Science And The City

Hyderabad Urban Lab (HUL) and Hyderabad Science Society (HSS) co conceived “Science and the City” an exhibition hosted at the HSS premises in Mehdipatnam, Hyderabad on the 3rd and 4th of August 2019. The exhibition saw a participation of around 150 people over the two days. The visitors included people from various backgrounds including school and college students, administrators, researchers, scientists, and designers.

The aim of the exhibition was to connect the scientific community and their work in various areas with ordinary citizens who remain unwittingly surrounded by scientific phenomenon. Hence the sub theme: Citizen Science.

Speakers of Day 1

Janaab Sanjar Ali Khan
Dr. Annie Q Hassan
Swastik Harish
Dr. Somdutta Karak
Pranay Juvvadi

The Speakers on the first day included Janaab Sanjar Ali Khan, Founder-Director of Hyderabad Science Society. He has developed the technology of remote controlled robots, automatics guided vehicles. A life member of several scientific organisations, he spoke about the inception of Hyderabad Science Society and its work in the field of nuclear physics, electronics, mechanical engineering, genetics and biotechnology.

Dr Annie Q Hassan, Head of Biotechnology and Genetics at HSS. Consultant & HOD, Department of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, Kamineni Hospital, Hyderabad has done pioneering work in “Genetic counseling” in India. She presented her work in personalised medicine.

Swastik Harish, Senior Lead, Urban Practitioners’ Programme (UPP) at Indian Institute of Human Settlements (IIHS) Bangalore gave a presentation on Urban Housing and how scientific method is associated with the structure of our cities. The lecture highlighted fractal geometries in urban morphologies and compared organic structure of biological entities like leaves to city structures like road and settlement patterns.

Communications and Outreach Officer at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) Hyderabad, Dr. Somdutta Karak, shared citizen’s engagement programmes of CCMB. She highlighted how ideas and innovations of students and the youth can be used to inform scientific knowledge through its programme “Superheroes against Superbugs,” a programme to tackle antibiotic resistance.

Pranay Juvvadi, Researcher, Photographer, Raptor Conservation Foundation. In his presentation on “Birds and Urban infrastructure” he spoke about bird ecosystems interacting with the built infrastructure of the human ecosystem.

Speakers of Day 2 

Dr. Priya Hassan
Dr. Amir Bazaz
Sagar Dhara
Dr. Kodali Vijaylakshmi
Amateur ham radio experts

Dr. Amir Bazaz of Indian Institute for Human Settlements Bangalore has worked extensively on Climate Change and he informed the audience about laws and regulations that the government has introduced to tackle the imminent challenges. He also proposed possible steps for the way forward.

Sagar Dhara, researcher, writer, activist and former environmental engineering consultant to the UN Environment Programme, took us through various climate change empirics affecting South Asian countries. He explained how the political economy of the region is linked to water resources and there is an imminent water war coming up. He showed the evolution of human kind and capitalization of resources are interlinked.

Health practitioner Dr. Kodali Vijayalakshmi, talked about the taboos associated with the knowledge of female sexual health and explained why everyone must be aware of the healthy working of our reproductive system.

The team of amateur ham radio experts headed by Ashhar Farhan (who was unable to attend) talked of their journey from joining the club as hobby to their becoming serious “experts” in the sphere of ham radio which can be used to broadcast and connect to distant people through basic radio wave frequency especially in times of disasters. The members from various backgrounds spoke of the joy of connecting to people through simple technology and being a part of the community of global ham radio enthusiasts.

There was a concurrent exhibition and a video show alongside the talks.

The exhibits under the theme Citizen Science were curated by the HUL team and the exhibits on physics and microbiology were curated by Dr. Winnie Polepaka of HSS.

Exhibits by HSS

The cytogenetic interactive model of the Biotechnology department displayed the genetic makeup of humans and various diseases caused by genetic mutation like Down’s syndrome.

The exhibit was explained by Dr. Annie Hasan.

Her assistant researcher Dr. Winnie Polepaka showed the visitors around various machines and equipment used in this research, like desktop centrifuge, PCR machine, horizontal and vertical electrophoresis, blue light trans illuminator and incubator.

She spoke to the guests about molecular biology and cytogenetics and its application in infertility, cancer and neuro-degenerative disorders. Other researchers from HSS spoke about the psychology of cancer and how the application of biotechnology helps in preventing many diseases.
Ms. Khushbu and Ms. Ruqiya talked of the evolution of computers and artificial intelligence.

The Electronics research department headed by Mr. Sanjar A. Khan had on display the inventions and real time working models of a wall robot, border surveillance vehicle, automatic wheel chair, blind guide stick , wearable zapper belt, disaster management vehicle, interactive ecological model showing the impact of sea level rise in the coastal sea inundation over a map model of Indian coastline.

The exhibits were coordinated by Md. Jaleel Khan, Ismail and Zakir.

The visitors took special interest in the radio isotope laboratory where Dr. Homi Bhabha worked and during whose time HSS was the first radioisotope training centre outside the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre BARC. The laboratory housed sealed samples of radioactive material in use for research in the 1960s at HSS.

Exhibits by HUL

Rocks and Geology of Hyderabad

Ravi Kawre created a graphic timeline of rocks in Hyderabad based on a research conducted by Arun Vasireddy at the Khajaguda Heritage Rock Sites in Hyderabad.

The exhibit presents the interconnection between different elements of the ecosystem, rocks, flora and fauna.

Images from HUL’s photo gallery from the rock walks were put on display to highlight the importance of the fast disappearing geological heritage of the region.

Paani ki Kahaani 

A visual representation by Vanshika Singh laid bare the circuits of service delivery of water and the role of linemen in the city. It had an interesting sketch about Asif Nagar Filter beds as one of the earliest water infrastructures in the city along with images of traditional water bodies like baolis, cheruvus, kuntas and tanks.

Interactive module of contour map of a part of Hyderabad terrain

Ravi Kawre, Dipon Bose designed a terrain map of Hyderabad to point out the gradient of the city and how rainfall, watersheds, groundwater recharge, and urbanization are connected with it. Visitors were asked to mark their residential locations and places they frequent,in the interactive map.

Rivers of Plastic, Plastic ka Dariya and We choked our water bottles

An installation by Ravi Kawre and Dipon Bose on plastic waste, created with recycled polythene bags and huge water bubble bottle to sensitize the public about the impact of plastic waste in the urban and how they can segregate wet and dry waste.

Toilet Paper Installation  

Ravi Kawre has an installation with toilet paper rolls depicting a water audit on everyday domestic usage.

Citizen Science

An assortment of non-conventional scientific principles at work in daily lives and ordinary livelihoods as in the wares of balloon walas, lime soda walas, washermen to silver varq making, pottery… compiled by the HUL team and curated by Dipon Bose.

The theme also showcased science in the kitchen suggesting how we can conserve cooking gas. It has been done through explaining the scientific principles of cooking. The idea was to underscore the rationale behind ordinary actions in a household, our neighbourhoods and the city. Resource conscious citizens are smart citizens.

Women in Science

Compiled by Vanshika Singh, this two dimensional combination of image and write was dedicated to the achievements of female scientists of India, all stalwarts from the fields of chemistry, botany, physics, Maths, Ecology and the recent women directors of the Chandrayaan 2 mission to moon at ISRO.


Science and the City

Steering Committee: Mr. Sanjar Ali Khan, Dr. Annie Hassan (HSS), Dr. Anant Maringanti (HUL)

Coordinator: Dr. Winnie Polepaka, Mr. Jaleel (HSS), Dipon Bose (HUL)

Installations and wrapping up: HUL team

Design and composition: Dipon, Kabeer, Ravi

Printing: KGN, Maruthi

Logistics: Mr. Vinay Abhishek, Mr. Shakeb Wajeeh, Ms. Bhashwati

Maintenance: HSS staff

Hospitality: Sandarshini

Transportation: Faheem, Vinay, Shakeb