreciate the privileges we take for granted, like the ability to move, speak, and connect with our ecosystem. On the other hand, even though Sayer’s L-DOPA couldn’t keep patients out of catatonia for longer, it opened new avenues for upcoming neuroscientists to explore! L-DOPA is being used till date to treat Parkinson’s and other dopamine-deficiency-related disorders.

I have tried to explain the scientific concept central to the movie Awakenings. I also have tried to put in a brief plot about the movie and talked about my understanding of the take-home message from the movie

.  .  .

 

Runner Up of Twist-The-Tail Contest: Aryesh Acharjee

Neither for ever, not never

“Where are we?”-asked Jonas looking at his hand.
Martha said, “Is this paradise?”
– It doesn’t matter anyway as long as I find you next to me.
– Did we ever exist, Jonas? Was there any mark left of us in the universe?
– I don’t know Martha. But right now I can see you and in this little universe of
ours, you are sitting right in front of me. I don’t care about any other universe.
– Wait! What! I can’t touch or feel anything Jonas. What is going on here!
– Calm down Martha. Neither I can. All I can is see and hear you. And for eternity
maybe only two of us will be together like this.
– Well then you have to gossip with me 8 hrs a day. Oh, wait! Is there anything like
Day and Night? All I can see is a beautiful aura all around us. It’s hard to tell
whether it is day or night.
– Don’t you worry, all I have with me right now is Time and you and many words
to speak.

(The theme is chosen from DARK, a Netflix sci-fi series [2017-2020]. This piece is written based on my imagination on how things must be going for Jonas and Martha when they are sent to a non-existent place and technically they are completely wiped from any form of existence in the universe.)

.  .  .

Contest Rules:

  1. The write-ups must be summarised in no more than 200 words. The contestant must mention the movie/show/novel that they have chosen to twist (this will not be counted in the word limit)
  2. The entries must be mailed to [email protected]com with a subject titled “Sci-Fi Writing Contest” in a Word document format.
  3. One entry is allowed per contestant per contest.
  4. The deadline for submission is Saturday, 27th February 2021, 11.59 PM IST. The deadline will not be extended.
  5. The winner and one runner up will be announced on 1st March 2021, 12 PM IST and the winning pieces will be featured on the website as well on all social media platforms.
  6. The winners shall be provided with a certificate of achievement and an opportunity to work with the team of writers for the upcoming episode of The Science Paradox magazine in April.

Judging Rubrics:

  1. Creativity
  2. Language and Grammar
  3. Scientific relevance
  4. Uniqueness (Any kind of plagiarism will lead to immediate disqualification)
  5. Adherence to word limit (< 200 words)

.  .  .

 

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