Igniting Young Minds: AIChE Student Regional Conference 'Prajwalit'

Igniting Young Minds: AIChE Student Regional Conference 'Prajwalit'

The pandemic might have disrupted our everyday lives, but it couldn’t curtail the zeal of the members of AIChE NIT Rourkela Student Chapter. The club successfully hosted the Student Regional Conference 2020 from October 9 – October 11. The event was titled “Prajwalit”, meaning ‘ignited’ in Hindi. The 3-day event was smoothly conducted in complete online mode over Zoom meeting. Even amid the pandemic, AIChE NIT Rourkela Student Chapter could successfully reignite the fire and passion of previous SRCs.

Team Monday Morning brings you extensive coverage of the entire event.

Event Timeline

DAY - 1  

OPENING CEREMONY

The event commenced with the inauguration ceremony. The chief guests for the ceremony were Prof. Yunus Cengel, Mr Debashish Chakraborty and Prof. B.K. Dutta. The hosts for the event were Shourat Fatma and Siddharth.

Chief Guests Prajwalit

The ceremony began with the President of SAC, Prof. Seemita Mohanty extending a warm welcome to everyone. With her statement, “SAC never sleeps”, she appreciated the vibrant club culture of NIT Rourkela. She praised the earnest efforts of different clubs that have conducted various online events, workshops and seminars throughout the lockdown period. She congratulated AIChE NIT Rourkela Student Chapter for successfully managing the challenging task of conducting the SRC 2020 online during such unprecedented time. The HOD of the Department of Chemical Engineering, Prof. M. Kundu, welcomed everyone and gave a brief introduction to the department. Acknowledging the importance of project-based learning, she encouraged the students to attend more of such events and enhance their knowledge and skills. The faculty advisor of AIChE NIT Rourkela Student Chapter, Prof. Biswajit Saha expressed his contentment over the club getting the opportunity to host SRC 2020. He praised the efforts of club members who worked diligently for smooth conduction of the event.

The first guest speaker Prof. Yunus Cengel was introduced by the organisers. He is Professor Emeritus at the University of Nevada, USA. He has also been the founding Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at Adnan Menderes University in Aydin, Turkey. He has also served as the Dean of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at Yildiz Technical University. He has also been an advisor to various government and private organisations. He pursued his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from North Carolina University, USA. He has authored numerous widely adopted textbooks related to the fields of Chemical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering. In his talk on “AI, Integration and Simplicity”, Prof Cengel highlighted the importance of AI and the integration of new technology into various fields. He further discussed Industry 4.0, briefing the students with the shift in the industry where simple factories have transitioned into smart factories. Describing the T-shaped engineering in demand, he urged the students to adopt a multi-disciplinary learning approach.

Prof. BK Dutta is a titan in the field of Chemical Engineering. He is currently serving as a visiting professor at IIT Kharagpur. He has also served as the President of IIChe and is the chairman of Board of Governors, Government College of Engineering and Ceramic Technology, Kolkata. He has been a vising professor to the University of Alberta and Western University. He has also served as an adjunct professor in the University of Akron and IIT Kharagpur. In his fascinating talk, Prof. Dutta spoke about the history of formal study of engineering. He described the genesis of Chemical Engineering and its evolution over the years. He enlightened the students with exceptional developments in the field of Chemical Engineering. He urged the students to apply their engineering knowledge for the betterment of humanity and use it to solve the plethora of challenges that the world currently faces.

Mr Debashish Chakraborty is a chemical engineer passed out from the University of Calcutta in 1982. He has done his MBA from the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. Mr Chakraborty joined IOCL in 1982 as a graduate engineer trainee. He has worked in various departments mainly in operations & technical services and was also an essential member of commissioning of Panipat Refinery. Government of India awarded him a prestigious NPMP award in 2000 for his outstanding achievements. He retired from IOCL in June 2020 as Chief General Manager.

Expressing his love for engineering, he said:

Engineering is a fabulous profession, and I am proud of my profession.

He shared experiences from his career life with the students and guided them on how to prepare themselves for industries. He emphasised on the importance of all-round learning for survival and growth in the competitive industry. He also discussed with the students the future challenges of the economy of scale and environmental issues.

Since Prajwalit was organised in a complete online mode, the students couldn't enjoy the ambience of magnificent campus of NIT Rourkela. To give them a slight feel of the aura of the campus, the video "The Campus Awaits" by Monday Morning was played during the opening ceremony as well as closing ceremony.

DAY - 2

CHEM-E-JEOPARDY

Chem-E-Jeopardy is a fun game which is similar to a buzzer quiz game. Jeopardy utilises questions from Chemical Engineering Undergrad Coursework. A total of 83 teams registered for the event. Each team had a maximum of 4 members in it. Considering the time constraints and difficulty in managing the rules of the games over a zoom call, there was an online quiz round held on www.classmarker.com. Out of the 83 teams who registered, top 32 teams were screened in for the main event and divided into two panels equally. The event started at 9 AM with four prelim rounds consisting of four teams in each round. The top two performing teams from each round qualified for the semi-final round similarly, the top two teams from the semi-final round qualified for the final round. 

The game started after the four teams for that particular round joined the Zoom meeting in which the panellist wiould display the game screen and scores, and another platform called Factile, in which the game will be played. The panel showed the game screen and asked the team to choose a point value from the given category. Each point value, after being selected, displayed a statement. The teams had to respond in the form of a question, whose answer has to be the statement displayed on the screen. The team which hits the buzzer first gets the chance to respond within 10 seconds. In case the response is correct, the team will be awarded as many points as it is displayed on the chosen card and if incorrect, that many points will be deducted. If the buzzer is hit before the panel thoroughly reads the question, or if the team responds in the form of a statement, then marks will be deducted. 

Chem-e-jeopardy

There were provisions for bonus points as well. Some point value cards were labelled as daily doubles, if a team chooses that point value and respond correctly, then the point value will be doubled and the opposite for incorrect answer. In the semi-final round, there was an additional round called double jeopardy. In this, all the point values are doubled with rules remaining the same as single jeopardy (prelim rounds). In double jeopardy, there were two daily double point values. Similarly, in the final round, there was yet another additional round called final jeopardy. In this round, the teams will be asked to wager a certain amount of their points (ranging from 0 to their respective team points) and will be provided with only one statement, and they have to respond to it by writing down their responses. The team whose response is the earliest and correct is declared as the winner of Chem-E-Jeopardy.  

Winner of Chem-E-Jeopardy was a team from Ahmedabad University and Runners-up was a team from MIT Pune.

CHEM-E-SAFE

Chem-E-Safe is an event which was initiated with keeping in mind the safety of the workers and employees working in industries. Problems usually occur out of the blue and hinder the production of the final product. This event was aimed to bring the participants to such ordeals and put to the test their problem solving and tactical skills to overcome these hurdles. The participants were required to prepare a PowerPoint presentation, giving a solution to the given problem statement. The problem statement was provided 12 hours before the event. 

A total of 45 teams had registered for the event out of which only 9 teams were selected for the final round. The panellists for the event were Mr Debashish Chakroborty and Mr Milind Tare, who marked the students based on their solution, presentation, and response to their questions. 

Winner of Chem-E-Safe was a team from NIT Rourkela and Runners-Up was a team from BUET Bangladesh.

WORKSHOPS

Two workshops were organised in association with Innovians Technologies, a leading professional training company based in Noida. The first workshop was based on MATLAB (Computational Math) and the second on ASPEN (Process Simulation). Both the workshops gathered a significant number of attendees despite some technical glitches during the proceedings. The workshops, presented by Mr Sumit Asrani, lasted for 1.5 hours each.

VIRTUAL CONCERT

One of the most exciting events was scheduled towards the end of the second day. Breaking the boundary of being physically present at a concert to experience it, the participants of the events were offered an electrifying experience of a refreshingly live show by Riddles Band, sitting right in their homes. 

Riddles Band

DAY - 3

STPC

The event started at the scheduled time at 9 AM. Student chapters from various colleges presented their modules of different relevant topics related to chemical engineering and its developments in the field of environmental safety. The event provided immense knowledge to the audience and fellow participants. Each topic in every module was cross-questioned by the jury present in the discussion and very constructively explained by the presenters. For the first time, students from international colleges had also participated in SRC, and they were one of the winners of the STPC event with their module on “Safety Performance Assessment of Hazardous Chemical Facilities in Bangladesh Using Indexing Approach”.

Winner of STPC was the team from ICT IOC Bhubaneswar and Runners-Up teams were from NIT Rourkela and BUET Bangladesh.

K-12

The K-12 Outreach Program was scheduled from 1 pm to 4 pm. As explained by the host of the event, this program aimed at connecting AIChE Student Chapters with K-12 students. At this event, various student Chapters shared their experience through modules that contained information about science demonstrations and experiments that they had found to be most successful. Both participants, as well as the audience, gained an understanding of chemical engineering principles and the myriad of possibilities attached to it. Every presentation was followed by a set of questions asked by the jury.

Winner of K-12 Outreach was a team from VIT Vellore and Runners-Up was a team from NIT Rourkela.

PRESIDENT AND ESC MEET

After a break of an hour, a meeting was scheduled at 5 pm among the Presidents of various Student Chapters participating in SRC 2020. The meeting began with the elaboration of the importance of multiple events conducted throughout the three days by the host. The primary purpose of the meeting was to allow various colleges to pitch in for hosting the SRC 2022. According to the voting done by other presidents on the virtual media, VIT, Vellore was selected as the college to host the SRC-2022. The meeting concluded with an overview of the events to be taking place in SRC-2021 provided by the hosting college and a hearty discussion among the Presidents of student chapters.

ECS meet

CLOSING CEREMONY

By the end of DAY 3, the event progressed towards its closing ceremony. The guest speaker for the ceremony was Prof. H.S. Fogler. The hosts introduced Prof. H.S. Fogler. He is a renowned professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Michigan. He has also served as the President of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. He pursued his B.S. from the University of Illinois and his M.S. and PhD from the University of Colorado. Prof. Fogler has been a recipient of several distinguished awards at college, university, and national levels. He has authored 12 books that are highly popular in the domain of Chemical Engineering across the globe.

Prof. Fogler delivered his talk on an initiative led by him, called “Process Safety across Chemical Engineering Curriculum”. He highlighted the importance of process safety by citing examples of the world's worst and deadliest industrial chemical disasters and briefly analysing these. All of these accidents were a result of poor engineering decisions and could have been prevented. He introduced various components of a safety module to the students. He also briefed the students with safety modules on materials and energy balances, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, heat and mass transfer, separation, chemical reaction engineering, process control, and laboratory & personal safety.

The founder of AIChE NIT Rourkela Student Chapter and the first President of the club, Rahul Mohanty addressed the audience. In his talk, he spoke about the challenges that the club had faced during its initial months and the achievements of the club. He congratulated his juniors for having successfully organised the event on an online platform. Following him, the ex-presidents of the club Manisha Rath and Karan Saxena shared their experiences as the president and commended the members of the club. The first faculty advisor of the club, Prof. Sujit Sen talked about the journey of AIChE NIT Rourkela Student Chapter over the passage of years since its inception and praised the members of the club for their dedication. The convener of the event, Shivam Chaurasia extended gratitude and expressed his satisfaction for having made the event a big success.

Even amidst all the difficulties and some technical glitches, it is indeed remarkable of AIChE to efficiently conduct an event of this significance and attract a massive number of participants. A lot of team-work, planning, and coordination is the reason behind the success of Prajwalit. Abhishek Agarwal, the current President of AIChE, has the following to say, 

Prajwalit, the Student Regional Conference of AIChE has seen some remarkable and extraordinary enthusiasm from every participant from about 25+ institutes around the South Asia region. When the pandemic struck, and we were put into lockdown, almost every one of us had lost the hope of organising the conference this year which was a dream for our chapter since its inception. But then we regrouped, planned from a new perspective and came with this idea where I am proud to say that AIChE NIT Rourkela Chapter has set a benchmark and has shown everyone how a conference can be held virtually on such a large scale. No doubt, the credit for this goes to my entire team, which includes my every supportive senior, my outstanding batchmates and my enthusiastic juniors. This won't have been possible without you all. At last, I want to thank every person associated with this conference for making Prajwalit a huge success. It is a dream come true for our AIChE NIT Rourkela Student Chapter.

The SRC events and workshops took place in a very systematic and enthusiastic way. Students could have enjoyed the ambience of face-to-face competitions as well as roam around the campus if the events had not occurred on an online platform due to the pandemic. The events were arranged and managed brilliantly by the members of the AIChE student chapter of NIT Rourkela.

Team Monday Morning congratulates AIChE for efficiently hosting the Student Regional Conference (SRC), ‘Prajwalit’ and looks forward to many more such successful and well-coordinated events in future.

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