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Did you know technology could be expressed? If you are questioning our mindset, well, what do you think fictions are made of?
In the 60s and 70s, technology manifested as a new genre of science fiction, cyberpunk, which was probably best characterised by – Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? New concepts along with fresh ideas and themes emerged during this period.
Be it a clear engine-based design of steampunk or the vivid and popping design from the retrofuture or the futuristic, body-altering nanites of nanopunk with the metallic airships of dieselpunk, these interpretations of design have their own flavour.
And this is what APOGEE-2019 was all about.
A Professions-Oriented Gathering over Educational Experience or APOGEE is an annual technical symposium hosted by BITS Pilani. The 37th edition of India’s oldest college technical fest was held in the Pilani campus, between 28th and 31st March 2019. The event was inaugurated by Chief Guest A.S. Kiran Kumar, the ex-Chairman of ISRO and an accomplished scientist.
The theme of the APOGEE 2019 was ‘Reality Roulette’, which was aimed to appreciate all forms and interpretations of technological design. So, be it steampunk in the Victorian era or dieselpunk after World War-I, from the speedy edges of the DeLorean to the futuristic points of the Mach 6, and from Fallout’s retrofuture to Bioshock’s biopunk dystopia, APOGEE-2019 had each and every aspect of design covered.
The three-day event witnessed multiple events, workshops, talks, and quizzes. On the other side, BITS campus was lit with decorative articles, structures, colourful posters, and artful designs.
APOGEE 2019 also hosted the Think Again Conclave, where celebrated personalities from technology world come and share their views and work.
The conclave was christened by the only Indian citizen who has gone to space – Rakesh Sharma. In his talk, Sharma presented a slideshow of images of his time at the training camp in the erstwhile Soviet Union and with every image, the former Indian Air Force pilot explained each step of this training while narrating his personal experiences.
On the other hand, Lt. Gen. S.S. Hasabnis, Deputy Chief of Army Staff (Planning and Systems), delivered a rousing talk about his journey in the army and the importance of technical knowledge in the army.
Other eminent speakers included Alan Emtage erstwhile known as the Codefather and the creator of ‘Archie’, the world’s first search engine. Emtage spoke about the importance of safety and security on the internet today and how online entities were powerful enough to influence the real world.
Lastly, the audience cheered to Stephen P. Morse, was the Chief Architect of the Intel 8086, the microprocessor which shaped the world of technology into what it is today.
Indeed, the Think Again Conclave 2019 was an enlightening experience for all who attended it.
The Lit Fest
Apart from the Think Again Conclave, APOGEE 2019 also hosted its annual literature festival, Papyrus Trails. Participants of this fest had a graceful chance of hearing eminent speakers, such as Sheila Dixit, Vasu Primlani and Jayaram Ramesh, who presented their views in lecture series and Q&A sessions.
This year’s speaker line-up included also economist and journalist Arun Shourie, who gave an impassioned speech about what one could do for their country, along with the Indian Dan Brown aka author Ashwin Sanghi, who spoke about his journey to become a famous writer and reputed Indian director Vikramaditya Motwane, whose most popular work, the Netflix series, Sacred Games is about to get a new season.
The literature festival also hosted a number of events, including ‘A Novel Idea’, where people were able to buy second-hand books by the box, ‘Wheel of Fortune’, a game in which participants solved puzzles related to a randomly allotted category such as games, movies or books, and ’Conspiring Minds’, where students were asked to justify bizarre theories related to popular franchises like Harry Potter or Game of Thrones, among others.
Additionally, APOGEE 2019 also hosted QED – the debating competition and BITSMUN – Model United Nations, which ensured that the campus was lively and active at all times.
Furthermore, BITS Pilani chapter of NSS also organised “Conferencia de Youth” (Conference for Youth) which witnessed activist Medha Patkar deliver the keynote address to the gathering. The Conference also included a few workshops and hackathons.
Another integral part of the fest since its beginning has been its quizzes. APOGEE tickled the minds of even the wittiest amongst us with quizzes like Overhead Transmission (a general quiz) a Sci-Tech Quiz were expertly conducted by quizmaster Sameer Thirur, while the Business Quiz and India Quiz were hosted by renowned quizmaster, Thejasvi Udupa along with Jeopardy (based on the T.V. show), Dopers’ Quiz (on pharmaceuticals), Anime Quiz, and 42 (an astronomy quiz).
APOGEE 2019 also hosted a number of technically oriented kernel events, like Armageddon (a gaming tournament), International Coding League, Robots at War, Robo Soccer, Stock Market Simulation, Junkyard Wars, Reverse Engineering, APOGEE Innovation Challenge and the Business Plan Competition. A number of coding contests were also conducted, like Blind Coding, Anti-coding, and Deal with Distractions.
The Never-ending Vibe
Having said, APOGEE is much more than a technical fest. The participants of these events were entertainment by Ritviz of Udd Gaye fame along with comedians Kumar Varun and Karunesh Talwar, who presented a brand-new set.
In other words, APOGEE was a three-day fest jam-packed with a multitude of events that kept all its participants on their toes.