India has a Great Potential to be a Scientific Power

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Location/City: Several Nobel laureates speaking at the special event at Vibrant Gujarat opined that India has a great potential to be a scientific power and should invest more in basic & fundamental researches.

The Programme christened as Nobel Dialogue saw active participation of Nine Nobel Laureates including Dr. Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry, Dr. Richard Roberts, Nobel Prize Laureate in Physiology or Medicine, Dr. Harold Varmus, Nobel Prize Laureate in Physiology or Medicine, Dr. Randy Schekman, Nobel Prize Laureate in Physiology or Medicine, David Gross, Nobel Prize Laureate in Physics, Dr. Ada Yonath, Nobel Prize Laureate in Chemistry, Dr. Serge Haroche, Nobel Prize Laureate in Physics and Dr. William E Moerner Nobel Prize Laureate in Chemistry. The dialogue was held in two sessions: 1. Basic or Applied Research? Fostering an Innovative Environment and 2. Local Research, Global Impact: Addressing Global Challenges.

Interesting discussions ranging from getting rid of mosquitoes to tackle malaria, research for finding out new vaccines, genetic modification of food crops and the need for strengthening education particularly science education were discussed at these two sessions. The first dialogue was introduced and moderated by the Secretary, Department of Biotechnology, Government of India Prof. K. Vijay Raghavan and the second by the Deputy Chairman, Nobel Foundation Dr Goran K Hansson. Several students and Scientists posed interesting questions to Nobel Laureates. Dr. Randy Schekman said that India with a history of having had Nalanda University over 1000 years before the first university in other parts of the world should think of having a high quality affordable education system.

The dialogue is part of the Nobel Prize Series, India 2017, formally inaugurated by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, on 09th January. The Nobel Prize Series Science Exhibition, also inaugurated by the Prime Minister at the Science City in Ahmedabad is meanwhile attracting large number of people. The five week long Science Exhibition being set up by the Nobel Foundation, with exhibits from the Nobel Museum, Stockholm, Sweden.

As a run-up to these events, a nationwide Ideathon contest was organised that invited ideas from students that could address any challenges faced by society. The ideas were reviewed by a panel of experts and about 150 students from across the country were selected and have been invited to participate and meet with the Nobel Laureates.

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed last year by Nobel Media and the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India for hosting Nobel Prize Series in India for the next five years.

After this agreement, a trilateral Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Department of Biotechnology of Government of India, the Government of Gujarat and the Nobel Media. Accordingly, the first of the Nobel Prize Series, India 2017 is being held as a prelude to Vibrant Gujarat to demonstrate how science and discovery underpins all enterprise and human well-being under the overall theme of “Science Impacts Lives”.

As a part of the Nobel Prize Series, India 2017 lectures are also to be held in Delhi and Bengaluru on 12th and 13th January, 2017.