Scientific Discoveries and Hands-on Laboratory Sessions at Day-2 of 7th DST Camp, PU
The Voice of Chandigarh News | Photo By T S Bedi
Prof. N. Sathyamurthy, Former Director, IISER, Mohali spoke on “Symmetry and Pattern Formation in Flowers – A Multi-Disciplinary Approach”. He said that we see a large number of flowers of various colours and shapes around us. Our biology friends tell us that the flowers are colourful and symmetric, to attract bees and birds with the nectar. In return, cross pollination takes place. A closer look at them reveals an underlying multi-fold symmetry. Some of them are bilateral (pancy, for example), some of them trilateral (lily), some quadrilateral (mustard), some of them pentamerous (chilli) and some hexamerous (onion). The fact that there is a prevalent bilateral symmetry in all of them is attributed to the pollinator having two eyes. It is not clear why higher order symmetry is there. In our quest to answer this question, we have examined a large number of flowers of varying symmetry and took up one particular flower, Passiflora incarnata for a closer inspection. This particular flower exhibits pentamerous symmetry and there is also a radial symmetry consisting of concentric rings. A careful examination of the number of flowers blossoming per day in a plant revealed an interesting (monthly) periodicity that is characteristic of nonlinear dynamical systems. Efforts to understand the observed spatial oscillations in the flowers in terms of Meinhardt’s activator-inhibitor model and the temporal oscillations in their number in terms of a modified Lotka-Volterra model will be described.
“Science behind the Major Lifestyle Diseases” was the topic of Professor Kanwaljit Chopra, Chairperson, University Institute of Pharmaceutical Scineces, Panjab University, Chandigarh. She highlighted importance of various life styles for disease prevention. It is a sad reality that teenagers and young Indian adults are getting extremely prone to lifestyle diseases. The number of lifestyle disease cases has dramatically increased in the recent past. The main factors responsible for this disturbing trend are unhealthy eating habits, sedentary lifestyle, poor sleeping habits (disruption of biological clock), smoking and susceptibility to stress. Developing healthy eating and exercise habits in adolescence are foundations for good health in adulthood. Scientific basis of important life style modifications to combat the epidemic of lifestyle diseases will be explained to the students. They shall be sensitized about the important risk behaviors which fuel these diseases. An attempt will be made to educate them/ to help them to make the right choices to adopt healthy behaviors to arrest the progression of these diseases in adulthood as well as for country’s future health.