Summer Training Programme gets students’ attention

When the programme was first started it was aimed at helping M.Sc. students retain their interest in the chosen discipline.

An effort to expose postgraduate students of physics in the State in the 1990s to research through a Summer Training Programme (STP) has now expanded to include other disciplines such as chemistry, biology and, for the first time, mathematics.

When the programme was first started it was aimed at helping M.Sc. students retain their interest in the chosen discipline. The summer vacation was used to help them revise subjects. To make it attractive students, particularly those from rural areas, they were selected and accommodated in Anna University’s hostels for a month, and travel assistance was paid.

The effort reaped benefits as the interaction with eminent faculty from other universities, the Indian Institute of Technology Madras and scientists from IGCAR, Kalpakkam, inspired students to expand their academic horizons.

“It was started to attract more students to nuclear physics, who otherwise move to other disciplines, such as computer science. We received support from the Science City by way of funds,” J. Kumar, Anna University professor and coordinator of STP 2021, said.

The Academy of Sciences limits intake from urban areas to 25% to help students from rural areas benefit. This year we received 450 applications for chemistry alone. We have limited the selection to 50 or 60 candidates per subject to give them quality time to interact with experts,” Mr. Kumar said.

Of the 1,052 applicants 385 were selected this year.

The current session, which commenced on July 20 and will conclude on August 7, began with a keynote address by IGCAR Director, health safety and environment group, B. Venkatraman.

Yogesh Natesan, a faculty in the Nuclear Physics department of the University of Madras, had taken the STP in 2006. A student of American College, Madurai, and topper in his class, he was selected to participate in the programme that year. “A classmate who also participated in the training session is a scientist in London now,” Mr. Yogesh said.

In 2019, he had the opportunity to officiate as the director for the STP.

His training helped him clear the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) and pursue research. “I am from Madurai, but many others in the programme were from villages in the State,” he recalled. “I aimed for GATE. The students get research contacts, and they also get internship offers. Some use it to take up M.Sc. projects in different universities,” he said.

This year the directors for the training programme are from the University of Madras, Anna University, Bharathiar University and Madurai Kamaraj University.

As many as 128 speakers from the relevant disciplines will speak on ongoing research activities and career opportunities. The Academy’s office is situated in the University of Madras, which is also the nodal point.


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