Experiments yield Rewarding Results
Universities in Pakistan face almost similar constraints and challenges as they strive forward with the mission of imparting a quality education to students. Many of the problems involving higher education in the country are rooted in a lack of resources. It is therefore imperative that, where possible, institutions share their expertise - both intellectual and material - to learn from each other.
The Physics Lab at the LUMS School of Science and Engineering (SSE) has taken a step towards cultivating such a culture. It has deployed select freshman experiments, covering a wide variety of fields in physics - general physics, mechanics, optics, heat and thermodynamics, electricity and magnetism and electronics - to the Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology (GIKI). It is significant to note that these are original experiments, developed using equipment and materials built at LUMS - another landmark achievement. “A considerable part of equipment and apparatus is home-made and locally designed which not only reflects on a need towards self-adequacy, but shows an inkling of native intellectual capacity as well.” said Dr. Sabieh Anwar, Chair – Department of Physics at SSE. Another noteworthy feature of these experiments is their inter-disciplinary nature. In keeping with the SSE mission of “crossing boundaries” they cut across traditional departmental demarcations and offer food for thought not merely for physicists but also for would-be chemists, biologists and so on. The accompanying monographs, software and instructor resources for these experiments have also been made available to GIKI as Muhammad Wasif and Muhammad Yusuf from the SSE Physics Lab traveled especially to the institution to set up the experiments and provide essential training to teachers.
The SSE Physics Lab had taken up a similar project earlier, whereby they replicated their experiments for the Institute of Space Technology (IST) in Islamabad, the educational face of the Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Commission (SUPARCO). The project not only generated valuable revenue for the Physics Lab but also contributed to the lab’s mission of initiating a paradigm shift in the education of physics experimentation in the country. In future too the Physics Lab hopes to follow a similar pattern of trail-blazing, pioneering work that can be replicated throughout Pakistan. Through this latest initiative of the SSE Physics Lab, LUMS has hopefully laid a strong foundation for encouraging future alliances with institutions in other spheres of knowledge as well.