Carbon Carbon Everywhere, Pravega's Organic Chemistry challenge, was met with great excitement and enthusiasm. The afternoon witnessed a flurry of on-the-spot registrations at the Old Physics Building. Over twenty teams took part in the first round which lasted a little over half-an-hour. Participants made their way through several questions, some tricky ones, some historically
important ones and some in the déjà vu category,but all involving more than tracking electron pairs and avoiding that blasphemous fifth bond! Then, it was the turn of the volunteers who quickly evaluated the answer sheets (having a good laugh at some imaginative answers) and listed the ten best-performing teams to continue to the final round.
Questions of the final round were centred on the practical aspects of Organic Chemistry and the omnipresence of carbon and its compounds which not only comprise the stuff we are made of and the food we eat, but also our clothes and the dyes that colour them, perfumes, pesticides, life-saving drugs and many destructive weapons.
After an hour of dabbling in the world of chemists, Professor Uday Maitra, faculty at the Department of Organic Chemistry, IISc, presented an informal talk and discussed the most challenging problems in this field and their possible solutions. Thereafter, Dr. Frank Schieweck, Director, Innovation Project, BASF India Limited, elaborated on the philosophy of his company and the several milestones BASF has achieved over the last century including the development of the Haber process and many early dyestuffs. This was followed by the prize distribution ceremony, which was attended by Dr. Mustaq Patel and other prominent dignitaries from BASF.