Thursday, Aug 11, 2022
Outlook.com

Indian Science Congress Needs Checks And Balances To Serve Its Purpose

Science outreach is crucial if we want to engage young people and attract them to science and research, and also bring science closer to society. That’s why a forum like ISC is important.

Indian Science Congress Needs Checks And Balances To Serve Its Purpose Illustration by Manjul

The just-concluded Ind­ian Science Congress (ISC) session in Jalandhar att­ra­c­ted widespread att­ention, though for the wrong reasons. Like its previous sessions, this one too had a fair share of absu­rd claims—falling in the realm of pseudoscience and mythology. Some such anti-scie­nce talks were delivered not by habitual off­enders but by those who occupy high acade­mic posi­tions. Even this is not surprising beca­use, in the past, even minsters have made comments mixing mythology with modern science.  But it is important not to junk the idea of ISC just because of such aberrations.

Anybody who has atten­ded ISC sessions would know that it is the only forum of its kind that brings together Nobel laureates, top Indian scientists, science bureaucrats, university teachers, researchers as well as college and school students under one umbr­ella. ISC sessions are a big affair, with over a dozen parallel sessions, several plenary talks, exhibitions and cultural shows. These sessions are inter-disciplinary and focus on science-society connect. Its parallel sessions in different disciplines of science provide an oppor­tunity to university teachers and students to present their work, along with scientists from national laboratories. Such intermingling of people from different disciplines and different levels of expertise does not happen in other scientific conferences. ISC is not the forum where new discoveries are announced or major research findings are presented, which normally happens in core scientific conferences. Basically, ISC is a mega science outreach event.

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