Discover India, before Make in India, US scientist advices Prime Minister Modi

Prof John Gurdon 0401NB Nair

Mysuru (ISJ) - American Nobel Laureate David J. Gross advised Indian Prime Minister to discover India, before going with his slogan of ?Make in India?. Addressing a press conference in Mysuru, alongwith several other Nobel Laureates attending the ongoing Session of Indian Science Congress, Professor Gross advised the Indian Prime Minister to change the slogan to ?invent in India? instead.

"Making in India is obviously important for the country, but to make in India without dependence on others, you must invent in India, and to invent you must discover. Because it is discovery and inventions that lead to products that can be made," Gross said.

Professor Gross said, the progress of science in India has been flat for the past 10 years, as investment in science is inadequate.

"In the last 10 years of Indian Science Congress, I've seen all the prime ministers saying that they will increase investment for science. But the graph is very flat and there has been no increase. If this continues India will only be left with two or three institutes of excellence," Professor Gross said.

Dan Shechtman 0401German physicist Professor Serge Haroche said instead of building a nation on borrowed inventions, India should find local talents to make discoveries and inventions to resolve local problems.

"A lot of people, including journalists have asked me why countries like India can't just borrow science from other nations and do the applications here. I think that attitude is incorrect. There must be local critical thinking that invokes curiosity so that discoveries and inventions are aimed at solving problems at hand with priority," he said.

Other Nobel Laureates also echoed similar sentiments. Israeli Material Scientist Professor Dan Shechtman said India should popularize science among children.

?We need people who like Science; we need to popularize pure science at early age. Future of India will be bright, if we popularize science among children,? said Professor Dan Shechtman, who won the Nobel Prize in 2011. ?The inventions must be taken from the universities to start-ups," he said.

Fields Medalist Manjul Bhargava, whose roots were in India acknowledged tremendous talents in the country.� But he said there is not enough fostering or encouragement.

?A lot of good talent in India just gets into engineering. Engineering is important, but it is science that drives engineering. A lot of Indian institutes have huge vacancies, we must encourage students to take up science and eventually fill these spaces up," he said.�

Dr Harsh Vardhan 0401British Cell Biologist Professor John B. Gurdon said, ?I was happy to see large number of youngsters showing interest in science in India. Science gives very substantial opportunities for youngsters. Even help them financially.?

A day earlier, Professor CNR Rao, recipient of Bharat Ratna also lamented lack of opportunities for science students. He said, technology take precedent over science, which is not the right trend.

"Whenever we come across the word Science, there comes the term Technology along with it. But we have to respect the pure Science and its contribution" said Professor Rao. "As I travel across rural parts of the country, I have seen a number of kids enthusiastic about Science. There are a lot of Einsteins and Faradays in India, but how many opportunities are offered to them is my concern.?

While the general refrain at the ongoing Indian Science Congress has been lack of government support to science in India, Science and Technology Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan denied it. Addressing media at a different function in Mysuru, he said funds would not be a constraint for right initiatives.�

Images(Top to bottom): British Cell Biologist Professor John B. Gurdon, Israeli Nobel Laureate Professor Dan Schechtman and Science & Technology Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan

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