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“Keeping in view the prime minister’s flagship program to get global investments, create jobs and boost exports, the theme of the 103rd Indian Science Congress is on a Science & Technology for indigenous development,” Mysore University vice chancellor K.S. Rangappa told IANS. Also Read - Xiaomi launches Mi For India initiative to distribute 2,500 phones to COVID-19 affected children
To be flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the sprawling Mansagangotri campus of University of Mysore in presence of top scientists, Nobel laureates and hundreds of students, the five-day annual fair is holding a mega expo on the theme of Pride of India – Frontier Science & Technologies. Also Read - Daiwa launches 49-inch and 55-inch 4K Smart TVs in India, price starts at Rs 29,999
Though the science congress is being held for the 10th time in Karnataka, Mysuru is hosting it for second time 33 years after Indira Gandhi opened it in 1982, and as part of its centenary celebrations since it was founded in 1916.On eight occasions, the event was held in Bangalore (now Bengaluru), 140 km from here, with the last in 2003 when Atal Behari Vajpayee was the prime minister and A.P.J. Abdul Kalam the president.
Interestingly, the first science congress in the erstwhile Mysore state was held in 1917 at Bangalore when the Mysore maharaja, Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wodiyar inaugurated it in the premier Indian Institute of Science (IISc) for which he gifted 371 acres of land free in 1911 for promoting research in science.
Eminent scientist C.N.R Rao, a receipient of the Bharat Ratna, will deliver a lecture on “Doing Science in India” on Sunday after the inaugural session, which will be webcast for live streaming though about 400 scientists from overseas and across the country and about 100 noted speakers will be present to listen him directly.
Five Nobel Laureates – John B Gurdon (medicine, 2012) from Britain, Dass Shechtman (chemistry, 2011) from Israel, David J Gross (physics, 2004) and Arthur B. McDonald (physics, 2015) from the US and Serge Haroche (physics, 2012) from France will speak at the panel discussion on “Science & Technology: Present & Future”.
Indian-born Fields medallist Manjul Bhargava from Princeton University in the US will also participate in the discussion on January 3. Modi will also honour about 30 distinguished scientists who had made singular contribution to the cause of science with awards and rewards, including gold medals to Nobel laureates, best presenter at the congress, best poster, young scientists and C.V. Raman birth centenary award.
About 8,500 delegates have registered for the event from other states and overseas. Another 2,500 delegates, including faculty and students from the host university are participating.
“With about 2,000 spot registrations, we expect about 15,000 people to visit the campus for the five-day fair to witness its various events, including women’s science congress, children’s science congress and communicators meet,” Rangappa said ahead of the meet. Plenary talks will be on nano science, space science, technology and applications , diabetes, evolution, the frontiers, atomic energy, safe water and sanitation, diseases, drug development and public-private partnerships in the Clean India mission.
Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Smriti Irani will open the fifth women’s science congress on January 4, while Gurdon will flag off the children congress on the second day of the fair. As Karnataka’s cultural capital and city of palaces, this historic city will treat the visiting delegates to its rich cultural programs, including classical dances, fusion music and folklore.
The science expo will have four pavilions – Hall of Pride, Vigyan Jyot, Genesis and Edu Vision – in which about 180 organziations will showcase eminent personalities, inventions, discoveries and scientific solutions for common problems.
“As the expo’s revered segment, the Hall of Pride pavilion is dedicated to eminent personalities who contributed immensely to the growth of science and technology, which in turn helped in the country’s development,” Rangappa added.
Among the noted personalities are Jawaharlal Nehru, Vikram Sarabhai, Dhirubhai Ambani, G.D. Birla, Satish Dhawan, Acharya Prafulla Chandra Ray and Sir M. Visvesvaraya from the host state. As a tribute to Kalam, the Hall of Pride pavilion will be dedicated to him.