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Introducing Akshay

We are starting a new category of posts on Maths puzzles, being written by Akshay Gowrishankar, a 9th grader from Massachusetts, USA. He is a budding roboticist, enjoys math puzzles, and teaches a Middle School Math Olympiad class. His first post of the series is here.

Math Puzzle 1

For every positive integer starting from 2, Vinay divides the number by 2, and floors it (flooring a number means to take the largest integer that is less than or equal to that number). He keeps repeating the process until he gets 2 or 3, and categorizes as a 2 or a 3 based on which number he obtained. What is the 342nd number that is categorized as a 3?

A) 768          B) 884            C) 1116           D) 1653            E) 1967

STEMM Fair 2015

This year’s edition of the CREATE Gurukula STEM2 Fair will be held at FMKMC College, Madikeri, on Tuesday, Dec 29, 2015.

As always, we expect to have Essay, Quiz, and Model Building contests, open to Middle- and High-School students.

The Third STEM2 Fair

We conducted the 3rd CREATE STEM2 Fair at St.Anne’s High School at Virajpet yesterday, Dec 28, 2013. Over 200 students from approximately 20 high schools from around Madikeri and Virajpet enthusiastically participated in Quiz, Essay, and Model Building contests. The detailed results will be forthcoming soon, but the big winners were KAL’s Gonikoppa (who swept the Essay results) and Gen.Thimmayya Madikeri (who made their presence felt across the board).


The 3rd edition of the CREATE Gurukula STEM2 Fair will take place on Saturday, the 28th of December, 2013, at St.Anne’s High School, Virajpet. It will begin at 8:30am and end at approximately 5pm.

So did it work?

On July 29, 2013, we arranged a series of video lectures at the FMKMC College of Madikeri. These were publicly available lectures on a variety of topics ranging from Quantum Field Theory to General Relativity to Electricity and Magnetism.

In order to measure how useful the lectures were to the students, we conducted a survey before and after the programme. We handed out a questionnaire with a series of 14 simple questions to all the students in the audience, collected the answers, showed the lectures, and then gave them the same questionnaire again and asked them to email the answers.

The questions were designed to measure, first, how familiar the students were with the material that had been selected, and whether the programme helped to broaden their horizons. Second, we wanted to check whether their understanding was improved due to what they saw and heard during the programme. We also had a control group of questions which dealt with topics that were not covered during the programme. We did not have a control group to whom the the questionnaire was distributed but who did not participate in the programme.

Based on the responses to the questionnaire before and after the programme, it is fair to say that it was a spectacular success. Below are listed the detailed results for each of the questions that were asked. An explanation and discussion of the results follow after the summary.

Survey Summary
  Pre-programme Post-programme
Questions all (42) post (12) (12)
1. What is a qubit? 0.023 0.08 0.92
2. What is the Uncertainty Principle? 0.929 0.92 1.00
3. When is Mathematics necessary to understand Physics? 0.905 0.92 1.00
4. What is a Lagrangian? 0.119 0.17 0.83
5. What is a Conservation Law? 0.929 1.00 1.00
6. What is Noether’s Theorem? 0.048 0.08 0.92
7. What is a Tensor? 0.405 0.75 1.00
8. What are the differences between covariant and contravariant tensors? 0.310 0.58 0.75
9. What is the Einstein Summation Convention? 0.119 0.08 0.50
10. What is a Space-Time Metric? 0.024 0.08 0.83
11. What is the metric of Euclidean space? 0.095 0.08 0.58
12. Can you suggest a simple experiment to demonstrate electric charge? 0.690 0.58 0.83
13. What is Entropy? 0.786 0.75 0.92
14. How is entropy related to known information about a system? 0.214 0.25 0.42


The answers were generally not graded for correctness, but simply for whether the respondents had answered the question (1) or had indicated that they did not know (0). The numbers in the columns indicate the fraction of the total respondents that wrote an answer. Of the 42 students who attended the lecture programme, 12 responded to the post-programme questionnaire within 2 weeks, for a return rate of 28%. We show the measured responses of all the attendees in the first column of numbers, as well as for the subset of those that eventually completed the post-programme questionnaire in the second column. The last column contains the summary of the post-programme responses.

We considered the quality of the answers only for questions 3 and 12. In the first case, it was expected to measure the comprehension of Richard Feynman’s lecture on Mathematics and Physics, but because we could not carry out this part of the programme due to technical difficulties, we dropped it from consideration later. Of the responses to Question 12, we checked to see whether the answers changed from what could be expected from a B.Sc./M.Sc.-level Physics curriculum to something that was more directly rooted in experience. This was the case for 75% of the respondents.

The students that responded after the programme could be considered more self-motivated to learn Physics, and could be expected to know more beforehand. This is true to some extent — their response rates are higher for all questions compared to their peers (with a couple of exceptions) in the pre-programme sample. Furthermore, the average number of questions answered was 5.6 for the full sample, and 6.3 for the “motivated” subset. But note that even accounting for this difference, the post-programme response rate is incredibly high across the board, and the average number of questions answered almost doubled, to 12.2 .

The last two questions, #13 and #14, were control questions since no lectures were shown on these subjects. We added #3 to the mix afterwards (for the reason described above). There is no significant difference in the response rates of the full sample and the motivated subset for the pre-programme response. But even for these questions the response rate improves post-programme, suggesting that the primary goal of the lecture programme, to encourage the students to go forth and learn on their own, was indeed met.

A Day of Lectures in Physics

We held a day of lectures in Physics for MSc Physics students today (July 29, 2013) at the FMKMC College. The original plan was to hold the lectures at the CREATE site, but due to incessant rains in the Madikeri area, it was uncomfortable to begin with and the roof was deemed unsafe, so the venue was shifted to the College.

The idea was to show the students that they have recourse to more than just books. There are numerous videotaped lectures that are available from various sources, and our hope was to motivate the students by showing them some sample lectures and pointing them to the rest of the library of courses. We showed lectures on Quantum Computation (via edX), Quantum Field Theory (via NPTEL), General Relativity (via iTunesU), and a MIT-World OpenCourseWare popular lecture on the Wonders of Electricity and Magnetism. We also wanted to show Feynman’s Messenger Lecture on the Relationship between Mathematics and Physics, but unfortunately the combination of awful audio quality and Feynman’s Brooklyn accent rendered it unfeasible.

In order to evaluate the efficacy of the lecture program, we had the students write up answers to a small questionnaire both before and after the event. We will report a summary of the result here later.

Update: The summary is now up. The program was a success, but needs to be followed up if the success is to take root and cause long term improvements.



“Passion.. Energy… Full of fun and exceptional display of young talents… These are the words which can describe on what I observed in STEM2 Fair. By being a part of this  fest, I feel myself to be closer with that generation and raw energy which is going to shape the future of humanity.. I wish all the best to CREATE Gurukula for all such endevours which will bring hidden talents”.                                                     – Hari Prasad (one of the Quiz Masters )

Hari Prasad handles the administration of Core Buisness Intelligence, Wipro Technologies.

• “The enthusiasm of the entire CREATE Gurukula and FMKMC College team – Jagadeesh Sir,  Geetha Ma’am, Jagannath Sir, his students and Hari Prasad in particular- was extremely  heartening, and coupled with the awesome Madikeri environment, it sure is an experience I’ll never forget. The organization of events, the hospitality – everything was excellent!! I’ve never been a quiz-master before, and had some qualms about conducting a quiz for the first time. But then, with everybody around,  and the atmosphere of  friendliness… Thestudents who attended were obviously extremely talented and very, very spirited! It was so much fun!  Working with the team was really fun… To be frank, I learnt quite a lot while  preparing myself  to conduct the quiz – probably even more than I would have if I had been a participant.  Summing up, I’d say, it was quite an experience – one which has made me look  forward (quite  impatiently, I must frankly admit) to STEM 2012.”                                             – Akshay Pattabi (one of the Quiz Masters)

Akshay Pattabhi is a II Year B. Tech, Electronics and Communication Engineering at the National Institute of Technology, Surathkal, Karnataka

• “I used to think, we the adolescence were much knowledgeable,but in STEM FAIR, I realised the children are worthy competents. Through these kinds of FAIR, Children will be exposed to the world of science in their early age itself.” good luck to STEM2 FAIR.

– Lucky Somanna (a volunteer) Lucky Somanna is a first year B.B.M. student at ALVA’S College, Moodbidri, Mangalore


CREATE Gurukula conducted its second consecutive STEM^2 Fair on Saturday, December 29, 2012 on the premises of Cauvery College, Gonikoppal, Kodagu. The 2011 STEM^2 Fair (debut) was held at the Field Marshall K. M. Cariappa (FMKMC) College, Madikeri, Kodagu.
The 2012 event was successfully accomplished with the enthusiastic support of – the President, Principal, Faculty, Staff and Students of Cauvery College; combined with the experienced collaborators of 2011 – Faculty and Students of the Department of Physics, FMKMC.
About 18-20 schools (totaling 280 students including junior and senior categories) participated.
As in 2011, enthusiastic participation and wonderful teamwork (in particular, in model building and quiz competitions) was visible in this year’s event. Several students expressed a keen interest in returning to the next STEM^2 Fair event. A few model designs were surprisingly intricate. When asked if they were ready for “real inventions”, the response was a confident ‘YES’.

The ‘Quiz-Masters’ were a lively team, of dedicated young men and women studying Engineering/B.Sc. These enthusiastic students came a long way – from Chennai, Mangalore, Bangalore and Mysore.

The 2012 STEM2 Fair  List of winners


Senior Category

First place – Thriveni English Medium School, Virajpet (HM0131-HM0134)

Second Place – Anglo- Vernacular High School, Nellihudikeri (HM1031-HM1034) 

Third Place – Jnanaganga Residential School, Attur, Kushalnagar (HM4031-HM4034)

Junior Category

First place – Kavery School, Virajpet (PM5531-PM5534)

Second Place– Thriveni English Medium School, Virajpet (PM5131-HM5134) 

Third Place – Sarvadaivatha School, Arvathoklu, Virajpet (PM6131-PM6134)


Senior Category

First place – St. Anne’s High School, Virajpet

Second Place – St. Anthony High School, Ponnampet

Third Place – Lions High School, Kalthamadu, Gonikoppal

Junior Category

First place – General Thimmaiah Public School, Madikeri

Second Place – Lions High School, Kalthamadu, Gonikoppal

Third Place – Sri Rama Trust School, Napoklu



Senior Category

First place – Akshatha Bopaiah M, Lions High School, Kalthamadu, Gonikoppal (HE0211)

Second Place – Ashika Thimmaiah, St. Anthony High School, Ponnampet (HE0312)

Third Place – Meghana Manjunath, Jnanaganga Residential School, Attur, Kushalnagar (HE4011)

Junior Category

First Place –  Rishira S. M., Lions High School, Kalthamadu, Gonikoppal (PE5211)

Second Place – Nimisha Muddappa Thriveni English Medium School, Virajpet (PE5111) 

Third Place – Kshama Poonacha, St. Anthony’s School, Ponnampet (PE6611)


Special Awards

Punith C. G., Jnanaganga Residential School, Attur, Kushalnagar (HM4033) for good leadership and creativity in Model Building (Senior Category)

M. G. Arpitha Bopanna, Kavery School, Virajpet (PM5531) for dedicated approach in Model Building (Junior Category)

STEM2 Fair 2012

The second CREATE STEM2 Fair was held yesterday, Dec 29, at Cauvery College, Gonikoppa. More details anon.