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A dash of truth, a dollop of creativity: A Nobel laureate’s recipe for promoting science

The latest edition of the exhibition of the Noble Prize Series aims to promote education for encouraging scientific temper and creativity for a better world. Noble laureates will travel to Ludhiana and Delhi in this edition to take part in lectures.

india Updated: Sep 11, 2019 21:43 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Serge Haroche, who was awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physics, speaking in Mohali on Wednesday. The third edition of the Nobel Prize Series held exhibitions will be open to the public in Ludhiana and Mohali from Thursday.
Serge Haroche, who was awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physics, speaking in Mohali on Wednesday. The third edition of the Nobel Prize Series held exhibitions will be open to the public in Ludhiana and Mohali from Thursday.
         

A new travelling exhibition ‘For the greatest benefit to humankind’ was inaugurated in Mohali today. This exhibition is brought to India by the Nobel Prize Series — their third edition in this country. As part of this edition, Nobel laureates will travel to Delhi and Ludhiana and take part in lectures and discussions on the theme of education and learning.

The exhibition in Mohali is open to the public for a month from September 12 — every day from 9 am to 5 pm at the campus of the National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute (NABI). Speaking at the inauguration, Erika Lanner, Director of the Nobel Prize Museum in Stockholm said, “We want to convey a message of inspiration to the younger generation through our exhibition and show that it is possible to create a better world.”

The Nobel Prize Series 2019 brings together Serge Haroche, who was awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physics and Kailash Satyarthi, the recipient of the 2014 Nobel peace prize. They are accompanied by Juleen Zierath, a member of the Nobel Committee at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden.

Posed a question in today’s session on the India’s Chandrayaan mission and the glitch that affected the moon-lander, the physicist Haroche said he was ignorant about what actually happened but was certain that the Indian scientists could solve the problem. “Science is something where you are going in the unknown...you have surprises, sometimes good surprises and sometime you have bad surprises and failures,” explained Haroche, whose research has mostly taken place in the Kastler Brossel Laboratory (KBL) at the Ecole Normale Superieure (ENS) school in France.

“In India we have good education in mathematics, in theoretical physics and in astro physics. I think we need to put money into small-scale physics projects even if it doesn’t get the media attention, big projects like the moon landing get,” said the Nobel laureate, who is a member of the French and European Academies of Sciences.

Speaking to Hindustan Times on the sidelines of the inauguration, Serge Haroche spoke of the need for truth and creativity to encourage rational thought and scientific temper. “You need an atmosphere of creativity and you need freedom. Scientists need freedom because science is fuelled by passion. Big revolutions in science occur in troubled times. While there is no simple correlation between the world stage and the development of science, we’re now in troubled times again because some of the values of science are being attacked.”

Haroche quipped that living in a world that was connected more than ever before but had growing inequities was a “paradox of science”.

“These networks and the global internet which is an achievement of science are used by detractors as a tool against civilisation, these are instruments that are used against science and for that the only answer is education,” said Haroche.

Elaborating further, he said it was important to raise children and young people in a rational way so that they understand what they have to become.

“That is why it is very important that education should be the prime goal of any sensible government. While there are many steps being taken in India and other parts of the world, I’m not sure the governments are spending the kind of money that should be spent on education,” he added.

By sharing the achievements of the Nobel laureates with a global audience, this series seeks to inspire engagement in the sciences and literature for a better world.

“We believe in the importance of continuous education, not only in terms of professional development but also for personal growth to become a responsible citizen to benefit society as a whole,” said Sanjeev Sharma, Country Managing Director of ABB India, who attended the event. “No matter what stage of life we are at, we should never stop learning,” Sharma added.

First Published: Sep 11, 2019 20:16 IST