THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: There has never been a more opportune moment for women to take up science as a profession than now - given the vast expanse of knowledge and the numerous avenues available to them, said Project Director for Agni - India’s long-range missile system - at the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in Hyderabad Tessy Thomas here on Friday.
Tessy Thomas was addressing a gathering of researchers, schoolgirls and science enthusiasts at a meeting organised by the Women Scientists Cell of the Kerala State Council for Science Technology and Environment (KSCSTE) in connection with International Women’s Day celebrations.
“Young girls today have greater support both at home and outside, a wider knowledge base and more opportunities to learn, which they must utilise to pursue an extremely fulfilling career in science,” said Tessy, also known as ‘India’s Missile Woman.’
“We need more women in the decision-making process to serve as mentors and role models for our youngsters. A woman scientist will face opposition and multiple challenges throughout her life. The key is to remain focused on your goals, be confident in your abilities and never stop learning,” she said.
V N Rajasekharan Pillai, KSCSTE executive vice-president, said that women’s education has been the bedrock of the state’s developmental success; but to achieve a more inclusive growth, this talent pool needs to be retained.
“We have exceptionally talented girls who pursue science up to undergraduate or postgraduate level, but their research activity is often not sustained beyond that for many reasons,” he said.
“We need to make them aware that there are a number of meaningful schemes introduced by leading research institutions to encourage them to stay in science,” he added.
Eminent scientist C G Ramachandran Nair delivered a special lecture on the life and work of women scientists such as Marie Curie, chemist Margot Becke-Goehring, nuclear physicist Lise Meitner, molecular biologist Rosalind Franklin, Indian meteorologist Anna Mani and botanist E K Janaki Ammal.
K R Lekha, head of KSCSTE’s Women Scientists Cell, said in her welcome address that the council would extend all support to youngsters who want to excel in science.
Six winners of the Young Scientist Awards presented at the annual Kerala Science Congress event presented papers on varied research subjects. Lakshmi S Nair, who is currently associated with The University of Connecticut Health Centre in Farmington, US, spoke on ‘Biomaterials for medical devices and regenerative engineering.’
Giable George of MG University gave an outline of her research on ‘Environment-friendly rare earth-based inorganic cool pigments.’ Others who presented scientific papers included Uma S from Sophisticated Test and Instrumentation Centre (STIC), Amita Ajit of KSCSTE, Renju Krisha V of Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute (JNTBGRI) and Beena R of Kerala Agricultural University.