BENGALURU : Argya Das is a post-doctoral student at the Statistical Physics at the International Centre for Theoretical Physics in the city. He completed his PhD from a Kolkata institute a few weeks ago before joining ICTS. Agya says while research scholars such as him normally face some other issues related to scholarships, it has become particularly ‘acute’ in the last three to four years. “My institute is one of those rare ones in the country where the funding situation is ok. However, one cannot say the same for others. I know a number of seniors who applied for the National-Post Doctorate Scholarships or N-PDS, but the money it after a year,” he says.
Argya and a number of other research scholars, along with academicians from various scientific institutes in the city, will be part of the March for Science, which will be held in the city on April 22. This is a part of a worldwide march that propogates science. The organisers in the city will raise the issue of severe cutting in budgets for science and scientific research in the country, besides others.
Deepthi B, joint secretary, Breakthrough Science Society (Bengaluru District), that is organising the march, says, “Our spending on science and research is presently below 1 per cent of the GDP. One of our demands is, therefore, to increase it to 3 per cent. A number of centrally funded institutions have seen a huge cut in their funding. It is an alarming situation that needs to be addressed as soon as possible,” she adds.
Considering the many controversial statements made by ministers spreading myths rather than facts, a major aim of the march is to also to ‘defend science and scientific outlook against the onslaught from unscientific forces powered by important politicians’. Some of the controversial statements made by ministers include those of union minister of state, HRD, Satyapal Singh, discounting Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, and union minister for Science and Technology, Harsh Vardhan, claiming Stephen Hawking had talked about a theory superior to Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. The march will also pay tribute to theoretical physicists Stephen Hawking, who passed away last month, as well as J R Lakshman Rao, a popular science writer who passed away last year.