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DNA 50: A look into the secret of life

Those two and a half-hours had changed our perspective of life. It was Wednesday, the 8th of October, the 3rd day of the DNA 50 Exhibition at the British Council and we were taking an exciting walk into the mystery called life. It has been fifty years since Watson and Crick had discovered the secret of life _ DNA. And the British Council had arranged a week -long exhibition to celebrate what is considered to be the greatest intellectual endeavour of the 20th century.

The "DNA 50"exhibition as it was being called began on the 6th of this month and ended on the 13th. The exhibition was open to the public throughout the week from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. On the 11th and 13th the BC has arranged for a science fair by Bengali and English Medium schools respectively. On the 7th and 8th of October, the Department of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, University of Dhaka, had put on a presentation about "The Miracle of the DNA molecule in our lives". Various English and Bengali Medium schools and colleges were invited. Sunnydale, Sunbeams, SFX Green Herald, South Breeze, were among a few of the schools that

attended the exhibition.
On entering the British Council auditorium, we were greeted by a multi panel display that explained the various applications of DNA in today's modern techno driven world. There was even a short description about the discovery of the DNA molecule. Behind the panel was a huge screen that was showing a sort of documentary on the molecule itself. Various University professors were explaining the miracle of how this molecule came to be and the research that has evolved from its discovery 50 years ago.

At three o' clock the presentation by the Department of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology from the University of Dhaka, began. The presentation was both audio and visual. The Chairman of the Department, Dr. Hasina Khan gave a very short introduction to the day's topic of discussion and then gave up the stage to her colleague, Dr. Jesmin. Dr. Jesmin first construed that the main purpose of this presentation was to celebrate the "50 years of solving DNA." As she spoke the screen displayed slides that were the pictorial explanation of what she was saying. She began wit h a brief description of the structure of the DNA molecule and then went on to elaborate on why the DNA was such an amazing molecule. Her simplified explanations of such a complicated substance along with the interesting visual aid made the whole DNA thing a lot clearer. A brief history of how the DNA molecule was discovered followed. As the slideshow continued we could see how the DNA story began in the 1860s and ended with Watson and Crick's 1962 Nobel Prize winning double helix DNA model.

As the slideshow and Dr. Jesmin's demonstration came to end, Dr. Hasina Khan presented us with yet another aspect of DNA and its application in the modern world of today. It was fascinating to see what uses this one molecule could be put to. She elucidated as to how the DNA of agricultural products could be modified to produce a better quality crop, or how the method "DNA Fingerprinting" could be used in forensics. Cloning, of course was recognised as one of the principal applications of DNA.

After the lecture was over, the students were allowed to ask questions and were answered by either of the two orators. Having finished with these, we were free to walk around and look at the various booths that had been set up by the students of that department, in the green room behind the auditorium. In the green room there three to four booths, each one explaining a single use of the DNA, with practical experiments. Like, the last booth was about the role of DNA in forensics. So, a student of the department dressed as Sherlock Homes went on to elaborate how he could use DNA to find out the killer with just a single strand of his hair. Back in the auditorium, there was a single booth that was showing to extract DNA from a banana and then showed how the DNA looked in a chemical solution. It resembled something like a cloudy thread held in a suspension.

It was an excellent measure undertaken by the British Council in collaboration with the Department of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology. It really helped in understanding the significance of DNA in our every day lives and even though some were already aware of some of the things shown in the exhibition, it was nonetheless an exhilarating experience to take a peek into the one molecule that holds the secret to life-DNA.

By Prathama Komal Nabi

Book Review

The Partner
From the very first page, this tenth novel by John Grisham is as gripping, thrilling and irresistible as the previous nine. It is brilliant and full of surprises (especially near the end).

Patrick Lanigan, the character around whom the story mainly revolves, was a well-off lawyer in a Mississippi law firm. But that was four years ago. That was before he stole ninety million dollars from his firm and fled. Although he had faked his death, his powerful enemies and former colleagues searched on, believing whole-heartedly that he was alive. After four years of thorough search, they finally tracked him down in a remote area in Brazil. They did not want justice; they wanted revenge cold-hearted brutal vengeance (in other words). They wanted the money back and would go to any extent to get what they wanted even if it meant ripping Patrick's flesh with hot bolts of current.

As his enemies and prosecutors encircle him like hungry vultures, Patrick is prepared. The trial is, in fact, not revenge by his former colleagues, but one of his own, because he is about to unravel a secret known by none other than himself, in front of the whole world. All those people who were waiting for the trial, waiting for Patrick to get punished for what he did, is about to witness the most exclusive trial ever. But the question remains: will Patrick succeed in proving what he knows?

With a fast paced beginning, unbelievable twists and a bittersweet end, this story is highly recommended, and as Chicago Sun-Times describes it, "On its very first page, 'The Partner' roars to life… the reader is transfixed."

By Marwa

Campus News

Halloween is comin early at B.I.T

B.I.T is going to be celebrating Halloween Day earlier than 31st October. It will be held on the 20th of this month, which is because of the way it is celebrated. Halloween Day in B.I.T contains a large dance party, which may not be suitable for the month of Ramadan, which is why Halloween has been brought nearer. For the students, the earlier it is, the better.

Halloween Day is made of two events. First is the 'Dress As You Like' contest, which is of course quite colorful, and is judged by our principal Mrs. Lubna Choudhury or the vice principal. This is done separately for the juniors and the seniors. Then comes the booming sound and colors of the grand dance party. Every year, class nine arranges this show. They pay the entire price and make it as enjoyable as possible. The construction process is on the way, with the excitement building up on the school. Among the main organizing team are Nabil, Riasath, Ishtiaque, Khalid, Imtiaz, Akil, (maybe Azhar...), Zahin, Omar, Tanveer and the crew. The rest of them are also doing their bits, so that the whole of class nine gives a hand to create a nice event.

Halloween is not popular among the students only. The teachers can easily control the class by saying 'Behave yourselves, or Halloween will be cancelled!' Other teachers, notably the French professors and the junior class teachers, do not mind getting into the lively club dance either. It creates an overall fusion of entertainment. The countdown has begun till the Halloween Party is set off on the 20th.Until then, we hope that the preparations will be taken for a pleasant, rocking day.

By Azhar Chowdhury & Zia Ashraf

STM Hall explodes again

After Scholastica's super hit production 'Hirok rajar deshe' in April 2003, our on stage star Sheikh Khalid once again enlightened the stage on 1st October with the play 'Aubak Jalpan' by Bengal's celebrated playwright Shukumar Ray. I also have to mention Shihab Chowdhury, Talha Talukdar, Subehee Shehreen, Shejuti Sarwar, Abed Rahman, Sateif Bhuiya and Farzana Huq from Class X for their prodigious acting which enthralled the audience for 30 minutes. The play was about a thirsty vagabond's struggle to quench his thirst and the people he comes across to obtain that one grail of water. It was a comedy of errors, which deluged the fully packed STM hall with unremitting laughter.

The nightingales of Class X presented three melodious songs from which the rich essence of Bengal made the surroundings aromatic. Aniqua Quader, Tanzina Zaheed and Jihan Muntasim enriched the show with their well-choreographed number, which was supported by a Rabindra Sangeet. The fantastic trio looked ravishing in their colourful costumes and synchronized movements. They depicted the picture of Durga, Laxmi and Parvati on stage. The melodious choir, the enchanting Bharat Natyam and the mesmerizing play was followed by our national anthem and a concluding speech by our chairperson Ms. Yasmeen Murshed. The instrumental team was magnificent too.

The audience loved and enjoyed every moment of the performance and acclaimed the participants with their incessant round of applauses. The Scholasticans once again proved that though studying in an English medium school, we have not forgotten our roots from which we have originated. We are not only nurtured into well-educated boys and girls but also well cultured and traditional Bangladeshis. Scholastica, once again hats off to you.

By Sonia

The diary of a teenager

She was on her early teens. At the age of fourteen, the condition of her society forced her into a life of secrets, a life where she needed to hide herself from the entire world except for her family who were also with her.

Living secretly behind a hidden door, trying to adjust with another family who were also hiding with her and going through all the difficult transformations inside her became her daily life routine. At such a problematic stage of life, where she could not live independently like all the other girls of her age and could not breathe the air's fragrance again, she started having fights with her mother and liked her father better. Her infatuations towards a boy, who also lived with her family, began to grow and she felt herself weak for him. Changes within her began to happen randomly. She started growing up as a typical teenager, but at the same time she kept a diary to herself where she confided in all her dilemmas and thoughts about her life.

She didn't pity about the fact that she was a Jew, and that was the reason of her hiding as Germans loathed Jews then at that time and were killing the whole lot of them. So, as there was no other choice left, she and her family had to hide in an office building by the help of some friends.

Through her diary one can comprehend that despite of her conflicts and attractions, she is a teenager matured enough and is more understanding and sympathetic. Her sorrows, through her writing, are so real and her joys remind me of colourful looking flowers. She desires to survive and see the end to her life. She hopes to live a normal and independent life again. She intends the Jews to win the war of freedom for her.

But, in vain, life is not a bed of roses. The teenager is caught and taken to a concentration camp along with her family and she is being killed. Only her father survives and returns. He prints up the diary of his beloved daughter as a memory to show the agonies and bravery of a girl's life.

Her father's name is Otto Frank and the girl's name is Anne Frank, the girl who left her dreams unfinished, unfulfilled. Personally, I think her courage should be the guideline for every teenager of this world.
May God bless Anne's soul.

By Sarah Tabassum





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