Use icon status for public good: Nobel laureate

Prof Kip Thorne, winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2017, urged the winners of the Infosys Science Prize to use their status as icons for the public good.

"As icons, we can to some extent influence public views on science. We have the responsibility to use this influence wisely," Thorne said.

He was speaking as the chief guest at the prize ceremony here on Wednesday.

"The world today is beset with problems which have deep technological components. Problems such as climate change and control of nuclear weapons. Solutions to these problems require science, wielded wisely," Thorne said.

Thorne, along with Rainer Weiss and Barry C Barish, received the Nobel prize for his work in the observation of the gravitational waves, proposed by Albert Einstein more than 100 years ago. Thorne is also known for his work as a technical adviser for the blockbuster sci-fi movie Interstellar.

"Unfortunately, the world has some leaders, especially America, who are not only ignorant of science but are also dismissive of known scientific facts. We, scientists, have the obligation to educate the public and our leader about relevant scientific facts and help resolve our problems. This obligation is particularly strong for icons, as you and I have become," he said.

Thorne said work in science often takes years to show results and investors in science should not expect immediate technological turnovers.

The Infosys Science Prize 2017 was awarded to Prof Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay in the Engineering and Computer Science category, Prof Yamuna Krishnan in the Physical Sciences category, to Prof Ritabrata Munshi in the Mathematics category, Prof Upinder S Bhalla in the Life Sciences category, Prof Ananya Jahanara Kabir in the Humanities category and Prof Lawrence Liang in the Social Sciences category.

The award carries a cash prize of Rs 65 lakh, a gold medal and a citation.

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