Mangaluru: A Four-day Seminar on “Responsible Conduct of Science and Research”, by Nitte University for Science Education and Research, was inaugurated at Hotel Gateway here on April 30.
The programme began with an invocation. Programme co-ordinator Prof Dr Indrani Karunasagar welcomed the gathering. The First India Institute on ‘Responsible Conduct of Science and Research’ was inaugurated by the Vice Chancellor of Mangalore University Prof Dr K Byrappa by lighting the traditional lamp.
In her keynote address, Dr Indrani said, “Education is not the name of a degree or certificate that can be shown to others as a proof, but it is the name of our attitude, action, language, behavior, personality and the way we deal with others in real life. According to this definition, we are re-inventing ourselves as teachers and scientists in next few days during the workshop.”
“NAS and Nitte University together is hosting this programme because we realize today on dual issues in science, dual issues which range from all the usefulness that have been recorded to the problems that come about due to bio terrorism; these issues call upon all responsible people in positions to conduct outreach activities that enable indoctrination towards good science right from the tender age and programmes by the NAS begin right in school extending to the college institutions and higher schools of learning. The medical fraternity has to even develop the attitude of responsible science. We realize we are in the midst of a catastrophe, the Nepal earthquake and the after effects that have been felt also in India bringing about colossal loss of life and we realize that the people including those from Nitte University who have rushed to be able to be part of a community that will handle some of the ruse in Nepal need to be remembered not because they have gone to do the service there but because their responsibility of professionalism drives them to go and help. I’m happy that the professionalism in science and the act of extending it to society is the objective of the NAS.”
Dr Clarissa Dirks introduced the programme. She said, “Science is a global endeavor and your participation is essential to merge education with science. The next 4 days will be exciting and challenging. I had the privilege of working with some Indians in the Malaysian institute and I made many new friends there.” She thanked Nitte University for their generous hospitality and the dignitaries for showing an interest in the programme.
Addressing the gathering Prof Dr K Byrappa said, “In India, a couple of decades ago, five premier institutions were established as research intensive teaching institutes to investigate concepts in science that lay behind the boundaries of conventional thinking and to give ambiance which is very academic with high energy levels. Each one of these institutions is an autonomous institution awarding its own Master’s and Doctor’s degrees, and they represent a unique initiative in India where teaching and education are totally integrated with state of the art research nurturing both curiosity and creativity in an intellectually vibrant atmosphere of research. In this regard, the establishment of this First Indian Institute of Responsible Conduct of Science & Research is very unique.”
“Research is a luxury. Many of my friends in Europe used to say that India spends a lot of money on research, and it is a luxury. Even some of the developed countries like Spain at one time did not take up research very seriously, while Italy did not offer PhD degrees until 1980s. The students would go to Germany or France to get their PhD degrees. My friends in Spain used to ask how India could spend so much money on research. It is a luxury because not all output of research would get into application. As the basic science is slowly becoming unpopular. Due to various reasons the people are getting into the applied aspects of science and technological issues without pursuing basic science. But it is very important to have both science and technology meeting and working together.”
“In India most of us think that research began not long ago and its quite recent – this is not true. In India, research began long ago, much before many other countries started research. In the Vedic period, India offered Ayurveda to the world as part of the Vedic science that would be the greatest contribution according to me and whatever we talk today about nano tech and nano materials, all of these we did have during the vedic period in the palm of Ayurveda, Svarnabasva, Rajathabasva, Pabnabasva, all these with very fine particles with uniform distribution in the range from 8-100 nano-meters, even though we did not have the tools then to observe such fine particles which were used popularly as medicine in Ayurveda to cure several diseases particularly silver or gold nano-particles. The first scientific book showing gold solution for curing several diseases came sometime during 1750s. Today, we talk about drug carriers. In Ayurveda, the people used plants extracts as carriers. Another important contribution of the Indian science to research is metallurgy. Any book of metallurgy will tell you of the Indian contribution. The great iron pillar of Qutab Minar in New Delhi is presented as the beginning for metallurgy and that is a testimony for metallurgical advancement several years ago. Glass making, sugar and salt crystallization are other things that the Indians had knowledge of many years ago. Nano tech is treated like a new subject but it was known to Indians more than 5,00 years ago. But unfortunately, we lack a perfect documentation of these advancements.”
N Vinay Hegde Chancellor, Nitte Uniersity, Preside, Dr M Shantharam Shetty Pro-Chancellor of Vice Chancellor of Nitte University, Dr S Ramanand Shetty Vice Chancellor, Nitte University, National Academy of Sciences Dr Nancy Connell, Dr Beth Wilber, Rita Guenthar and others were also present.