BITS Pilani shimmered in all it’s splendor on the night of 10th of April when finally much awaited curtains were unveiled for 28th edition of APOGEE. The inauguration ceremony was graced by the presence of Ms. Meera Sanyal, currently the Chairperson and Country Executive for ABN AMRO Bank (now RBS) in India and on the National Advisory Board of AIESEC, an international students’ organization. Inauguration ceremony kicked off with the traditional lamp lighting ceremony by honorable chief guest accompanied by guest of honor Vice Chancellor Prof. L. K Maheshwari along with the student members of the body called ‘COSTAA’. Chief Guest in her short speech stressed on the importance of choosing the right course of path for oneself as Speed is not important if one is going in the wrong direction.She also urged the young minds to find innovative solutions for problems faced by rural India.

This was followed a spectacular show of fireworks and a thousand reveler watched volleys of fireworks painting innumerable pictures in the sky. The awesome show illuminated the campus with crisscrossing explosions of crimson, purple and blue.

APOGEE is all set to emulate last year’s stupendous success after getting ISO certified last year with series of guest speakers like Dr. Archana Sharma (an Indian experimental physicist and a staff member of CERN), Dr. Apathukatha Sivathanu Pillai(CEO and MD of Brahmos Aerospace and Chief Controller R&D DRDO).

Mind boggling projects, multitude of events are slated to be held in the next four days. Events like ‘track-o- mania’, ‘FTGP’ and ‘code-storm’ are expected to be huge crowd pullers .In all, 1400 outstation participants from 150 colleges around the country, along with the BITSian entries will be pitting against each other in various categories of projects and paper presentation. Apart from slew of guest speakers from various fields ,TEDx speakers are all set to flare the hidden burning desire to go an extra mile to do the things which standout and made a mark in their life.

No doubt, this platform provided by APOGEE 2010 for the confluence of great minds across the country is going to be an unique and enhancing experience for the participants. For whom technical stuff was never their cup of tea need not be disappointed either. Events like Panorama, BITSian pixcels for photography lovers, galleria for art lovers, and air show are all set to add new dimensions to this APOGEE. Quizzers have lots to busy themselves in, multitude of quizzing events like India quiz, ‘BOB’ are yet again expected to be gut wrenching extravaganza for the participants as well as the spectators. With sponsorship soaring to the 25lakh mark, the winners will have lots to take back home.

By and large APOGEE 2010 is festival to be experienced, playing host to a gamut of activities catering to the interest of every possible field ranging from quizzing to creativity, from paper presentations on one hand to debates, photography to cultural nights and providing an unparalleled platform to test one’s wits with some of the bests in the country and earn from wealth of experience of virtuous speakers.

Pavan Goenka congratulates Team BITS Pilani

Teams BITS Pilani came runners up in the prestigious Mahindra Auto Quotient Quiz Championship. The team consisting of BITSians Ambarish Vemuri and Piyush Rathor was one of the 7,500 participating teams from all over the country. The team represented the North Zone in the national finals after winning the zonal finals. The other teams in the finals were MSRIT, Bangalore from South Zone, NIT Rourkela from East Zone and Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information Technology from the West Zone. The finals proved to be a close contest with the BITSian Team leading till the final round.  Siddharth Patankar from The Car and Bike Show served as the quiz master. Other dignitaries such as Pavan Goenka, President of Mahindra and Mahindra Automotive Sector and Hormazd Sorabjee,Editor of Autocar cheered the teams on. As runners up, the BITSian Team won an all expenses paid trip to Dubai to experience the popular Dune Bashing rides, prize money of INR 10,000 and open job offers with the Mahindra Group. True automobile enthusiasts, Ambarish and Piyush have exciting plans for their future. “We might just start up .. who knows, maybe our own automobile designing firm? “ says Ambarish and gives a confident wink. Ambarish and Piyush receiving their Prize from Pavan Goenka

The Civil Engineering Group of the Institute organized an International Conference on Advances in Concrete, Structural and Geotechnical Engineering from 25-27 October,2009. The conference drew a huge response with more than 220 papers being sent for review. The conference eventually saw over 100 delegates turning up. These included researchers and practicing engineers working in the broad field of concrete technology, structural and geotechnical engineering from India as well as countries like the US, UK, Iran and Poland.

The Guest of Honor was Professor Emeritus Ravindra K Dhir, the chairman of the Concrete Institute of UK who also happens to be a recipient of the Order of the British Empire. He inaugurated the Conference with a interesting presentation on the topic “Bringing Down the Citadels: Challenges of Fit for Purpose Concrete”. Other prominent speakers included Prof. Venkatesh Kodur from the Michigan State University & others from institutes like IIT Kharagpur, IIT Delhi, CBRI & CSIR.

The conference lectures dwelt upon the major problems and challenges faced by Civil Engineers in modern times and during exigencies such as Earthquakes and Floods. It also provided an opportunity for the participants to keep abreast of latest trends and developments in these fields with the aim of updating their analytical and practical skills. The main stress seemed to be on better usage of the available resources and finding economic and more efficient alternatives to the existing raw materials used in the construction industry. The importance of computational techniques for acquiring better results was also highlighted.

The Conference rounded off with a panel discussion on the issues the present and futures generation of civil engineers have to focus on. The Conference was sponsored by Department of Science and Technology, University Grants Commission, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Geo Technical Foundation, HEICO Instrumentation System and Structures Private Limited.

 The huge crowd present in Pilani to celebrate the annual cultural festival Oasis of BITS Pilani , was in for a mesmerizing experience as the famous actor-activist-sportsman Rahul Bose interacted with them for about 2 hours in the lecture theatre on the 28th of October

Rahul was completely in sync with the young generation as he spoke their lingo , followed their cues and at the same time gave them some serious lessons of life. He said that most of the surveys he reads in various magazines are really as far from reality as they could be. Infact ,he said India was primarily of 3 types, one like Africa i.e. the villages , one is that of the small towns , and third is that of the metros and big cities. He said that the most important thing in life was to be able to successfully answer the question ‘Who am I’ ?  Indicating to his recent campaigns for the youth to vote, he advised the audience that they should just not shrug off politics as uncool and not their thing but ponder upon it and definitely vote.

Bose described the essence of life as doing what one loves. He said that for him there was no thing called ‘work’. Acting , playing , all are what he loves doing so that is no work..its as good as holidaying.  The audience agreed to the core when he pointed out that we all are very good at finding out what we hate, but finding out what we really love to do is very hard.

Besides , he also shared with the audience some light moments about working with the siren Mallika Sherawat during ‘Pyaar ke Side Effects’ and kept audience in splits. His tongue-in-cheek humour was loved by all. At last, he generously gave his autograph and even allowed the people to take pictures with him.

 

shankar3

The third day of BITS OASIS 2k9, which included the much awaited professional show by Shankar Ehsaan and Loy concluded as the best day of OASIS this year.

The first major event of the day, Razzmatazz, which started at around 11:30 AM included some of the best dance troupes from colleges all over India including SRCC, LSR, KNC, IP etc. The three rounds coupled with the determination by every team to perform their best produced a spectacular show. This followed a quizzing event called Triathlon which was later followed by the competition for Mr. and Mrs. Oasis ’09 (MAMO). As MAMO got over, all were left with little to do other than wait for the Gods of Indian Bollywood music to set the auditorium stage on fire. The entries started at 9:30 PM and the pythonic queue was an indication of the expectations everyone had from that night. After pushing and screaming for a long time, everyone managed to get through. The auditorium almost jam-packed with twice its normal capacity. With the entrance of the trio, the auditorium started shaking with a roar of excitement. The numbers of Dil Chahta Hai, Wake Up Sid, Kal Ho Na Ho and Rock On, which Shankar sung with panache lending it a feel more awesome than in a playback, made everyone present dance their hearts out. A few songs were also sung by his son, who by his voice made a mark that pretty soon he’d be sharing the stages with his father. Towards the end, Shankar Mahadevan came up with his very first song – Breathless. It was then that the people present shifted into a psychedelic state swinging themselves from side to side, head banging to every drum beat, and shouting the complete lyrics at the top of their voices. On exiting the auditorium and interviewing a few students, they said,” We can no longer feel our ears and legs. It was the most amazing concert ever.” Thus, concluded the amazing performance by the trio at around 12:30 AM. After an hour, the finals of Rocktaves ’09 started. Adrenaline was still rushing in many which was quite evident from the huge mosh-pit and the severe head banging during this all India rock event. Guillotine, a band from Delhi was declared as the winner.

Sleep deprivation and utter fatigue did not stop anyone from witnessing these amazing performances and enjoying every competition to the very last bit. The thrill of the four days of complete cultural extravaganza which came just after a row of exams was just what everyone needed, to rejuvenize their body, mind and soul.

rocktaves

When the stairway to heaven offers prizes worth 80,ooo INR, when the cradle of music is sure to keep rocking, when the winds of change are all about melody, distortions and adrenaline-pumped-performances, it is time to know that Rocktaves has arrived. Rocktaves ’09 promises to be more awesome than ever before. With bands from almost all parts of the nation thriving here to experience the pinnacle which human heart rate can achieve, all we can do is expect performances as better as they can be. More on Rocktaves as soon as the music kicks in.

For more information about the event and the competing bands, please visit :

Rocktaves ’09 web page

In the past few days, BITS Pilani saw may eminent people deliver talks on entrepreneurship and related topics.

diaz(October 13, 2009) The wonders of technology, that we could have Mr. Diaz Nesamoney deliver a talk through Video Conference on "Sales and Marketing" for entrepreneurial ventures. Mr Nesamoney is the founder of Jivox and has had two prior successful ventures. The talk delivered under the Sparks New Ventures Program, a BITSAA-CEL initiative to help budding entrepreneurs, focused on market positioning, product sales, pricing and buzz generation.

 

jason(October 24, 2009) CEL(Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership) and Students Union organized a lecture by Mr. Jason George, a Harvard alumnus with work experience with McKinsey and World Bank. He was also the winner of the SGWoEA at the 33rd St. Gallen Symposium. Being of almost the same age group as the audience, his talk on “How to find and take advantage of opportunities” connected very well to them. “Life accelerates..” was a thoughtful statement put forth by him which stressed upon looking around for opportunities early on.

 

chandra(October 24, 2009) It was very gracious of Mr. Chandra Bhople to deliver the III Business Plan Workshop for Epsilon-the intraBITS business plan competition organized by CEL. Having an immense experience in the field of technology and entrepreneurship, Mr Bhople had a very interactive session on “Fundamentals of a Business Plan”. Due to his simplicity of explanation, the participants for the 2010 edition of Epsilon, understood the otherwise tricky concepts involved in writing a Bplan.

With many more CEL, Sparks New Ventures, BITSAA and Embryo lectures lined up, “Entrepreneur” surely qualifies as the buzz word on campus currently.

BITS Pilani , besides being an academic giant  is also revered for its perrenial waves of enthusiasm and the masti . After the high on adrenaline annual sports meet BOSM last month , the cookies were kept crumbling by the navaratri celebrations , the dandiya nights , followed by the deepawali lights ..and now , the big daddy of all the festivities is approaching – the annual cultural festival of BITS Pilani , is at the doors.

Famously named as Oasis – it quite literally fulfills its nomenclature as it brings alive the sands during its reign as never before. The sandy soils of Pilani almost start jiving to the beats of the surging music of  youth , energy, attitude..and as mentioned before ..masti .

Well…for all of you people bored with the plain and monotonous life..BITS Pilani presents , Oasis 2k9- see you on the Flipside!! 27th to 31st October. The theme this year being Flipside- where the way in is the way out!! So come and discover your flipside..The Oasis logo..inscribed in a perfect ambigram …states the same!! Check out

www.bits-oasis.org

Though it is always a grand affair, Oasis this year promises to be bigger and better this year …with the guests platter serving the likes of Rahul Bose, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy , Suneel Paal,Rainbow Bridge ..and counting!! Sponsors including Blackberry , Sprite , Monte Carlo and counting!! With IBIBO joining hands with oasis..it only can rocket upwards in granduer.

As the D day is approaching , the campus buzz is increasing gradually. The preparations, the arrangements , the talks are on their highest. Some of the preliminary events are also being held.

Till then…just try t discover your flipside as much as fathomable..before you plunge into the maze on 27th October…

Just Remember..

The Way In, is the Way Out.

Children playing with Acyut

Acyut, BITS Pilani’s very own humanoid robot enthralled the predominantly German audience at the IDEEN Expo in Hanover. The biggest hit(especially with the kids) was the body suit which allows the user to control the humanoid by simply moving his/her own body in the desired manner; the humanoid is capable of mimicking the users every motion, thereby making it more…human. The third version of Acyut, christened Acyut 3, is also much faster and more dextrous than the previous versions. The team has been travelling to countries all over the world like Japan, Korea and the United States, showcasing the humanoid and exchanging technical expertise with foreign robotics enthusiasts. The previous version of Acyut, Acyut 2, also managed to bag the bronze model at RoboGames 2009, the world’s largest open competition for robots.

Acyut at the Ideen ExpoThe IDEEN Expo, organized from the 5th to 13th of September this year, serves to provide companies and student research programs a platform to showcase their innovations and to connect with young professionals. The Expo attracted over 280,000 visitors this year and Acyut 3 was on the Highlights list for all the nine days. Noteworthy among those impressed by the humanoid were Mr. Christian Wulff, the Chief Minister of the State of Niedersachsen and Mr. Sunil Vyas, the Indian Ambassador to Germany.

I caught up with Sushma Vallabhaneni, the current team leader of Acyut and asked her what her plans for the humanoid were. This is what she had to say, ”Well, at the moment we have our eyes set on the gold at Robogames 2010. We’re working on both Acyut 2 and Acyut 3 to improve their dynamic stability. Acyut 2 and Acyut 3 are twins in that respect, modifications will be identical for both. We’ll also be showcasing Acyut at various platforms,  our ultimate aim is to inspire the kids. We believe robotics could be the next big thing in India and are willing to do whatever it takes to motivate young minds to consider it to be a serious career path.”

We wish Sushma Vallabhaneni and her team the best in their very special endeavour.

A child trying out the body suit

The Nayaks with Devin at Copenhagen

Abhishek is part of the Indian youth contingent at the all important United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen this December. Anindita represented India at the THINK ABOUT IT conference in September. What do they have in common? They are both BITSians and they are both Nayaks. Perhaps even more important is the fact that they share a passion for fighting climate change and that passion has earned them a chance to get their opinions noted at Copenhagen, where leaders from the developed and the developing nations are slated to meet this December to chart an agreement to reduce the green house gases emission. The United Nations Climate Change Conference, also referred to as the COP-15, is pitted to lead to a new protocol which will replace the controversial Kyoto protocol. All eyes will be on the delegates from the United States, China and India as they are considered to be the key players at the COP15.

Active members of the Indian Youth Climate Network (IYCN), the Nayak siblings represented India at the THINK ABOUT IT conference in Copenhagen last month. The conference attracted close to 90 youth leaders from 20 different countries. Dignitaries such as Soren Hermansen , ‘TIME magazine’s Hero of the Environment 2008’; Francois Roudie, Policy Co-ordinator of European Commission; Tasha Eichenseher, Editor of nationalgeographic.com; Ramesh Jaura , Director of Inter-Press Service Europa and Gerald Traufetter, Editor of Spiegel magazine graced the occasion. The duo cashed in on the opportunity to meet like minded people from all over the world and are now taking part in an online campaign to spread awareness about climate change. As the countdown for the COP15 begins, it could be well worth it to watch out for lots more from the Nayaks.

You can check out Anindita’s own account of the Think About It Conference here.