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Doors open to Nobel minds

The Silicon Valley is offering a sneak peek into the beautiful minds of 700 Nobel laureates, writes BR Srikanth.

india Updated: Jun 06, 2006 03:47 IST

India's Silicon Valley is playing host to Alfred Nobel's legacy. It is offering a sneak peek into the beautiful minds of 700 geniuses, who have innovated: the Nobel laureates.

The three-month — "Centennial Exhibition of the Nobel Prize" — currently on at the Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum (VITM) is an effort to raise awareness about the philosophy behind the prize and the lives of the winners.

Organised jointly by the Nobel Museum and the Nobel Foundation, it describes the 100-year history of honouring scientists, doctors, economists, litterateurs and those who championed the cause of peace. In addition to posters and newspaper clippings, the audio and video pavilions provide a chance to watch these celebrities and to hear them. The voices include those of Ravindranath Tagore (the recording includes the laureate singing in Bengali), Mother Teresa, Prof S Chandrashekar and Isaac Bashevis Singer (who won the prize for literature in 1978).

The four audio segments deal with War and Peace, Hope and Despair, Dinner Special and Indians. Two other special sections — women and Nobel prize and Cambridge University and Nobel prize (this university has the distinction of longest list of prize winners) — jazz up the show.

In a mini-theatre, three minute movies throw up interesting facets on the lives of 32 award winners, including Marie Curie and Nelson Mandela. In addition, visual and written displays of all prize winning inventions from 1906 to 2000 offer a glimpse into ground breaking feats of the past.

A replica of the Nobel banquet table (complete with cutlery) where the winners are hailed for outstanding achievements, offers food for thought. The exhibition focuses on the theme "Cultures of Creativity", focusing not only on the lives of the winners but the environment which allowed them to flourish.

A film on Shantiniketan as an example of creative environment that fostered creativity constitutes a part of the show. And for those inquisitive about Alfred Nobel, the exhibition offers a replica of the dynamite he invented and his will.

Svante Lindqvist, director, Nobel Museum, said, "We wanted to bring the exhibition to India." Says Michael Sohlman, executive director, Nobel Foundation, "India is in many ways, the embodiment of the values of universalism and diversity cherished by Alfred Nobel."