“After a certain high level of technical skill is achieved, science and art tend to coalesce in aesthetics, plasticity and form.”
Aima Ahmad’s father didn’t know beforehand about the occurrence of the first-ever Lahore Science Mela in 2017. He was mildly curious about the crowd of people gathered outside the venue and decided to take a look for himself. Being overwhelmed by the magnitude of the event and the sheer number of scientific wonders at the display, he decided to bring his children the next day. The festival was set with all sorts of models, projects and demonstrations by various exhibitors from all around the country. There, Aima discovered her hitherto dormant aptitude for robotics and mechanics and found people who could provide her with further opportunities to learn and explore. She was nine years old then. One thing led to another and soon Aima was enrolled in a robotics boot camp organised by students of the IT University Lahore.
“Science welcomes everyone with open arms.”
Her passion for creating and inventing was appropriately kindled and nurtured. Located in the same building as the university, the US Embassy’s Lincoln Corner was offering a short course on programming. Aima became a regular there too and also won the English Access Microscholarship Program from the American Consulate.
Her innate desire to imagine and innovate was sufficiently sparked, she was now assembling technical models and solving scientific puzzles in her free time. But she didn’t keep it to herself. Aima regularly puts up demonstrations and arranges relevant sessions for free under the banner of the nonprofit organisation she runs along with her father, Aim of Awareness. Her home and school have become a congregation point for the curious children in her neighbourhood where she demonstrates projects and teaches techniques for assembling robotic models. She does all this in the hope that other children may also find their passions and interests in the process much as she did at the Lahore Science Mela in 2017.
“Life imitates art, and science imitates life.”
Two years later, she herself was an exhibitor at LSM 2019 where she brought the many models and robots she had engineered and organised a Rubik’s cube-solving marathon. She set a personal example too by being the youngest and the best competitor in the contest. Young children just like her were in awe and aspired to learn and do the same.
Thus, inspiration had effectively come full circle. Her father credits the Khwarizmi Science Society for organising a science-themed event where people of similar interests show up, find life-changing inspirations and make life-long connections.
In a society where young girls are expected to only pursue medical professions so that a certain monetary and marital value may be achieved in return for their education, aspirations such as Aima’s are not commonplace. She shares much hope and ambition with the late Arfa Karim, after whom has named the building in which Aima took part in the programming courses. What she does not share is the advantage of extreme socioeconomic privilege the former had. The Lahore Science Mela by the non-profit Khwarizmi Science Society aims to attract just such individuals. The LSM has proven to be an annual pilgrimage of the eternally curious towards the greatest reward such people can ask for — the company of individuals with similar interests. This is a pat on the back for many people who otherwise consider their hobbies isolationist and their passions unfound in the context of Pakistan. Science is the ultimate expression of the human urge to think and wonder. Science resides not in the outdated textbooks of regressive curriculums or the impenetrable language of the stereotypical scientist, it resides in the minds and hearts of each one of us. To live and remain unbeknownst to that is a sin. We invite you to pay us a visit at the Divisional Public School, Model Town on the 29th and 30th of October and you may find Aima Ahmad there.
Author: Daud Ali Kharal