BENGALURU: “When I was young, I only worried about what my next paper would be on. But now, I only worry about the country,” said noted scientist Prof C N R Rao at IISc here on Friday.
Prof Rao was speaking at the launch of his autobiographical work, ‘A Life in Science’, in which he details his personal and professional journey in science, the challenges he faced and the triumphs.
The book was launched by former Supreme Court judge Justice Shivaraj Patil. Prof Rao, author of over 50 books and 1,600 research papers, said the book explains how and why he took up science as a career.
Pointing out that science in India lacked support, he revealed that when he had returned from New York in the 80s, IISc was a very financially poor institute, and he and other scientists had to make do with shoestring budgets for their research.
He said he had to wait 25 years to finally get the kind of laboratory he wanted. For all his accomplishments, Prof Rao said his biggest joy was in working in science with youngsters. He quoted the question Dr C V Raman had asked him five weeks before his death -- “Why is India not on top in the field of science?” And this, Prof Rao said, was what bothered him too.
He also thanked his wife Indumati, who was among the audience, and quipped, “I’ve never argued with her, and my advice is to never argue with your wife in the morning, as that day you won’t be able to do science.”
Speaking to reporters later, Prof Rao said his concern was that India not keeping pace with the world in science. He also said increase in number of junk journals and plagiarised work was a concern. He added that while Chinese scientists worked really hard, their Indian counterparts didn’t, and in a rare show of self-praise, termed himself the exception.
All the other speakers at the event waxed eloquent about the scientist and his book and also narrated their past interactions with him. The speakers included Ashwarya Milee, publishing director, Penguin Random House India; Prof Anurag Kumar, director, IISC; Justice Shivaraj Patil, Dr K Kasturirangan, former chairman of ISRO, and Prof V Nagaraja, president, JNCASR. The event was jointly organised by Indian Academy of Sciences, JNCASR and IISc.