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14-year-old becomes the youngest climber to conquer the hardest boulder

14-year-old Ashima Shiraishi has the unique achievement of conquering a V15 boulder. She is only the second person in the world and the first woman to have climbed this difficulty level. She also holds the record for a 5.15a level climb in rock climbing making her the only woman to hold both the rec

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Just a week before her 15th birthday, Ashima Shiraishi, the climbing prodigy from New York City, got an early present. During a spring-break trip to Japan, she climbed a boulder problem with a difficulty rating of V15—essentially, the highest rated boulder in terms of difficulty.

What makes Shiraishi’s accomplishment doubly special is that not only is she the first woman to climb a V15 boulder problem, but also the youngest person, male or female, ever to do so.

Bouldering involves climbing rocks, often around 15 or 20 feet tall. No ropes or gear are needed other than sticky-rubber climbing shoes, chalk, and crash pads made of lightweight, firm foam to help soften falls. Each boulder problem takes a distinct path up the rock, with a defined start and finish. Any of the handholds and footholds located between those two points are usually considered to be fair game, so the challenge then becomes figuring out the sequence of hand moves, foot moves, and twisty body positions that allow you to go from start to finish without falling.


The V15 that Shiraishi climbed is named Horizon, and it’s located on a large boulder in the mountainous Buddhist enclave of Mt. Hiei, on the southern island of Kyushu, near Miyazaki.The boulder is so large and smooth it almost resembles a spaceship, hovering menacingly just above the ground.

The only other person who has ever climbed Horizon is 39 year old Dai Koyamada. He is arguably one of the best and most prolific boulderers of all time with as many as 25 problems rated V15 (or harder) under his belt. For even a man with Koyamada’s experience, skill and dexterity he tried for 3 years to climb Horizon before finally making it on May 8, 2015.
“Ashima is unstoppable right now, and I don’t see her slowing down anytime soon,” says Angie Payne, a top female climber from Colorado. In 2010, Payne climbed a boulder problem called Automator, making her the world’s first woman to climb the V13 grade. “She is an incredibly talented climber who is gaining more and more momentum in her climbing each year.”

While normal rock climbs use the Yosemite Decimal System rating of difficulty (e.g., 5.8, 5.10a, 5.15a, etc.), boulder problems are measured on the “V-scale,” an open-ended system that begins with V0 (which is as easy as climbing a ladder) and currently reaches V16.

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This is the second consecutive year that Shiraishi has made news while on a spring-break climbing trip. Last year, she travelled to Catalonia, Spain—a region renowned for its world-class sport climbing, which differs from bouldering primarily in its reliance on ropes and gear, and also has its own rating system. In Spain, at a climbing area called Santa Linya, she achieved a quick ascent of a 5.15a rock climb, debatably making her the first female to reach that level in sport climbing.

Having now achieved both a 5.15a sport climb and a V15 boulder problem, Shiraishi is the first young woman to join a very small, elite group of climbers who have ticked both of these pinnacle, benchmark grades.
Typically, cutting-edge ascents in rock climbing will take most elite climbers weeks, months, and sometimes even years. Shiraishi, meanwhile, has demonstrated that she can perform at a cutting-edge level rather casually while on spring break.
Shiraishi has appeared in features on the BBC, in the The New Yorker and Time magazine, who named her one of “the 30 most influential teens of 2015.”

 “Imagine what would be possible if Ashima devoted weeks, months or years to climbing something at her absolute limit,” says Payne. “V15 is definitely not the stopping point for Ashima.”

Indeed, for Shiraishi, who turns 15 years old on April 3, this achievement is just one of the footholds that she is resting on before she achieves the summit of a spectacular climbing career.

Image Courtesy: www.nationalgeographic.com

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2018 Doodle 4 Google Contest – Last date to enter: 6th October 2018

Doodle 4 Google is inviting students from classes 1-10 to share their doodles on the theme ‘What Inspires Me?’

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Children have an imagination as wide as the universe. As educators and parents, we have often seen them doodling behind their notebooks, answer sheets and even on walls. For children, a tree can be orange and the sky can be pink. It is art that expresses their creativity, emotions, and worldview.

Each piece of art is a manifesto of inspiration; to celebrate and recognise the budding artists and their inspiration. Now Doodle 4 Google is inviting students from classes 1-10 to share their doodles on the theme ‘What Inspires Me?’

On each occasion, the colourful homepage of Google greets us with vibrant doodles. Similarly, the young artists need to incorporate the letters G-o-o-g-l-e in their doodles. The winning doodle will be showcased on www.google.co.in on November 14, 2018, and one national winner will receive Rs.500,000 college scholarship and Rs.200,000 technology package for their school.

Students can utilise any material(s) from crayons to clay and sketch pens to graphic design to give life to their art.

If you know such students who can doodle their way on Google’s homepage, help them to send in their entries till October 6, 2018.

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Visit https://doodles.google.co.in/d4g/index.html for more info.

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Opportunity for Indian school students To participate in APRSAF-24 Poster Contest

Indian Space Research Organisation is hosting the 24th Session of the Asia-Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum (APRSAF-24) at Bangalore during November 2017.  On this occasion, a Poster Contest for children from participating Asia-Pacific countries is being organised as part of APRSAF-24.

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Indian Space Research Organisation is hosting the 24th Session of the Asia-Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum (APRSAF-24) at Bangalore during November 2017.  On this occasion, a Poster Contest for children from participating Asia-Pacific countries is being organised as part of APRSAF-24. The objective of this Poster Contest is to enhance children’s interest in and awareness of space science and technology and to encourage them to expand their imagination about the universe. For selecting three best posters from India for this competition, students from our country are invited to submit their posters. The poster submission should be through their respective schools. 

This Poster contest will give children an opportunity to delve into the depth of their imagination, exercise their creativity, express friendship by means of cooperating with all groups regardless of border in the point of view of space and showcase their ideas in art form. Theme of this Poster Contest is “United Through Space”.

Rules for making posters:

  • The contest is open for participation by children at the age from 8 up to 11 years old as of 31 December 2017.
  • A poster can be submitted by either a single student or a group of up to two students from an individual school
  • Each School can submit only one poster
  • Poster (drawing/painting) must be made on paper of A3 size (297 x 420 mm) at minimum and A2 size (420 x 594 mm) at maximum.
  • Acceptable Tools of drawing / painting include pencil, crayon, water colour, oil painting, computer drawing, etc. However, photos, wires, and other 3D objects are not accepted. The completed artwork must be a flat piece of paper.
  • The drawing / painting must not include slogans. The drawing / painting must not represent any particular individual, organisation, country or brand name and must not depict any religious theme. Any artwork that violates any of these restrictions is subject to be disqualified from the voting process for the poster awards.
  • Each drawing/painting must have the name of the participant(s), their school name, e-mail address and contact numbers (both cell phone and residential landline) in English on the back side written carefully.  No such information should be written on the front side of the poster.

The last date for the submission of the poster is September 25, 2017. The completed poster duly attested by the school (on the back of the poster) should reach the following address not later than September 25, 2017:
                  
B R Guruprasad
Co-ordinator, APRSAF-24 Poster Competition
Publications and Public Relations Unit
ISRO Headquarters
Antariksh Bhavan
New BEL Road
BANGALORE 560231

Cell: +91 94483 97700

In addition to the submission of the actual poster, a digital copy of it in “jpg” file format must be submitted not later than September 22, 2017 to the following e-mail addresses:

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[email protected][email protected]

Each file should contain the digital copy of only one poster, and the size of each file should not exceed 2 MB.

Source – Department of Space, Indian Space Research Organisation

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Global essay competition and debate invites school children to explore practical pathways for climate action

The Trust for Sustainable Living is pleased to invite schoolchildren around the world to write open letters to the soon-to-be-elected new UN Secretary General, outlining their ideas for practical climate action. Registration is now open and the deadline for entries is 15th December 2016.

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The Trust for Sustainable Living is pleased to invite schoolchildren around the world to write open letters to the soon-to-be-elected new UN Secretary General, outlining their ideas for practical climate action. Registration is now open and the deadline for entries is 15th December 2016.

The annual essay competition and debate are aimed at primary students (ages 7-11) and secondary students (ages 11-17), supported by Teacher Champions in formal and home schools.

One overall Grand Prize Winner (plus Teacher Champion and Parent) will win a free, all-expenses-paid trip to the Debates & Awards in the UK, and Prizes will be awarded to the top five Essay Winners in each category (Primary and Secondary).

At the Debates, Prizes will be awarded for the best individual and group contributions. All participating students and Teacher Champions will be invited to attend the Debates & Awards.

Register here

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Based upon information available on Trust for Sustainable Living contest page for the awareness of students and educators

Image courtesy – UN website

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Entries from Students now being accepted for Vigyan Prasar’s 7th National Science Film Festival and Competition

Vigyan Prasar (VP), an autonomous organisation under the Department of Science & Technology, Govt. of India and National Council of Science Museums (NCSM), Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India have recently announced the call for entries for 7th National Science Film Festival & Competition 2017.

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Vigyan Prasar(VP) is an autonomous organisation under Department of Science and Technology and was established in 1989. Objectives of VP are to take up large-scale science popularization tasks/activities, to promote and propagate scientific and rational outlook, to act as a resource-cum-facility centre for S&T communication.

Vigyan Prasar (VP), an autonomous organisation under the Department of Science & Technology, Govt. of India and National Council of Science Museums (NCSM), Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India have recently announced the call for entries for 7th National Science Film Festival & Competition 2017. This edition of the National Science Film Festival & Competition will be held at Birla Industrial and Technological Musuem at Kolkata from 14th to 18th February 2017. 

The National Science Film Festival and Competition is an annual event and aims to:

  • Foster, strengthen and create scientific temper through popular science films.
  • Recognize the initiative and output of science film makers on the specific aspects of science, technology, environment, health and related issues.
  • Encourage science film making.

The film festival has a competitive category for college students, school students and an open mobile video making category besides categories for govt and professional film makers.

All entries (separate entry form for each film) for the 7th National Science Film Festival and Competition – 2017 should reach by 5 pm on or before 15th December 2016 along with enclosures by hand/speed post/ courier on the following address:

Science Film Festival Division, Vigyan Prasar,

A-50, Institutional Area, Sector-62,

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NOIDA, UP 201 309 

Complete Information Booklet can be downloaded here.

Glimpses of the the 6th National Science Film Festival and competition held in 2016 can be seen here.

Image and Information courtesy: Vigyan Prasar Website

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Applications / Nominations for Global Teacher Prize 2017 close on 14th October 2016

The Global Teacher Prize is an annual one million dollar award from the Varkey Foundation to be given to a super-special teacher. One innovative and caring teacher who has made an inspirational impact on their students and their community will receive the reward of a lifetime.

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The Global Teacher Prize is a one million dollar award established by the Varkey Foundation in 2014 to raise the stature of the teaching profession. The Global Teacher Prize seeks to celebrate the best teachers — those who inspire their students and community around them. The award is given to an exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession.

The Varkey Foundation is a not-for-profit organization established to improve the standards of education for underprivileged children throughout the world. The Foundation believes that vibrant education awakens and supports the full potential of young people. The status of teachers in our cultures is key to our global future.

The award is widely referred to as the ‘Nobel Prize for teaching’. It operates under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai.

The Prize underlines the importance of the teaching profession and symbolizes the fact that teachers throughout the world deserve to be recognized and celebrated.

Why apply or nominate for the Global Teacher Prize?

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  • National and international recognition of your achievements – Special Commendations for Top 50 outstanding applicants
  • Invitation to the Global Education and Skills Forum 2017 in Dubai as one of 10 Finalists
  • Potential to win the Global Teacher Prize and receive a Prize fund of US$1 million

Criteria

Applicants of the Global Teacher Prize will be judged based on a rigorous set of criteria to identify an extraordinary teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession. Click here to view the criteria on the Judging Criteria page.

Eligibility

To find out more about the eligibility for applicants, please visit the Global Teachers Prize Terms & Conditions page.

The closing date for applications is 14th October 2016, and the winner will be announced at the Global Education and Skills Forum March 2017 in Dubai.

Teachers can apply here

If you wish to nominate a teacher, please visit this page

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To know more about the Varkey Foundation, visit www.varkeyfoundation.org.

Source: www.globalteacherprize.org

Image Courtesy:  Global Teacher Prize, Varkey Foundation

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The American Geosciences Institute (AGI) announces Earth Science Week 2016 Contests

In celebration of Earth Science Week 2016, the American Geosciences Institute (AGI) is sponsoring four contests honoring this year’s theme, “Our Shared Geoheritage.”

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Since October 1998, the American Geosciences Institute has organized this national and international event to help the public gain a better understanding and appreciation for the Earth Sciences and to encourage stewardship of the Earth.

This year's Earth Science Week will be held from October 9-16, 2016 and will celebrate the theme "Our Shared Geoheritage." 

Geoheritage is the collection of natural wonders, landforms, and resources that have formed over eons and come to this generation to manage, use, and conserve effectively. Geoheritage locations are valued for many reasons, including scientific, economic, ecological, educational, cultural, aesthetic, artistic, and recreational purposes.

In celebration of Earth Science Week 2016, the American Geosciences Institute (AGI) is sponsoring four contests honoring this year's theme, "Our Shared Geoheritage." This year's competitions will feature the traditional photography contest, visual arts contest, and essay contest — as well as a new video contest.

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Leading up to Earth Science Week 2016, The American Geosciences Institute invites educators and their students from across the globe to form teams to enter the video contest. Teams will work together to submit a brief, 30- to 90-second original video that tells viewers about an outdoor place that is special to them, including relating the place to elements of geoheritage and geoscience as they relate to their “one shared place” of significance.

More details of the contest are available at http://www.earthsciweek.org/one-shared-place/about

The American Geosciences Institute is also running photography, visual arts and essay competitions to commemorate the Earth Science Week. Details of these competitions can be found here.

About AGI:The American Geosciences Institute is a nonprofit federation of geoscientific and professionalassociations that represents more than 250,000 geologists, geophysicists and other earth scientists.

Founded in 1948, AGI provides information services to geoscientists, serves as a voice of shared interestsin the profession, plays a major role in strengthening geoscience education, and strives to increasepublic awareness of the vital role the geosciences play in society’s use of resources, resiliency to naturalhazards, and interaction with the environment.

Images, video and content source: The American Geosciences Institute

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Seedling School students shine at Kishore Vaigyanik Protsahan Yojana (KVPY).

Ms. Kavya Bhandari and Mr. Akshat Mittal have stood 1st and 13th at the district level in the KVPY. KVPY is an ongoing program run by the government to identify and encourage young talent in the field of science and research.

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In a display of academic brilliance and high aptitude in science, students of the Seedling School Udaipur have returned with stellar performances in the Kishore Vaigyanik Protsahan Yojana (KVPY).

KVPY is an on-going National Program of Fellowship in Basic Sciences, initiated and funded by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, to attract highly motivated students for pursuing basic science courses and consequently a research career in science.

The guiding principle of the program is to identify students with talent and aptitude for research, help them realize their academic potential, encourage them to take up research careers in Science, and ensure the growth of the best scientific minds for research and development in the country.
 
The selection process for KVPY is rightly stringent to filter out the most deserving students from those studying in XI standard to 1st year of any undergraduate Program in Basic Sciences. Special groups / Committees are set up at IISc to screen the applications and conduct an aptitude test at various centres in the country. Based on the performance in the aptitude test, short-listed students are called for an interview which is the final stage of the selection procedure. For receiving a fellowship, both aptitude test and interview marks are considered.

And it is here that Ms. Kavya Bhandari ranking 1st at district level and Mr. Akshat Mittal ranking 13th have shown their mettle. Mr. Hardeep Bakshi, Director, Seedling School said he was proud of the performance of the students and wished them good luck for the future.

KAVYA BHANDARI     1st Position

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AKSHAT MITTAL         13th Position

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Indian lads are being nurtured in the nursery of European Football

With 10 Indian youngsters in Barcelona’s Fundación Marcet football academy. It is a good sign for the times to come for Indian football. Spain is rightfully called the cradle of European football. The young talent is learning fast and may be a sign of good things to come for Indian football.

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He always dreamt of dribbling the ball, caressing it, easing it into a well timed pass or go all the way to a glorious goal at the international stage. 20-year-old Shiv’s dream of playing internationally has become true in Barcelona, where the young Indian talent is defending the colours of Fundación Marcet, one of the most prestigious pool of young players in Spain.

Born in Rajasthan, Shiv Pratap Singh Ranawat was the first one to arrive in the nursery of European football. Arriving in Barcelona in 2014 he immediately stood out for his skills on the pitch, so much so that it didn’t take long for him to gain a place in Fundación Marcet’s starting eleven. Today, more than 10 Indian footballers are playing in this prestigious 'cantera' of young footballers.

“Everybody welcomed me with open arms”, recalls Shiv, the Indian midfielder who started playing football at the tender age of 13 as many of his fellow nationals. “Football is not very popular in India, but here things are different, because boys are already in a team at 6-7 years old”, the midfielder says.

Shiv has realized that a lot depends on the country of playing and training to become a good football player. Firstly, in Spain there is an atmosphere of football all day long. This sport is a part of the day-to-day culture of the country. It is easy to strike a conversation with anyone on football. “This is why there are more and more Indians who leave their country in order to get an opportunity”, explains Prashant, an Indian teammate of Shiv. “Here there are better facilities; it is natural for people to want to go abroad. In Europe there are the conditions to train properly”.

Also 20 years old, Prashant Narayan Choudhary arrived in Barcelona after Shiv, but both came from the same team: Jaipur FC. Following a rigorous selection process, Marcet chose these two young football talents a chance. Their selection turned out to a gatepass for other Indian players, as their stellar performance opened the doors of many other Indians to follow their lead.
 
At a recently held ceremony in the unforgettable modernist location of San Pau, all the Indian players of Fundación Marcet were officially presented to the public and the media. The president José Ignacio Marcet and several diplomatic authorities were in attendance. During the presentation, the footballers answered questions to explain their feelings, ambitions and motivations. Then, they signed their first European contract and posed for the cameras with their new Marcet shirt.
The youngsters will follow an intense training program in Barcelona. They study and leave their residence as any other boy of his age, but in his day-to-day, football comes first. From the moment they wake up until they go to bed everything is organized and planned so they can devote every possible minute to football. Besides training, they also have to attend theory, psychological, motivational sessions and the match analysis, a complete program that covers all the footballer’s needs.

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“We train in the morning and in the afternoon, and the intensity is always high. Besides, here we have the chance to play in great international tournaments and we are constantly next to players from other countries: Spanish, Brazilians, Argentineans… We learn a great deal from them”, Shiv explains regarding to the international character of Marcet’s project, in which hundreds of boys coming from the five continents coexist. The 'crème de la crème' of Under-19 world football is in this football academy.

"We select the boy not only because of his talent but because of his positive attitude and much room for improvement”, states José Ignacio Marcet, chairman of Fundación Marcet that bears his name: “Both he and Shiv have evolved a great deal since their arrival to Barcelona. They are in their element because they find an atmosphere that allows getting out the best in them. They have found what they needed to make a leap forward towards first level teams”.

For the Indian lads, reaching this far is an achievement in itself. However, they understand that with hard work and efforts they might trade their Marcet Jerseys for other prestigious ones like FC Barcelona, Real Madrid etc. And that’s when the floodgates of football will open in India. We are rooting for the boys.

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