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There is a Need to go back to Basics

As the country observes National Science Day today in memory of CV Raman, people from the scientific community voice their concerns about the future of pure science in India and maintaining a healthy planet

Published: 28th February 2014 08:57 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th February 2014 09:10 AM   |  A+A-

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The day National Science Day (NSD) has many takers in the city with schools and institutes paying tribute to the late Indian physicist and Nobel prize winner CV Raman through various events.

“On the occasion of National Science Day, cancer specialist Dr Chandrasekhar Rao will be delivering a special lecture on the effects of cancer and cancer awareness at 11:30 am today,” said C B Lakshmi, head of research and marketing at the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT).

The 57-year-old stressed the importance of science in our lives and urged people to invest more towards its betterment. “Science is a very important part of everyone’s lives. The future is science and technology and without that, there is no scope for advancement,” she explained.

The theme on National Science Day for the year 2014 is ‘Fostering Scientific Temper’ and ‘Energy Conservation’ and Lakshmi feels that both are important issues which need to be addressed. “I think both of them are extremely important issues. Energy has become extremely vital and it is important for us to preserve it. As far as Scientific Temper is concerned, most of the youngsters these are looking for jobs in the IT industry in order to make quick money. However, there is plenty of scope in the field of science as well. So if these youngsters can develop a scientific temper and get motivated by it, then there will be plenty of positives for us,” she added.

Some however feel that there is a strong need for improvement to be done towards science in India and the occasion is an opportunity to highlight the issue. “The NSD is celebrated in India to mark the discovery of the Raman effect by CV Raman in 1928. However, ever since then we have produced absolutely nothing. CV Raman had made the discovery in the pre-independence era where there was hardly any money available to him. Today there is so much money available and yet the work we produce is mediocre at best,” expressed BG Sidharth, director, BM Birla Science Centre.

Addressing the way forward, he said, “It is time for us to introspect, as the quality of science is appalling. We need to improve research towards science and one way to do this is to bring the best in the world back to India and allow research to flourish.”

The director also felt that the two themes for the year were completely different issues but, like all aspects of science,  complement each other. “Scientific temper is a part of our constitution itself. To be honest, we have not fared so badly in this aspect. We have had some success there at the layman level. Where we have failed is to create excellence. There is no excellence in Indian Science. The two (Fostering Scientific Temper and Energy Conservation) are completely different aspects but are complementary,” he explained.

Schools in the city, are doing their part to celebrate the event. “We are organising an assembly presentation in our hall where children will be performing a few skits to highlight the issue,” said Madhvi Chandra, principal, Geetanjali School.

Explaining that it’s important for children to flourish in science, she said, “Science needs to be encouraged. Every day things are changing and we are seeing different developments in the fields of science and technology. The children need to be encouraged to experiment and to think differently for the future to flourish,” she pointed out.

The principal also emphasised the need to conserve energy, and feels that it is a vital issue. “Fostering scientific temper is addressed by all the schools, but energy conservation is very important. We need to make sure we inculcate this into the people’s minds,” she added.

Dr Mohan Rao, director, CSIR-Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology, also stressed on the fact that while we have fostered some amount of scientific curiosity, we have yet to fully optimise our energy conservation.

“Science is a major tool and a catalyst for social transformation. Early man observing the wild animals, using their nails and sharp teeth, later stone and then a tool maker, these are the people with scientific temper. It is essentially based on observation, analysis, questioning, making hypothesis and testing. Ability to question and obtain satisfactory answer will pave way for the development of an individual and the society. It is also imperative that we conserve what we have and at the same time look for new energy sources. To start with let each one of us conserve energy at our own place of dwelling or working – put off those lights, fans and air conditioners when leaving the place.”

To further inculcate scientific thinking among young minds, the Hyderabad Science Academy is initiating the project ‘Future inventors’ as a platform for innovative students from different schools in the city. Being held at Lamakaan at 2:30 pm today, the program will include a lecture on science applications and a hands-on workshop in Physics.

 

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