On a lazy Sunday evening, I stepped out of the house for some weekly chores and on my way back, saw a couple of kids play in the open. Irrespective of the size of the open space, kids in India are usually seen playing cricket, but these two 5-7 year-old kids, were doing something different! With some readily available materials like a polythene bag, a small plastic skateboard and a thin string, these kids were attempting a scaled down version of kite boarding.
If you do look up kite boarding, it is an adventure sport and needs all sorts of complex safety gear. But the science behind kite boarding is quite simple. Wind that gets caught up in the kite/ sail, pushes the boarder forward. The kids got this right; and by neatly tying up the polythene bag at its mouth it created a giant sail for a toy skateboard that was merely 5 cm long. Taking advantage of the monsoon winds, this toy skateboard tethered to the polythene sail, slowly inched forward as the winds picked up, giving immense joy to these kids.
Nobody taught these kids the physics of sailing, nor did they need expert safety advice before the start of their first adventurous kite-boarding experience. Their experiment was a huge success thanks to their own ability to observe, their will to experiment, make amends where necessary, test their own ideas without the fear of failure and perseverance to keep working. Isn't that what science is all about. One need not work 10 hours in the lab or have complex theories to be a preacher or pursuer of science. Its all about the attitude.
In that picture perfect moment when the skateboard moved forward, the kids showed more scientific attitude than what most graduates or even doctorates manage to do today. Through Coffee Table Science, we aim to bring more than interesting stories and fun facts to you. So, do remember the next time you share one of our posts with your friends, you are spreading more than the post itself, you are spreading the scientific attitude.