To make scientific inventions benefit society, scientists should realise that their researches were for people and not for their own gratification, said Professor Ryoji Noyori, the celebrated Nobel Laureate who had received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2001.
Professor Noyori, who teaches at Japan’s Nagoya University, delivered the third Asia Science Lecture instituted by the Indian National Science Academy (INSA) and KK Birla Foundation in the Capital on Tuesday.
Addressing a full house of scholars, students and science enthusiasts from INSA, Professor Noyori spoke at length on the benefits of what is called “green chemistry”, an environment-friendly chemical composition for manufacturing of material.
Through the hour-long lecture, Professor Noyori explained the various facets of complex chemical compositions that result in asymmetric hydrogenation, the core of green chemistry.
“Green chemistry is an absolutely feasible technique which can be adopted into industrial production as well. In Japan, a company has already started putting together a manufacturing unit to look into its viabilities in industry,” he said.
“For comfort, health and even sustenance in daily life, we rely largely on material made of various, multi-step chemical conversions. A technique to make that process more environment friendly is of utmost importance,” he said.
This, Professor Noyori said, can be possible when the overall chemical synthesis of material can minimise the cost of waste disposal. “Green chemistry is not just a matter of chemical expertise; it is a complex social issue,” he said.
Giving his first-ever Indian audience a peek into the world of Japan’s scientific research scenario, Professor Noyori also explained the role played by RIKEN, an 80-year-old independent institution for scientific research in Japan. “At present, operating in seven cities in Japan, RIKEN is engaged in the R&D of a next-generation supercomputer and various other ‘future-proof’ inventions that seek to make a sustainable society in the 21st century,” said Professor Noyori, who is also the president of RIKEN.
Earlier, introducing Professor Noyori to the audience, president of INSA, Dr RA Mashelkar, said lecturers by eminent scientists like Noyori help motivate the younger generation in the field of scientific work in India.
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