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National Science Day celebrated with fervor in the capital

National Science Day celebrated with fervor in the capital
New Delhi: Prithviraj Chavan, Minister of state for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences felicitated the award winners at a function organized in connection with National Science Day in Technology Bhawan here yesterday.Along with each award, a memento and a citation was presented.

Earlier the National Council for Science & Technology Communication (NCSTC), department of Science and Technology, govt. of India announced its annual national awards for Science & Technology communication for the year 2009 to recognize the outstanding work done in past five years by individual science communicators.

National award of Rs.1,00,000 for outstanding efforts in Science & Technology communication through books and magazines has been given to Dr. D.D. Ozha, Jodhpur (Rajasthan) for writing 23 books on energy, nanotechnology, water, Mars, Science and Vedas, environment, Moon, Sun, Earth, oceans, insects, biotechnology, soil etc, besides several popular science articles.

A similar award has been conferred upon N. Ramadurai, Chennai (Tamil Nadu) for his outstanding contribution as an author of popular science books in Tamil, namely Seyarkaikol (Satellites), Bhoomi (Earth), Kedal (Oceans), Sevvai (Mars) and Suriyan (Sun), besides a series of articles on ‘Anu Sakthi’ and a daily column ‘Theriyumman’ in popular newspapers.

National award of Rs.1,00,000 for outstanding effort in popularization of Science among children has been given to Takhellambam Robindro Singh, Thoubal (Manipur) for his contributions as guide teacher in National Children’s Science Congress and mentoring students for making science models.

The same award for exceptional effort in Science and Technology Communication in print medium has been given to Dinesh Chandra Sharma, Rampur (Uttar Pradesh) for his popular science columns on the occasions of year of Scientific Awareness-2004 and Understanding Planet Earth-2009 including contributions in well known science magazines and newspapers.

National award of Rs.1,00,000 in Science and Technology Communication in electronic medium has been given to Dr. Manas Pratim Das, 24 Paraganas (West Bengal) for his outstanding contribution as an anchor and quizmaster, hosting talk shows on FM radio, making a series of radio plays and a documentary besides producing popular programmes like Lanthan Theke Laser and Mahakashe Bharat in Bengali.

The Kalinga Chair for the year 2009 was awarded to Prof. Yash Pal, Chancellor, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi and Prof. Trinh X. Thuan, Department of Astronomy, USA on this occasion for their invaluable contributions in communicating science to people, who have jointly won the International UNESCO Kalinga Prizefor Science Popularization for the year 2009.

Government of India recognizes the efforts by conferring the Kalinga Chair on the UNESCO Kalinga prize winners, who are invited to deliver lectures on science communication to various target groups for a period of two to four weeks as a guest of the government of India. The chair comprises of a token amount of US $5000.

Dr. T. Ramasami, Secretary, Dept. of Science & Technology, govt. of India presided over the function.

Dr. Kamal Kant Dwivedi, Adviser & Head, NCSTC told that various science communication activities, such as science exhibitions, quiz competitions and science activity camps are being organized in various parts of the country to mark the National Science Day and spreading scientific awareness at grass root level.

The focal theme for this year’s National Science Day is ‘Gender Equity for Prosperity with Peace.’

National Science Day

In an effort to popularise the benefits of scientific knowledge and pratical appropriation, 28th February is celebrated as National Science Day (NSD). Under the initiative of Rashtriya Vigyan Evam Prodoyogiki Sanchar Parishad (RVPSP) (National Council for Science & Technology Communication)of the Ministry of Science and Technology various programmes ranging from a day to a full month either beginning or culminating on February 28 are implemented. The activities include debates, quiz competitions, exhibitions, lectures, etc., involving college and school students and teachers. All programmes and activities revolve round a theme selected for focus every year. The theme for the 21st National Science Day 2007 is “More Crop Per Drop”.

Significance

The Day is observed to mark the novel discovery of Raman Effect by the great Indian Physicist Sir C. V. Raman on 28th February, 1928. Raman Effect is a phenomenon in spectroscopy discovered by the eminent physicist while working in the laboratory of the Indian Association for the Cultivation of science, Kolkata. After two years of this discovery, Sir C. V. Raman brought the first Nobel Award for the country in 1930. Hence the National Science Day is a great day for Indian Science and scientific community.

Besides, National Science Day offers an opportunity to bring issues of science on to centre stage. The activities organized on the occasion provide public with an occasion to personally attend various programmes and be aware of the emerging issues of immediate concern. Organizing activities with the involvement of large number of people results into purposeful interaction between the science fraternity and the common people for mutual benefit.

Basic objectives:

The basic objective of observation of National Science Day is to spread the message of importance of science and its application among the people. This is essential to accelerate the pace of development. Even in the 21st century and despite many significant achievements certain sections of our society are still guided by blind faith and beliefs, which is reflected in the quality of decision making on developmental issues.

Observation of NSD attempts at generating scientific minded citizens. Science has contributed a great deal to human welfare. Through the gospel of reason and experimental observation, by which it works, it has enabled man to acquire intellectual and mental excellence. From the materialistic point of view, ranging from environmental issues, disease eradication, space exploration, energy production, information highway to name a few, science and technology has broken barriers to bring peace and prosperity with a cleaner environment with sustainable use of resource for the benefit of mankind. Biotechnology is making a major impact on agriculture, health, environment, industry and pharmaceuticals. Communication at lower costs, with greater accessibility, is another product of technology.

It helps inculcate scientific temper among school children. Health and hygiene issues are prime concerns for the common people. The daily application of science like the use of clean drinking water, knowledge to eradicate contagious disease, the know how of various agricultural practices to increase crop production, the usefulness of biodiversity conservation, etc., should be disseminated to the future generation.

Building of science communicators is another component of the NSD celebrations.

Modus operation:

All the NSD activities are planned around a theme suggested by RVPSP. Some of the recent themes are as follows:

2000: Recreating Interest in Basic Science

2001: Information Technology for Science Education

2002: Wealth from Waste

2003: 50 years of DNA & 25 years of IVF – The blue print of Life

2004: Encouraging Scientific Awareness in Community

2005: Celebrating Physics

2006: Nurture Nature for our future

2007: More Crop Per Drop

The Theme’s focus is on efforts to build a eco-water-literate society that values water. It advocates the Optimum use of water in all aspects of human activity and water conservation by all means. It is expected to make common man understand and appreciate the value and importance of water. The awareness thus created will encourage judicious and optimum use of the liquid cautioning the dangers ahead arising out of diminishing water level and paucity of the life sustaining resource.

Source : Press Information Bureau

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India won 7th Nobel Prize

indian-nobel-winners-7

It sounds interesting. Because India won its 7th Nobel Prize on Wednesday, 7th Of October 2009. Yes! Indian born Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, a senior scientist at the MRC Laborartory of Molecular Biology at Cambridge, England, has won the 2009 Nobel Prize for Chemistry along with two others, the Nobel Committee announced on 7th October 2009.

The two other scientists, who shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry with V Ramakrishnan are Thomas E Steitz (US) and Ada E Yonath (Israel). They all are working with MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology at Cambridge.

Born in 1952 in Chidambaram, Tailnadu, Ramakrishnan shared the Nobel Prize with Thomas E Steitz (US) and Ada E Yonath (Israel) for their “studies of the structure and function of the ribosome”.

Ramakrishnan earned his B.Sc. in Physics (1971) from Baroda University and his Ph.D. in Physics (1976) from Ohio University.

He moved into biology at the University of California, San Diego, where he took a year of classes, then conducted research with Dr Mauricio Montal, a membrane biochemist.

Let us remember the Great Sons of India who made Indians feel proud by winning the Nobel Prize which is the most respected award the world over.

Here is the list of Those Indians who won this prestigious award and let us salute them…

1) Rabindranath Tagore (1861 – 1941)

Nobel Prize for Literature (1913). Tagore was born and lived in Calcutta for most of his life. He was one of modern India’s greatest poets and the composer of independent India’s national anthem. In 1901 he founded his school, the Santiniketan, at Bolpur as a protest against the existing bad system of education.

The school was a great success and gave birth to Viswabharati. He was awarded the 1913 Nobel Prize in Literature for his work “Gitanjali”; for the English version, published in 1912. The noble citation stated that it was “because of his profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse, by which, with consummate skill, he has made his poetic thought, expressed in his own English words, a part of the literature of the West.” In 1915, he was knighted by the British King George V. Tagore renounced his knighthood in 1919 following the Amritsar massacre or nearly 400 Indian demonstrators.

2) Sir C.V. Raman (Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman) (1888 – 1970). Nobel Prize for Physics (1930). C V Raman was born on 7th Nov. 1888 in Thiruvanaikkaval, in the Trichy district of Tamil Nadu. He finished school by the age of eleven and by then he had already read the popular lectures of Tyndall, Faraday and Helmoltz.

He acquired his BA degree from the Presidency College, Madras, where he carried out original research in the college laboratory, publishing the results in the philosophical magazine. Then went to Calcutta and while he was there, he made enormous contributions to vibration, sound, musical instruments, ultrasonic, diffraction, photo electricity, colloidal particles, X-ray diffraction, magnetron, dielectrics, and the celebrated “RAMAN” effect which fetched him the Noble Prize in 1930.

He was the first Asian scientist to win the Nobel Prize. The Raman Effect occurs when a ray of incident light excites a molecule in the sample, which subsequently scatters the light. While most of this scattered light is of the same wavelength as the incident light, state (i.e. getting the molecule to vibrate). The Raman Effect is useful in the study of molecular energy levels, structure development, and multi component qualitative analysis.

3) Dr. Hargobind Khorana Nobel Prize for Medicine and Physiology (1968)Dr. Hargobind Khorana was born on 9th January 1922 at Raipur, Punjab (now in Pakistan). Dr. Khorana was responsible for producing the first man-made gene in his laboratory in the early seventies. This historic invention won him the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1968 sharing it with Marshall Nuremberg and Robert Holley for interpreting the genetic code and analyzing its function in protein synthesis.

They all independently made contributions to the understanding of the genetic code and how it works in the cell. They established that this mother of all codes, the biological language common to all living organisms, is spelled out in three-letter words: each set of three nucleotides codes for a specific amino acid.

4) Dr. Subramaniam Chandrasekar

Nobel Prize for physics (1983) Subramaniam Chandrashekhar was born on October 19, 1910 in Lahore, India (later part of Pakistan). He attended Presidency College from 1925 to 1930, following in the footsteps of his famous uncle, Sir C. V. Raman.

His work spanned over the understanding of the rotation of planets, stars, white dwarfs, neutron stars, black holes, galaxies, and clusters of galaxies. He won the Nobel Prize in 1983 for his theoretical work on stars and their evolution.

5) Mother Teresa (1910 – 1997) Nobel Prize for peace (1979)Born in 1910, Skoplje, Yugoslavia (then Turkey) and originally named Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, Mother Teresa dedicated her life to helping the poor, the sick, and the dying around the world, particularly those in India, working through the Missionaries Of Charity in Calcutta. The Society of Missionaries has spread all over the world, including the former Soviet Union and Eastern European countries.

Missionaries of Charity provide effective help to the poorest of the poor in a number of countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, and they undertake relief work in the wake of natural catastrophes such as floods, epidemics, and famine, and for refugees. The order also has houses in North America, Europe and Australia, where they take care of the shut-ins, alcoholics, homeless, and AIDS sufferers. Mother Teresa died on September 5, 1997.

6) Dr. Amartya Sen Nobel Prize for Economics (1998)Amartya Sen (born 1933) was the first Indian to receive the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics, awarded to him in 1998 for his work on welfare economics. He has made several key contributions to research in this field, such as to the axiomatic theory of social choice; the definitions of welfare and poverty indexes; and the empirical studies of famine.

All are linked by his interest in distributional issues and particularly in those most impoverished. Whereas Kenneth Arrow’s “impossibility theorem” suggested that it was not possible to aggregate individual choices into a satisfactory choice for society as a whole, Sen showed that societies could find ways to alleviate such a poor outcome.

And the Seventh Man who won the Nobel Prize is Venkatraman Ramakrishnan.

There are few others connected to India also won the prestigious Nobel Prize.

They are:

1) Ronald Ross. Born in Almora, India, in 1857 Ronald Ross was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1902 for his work on malaria.

He received many honours in addition to the Nobel Prize, and was given Honorary Membership of learned societies of most countries of Europe, and of many other continents. He got an honorary M.D. degree in Stockholm in 1910 at the centenary celebration of the Caroline Institute. Whilst his vivacity and single-minded search for truth caused friction with some people, he enjoyed a vast circle of friends in Europe, Asia and America who respected him for his personality as well as for his genius.

2) Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936). Rudyard Kipling, born in Mumbai, 1865 (then Bombay in British India), was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1907. He remains the youngest-ever recipient and the first English-language writer to receive the Prize. British writer, Kipling wrote novels, poems and short stories — mostly set in India and Burma (now known as Myanmar).

3) Abdus Salam.

Abdus Salam (1926-1996), born in undivided Punjab and a citizen of Pakistan, and shared a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1979, with Steven Weinberg, for his work on electroweak unification, one of the important puzzles of modern theoretical physics. He was a visionary and an advocate of science in the third world. He founded the International Center for Theoretical Physics, in Trieste, Italy, which has nurtured world class physicists through workshops, fellowships and conferences.

4) V.S. Naipaul (1932- ) A British writer, V.S. Naipaul (Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul) was born in 1932 in a family of north Indian descent living in Chaguanas, close to Port of Spain, on Trinidad. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2001. In awarding him the Prize, the Swedish Academy praised his work “for having united perceptive narrative and incorruptible scrutiny in works that compel us to see the presence of suppressed histories.” The Nobel Committee added: “Naipaul is a modern philosopher, carrying on the tradition that started originally with Lettres persanes and Candide. In a vigilant style, which has been deservedly admired, he transforms rage into precision and allows events to speak with their own inherent irony.”

The Committee also noted Naipaul’s affinity with the Polish-born British author of Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad: “Naipaul is Conrad’s heir as the annalist of the destinies of empires in the moral sense: what they do to human beings. His authority as a narrator is grounded in the memory of what others have forgotten, the history of the vanquished.”

5)14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama (Born on 6 July 1935 at Taktser, Amdo, northeastern Tibet).Former Head of state of Tibet and active leader of Tibetan Resistance towards PRC. Escaped to India when the PRC took over Tibet. Although legally a citizen of Tibet and hence indirectly China, he is head of Tibetan Government in Exile which is stationed in India. He got Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 for efforts for Tibetan Freedom through Non-Violence and Spreading Global Peace through Buddhism. Also during Prize Distribution, Head of Prize Committee commented that the prize was a part of tribute to memory of Mahatma Gandhi. Tenzin travels widely, in an effort to promote peaceful ideals.

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