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No controversial papers on ancient India mythology in 2016 science congress


Mysuru: The Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA) decided to stick to the basic or applied science, keeping out mythology from their annual jamboree this time.

“Only pure science is our real business this time. Last year, we had certain issues when mythology overshadowed science. We are away from it and concentrating on only science,” said Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA) general secretary Arun Kumar.

The 102nd session in Mumbai last year was marred by controversies as two scientists on January 4, 2015, jointly presented a paper, claiming that aircraft was invented in India during the Vedic age, dating back to 1500-500 BC.

“We are totally avoiding those (mythology) type of things though they were allowed last time, maybe, due to some pressure from ministers and maybe from our own fraternity who wanted a session in the plenary on mythology,” Kumar recalled.

Two noted speakers – Anand Bodas from Kerala and Ameya Jadhav from Mumbai – demonstrated that aviation in the Vedic age was more advanced than in the modern versions through a paper on “Ancient Sciences through Sanskrit”.

In the absence of records or archives and lack of supporting evidence, the duo asserted that the ancient aircraft were huge and could even fly to other planets.

Bodas, a principal at a pilot training school in Kerala, and Jadhav, a lecturer at the Swami Vivekananda International School and Junior College in Mumbai, lamented that owing to the passage of time spanning hundreds of years, foreign rulers who looted the country and stole artefacts had denied the benefit of doubt for its believers.

“As per the theme, chosen carefully this time with the consent of all stakeholders, including the science and technology ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office, we are focusing primarily on Make in India, Clean India and Digital India campaigns…” Kumar said.

As last year’s event took place seven months after the Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA government took office and amid concerns over attempts to revive mythology at a mega science meet, the Kolkata-based association had not given a chance to its members to present any paper that is objectionable and stirs up a controversy.

“It is not just a show, as right from Nobel laureates to a young scientist (they) have certain tasks to share their achievements and experiences with everyone,” said Kumar, who heads the Earth sciences department in the Manipur University.

He said the theme of the present session “on indigenous development” was selected keeping in view the government’s priorities.

The association’s various bodies comprising advisories, councils and executive committees have also resolved to stick to core issues pertaining to core sciences.

“Nothing controversial or objectionable will come out this time. Efforts are on to ensure the event is relevant and have solutions that will benefit all,” Kumar added. (IANS, Fakir Balaji), (image

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103rd Indian Science Congress: curtains came down on high note

103rd Indian Science Congress

Mysuru: Around 12,500 delegates participated in various events of the 103rd Indian Science Congress. The events included plenary sessions, public lectures and a mega-expo on a fascinating subject from school to university level. However, after a five-day session, the event concluded on a high note on Thursday.

Held in the sprawling 700-acre University of Mysore campus in this heritage city, about 140km from Bengaluru, the annual jamboree attracted a galaxy of scientists, Nobel Laureates, researchers and students from across the country and abroad.

“It was historic for us to host such a major science event during our centenary year and 33 years after holding first time in 1982 when (then prime minister) Indira Gandhi opened it”, Vice-Chancellor K S Rangappa told media at the valedictory session.

Addressing the gathering at the valedictory function, Governor Vajubhai R Vala urged each scientist to adopt at least five students and mentor them in their pursuit.

“Scientists should not keep knowledge to themselves but pass on to their students and next generation. Present-day students are very intelligent, as they score 96 percent in every exam unlike us when we could score high only in term exams”, he said, drawing huge applause from the packed audience in Crawford Hall.

After Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off the event on January 3 with a new mantra of ‘five 5s’ for enquiry and engineering by the scientific community, brain-storming sessions followed in diverse subjects spanning space, technology and developments in their various disciplines.

Unlike the previous congress in Mumbai, when a session on Vedic science triggered controversy, the Science Congress association managed to keep the event free from mythology and non-science.

An IAS officer from Uttar Pradesh, however, presented a paper on health benefits of conch (shank) in session on Tuesday, while a botany professor (Akhilesh Pandey) from Madhya Pradesh failed to present a paper on Hindu god Shiva being the “greatest environmentalist” as he failed to turn up on Wednesday following an injury.

The event in Mansagangotri campus also had a children’s congress, women’s congress and a fair under all of Pride’ dedicated to former president A P J Abdul Kalam, who expressed a wish to participate before he passed away at Shillong on July 27 last year.

“We had a record turnout of people to the exhibition, especially hundreds of school and college students from the city, demonstrating keen interest and enthusiasm among them for basic and applied science,” Rangappa said.

Veteran scientist C N R Rao delivered a lecture on “Doing Science in India’ on Sunday after the inaugural session, which was webcast for live streaming, about 400 scientists from overseas and across the country and about 100 noted speakers presented papers in various disciplines.

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 — spoke at the panel discussion on “Science & Technology: Present & Future”.

Indian-born Fields medallist Manjul Bhargava from Princeton University, New Jersey also gave a public talk on inaugural day.

Besides Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, union Science & Technology Minister Harsha Vardhan, union Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani and union Health Minister J P Nadda participated in various functions during the event.(IANS) (Picture