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Science vital for economy: CNR

ALL?S NOT well with science in India. If one goes by statistics, 15 years ago, India had a share of 8.75 per cent of the world?s academic chemistry, and now the figure has gone down to 2.75 per cent. Hold on, other wrenching figure is ?the top 1 per cent of the world?s best scientific papers, the share of India is only 0.5 per cent, whereas, China has a share of 2 per cent.

india Updated: Feb 13, 2006 01:26 IST

ALL’S NOT well with science in India. If one goes by statistics, 15 years ago, India had a share of 8.75 per cent of the world’s academic chemistry, and now the figure has gone down to 2.75 per cent. Hold on, other wrenching figure is –the top 1 per cent of the world’s best scientific papers, the share of India is only 0.5 per cent, whereas, China has a share of 2 per cent.

These and many more such facts were revealed by Prof CNR Rao, Linus Pauling Research professor, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Research, Bangalore. He was in city to deliver a lecture on “Science for Our Future” on the occasion of 85th Anniversary day celebration of the Lucknow University.

Prof Rao pointed that in the last 25 years, the number of research papers from the Indian universities has gone down from 60 per cent to 10 per cent. “Even the big and reputed universities in India have ‘dried up’,” he lamented.

Winner of the prestigious Dan David Prize, Prof Rao said even the countries like South Korea and Brazil have left us behind in Science. Referring to one of the recently concluded high-level international meet, he said in the meet, Korea had promised to come up with 30,000 research papers and 5 per cent citation in a year.

“How could we aim to become economic giant without making progress in Science?” Highlighting the commitment on part of the governments in other countries, Prof Rao said the government of Taiwan has decided to bring its national university at par with the Oxford and the Harvard. For this, he added, the government of Taiwan had promised $100 million as its first move in this direction. In India, fund-crunch was not the only problem, it’s also the proper application of mind, he said.

In his own style, Prof Rao said every scientist must have a sense of nationalism. “He or she should be proud of doing good things in the country,” he added.
“In our country, success is measured by number of members in a family working in the West or America,” he said.

Prof Rao said nationalism was more visible among the scientists of China than in India. Hailing the efforts of the government in information technology (IT), he said much more should be done in the institutes like Indian Institute of Technologies (IITs).

Citing an example from the post-Independence period in India, Prof Rao said India had seen people like Dr Homi J Bhabha, who gave much-needed impetus to the science at a time when India did not even have enough apparatus to carry out research.

Exhorting the people to work hard, he said, “It’s only the hard work which could make a difference.”

First Published: Feb 13, 2006 01:26 IST