BHUBANESWAR: The biggest congregation of India’s brightest scientific minds is set to roll out in the next 24 hours. When Prime Minister Manmohan Singh steps into KIIT University on Tuesday morning here, the State Capital will have played host to the who’s who of scientific community __ from India as well as abroad.
From top-notch defence scientists to trail-blazers in the field of medicine; from the drivers of the innovation to precocious little ones who hold promise to become the ‘ignited minds’ of tomorrow; women, who have made a lasting mark on the scientific blackboard and much more, the 99th edition of Indian Science Congress (ISC) promises to be a grand affair.
The largest scientific event of the country, the ISC will carry the theme ‘Science and Technology for Inclusive Innovation - Role of Women’.
Befitting the occasion, the Congress will be headed by Geetha Bali, V-C of Karnataka State Women’s University, Bijapur, and she will be the fourth woman in the history to head the Congress. KIIT and the National Institute of Science Education and Research (NISER) are jointly hosting the ISC.
The Congress, which was first held at the Asiatic Society in Kolkata in January 1914 with about 150 scientists from India and abroad has indeed come a long way.
More than 15,000 delegates are slated to attend this edition and by now, 11,000-odd have already signed up. Besides, 500 foreign scientists, there will be 20 Nobel Laureates who will share their treasure-trove of knowledge over the five-day event.
Renowned space scientist and member of the Planning Commission Dr K Kasturirangan, famous agro-scientist Dr M S Swaminathan, DG, CSIR, Dr Samir K Brahmachari, Atomic Energy Commission head Srikumar Banerjee, ICMR chief Dr V M Katosh and DG, ICAR, Dr S Aiyappan are among the few of the scientific policy-makers and heads of major science research bodies of India who will take part.
The participants __ young and old alike __ will get to rub shoulders with Nobel Laureates such as Dr Rolf M Zinkernagel and Dr Richard R Ernest.
Besides hosting the India Pride Science Exhibition, the Congress will hold sessions on prevention of maternal and child mortality, assisted technology for disabled, science and education in rural areas, women in science, water scarcity and security.
Special emphasis will also be on bridging the divide in society __ economic, geographical and sexist biases __ using science and technology to achieve inclusive development. The Children’s Science Congress will be a major attraction with schoolchildren from across India displaying their models/charts and a special arena has been created for them. The Children’s Science Congress will be inaugurated by former president A P J Abdul Kalam on Wednesday.
Similarly, Women’s Science Congress will be kicked off by Nirupama Rao, Indian ambassador to the US a day later with Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit making her presence felt. A major focus at the ISC, meanwhile, is the showcasing of India’s missile power. The DRDO will put on display models of Agni, Prithvi, Nag, Akash, BrahMos and Astra for which a gallery has been earmarked.
As the countdown begins, the organisers __ KIIT and NISER __ have been busy giving finishing touches to the preparations. On Tuesday morning, when the Prime Minister delivers the opening address, at least 20,000 people can watch him at the main venue.
All major activities, including inaugurations of ISC, Children’s Science Congress and Women’s Science Congress, will be held on the same premises, while the dining arena will seat 3,000 people at a time.
“We expect about 50,000 to a lakh footfalls every day and arrangements are made to meet the needs,” said a spokesman.
The Science Congress will also be used as an opportunity to showcase Odisha’s rich art, culture, heritage and history through wall paintings along with scientific themes.
Around the venue, a 2-km long mosaic mural tile painting has been created and it is considered one of the longest.
TIGHT SECURITY: Meanwhile, security has been heightened in the City with Prime Minister set to arrive on Monday evening. A special flight is expected to reach the City at 8.30 pm. While the venue has been sanitised and no one is allowed inside the main arena, the rehearsal for the PM’s entourage was also conducted. The four armoured vehicles for the PM arrived on Sunday.