St Stephen's College, Delhi, Rank 1 Science, Rank 2 Arts
A research-based approach to teaching science is the norm at the chemistry and physics departments of St Stephen's College. “A student has to be exposed to the newer foundations of the subject and needs to collaborate with students from other departments,” says Dr Rashmi Sachdeva, the head of the chemistry department.
Some chemistry students are working on an inter-disciplinary project on Begomovirus, and studying how viruses affect different crops and reduce yield. “The virus reduces the yield of many crops such as radish, tomatoes and chilli,” says Rakhi Thareja, a teacher in the chemistry department. “We went to the agricultural fields with the students and collected samples. Now, we are doing research on the best possible cure to solve the problem.”
The physics department, on the other hand, has a Centre for Theoretical Physics that specialises in research projects. “Our centre encourages students to get hands-on experience while doing research projects. Every year, we take multiple projects,” says assistant professor Abhinav Gupta. Avleen Sahni, awaiting her final exam results, wants to do further research in physics. “I have been part of competitions on robotics, applied physics and astronomy, which have helped me get a different perspective of the subject,” she says. “We also have regular interactions with alumni who have gone to renowned universities such as Cambridge. They motivate us to have a research-based approach towards the subject.” Sahni is now preparing to go to Germany for her master's in physics at the University of Bonn.
Says the principal, John Varghese: “We encourage our science students to get exposed to research and innovation projects from other institutions. The different science departments and societies regularly have technical festivals. These act as a platform for students to have knowledge-sharing sessions.”
Varghese wants to have an industry interface in the form of an entrepreneurship cell as this is the age of startups. “It will provide a platform for students to link up with the industry in case they want to start something on their own,” says Varghese. And, in the near future, the college wants to have departments for Hindi and Urdu, and also a course in political science.