Fun in research


Mechanical Engineering students in IISc create a show-stopper for the Open Day event each year for the public to view an intriguing engineering concept in action. In 2020, an enthusiastic team of students developed the hyperloop demonstration. The video that appears here describes their efforts.

The IISc Hyperloop 2020 team has prepared a document of the process they followed in designing and building their prototype. This document will be of use to the next year’s team and others. Please find it here


The department thanks the Hyperloop Team comprising

  • A popular science story entitled “Tiny Droplets Bring Big Benefits” written by Mr. Omkar Hegde from Professor Saptarshi Basu’s lab has been selected for AWSAR Award.


Science communication is a critical aspect of our academic lives. A PhD student spends long hours working on exciting problems, double-checking each result, designing beautiful illustrations, and carefully parsing each sentence to produce a PhD thesis. But have you–the PhD student–ever stepped back from this nitty-gritty to introspect about how the public perceives your work? Do you find it challenging to explain your research to friends and family? Let us make it even more challenging: Can you explain your research to a general audience in three minutes using a video? Note that the attention span of people you talk to might not be more than three minutes unless they are intent on knowing what research you are doing. So, you need to catch everybody’s attention in just three minutes.

With this in mind, Prof. Namrata Gundiah conducted a Three-Minute-Video (TMV fo short) competition during the lockdown when all our students were home. The students were given about two weeks to prepare TMVs. The top prize for this competition was Rs. 5,000 (1st place), Rs. 3,000 (2nd place) and Rs. 2,000 for the people’s choice award.

Here are the winners of the first TMV event held virtually on May 26th, 2002

First prize and People’s Choice Award: Mr. Pabitra Badhuk

Second prize: Mr. Prasenjit Ghosh



Other two contenders who presented in the TMV event

Mr. Vageesh Baghel
Mr. Akshay Desai
Modus Operandi of the TMV contest
Who was eligible? 
PhD students in me@IISc who completed the comprehensive exam.
What was required? 
(i) Submitting the intent via email to the office ( by 8th May, 2020. (ii) Preparing a three-minute video based on thesis work that must be understood by a layperson. The student should first introduce self, explain the relevance of the problem, the approach, key findings, and how this work has advanced our understanding of the problem. One may not use rap, poetry, or verse. Non copy-right images and audio are allowed. One may use graphics, animations, simulations, video clips, props or anything that makes for good visual and audio appeal. The entry (viewable in Quicktime) should be a maximum of 10 MB. The videos cannot be changed once they are submitted.
Who judged?
A committee of faculty, that also loves to watch movies, will help pick the top contenders who will be invited to make a presentation (virtually) to all in the department. Winners will be selected from this sub-set.
What inputs would the committee use to judge your entry? 
Was the presenter clearly audible and did the video make us want to hear more? Was the presenter careful not to use jargon but convey the research succinctly without trivializing or overemphasizing the findings? Was the presenter enthusiastic? Was there any aspect of the presentation that made the audience go “wow”?
What else is in it besides the prize money?
The winning entries will feature on the department website and also the Institute Facebook and Twitter pages. And you win our admiration!