Gamifying Particle Physics at LSM’19

KSS’s coordination with Dr. Muhammad Sameed at CERN started in January 2019 who connected us with the MediaLab and introduced us to MediaLab’s leader, physicist Joao Pequenao. Joao likes to call himself a ‘recovering physicist’ and his passion is to amplify physics, in particular particle physics, by using contemporary digital technologies to broad audiences around the world. In March 2019, we extended an invitation to CERN to handhold the building and exhibiting the Large Hadron Collider Interactive Tunnel (LIT). CERN accepted our invitation and we gleefully received Joao as he landed on Allama Iqbal International Airport in the early hours of 8 October 2019.

The Tunnel, since LSM 2019, has been exhibited by us at other exciting outreach events as well. See the Children Literary Festival 2020 and the Shakargarh Science Mela 2022!

Any guesses what they are playing football with? Protons!

As soon as CERN’s presence at the Lahore Science Mela was confirmed, our team comprising avid technologists Shahab Ahmed, Mubashra Manzoor and Abubakar Siddiqi was mobilized in Lahore to initiate the building of the LHC Interactive Tunnel. The KSS had never seen a project of this kind, both in terms of its financial outlay and sophistication. Under Joao’s constant advice, Abubakar scuttled in game shops, electronics warehouses, shopping malls and party decorators and as soon as Joao arrived, and under his skillful leadership, we completed the building of the Tunnel to be eventually up at the Lahore Science Mela.

Playing football with protons inside CERN’s LHC Interactive Tunnel.

In the meantime, the KSS assembled a team of young men and women from across the country who would be mentored and taught by the expert-in-residence. Joao taught Junaid Saif and his team the particulars of the Tunnel, gave a tour de force workshop on particle physics, the standard model, improvisation theatre and the art of eloquence for public engagement in science. This training has now left KSS with the capacity to carry on CERN’s mission of propagating physics and educating and inspiring the next generation of scientists.

Students queue for entry into the LHC Interactive Tunnel.

The LHC Interactive Tunnel is a fully immersive gaming experience that uses accelerometers, motion sensors, short-throw projections on the floor, and a large TV screen on the backdrop,combined with gripping multimedia to educate visitors about particle accelerators, collisions and creation of  new particles, the Higgs field, the Higgs boson and using hadrons for healing and therapy. On the occasion of the Lahore Science Mela, the Tunnel was deployed inside an air-conditioned tent on the festival’s location.

What is the Higg’s Field?
KSS’s Tunnel team.

Soon after curtains were raised at 9 am on the 12th of October, enthusiasts were siphoned into the chamber in groups of 30 to 50, leaving an estimated 4000 people directly impacted by the exhilarating multimedia experience. As visitors were awed by the performances of protons collisions, Higgs fields and hadron therapy, they also engaged in interactive discussions on topics ranging from the big bang and the expansion of the universe to its ultimate fate, the composition of matter and energy, the meaning of dark energy and dark matter and the origin of fundamental forces. We believe that the Tunnel has influenced and inspired thousands of young minds, instigating them into asking and wondering about all of these subjects, and considering science and physics as a potent medium to start answering some of the most critical questions about the universe.

View from inside CERN’s LHC Interactive Tunnel.

Furthermore, while demonstrators were busy dealing with the throngs of keen inquirers, Joao was often seen slipping out of the tent, only to mingle with the hundreds of students who immediately encircled him and asked him wide-ranging questions about particle physics, mysteries of the universe, elementary particles, gravity, black holes and perhaps, with questions bordering on religious doctrine and science. Joao had immediately acquired the status of a celebrity attending to continuous requests for visual autographs, i.e. selfies.

Joao Pequenao, CERN’s emissary of science and an instant celebrity at the Lahore Science Mela.

The LHC Interactive Tunnel at the Lahore Science Mela 2019.

(This is part of a full length report by Dr Muhammad Sabieh Anwar and Charisma Wafee on the Lahore Science Mela 2019. To read the complete report, click here.)

Your Place in the Cosmos


Across the endless realms of the sands of time, humans have gaped at the sky to determine when to plant crops and to regularly attempt to answer questions concerning the nature of reality and our existence in the infinite cosmos. Astronomy, being a universal discipline, leads to the broadening of our critical thinking vision, gives fundamental context to our actuality in the universe and leads to transformation of how we see the world. Upon the prominent claim of Copernicus that Earth was not the centre of the universe, a revolution was prompted – a revolution that led to the acceptance of this new global notion by the society.

At Lahore Science Mela 2018, you will peek at your own existence amidst the infinite cosmos as you gaze through the sunny sky via a telescope. You will be given the chance to be in touch with the beautiful subject of astronomy via hands on experience. You will get a chance to peer at the cosmos with a universal and cosmic attitude.  You will certainly be awed by the view of the heavenly sky.


You are born a stranger to this world, having inadvertently hitched a ride on a vehicle whizzing across a road of unimaginable length and unparalleled grandeur. The vehicle is the Earth and the road is the Cosmos, and your journey on it represents a tiny part of the collective human voyage; one spanning hundreds of thousands of years of modern human existence. Like you, billions of others have been a part of this hitch. Like them, you have but borrowed time, until you are inevitably dropped off too. Since humanity embarked on its journey, its history has only covered a minuscule part of the cosmic calendar. We have made exhilarating and unpredictable discoveries over the past few millennia and, as Carl Sagan puts it, been reminded that humans have evolved to wonder; that understanding is a joy itself. We crave for truth, yearn to know, understand and appreciate and we still have a lot to unravel. The discovery of the mathematical framework that presides over all of nature – a universal poetry of reality – has helped us perceive a harmony between the machinery of nature and the way we think. It is the device that has helped 15 billion years of cosmic evolution awaken to a level of greater awareness, to a sense of belonging to the grand cosmos, to a desire to trace its own fantastic journey. This is, indeed, the manifestation of a universe grown to know itself. [1]


[1]Excerpt from The Cosmic Hitchhikers’ article ‘We, the Cosmic Hitchhikers’ written by Kamran Naveed and Saif Ullah Khan. (


The authors are A-levels students at Lahore Grammar School, Johar Town.

Saif Ullah Khan

Kamran Naveed Syed

The ‘i’ in Science


Science – the horrors of school life start flashing in the minds of many at the mere mention of its name. The dry formulae of physics, the never-ending taxa of biology, the ever-so-complicated questions of mathematics, the never-so-simple reactions of chemistry; science has always been considered a privilege for the genius few and a struggle for the rest. But how can something as incommunicable as this explain our world and our lives? Maybe this doesn’t, for the science that I found outside the textbooks has not only let me understand this world but has also transformed me for the better.

I believe the subject of life, biology, encompasses the majesty, diversity and magnanimity of life itself. As an artist, I connect with nature spontaneously. And biology only helps me explore the wonders of life in more depth. Wood logs have more complex ecosystems than skyscrapers and the depths of seas and oceans have a more diverse community than most parts of land. The thinnest of leaves are factories far more efficient than any counterpart established by humans. As a scientist, as an artist, as a Muslim, as a human being, all this only humbles me and welcomes me to draw as much inspiration from biology as I can.And when at times I don’t, I draw conclusions from simple experiments of biology like hardening of egg albumen by steaming a home-made petri dish (a.k.a. katori), or drawing the eyeballs out of the siri of the slaughtered bull at Eid-ul-Azha to observe its optic nerve and lens. And, if nothing else, I make guesses of the diagnosis of the patients in House M.D.

I am currently a student of electrical engineering, and it was not until I had to face C language in the second semester of my degree that I learned programming. Not very eager about it at start, I pretended that the keyboard of my laptop was actually the keyboard of a piano and that a computer language was nothing more than any other language. So all I had to do was try my best to talk to the computer. It took some time, but when I finally got comfortable with communication in C, I realized that the addition of a new language to my skill set was not the only thing that I had gained: while building logics for different projects, the way I thought logically and performed my tasks had changed too. The tasks which I normally did in a hit-and-trial fashion started turning into a series of well-defined steps, the smoothness of my communication with my computer thawed my technophobia out, and my keyboard never stopped playing symphonies. Besides, the euphoria of a properly executing program is simply unfathomable! I have learned three programming languages by now, and plan on learning more about computing. Now that I look back, I wonder if programming languages were not actually “languages”, would my computing endeavour have been the same.

The subject I am particularly inclined towards is chemistry. My venture in chemistry started from the analytical and experimental and shifted towards the theoretical with the passage of time. Something that I love about chemistry is how dynamic the realm of molecules actually is, and how different substances react and are formed. In fact, if I were to define chemistry, I would dub it the study of “patterns” rather than the study of “matter”.

Kitchen –the one place in the house that is paradise for any chemist! Long before I actually started adoring chemistry, I was drawn towards this majestic laboratory of the house. Even as a kid, I was taken in by the “dynamicity” of all that happens within it. There’s cooking, there’s cleaning, there’s stalactites on the leaking pipe of my water filter, and there’s temporary and permanent hardness in water, which only tempts a chemist. The beautiful manifestation of organic chemistry and biochemistry can be witnessed during the cooking of food. You can witness innumerable chemical phenomena without ever having to wear fancy coats or gigantic goggles (but if you want to have the feels, you may put them on for sure!). Coagulation of proteins in the boiling of eggs, their denaturation in the sourness of milk (chemistry may be nice, but not all the reactions are!), the hydrolysis of sucrose into glucose and fructose in your stale lemonade I believe I can find any chemical reaction in the kitchen if I want to, and if I can’t, why stop there and not make one myself?

A chemical reaction shakes the attendees at the Lahore Science Mela 2017

To me, science is not an aggregation of dry formulae and facts that need to be crammed to score an A in exams; it holds a far greater meaning. To me, science is that bridge which amalgamates all the various aspects of my life, assimilates them and helps me utilize them. To me, science is no more peculiar than the fables of Aesop or the fairy tales of Perrault, and no less fascinating either. To me, science is the name of a journey, a staircase to climb out of the Slough of Ignorance, a venture past the illusion of self-opinionatedness. So, whenever I behold the starry sky at night, a smile spreads across my face. Is it because the biologist wonders about the possible life forms out there? Or because the chemist thinks of the atmosphere of exoplanets? Or because the physicist ponders over the quantum tunnelling attributing to nuclear fusion? Or simply because I feel like joining the dots and trace as many objects out of them as I can? In the end, it doesn’t matter, for all the questions lead to the same place – one step closer to the heart of the universe.


The author is a student of electrical engineering at the University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore.

Mahnoor Fatima

Exposing the True Colours of Science


Let’s take a moment to think about what ‘science’ means to us? What’s our definition of science?

Is it just a subject that we study at school? That’s probably the first thing that comes to mind; a bunch of dry textbook jargon trying to explain convoluted concepts in its own alien language.

For most of us math is graphs, trigonometry and word problems; biology is taxonomy; physics is a collection of mind-numbing variables and equation; and chemistry is memorizing the elements of the periodic table.

It seems dry, flavorless, rigid, and unimaginative, made up of a bunch of terms and theories that have little to no practical value. You can’t express yourself through it as in art or literature, or explore fascinating tales of wars, kingdoms and heroes as in history. All you can do is calculate the speed of a falling rock before it hits the ground.

On the other hand, when we think about a Mela, we imagine all the vibrant colors, the exhilarating rides, the majestic performances, and the great food that can be experienced at a fun fair.

Coupling an event as festive and jubilant as a Mela with something so bland seems incomprehensible. Even the term ‘Science Mela’ feels like an oxymoron. But let’s examine science from a different light.

You might be familiar with a little kid, well actually a boy genius by the name of Dexter that came in a cartoon series called Dexter’s Laboratory.  You may recall how he peered through a telescope into the expansive and mysterious cosmos, how he examined creatures through a microscope, how chemicals changed colors (and sometimes exploded) as he mixed them in test tubes, and that there were talking computers and robots in every nook and cranny of his lab that could perform the most incredible feats, and how he made futuristic gadgets like flying cars.

Isn’t that science? Or are they simply the product of a cartoon artist’s wild imagination?

To what degree is the show rooted in facts, or whether the gadgets are feasible is debatable. However, we can be certain of one thing: Dexter’s lab and similar shows of science fiction, like the widely acclaimed movies ‘Interstellar’ and ‘Jurassic Park’, draw inspiration from different themes of science. And that’s what makes them so exciting to watch.

So why do dinosaurs, space ships and lasers captivate us so much? How do these science fiction movies and series capture our attention?

That’s because they tap into two innate attributes unique to human beings: curiosity and creativity. These works of science fiction allow us to explore places we have never been and stir our imagination.

That’s exactly what the Lahore Science Mela intends to do. It will take us on an adventure through the realms of science and engineering (sort of like a tour of Dexter’s Lab); where chemical equations come to life; where people can observe firsthand the cells that constitute our body; and where magnetism becomes akin to magic.

Each exhibit will ignite your curiosity and inspire you to wonder. Science does not merely encompass knowing the scientific names of organisms, or what the equations of gravity and laws of Newton are. True science is asking questions, exploring the mysteries that surround us, imagining the impossible, and using knowledge in creative ways.

Science is being curious enough to ask questions, like whether there are aliens in outer space or why we get colds in the winter, and trying to find the answers. And the Lahore Science Mela provides individuals a doorway into the wondrous world of science.


This article was originally posted here.

Waleed Ghayas

Great Scientists are Artists as Well

Artists and scientists seem like the opposite poles of a magnet, the black and white in a painting. Reality is not like the binary system; there is no black and white in science and art. Scientists and artists live in the grey area that is life. These are the two forms of expression of the beauty that is nature. There is a scientist in every artist; with every accurate stroke of a brush, every geometrical pattern created on a paper, every figure brought to life by precise color selection, an artist transforms into a scientist with a passion to portray nature in its purest form.

Snake Pendulum at the Lahore Science Mela 2017

Scientists have excellent artistic inclinations when it comes to the perfect visualization of the geometrical patterns of atoms, flawless slides of perfectly stained cells and the musical patterns created by different waves. These wonderful phenomena, already present in nature, show how artistic nature is. The aesthetic sense of scientists can be witnessed in the form of the beautiful pictures of all the species from polar bears to deep sea creatures. There is beautiful art throughout the excellent artistic patterns in the atoms of minerals, the strategically arranged organelles in our cells, the distribution of different tree species throughout the land, the different forms of life coexisting as if they were appreciating one another’s existence, our beautiful planet dancing to the same music as other seven planets in our solar system and the various heavenly bodies arranged on the canvas that is the galaxy.

It is the nature which brings science and art together as scientists explore the works of the artist that is nature and arts imitates nature. The wonderful world of science and the colorful world of art are brought together to create the most cultural representation of the scientific world. Do visit Lahore Science Mela to witness the artistic portrayal of the scientific world with a final touch of culture.

This article was originally published here.

Charisma Wafee


سائنسی میلے: بچوں کو سائنسدان بنانے کا آسان نسخہ

پاکستانی معاشرے میں والدین ہوں ، بچے ، یا اساتذہ ۔ سب ہی کی زندگی روزمرہ کے ایک معمول کے گرد گھومتی ہے جس میں سائنسی میلوں یا مباحث جیسی دماغ کو متحرک رکھنے والی تقریبات کی کوئی گنجائش نہیں ۔یقینا ََ ا س کی ایک بڑی وجہ ہمارے تعلیمی نظام کی خرابی ہے جو بچوں کی مخفی صلاحیتیوں کو سامنے لانے کے بجائے انھیں محض سلیبس پورا کرنے اور امتحانات پاس کرنے پر اکساتا ہے اس پر ترح یہ کہ والدین بچپن سے یہ بات ان کے ذہن میں بٹھا دیتے ہیں کہ ایسے پیشے کا انتخاب کرنا ہے جس سے زیادہ تنخواہ والی اچھی نوکری با آسانی حاصل ہوجائے،یوں تعلیم کا اصل مقصد فوت ہوجاتا ہے اور درسگاہوں سے وہ ڈگری ہولڈرز نکل رہے ہیں جن میں ملک و قوم کا نام روشن کرنے اور کچھ غیر معمولی کر دکھانے کا جذبہ ہی نہیں ۔ اس طرح کے ماحول میں سائنسی علوم کی ترویج کے لیئے تقریبات یا سائنسی میلوں کی اہمیت کو اجاگر کرنا بلاشبہ جو ئے شیر لانے کے مترادف ہے ۔
چند برس قبل اشعر بھی لاہور شہر کے ایک معیاری انگلش میڈیم سکول کا ذہین طالبعلم تھا جس کی زندگی اپنے جیسے لاکھوں بچوں کی طرح گھر ، سکول ، کوچنگ سینٹر اور امتحانات کی روٹین کے گرد گھومتی تھی ، جسکی ساری ذہانت اور مخفی صلاحیتیں بھاری سکول بیگ اور الم غلم کتابوں کےبوجھ تلے دفن ہوتی جارہی تھیں اور سلیبس کی کتابوں سے بے رغبتی کے باعث اس کا زیادہ تر وقت سوشل میڈیا پر گزرنے لگا تھا ۔ پھر ایک واقعہ اس کی زندگی بدل دینے کا باعث بنا ۔ ہوا کچھ یوں کہ ان کے شہر میں مختلف سائنس سوسائٹیز کے اشتراک سے ایک بڑا سائنسی میلہ منعقد کیا جارہا تھا جس میں شرکت کے لیئے پہلے سکول میں سائنسی ماڈلز کا مقابلہ تھا۔ ذہین طلبا ء طالبات کے لیئے یہ پہلا موقع تھا جب انہوں نے اپنی سائنس کی کتابوں کو پوری توجہ سے کھنگالا تا کہ سا ئنسی ماڈل کے لیئے کوئی آئیڈیا حاصل کر سکیں ، مگر ا شعر سمیت سب ہی کی اس حوالے معلومات بہت تھوڑی تھیں ۔ انکی یہ مشکل سینئر سائنس ٹیچر سر عمر نے کچھ یوں حل کی:
کسی بھی سا ئنسی پراجیکٹ پر ابتدا ایک اچھے اور دلچسپ موضوع کے انتخاب سے کی جاتی ہے جو چیلنجنگ بھی ہو ، تاکہ آ پکی مخفی صلاحیتیں کھل کر سامنے آ سکیں ۔ اس کے بعد متعلقہ موضوع پر درسی کتب ، پریکٹیکل جرنلز یا انٹر نیٹ کے ذریعے مکمل معلومات حاصل کیجئے۔ اگر آپکسی نئے موضوع پر کام کرنے کا رسک نہیں لینا چاہتے تو کسی پرانے پراجیکٹ پر بھی کام کیا جاسکتا ہے مگر اس کے لیئے ضروری ہے کہ ہفتہ ، دس دن لگا کر مکمل تحقیق کے ساتھ کوئی نیا تصور یا رخ سامنے لانے کی کوشش کیجیئے۔ ابتدا میں پیچیدہ پراجیکٹ کے انتخاب سے پرہیز کرنا چاہیئے کیونکہ نا تجربہ کاری کے باعث وہ آپ کے لیئے در د ِ سر بھی بن سکتا ہے۔
پراجیکٹ منتخب کرنے کے بعد اگلہ مرحلہ لیبارٹری میں ماڈل کی تیاری اور اس کے لیئے ضروری سازو سامان کی فراہمی کا ہے جس کے لیئے ایک نا تجربہ کار طالبعلم کے بجائے آپکو ایک سائنسدان کے نقطۂ نظر سے سوچنا ہوگا ۔ یاد رکھیئے کہ یہ تجربات اور سائنسی میلے مستقبل میں سائنس کے میدان میں کچھ غیر معمولی کر دکھانے کی پہلی سیڑھی ہیں ۔ ہماری درسگاہیں اسی لیئے سائنسدان پیدا کرنے سے قاصر ہیں کہ یہاں طلبا ء و طالبات کے دماغوں میں سائنسی قوانین اور مساواتیں ٹھونسی جا رہی ہیں اور انھیں از خود ثابت کرنے یا مزید تحقیق پر اکسایا نہیں جاتا ۔

کسی بھی پراجیکٹ میں پیش رفت سے پہلے یہ بات اپنے ذہن میں بٹھا لیجیئے کہ ججز کے پیمانے پر وہی پراجیکٹ پورا اترتا اور قابل ِ غور سمجھا جاتا ہے جس میں کم سے کم سامان اور لاگت کے ساتھ آئیڈیا کو بہترین انداز میں پیش کیا جاتا ہے۔ لہذاٰ آپ کو نا صرف ایک سائنسدان کی طرح سوچنا بلکہ عمل بھی کر کے دکھانا ہوگا ۔ یعنی ابتدائی ناکامی سے دلبرداشتہ ہو کر کوشش ترک نہیں کرنی ۔ یاد رکھئے ! سا ئنس غلطیوں سے نئے در وا کرنے کا نام ہے ۔ گلیلیو سے سٹیفن ہاکنگ تک آج تک کوئی نامور سائنسدان ایسا نہیں گزرا جسے ابتدائی مرحلے میں ہی ناکامی کا منہ نہ دیکھنا پڑا ہو-
اس سائنسی میلے کے انعقاد کا اصل مقصد یہی ہے کہ طلبا ء طالبات درسی کتب میں درج اور اساتذہ کے پڑھائے یا سکھائے کو حرف آخر سمجھنے کے بجائے اسے عملی طور پر پرکھنا اور برتنا سیکھیں ۔ اور جیسا کہ آپ سب نے سنا ہوگا کہ ‘ زندگی کی ہمیشہ سے یہی ریت رہی ہے کہ ہار کے بعد جیت مقدر بنتی ہے’ اور انہی کا مقدر بنتی ہے جو گر کر ازخود اٹھنا اور غلطیوں سے سبق حاصل کرکے اصلاح کرنا جانتے ہیں ۔ ماڈل یا پراجیکٹ میں کوئی استاد آپکی غلطی کی نشاندہی نہیں کریگا ، تجربہ بار بار دہرا کر مطلوبہ نتائج حاصل کرنے کے طویل اور کھٹن عمل میں بارہا آپکی ہمت ٹوٹے گی، کئی دفعہ حوصلہ شکنی ہوگی مگر آپکی محنت رائیگاں ہرگز نہیں جائیگی ۔
چونکہ آپ میں سے بیشتر بچے پہلی دفعہ اس طرح کے مقابلے میں حصہ لے رہے ہیں اس لیئے میں سمجھتا ہوں کہ سائنسی میلے کے کچھ اور فوائد بھی آپ لوگوں کو اختصار میں بتا دوں۔ ان مقابلوں میں جیتنے والے طلباء و طالبات کے گروپس کو ملکی سطح پر مقبولیت تو حاصل ہوتی ہی ہے ، اگر وہ اپنی کامیابی کا تسلسل برقرار رکھتے ہوئے نئے تحقیق سامنے لائیں تو انھیں ناصرف بین الاقوامی سائنسی مقابلوں میں بھیجا جاتا ہے بلکہ انکی تحقیقات کو معروف سائنسی جرائد میں شائع بھی کروایا جاتا ہے ۔ اس سے ایک طرف انکی تحریری صلاحیتیں ابھر کر سامنے آتی ہیں تو دوسری جانب مستقبل میں بیرون ِ ملک اعلی ٰتعلیم کے لیئے وضائف کا حصول بھی آسان ہو جاتا ہے ۔ جبکہ بار بار مقابلوں میں شرکت سے پریزینٹیشن دینے کی صلاحیت اور خود اعتمادی بڑھتی ہے جو ایک سائنسدان بننے کی لازمی شرط ہے۔

سر عمر خان کے ایک گھنٹہ طویل لیکچر کے بعد جب اشعر اور اس کے ساتھی لیب سے نکلے تو انکی ساری الجھنیں دور ہو چکی تھیں ، اگرچہ اس برس انکا گروپ سائنسی میلے میں شرکت کرنے میں کامیاب رہا مگر شہر بھر کے سکول و کالجز کے طلباء طالبات کے سامنے وہ کوئی غیر معمولی کار کردگی د کھانے میں ناکام رہے ۔ اگلے برس وہ مکمل تیاریوں اور بھرپور تحقیق کے ساتھ ایک نئے پراجیکٹ کے ساتھ شریک ہوئے اور ہر جانب سے واہ واہ سمیٹی۔ آج اشعر لاہور یونیورسٹی آف مینجمنٹ سائنسز میں سافٹ ویئر انجینئرنگ کا طالبعلم ہے اور ایک بین الاقوامی ‘روبوٹکس ‘ مقابلے میں شرکت کے لیئے پوری طرح مستعد ہے ۔
اشعرکی کامیابی کی یہ کہانی آپکی بھی ہوسکتی ہے ، جنوری 2018 میں ‘خوارزمی سائنس سوسائٹی ‘ کے اشتراک سے لاہور سائنس میلہ ایک دفعہ پھر اپنی رونقیں بکھیرنے کو ہے ۔ اپنی صلاحیتیوں کو آزمانے اور سائنسدان بننے کا خواب پورا کرنے کا ایک بہترین موقع آ پکا منتظر ہے۔


تحریر:صادقہ خان


For most people, hearing the word ‘science’ brings to mind static facts listed in textbooks, scientists observing specimens under the microscope, mechanical engineers working on automobiles, Einstein’s equations and so on. But that is an incomplete picture of science. Science is much more complex yet beautiful. The same irony haunts art and artists. Artists are usually thought to be people employing a paintbrush and aesthetics to translate the hues of their imagination into impressions on a white canvas.

No doubt, the debate regarding convergence of science and art is not new. But the undeniable fact is: the scientists in the laboratory and the artists in the studio both use their creative insights and learn to transform information into something elegant and compelling.

The relation between science and art has a long history that is generally overlooked. For instance, when people hear the name Leonardo da Vinci, the first thought striking their minds is that of the hand behind the famous Mona Lisa. Little do most of them know that Leonardo was also an avid mathematician, keen engineer, vehement anatomist and ardent botanist. It was his inquisitive mind that led him to the invention of flying machine. He was known as the painter of Renaissance, the celebrated period of rebirth in the European history regarding art, literature, science, architecture and politics. At that utopian time, a man was made to study all the subjects of science and art, unlike today, where a child has to choose between the two after his secondary education.

“After a certain high level of technical skill is achieved, science and art tend to coalesce in aesthetics, plasticity and form.”

That said, five centuries later, Pablo Picasso, a Spanish painter, experimented with different theories and developed a technique called Cubism, in which he composed his work through disoriented figures, lines and shapes. He created a never-before-seen style of work which was a result of his careful analysis. Even Albert Einstein agrees,

After a certain high level of technical skill is achieved, science and art tend to coalesce in aesthetics, plasticity and form. The greatest scientists are always artists as well.

To reach the epitome of their exploration, artists tend to choose the avenue that is suitable for the questions they are interested in analyzing. Biologists nowadays visualize their molecular hypotheses using animations which prove useful for communicating their ideas. This idea of animation can be traced back to the time when Walt Disney first developed animated films, revolutionizing the illustration industry.

Then again, successful marketing teams are using a mix of both science and art to develop aesthetical techniques for the progress of their company. Developing relationships with your customers is crucial and there is no scientific formula for that. You need to have an artistic approach to it. Sales increase when salesmen step out of the typical mentality of just focusing on the economic growth of their company and genuinely engage with the buyers.

For instance, Sara Chipps, who is a co-founder of Girl Develop it, developed an intriguing way to teach girls about software and web applications. She created a fashion and tech-infused gadget called Jewelbot. Young girls can use basic engineering logic to program this wearable gadget to do just about anything they can think of. This device harnesses the creativity of young women to learn programming languages that will serve them for years to come.

“…the collaboration between science and art can indeed lead us to ‘eureka’ moments!”

Recently, a wonderful collaboration of science, art and design occurred on August 21, 2017 during a solar eclipse. University students of Alaska and Oregon launched a half-dozen balloons into the earth’s atmosphere to take spectacular views of the eclipse. When the balloons reached their highest altitudes, they burst and brought camera equipment safely back to the ground. In this way, the students actually used their science and creative tactics together to provide people with a spectacular view of the eclipse.

In the light of aforementioned discussion, it would be no exaggeration to say that the collaboration between science and art can indeed lead us to ‘eureka’ moments!  Therefore, it is time to dispel the notion of compartmentalizing science and art. Keeping in view the last renaissance period, there is a strong possibility that we might enter another age of renaissance because both science and art are wedded by the feelings of wonder.


Iqra Naveed

What is the Lahore Science Mela?

Muhammad Hamza Waseem

The Lahore Science Mela is the first of its kind fair in Pakistan where the prevailing gap between culture and science will be bridged. Hearing the word ‘culture’ takes one to the narrow streets of androon shehr (walled city), the tantalizing cuisine of food streets and the historical places, like the Shahi Qila, the Shalamar GardensChauburji  that have stood the test of time. The modern world encapsulates all this in one word i.e. Lahore, the cultural heart of Pakistan that will host the grand celebration of science.

Rarely, if ever, does it happen in Pakistan when scientists, engineers, doctors, artists etc. gather to engage with and kindle the souls of public with the torch that drives their careers and causes sparkle in their eyes. The science fair will be open to everyone and will bring home the fact that the joy of science, of comprehending what surrounds us, can be shared by all. Indeed, the laws that make the heavens go round stand above race, colour, caste, creed or religion and reveal themselves to those who wonder.

What better occasion can there be to share the charisma of science with everyone than a mela? Melas (festivals) have a rich tradition in Pakistan, particularly in Punjab and symbolize good entertainment for the whole family and build a strong sense of community. The mela at hand will be an opportunity to engage citizens, of all ages and all backgrounds, through events that celebrate science, engineering, medicine, technology and innovation.

‘…fizzy reactions, bubbling and miniature blasts.’

Housed at the occasion will be stalls and exhibitions, depicting science and culture, expressing the organic connection between the two realms often considered aloof from each other. Although various technologies are crafted as a result of arduous work of scientists, it is an artist that teaches man the ethics of using technology. Hence, it is imperative that we bring together the two aspects of life.

Giving you a glimpse of the science fair, the attendees will get to witness the glow of lasers accompanied by the brilliance of crystals. Other materials, lesser attractive yet utilitarian cousins of crystals, will be no lesser a cause of wonder and enchantment. Where understanding of the intricate yet beautifully orchestrated human physiology will be imparted to everyone by the medical practitioners, there chemistry will be the apple of everyone’s eye through its fizzy reactions, bubbling and miniature blasts.

Astronomical observations at Lahore Science Mela 2017
 Sports lovers will get to see the mechanics underlying their games and comprehend the adrenaline rush that runs in them while they play. Theoretical physics will invite all to ponder over its grand theories to understand the microcosmos and the macrocosmos. The stargazers will get a bit of their curiosity quenched through live astronomical observations via professional apparatus. Models of satellites and space observation instruments will be reminiscent of the ‘giant leap for mankind.’ Automobile and robotics enthusiasts will also get something to be excited about. Stalls of computer and IT will be placed in neighbourhood of those of animal and plant science, reminding everyone to exercise a balance between the use of the two.

Homemakers, chefs and everybody else as well will be delighted by stalls of kitchen science. Not only the science museums will be invited to present, but also the museums of botany and zoology will be asked to grace the occasion. Adding to the air of wonder and excitement will be the soothing air of aquariums. Gems and minerals will boast of the variety available among them whereas petroleum industry will speak of the long journey mineral oil has to traverse before getting ready for daily use. Stalls of palaeontology and fossils will make everyone realize that they are, in essence, a part of the past.     

Science welcomes everyone with open arms.

In short, the Lahore Science Mela will dispel the notion that science is only meant for the privileged elite. By making the mela open to all, we will 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 hope that the Lahore Science Mela will celebrate science as a grand equalizer, and as a means that leads to both intellectual and social sustainability, and economic well-being.


This blog was originally posted at

The writer studies Electrical Engineering at the University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore.

Art and Science, Parallel or Intersecting lines?

Life imitates art, and science imitates life. These premises are fundamental to the principle of Biomimicry.

Biomimicry is the imitation of the models, systems, and elements of nature for the purpose of solving complex problems encountered by human civilisation. Every invention in science can be attributed to a corresponding phenomenon already existing in nature.

Aeroplanes would not have existed had the Wright brothers not drawn inspiration from flying birds; neither would we have high speed bullet trains, nor self-driving cars. This only goes on to re-emphasise on the significant chunk of innovation that technology has managed to give us.

Aeroplanes have undeniably influenced us since their invention in 1914. There are not many who have not sat in an aeroplane, or have dreamt of travelling in one and therein lies one example of the intersection of innovation, art and nature and its influence in our lives.

Artist-polymaths have existed for as long as the subject of science itself has; with every eminent scientist, such as Einstein, Maxwell and Galileo being celebrated for revolutionising human life.

Another example of a subject that has emerged from the arts and sciences combined is economics. It translates qualitative data into quantitative data and uses both mathematical and non-arbitrary factors to analyze situations in the real world. In macroeconomics, we look at the quantitative data in an abstract fashion to understand the philosophy of the world at large, which is itself an art.

Life imitates art, and science imitates life.

Art teaches you to appreciate the senses and feelings nature has gifted us with, whereas science, uses these resources for inspiration and utilises them in search of innovation and expanding our creative horizons. The study of neuroaesthetics has proven that people with an aptitude for art perform better in mathematics because of their ability to visualise the thinking process. When we talk about art, we do not only limit ourselves to paintings and sculptures. One may immediately think of them, and they certainly do play a large role in preserving our history and symbolise our evolution in a broader sense. But drama, prose and poetry have an immense impact on our perceptions of how we view the world and one can tell a lot about a person through their music and literary tastes. The intersection of art and science, to me, is the intersection of the heart and the mind. A verse from Iqbal goes,

صبح ازل یہ مجھ سے کہا جبرئیل نے

‎جو عقل کا غلام ہو، وہ دل نہ کر قبول

Gibriel on Creation’s Early Morn, a piece of useful counsel gave:

He bade me not accept a heart enchained by mind of man like a slave.

We do ourselves a great disservice when we limit ourselves to fact and figures and repress the instinct and dampen the natural desire to dream, to believe, and to feel.

Science follows a rhythm, a pattern that gives our thinking process a form and direction, when our curiosity wreaks havoc and searches for answers. And the equilibrium between the both is what we understand as life.

One of mankind’s greatest philosophical questions has been the persistent need to explain our existence. What are we here for? Where do we come from? These are broadly understood as the existential dilemma—a philosophical question that religion answers by lending us purpose, a moral framework, a code of conduct and raising us to be more than just animals to conscientious sentient self-aware people with soul, emotion and rationale. Without the driving forces of emotions and passions, many inventions may never have come into existence.

Social and scientific theories both arise when we think of concepts beyond what is considered as rational. The notion of infinity, now widely accepted and put into practice is itself a testimony of how even science cannot escape the abstract principles of the universe. In philosophy, the idea of infinitude is a metaphysical concept that is linked to transcendence, beyond the limits of all possible experience and knowledge. Infinity stretches the boundaries of all disciplines across all frontiers. ‘Black holes’ are another scientific theory that toys with the limits of rationality and makes us realize that there are some things bigger than anything our limited human comprehension can ever perceive.

Epigenetics tells us that our experiences become a part of our genetic encoding, that an experience can translate itself into the chemical arrangement of our molecular biology. Art influences these experiences. One cannot separate the two disciplines; indeed, the wall between art and science exists only in our mind.

In reality, none could have survived without the other.

Holistically, both disciplines teach us one very crucial thing; everything that exists in this world operates on the idea of codependence — regardless of how minimal — to progress and that isolation and creating divisions between things does not lead to the best possible outcomes. Our power lies in codependence and coexistence and the purpose of knowledge is to open your mind to new thoughts and possibilities through the intersection of ideas.

A person looking at a giant multicoloured cube will always think that it is entirely the same colour he sees from his perspective, until he is informed of the other sides to view the cube from as well.


Noor Ussahar

Yeh mein ne Jupiter banaya hai

“Yeh mein ne Jupiter banaya hai”

Afzal swung a ball of crumpled newspapers in the air, and a smug grin took over his face.

Jee, ab mein Mars aur Saturn banaun ga,” he explained, answering my puzzled expression.

His eyes shone with excitement as he shrunk the solar system to a magnitude he could fathom.

In the summer of 2017, I worked with an NGO, Next Generation Pakistan, to organise a summer school in an underprivileged area of Lahore.  My responsibility of heading the science department led me to formulate a syllabus that focused on teaching science beyond what is taught in a conventional, rote-learning oriented classroom; the syllabus comprised experimental science, environmental management, and astronomy, to accentuate the prevalence and importance of science in our everyday lives thereby linking what is in textbooks to what lies on our Earth and beyond.  

The beginning of this story lies in a small seventh grade classroom that is etched onto my memory: the scorching mid-July heat of Lahore, the humidity of nascent monsoon, light fluttering through huge windows to compensate for the ruthless power cuts, shrieks as vinegar dissolves the outer shell of an egg, a collective “whoa” at the bizarre magic that makes a solution turn from orange to green, faces perplexed at the sight of a magnet causing a wire to move, a roar of laughter as an experiment did not go as planned, and Afzal. If I close my eyes, I can see his face staring at me amidst all those children, challenging every word I say, bombarding me with “lekin aisay kyun?

“Jee, ab mein Mars aur Saturn banaun ga,” he explained, answering my puzzled expression.

Afzal, unstirred by the heat, attended all three weeks of the summer school. He wanted to know why wet hair appeared darker than dry hair, why water was blue in the sea but transparent in his bath tub, what made the solar system flat, and the earth round. As classes on astronomy progressed, Afzal found himself spending all his free time with me, discussing phenomenon after phenomenon, watching videos after videos, and simply unraveling the great mysteries of this universe. Flames of curiosity raged within his eyes, holding the cosmos captive. All those months of planning the syllabus could not stop me from stumbling for words to shield myself against the intensity of his questions as I struggled to find ways to explain concepts far more advance for a student who has not studied atomic structures or laws of physics. Young Afzal’s imagination was as relentless as his curiosity; age was not much of an obstacle. He imagined aliens intercepting Voyager 1, and finding an endangered animal in his backyard. He often gazes at the night sky, wondering what massive events might be happening up there that are changing the universe forever, as the world remains indifferent.

In just three weeks, Afzal allowed me to observe the miracles of curiosity in close proximity, helping me see the world through a pair of eyes very different from mine. It made me learn what I did not know, and relearn what I already knew. It reminded me that the thirst for knowledge is insatiable, and there is joy in understanding the cosmic clockwork better.

As he bounces his Jupiter into air, I want to tell him that the storms of Jupiter cannot match the intensity of his perspective. With every twirl of his Jupiter, I want to tell him that I see his excited eyes staring back at me in images of spiraling galaxies.

Instead, I tell him that the universe is as much his as it is anyone else’s, and he should not hesitate to look up at the sky and soak up his share. Just by doing so, he might inspire others the way he inspired me.

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of star stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.” – Carl Sagan


Hafsa Ahsan