CHANDIGARH- November 21, 2008: The 78th Annual Session of National Academy of Sciences, India began on an impressive note at P.U. Campus here today. Around 400 scientists from all over India are participating in this three-day session.
The session was dedicated to Prof. M.G.K. Menon for his life long contribution. The theme “Symposium on Novel Approaches for Bio-Medical Research” was dedicated to the contributions made by Dr. P.N. Tandon by the President, Dr. Ashok Mishra.
Addressing the gathering, Ms. Lakshmi Kanta Chawla, Minister of Health, Punjab appealed to the scientific fraternity to focus their research on to identifying genes which are responsible for creating social evils like greed, lust, drinking and female foeticide and why life was getting threatened. The world of science should give a directive for eradication of such ills which are afflicting mankind.
Hon’ble Minister shared her sense of anguish that despite the fact that our heritage and culture propagated to the whole world as the concept of one family would as (vasudhaiv kutumbkum) and which treated every living organism as a manifestation of divinity was maltreating its senior citizens, killing girl child in the womb, was resorting to drinking and indulging in negativity. There is an urgent need to find a solution to these problems, she added.
Prof. Menon lamented the recent happenings made at dividing the society, state and the nation. He sublimated the audience by observing that it was imperative for “we scientists” to rise above parochialism, the decisive streaks of caste and colour and to inculcate the feeling that we will not allow any division amongst us. “We all are part of a great country, and as scientists we are a part of the universe. We have to work collectively, to rise above divisive trends and continue to work for harmony, truth and nature. Science has to ensure service of mankind, he added.
Prof. M.G.K. Menon recalled the contribution of Dr. Meghnad Saha in setting up National Academy of Science and making science relevant to society. The endeavour of NASI has been to continue with the healthy tradition of securing science in the service of mankind.
Prof. Ashok Misra, President, National Academy of Sciences, India (NASI) in his presidential speech on “Polymers for Biomedical Applications” made an impressive presentation on diverse use of bio-medical science to alleviate human suffering.
Prof. Mishra said that the efforts of NASI were to popularize science in our country as science is the precursor to technology and technology is the precursor to economic growth. He also informed all the initiatives which NASI had taken in having organized interactions with scientists from India and abroad and with the corporate world.
Prof. Misra informed that a Museum of Science is being set up at Allahabad. He also announced awarding of Reliance Industries Platinum Jubilee Awards for Young Scientists. The awards were given to K.S.M.S. Raghavarao (Mysore), Ram Rajasekharan (Bangalore), S. Chandrasekhar (Hyderabad) and Tapas K. Kundu (Bangalore).
An exhibition put up by the Science Departments of Panjab University was also inaugurated by Prof. Misra.
Prof. R.C. Sobti, Vice-Chancellor, Panjab University in his welcome speech thanked the organizers for selecting Panjab University. The delegates were taken down the memory lane by an impressive presentation of reminisces of 64th Session of NASI which had taken place in 1966.
Talking about dynamics of developments of science & technology in India, Dr. Sobti said that the country had witnessed rapid growth in terms of spread of education. The country had seen number of universities going up from 20 in 1947 to 431 in 2008, the number of colleges rising from 500 in 1947 to 28677 in 2008 and the number of students from one lakh in 1947 to 116 lakhs in 2008. The access to higher education was 10..8 per cent which was too less in comparison to developed nations. The need of the hour was to ensure to take steps which would include total literacy campaign, in addition to ensuring mega trends like securing e-governance in e-campuses to e-everything in life.
Prof. Sobti also outlined the achievements of Panjab University, its contribution and its plans for the future. The overview included the needs of the University and the challenges it was facing and the plans for future, the innovative steps taken by the University including “Discover India Programme” which was being prepared to create a sense of pride amongst the Indians and awareness to the outside world.
The function also witnessed release of books which include –“Some Essays on Bio-Technology” by Dr. Sobti, “Recent Research Initiatives in Science & Technology” by Prof. R.C. Sobti, A.S. Ahluwalia and others, “Report on Women Nobel Laureates”, “Special Issue on Wetland Ecology”, and “The Flight of the Phoenix” by Dr. D.V.S. Jain and Dr. V..K. Anand.
Dr. V.K. Anand, Organizing Secretary observed that fragrance of presence of the galaxy of scientists will permeate in the University environment for long time.