Orissa engineer spreads science through models, poems

Tuesday, 28 December 2004, 08:00 Hrs
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BHUBANESWAR: An engineer in Orissa is helping popularise science by creating hundreds of models and writing poems to make concepts easily understood by school students.

Mihir Panda, 42, a resident of Bahanaga village in the coastal district of Balasore, works as a civil engineer with the state government. However, he takes time out every day to build models and write poems on science.

"It is a passion I have from my school days," Panda told IANS.

"Though I joined a government job, I always tried to concentrate on developing new models that can make scientific concepts understood. I am happy I am getting some success."

Panda's models are widely appreciated by students and teachers.

The popular ones are models explaining the functions of steam engines, aero engines, dozers, cranes and water turbines as well as the concept behind alternative current and direct current.

The models have been displayed at science exhibitions and schools and Panda is now building a workshop at his home to develop and display his models.

"I started making the models with an investment of only 75 paise back in 1986. People appreciated them. Students and parents and teachers now buy them and that helps me work on more such projects," Panda said.

"Although I get a salary from the government, my major earnings come from these models."

Panda claims he has created as many as 10,000 models, whose cost range between 3,000 and 5,000. "If the models sell, I invest the returns in making other models."

He has not received any financial help for his creativity, and has been spending money from his salary and from selling bonsai trees grown in his nursery on the models.

"I have developed bonsai banyan trees, which are rare, in my nursery. I have nurtured them using special techniques after collecting banyan trees from abandoned temples and old buildings," Panda said.

"Earlier, Panda created the models by himself. Now as the demand for them has increased, he has engaged two carpenters. "At one point, my parents, teachers and even friends thought I had gone mad. But after they saw the models, they encouraged me," he said.

Schools and educational institutions invite Panda often for lectures on science. "During my leisure time, I go to such schools or other institutions and teach the students," he said.

"I also take my models with me and demonstrate them before the students so that they understand scientific concepts easily. I have composed several poems which children can recite to understand science," he said.

Panda prefers to keep his activities away from the media glare. "A mission undertaken for publicity alone loses its momentum and focus," he said.

Source: IANS
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