Singapore team among International students at Taj Mahal

Science students asked to find solution to Taj Mahal yellowing

Finding a new and improved method of removing the yellow stains off the Taj Mahal may be devised in the coming days as university students from India, Singapore and elsewhere have been posed this problem at an international science contest underway in the Taj city.

The eighth International Natural Sciences Tournament (INST) of Russia is underway in Agra with India being represented by a team from the Mumbai University. Other teams and jury have come from Singapore, Russia, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Belarus.

The three-day competition that started on Thursday requires students to solve a dozen difficult problems in the spheres of medicine, biology, physics, and chemistry. One of the problems is to propose a "new method" to remove the yellow pollution stains which have started to develop on "the snow-white cupola and the upper part of the facade" of the 17th century monument.

"Our mission is to bring real-world problem solving skills to bright scientists around the globe. We believe the science to be not only an interesting subject to study, but a real tool to change things around us, to create new products and solve ecology problems," the tournament's founder Sergey Safonov said in a statement.

He said it was their belief that there is a lot of "under-evaluated talented students" in Asia, who should be helped to find their place in the science and industry. "That's why we brought the tournament to India, a country with well-developed industry, especially in pharmaceuticals," he said.

The INST originated in Russia's St. Petersburg, and its former participants launched many events in their cities on this model, covering topics such as biology, medicine, and engineering.

According to the INST press service's Dina Mostovaya, the tournament movement in Russia "became a gathering point for elite of science, medicine and engineering students, resulting in new careers for top students, scientific collaboration..." and the organizers hope to help Indian universities to launch similar national events.