New Delhi, Oct 21: It's a school of science classrooms on rails. Science Express, with 14 specially-designed coaches serving as classrooms to attract youths to science, will begin its journey on October 30. It will be flagged off by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and German Chancellor Angela Merkel who would be here then on her four-day official visit.
A symbol of Indo-German cooperation the train, the first of its kind in the world, will stop at 57 destinations in the country during its 214-day journey.
An MoU for the project was signed here yesterday by the Department of Science and Technology and O-BASF, world's leading chemical company.
The train, painted in pristine white with BASF special coatings called glasurit, will showcase contemporary as well as futuristic research advances in science.
''The purpose of the exhibition is to convey to the youths the excitement of science and encourage them to take up the subject, needed badly the way economic enterprises are growing,'' Science and Technology Secretary P Ramasami told reporters after signing the MoU.
A total of Rs 60-70 crores would be spent on the project of which the Government of India's contribution would be about Rs 20 crore, he said.
Science Express will also have a kids lab called BASF Kids Lab, to give an hands-on lab experience to children.
''Through the lab we intend to provide a unique opportunity, specially for aspiring students, to experience and understand chemistry, its contribution to modern day life and exciting career in this field,'' Mr Prasad Chandran, Chairman, BASF group in India, said.
The Department of Science and Technology and BASF will share a coach showcasing science and technology in India -- 'Fascinating World of Chemistry'.
The idea for the high-end exhibition was conceived by the Department of Science and Technology, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and Max Planck Society, a Germany-based research organisation.