In consonance with changed national strategy, industry and academia came together during the National Science Day celebrations at CSIR-North East Institute of Science and Technology here on Wednesday.
S Chandrasekaran, scientist, Indian Institute of Science (IIS), Bangalore was the Chief Guest and Bedanta Prasad Sharma, RCE, Oil India Limited was the Guest of Honour. The former delivered a motivational talk on science and scientists before the gathering comprising mostly of scientists while the latter promised future collaboration on research projects.
Chandrasekaran traced the development of science from previous independent India during which time it had faced international criticism from different quarters and newspapers for lack of scientific environment and research.
The scientist in his presentation said that Rabindranath Tagore had written that JC Bose was God’s instrument in the removal of India’s shame.
Everywhere progress and revolutions had taken place like in ISRO, Bhabha Atomic Centre, Pharmaceutical sciences and agriculture but that the scientific revolution was yet to happen.
He asked the scientists not to be disheartened by rejections as even Nobel laureates like H Krebs had been rejected by Nature magazine without review in 1937 and won the Nobel in 1953.
Likewise RR Ernst had been rejected by J Chem Physics and later won the Nobel prize for the basis of modern 2D NMR, as well as KB Mullins who was rejected twice by Nature and science and then won the Nobel prize for polymerase chain reaction.
Another interesting example he cited was that research might not immediately translate into technology as was evident between a conversation recorded in 1831 between Prime Minister Robert Peel and Michael Faraday in which the former had asked what was the use of an electromagnetically driven transformer, C to which the latter had replied: “I know not but I wager that one day your government will tax it”.
Enumerating the qualities of a true scientist, Chandrasekaran said that tremendous drive and tenacious perseverance combined with tenacious concentration on a subject, devotion to truth and moderate passion for reputation, are the hallmarks of a scientist.
“Ambition for recognition is not necessary but excess of ambition can certainly be a disfigurement,” he said.
Sharma said that in the eighties and nineties, the OIL had collaborated with the Institute which was known then as Regional Research Laboratory and there was every possibility of renewal of such joint ventures.
“In 2016, we signed MoUs with Dibrugarh, Gauhati, Nagaland and Manipur for geological surveys and tie-up with NEIST is possible after studying the proposals which the Institute has come up with,” Sharma said.
He further said that it was mandatory for PSUs to spend two per cent of the profits on CSR activities.
“We have spent huge sums in building roads, educational infrastructure in rural areas, sponsoring the KJ Malviya chair in Dibrugarh University, health viz. mobile dispensaries by trying up with St. Luke’s hospital in Tinsukia and the Piramal Group. The MoUs were also part of corporate social responsibility,” he said.
Sharma further said that OIL was at present exploring for oil and gas in mountainous and difficult terrain in Mizoram and some other parts of Northeast India to meet the Centre’s directive to reduce import from the present 80 per cent by at least 10 per cent by 2020.
D Ramaiah, director, NEIST stated that today was a good day for the Institute as two of its technologies had been handed over to two entrepreneurs and two research scholars – Himadri Das and Samip Borthakur – who had won laurels for the Institute by bagging the third best team award in the Able Best India Entrepreneurship Workshop, a programme by the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India at Bangalore held from February 12 to 16 this year.
The technology on improved variety of citronella was taken by Sankar Das, SS Enterprises of Bokajan and the Design Knowhow on Essential Oil Distillation unit was taken by Raghbir Singh Nagi, Nagi Trade and Industries, Tinsukia.