The RYSI Award 2018 was a roaring success in its maiden year. We had more than 8500 registrations, of which almost 1700 children submitted their innovations. We had announced the award only two weeks before the registration deadline and 4 weeks before the submission deadline, and during a busy time in the year for the child, in spite of which we received an overwhelming response. However, we suspect that we got a rather low conversion rate from registrations to submissions due to this reason: that it was close to the exam season and there was inadequate time for children to prepare. Needless to say, as this will now be an annual event, children will have more time to prepare in subsequent years and we hope to increase our numbers every year.
A group of more than 20 volunteers evaluated each entry; each one being evaluated by at least two volunteers. From the 1700+ submissions, about 1600 were submitted online, while we had more than 100 postal entries. From this total selection, 114 finalists were selected: 34 from the Junior Category, 47 from the Intermediate and 33 from the Senior. Only 9 of the children selected weren’t able to make it to the Live Finals in Bangalore.
There were numerous students who came from the big cities across India, but we also had representation from smaller towns and villages from all corners of India: Domariyaganj and Bahraich in UP were perhaps our two most remote participant locations; but we also had some from Brahmanagudem (AP), Yavatmal (Maharashtra), Komarapalayam (TN) and many other such places we were hearing about for the first time! Our greatest pleasure came from the fact that the word about RYSI had reached these remote corners of our vast country.
105 children from all across the country took part in the Finals on the 4th of March 2018 at Sir C.V. Raman’s old home, Panchavati, in Malleswaram, Bangalore. More than 200 guests of the contestants, and others, were also present. Several media outlets had a presence. Children made their impromptu innovations, based on the topics we gave each category on the spot, in the morning. In the afternoon, we were graced by the presence of 12 scientists from reputed institutions across Bangalore; they formed the panel of judges who interacted with each and every contestant to then come up with the Winners and Runners-Up.
The Winners and Runners-Up were given their certificates during a small presentation ceremony to wrap up the event. All the participants had made interesting and valuable entries and showed off their creativity and innovation. In addition to what they made on the day, each participant also displayed what they had made to get into the Finals. The entire day was like a science exhibition with a carnival atmosphere in the gorgeous outdoors of Panchavati.
We also had a handful of the government schools that we work with in Bangalore ,display their innovations throughout the afternoon. One child was selected for a Special Prize, and we were really pleased that some teachers and students accepted our invitation to come on a holiday to make the exhibition even richer.
We were privileged and honoured to have had the support of the Raman Research Institute Trust throughout the RYSI process. Our thanks also goes out to all the volunteers who helped us evaluate the entries, and most of all, we’d like to thank the eminent panel of scientist judges who spent the entire afternoon during the Finals in interacting with all the participants and assisting us in the culmination of the event. We were also delighted that Mrs. Dominique Radhakrishnan, an integral part of the Raman Research Institute and the Raman family for the last many decades, was present to make the Award presentations to the recipient children.