Motivation

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Pakistan is a land of beautiful souls and curious minds. The status of science as a field of occupation is flourishing in Pakistan. With the passage of time, more and more people are tempted by the wonders created by technological advancement, robotics and genetics. Pakistan has produced some of the geniuses in the fields of robotics and information technology; some as young as ten year old. It is high time for us to celebrate the curiosity that lies in each and every soul and to cherish the talent we have among us! Lahore Science Melas are celebrations of our achievements, our hidden talents and joint contributions towards a better tomorrow.

The second dimension of the need comes from our current curricular challenges; science is considered boring, opaque and dry. Indeed, the approach taken by many in our schools and colleges emphasizes rote learning, memorization and stifle creativity, observation and inquiry. The Lahore Science Melas aim to make science accessible and fun for everyone, from all age groups and socio-economic backgrounds.

The third dimension is the lack of opportunity for ordinary citizens to engage in fun activities with their families. With museums either closed down or in urgent need of repairs, libraries all but absent and limited resources to enjoy the plays and theaters in expensive hotels that are beyond their means, the opportunity for typical Pakistan families to enjoy creativity and inquiry have nearly disappeared. The Lahore Science Melas aim to offer an opportunity that is exciting, engaging and accessible to all regardless of gender, age, status and prior knowledge.

This Mela will be organized by the partnership of the Khwarizmi Science Society (http://www.khwarizmi.org) and the Ali Institute of Education (http://aie.edu.pk/).

Scope and Diversity

The idea is to have Melas in places that are easily accessible by the citizens of all means and provide activities that do not require any background in science. Hence, the Lahore Science Melas will appeal to a range of individuals, from professional scientists to children who never got a chance to go to school, from prolific writers and thinkers to the laity who, perhaps, cannot even read or write. Whether it is about gazing into the mysterious sky, observing the evolving color or textures of the kheer and firni (local desserts), finding the origin of Lahore’s January fog or uncovering what lies in the earth beneath our feet in “androonshehar”—the idea is simple: to arouse scientific curiosity and a passion for science and technology.

The Lahore Science Melas majorly rely on faculty at local academic institutions and professionals in industry and they also provide opportunities for university, college and school students to participate and volunteer, thereby creating an opportunity for academics and students to engage with the citizenry. Students get a chance to work on fun projects and get to see the city and its people in a different light, and appreciate what life outside the classroom is all about.

The idea behind these Melas dispels the notion that science is only meant for the privileged elite. By making the Lahore Science Melas open to all, we demonstrate that science accepts all with open arms and an open heart. A young girl with little means and illiterate parents has just as much to offer, and just as much to gain, as an affluent businessman with deep pockets. We assure that the Lahore Science Mela 2018 will celebrate science as a grand equalizer, and as a means that leads to both intellectual and social sustainability, and economic well-being.