What is Biomimicry and why IIT-Madras is offering a course on it?

Inspired by nature, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras will soon start offering a course on Biomimicry. The course will teach the students to imitate nature to solve complex problems. It will be a full semester elective course under the inter-disciplinary stream.

@iitmadras to start a full semester on Biomimicry, one-of-its-kind #ElectiveCourse under the #InterdisciplinaryStream, an intersection of #Biology & #Engineering taking inspiration from Nature to solve complex problems leading to innovations & to create a sustainable way of life pic.twitter.com/buPxpOPk8g

— IIT Madras (@iitmadras) August 10, 2020
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The official statement by the institution reads that the Biomimicry has immense potential not only in engineering, technology and design but also in other areas like management, human resources, administration, social sciences and the arts. School children can benefit from learning biomimicry. Biomimicry can lead to not just innovating from nature but also creating a sustainable way of life. 

The Institute plans to hold a biomimicry challenge to provoke bold, sustainable ideas from young minds. The UN Sustainable Development Goals can provide students with challenges for which they can design solutions using biomimicry. Biomimicry is not learning about nature but learning from it. The underlying principle of biomimicry states that life creates conditions conducive to life. 

As per a statement released by IIT-Madras, 'Biomimicry is the intersection of Biology and Engineering. You do not have to be either a biologist or an engineer to learn biomimicry, all you need is curiosity.  Curious enough to look at a lotus leaf and ask the questions like How does a lotus leaf remain clean?'

Biomimicry has been used in the Shinkansen bullet train in Japan. The front part of the Shinkansen bullet train is inspired by the kingfisher bird. Similarly, the Eastgate Centre in Harare, Zimbabwe is inspired by the termite mound. 

It is known that more than a million organisms have evolved themselves to adapt to our planet over billions of years. IIT Madras want the students of Biomimicry to get inspiration from these and design and build solutions for our world. 

As per the claims made by IIT Madras, it is one of the first institutions to offer a full-fledged course on biomimicry. The course will be taught by  MS Sivakumar (Dean of IIT-Madras), Shiva Subramaniam (CIO of Gopalakrishnan-Deshpande Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, IIT-Madras ), Satyanarayanan Seshadri (Department of Applied Mechanics) and Srinivasa Chakravarthy (Professor at Department of Biotechnology). 

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