PM Narendra Modi extols virtues of scientific temper

Prime Minister Narendra Modi (Photo by Reuters)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday extolled the virtues of ‘scientific temper’ in the society, a day after BJP Bengal president Dilip Ghosh triggered a massive row by claiming Indian cow milk contains gold.

“The society in which scientific temper gains strength, develops faster. Scientific temper eliminates blind belief and reduces superstition. Scientific temper gives societal progress a boost and encourages experimentation,” Modi said in a speech delivered in Hindi over a video link while inaugurating the fifth edition of India International Science Festival here.

Neither Modi nor Union Science Minister Harsh Vardhan refer to the controversial comments of Ghosh, who attracted criticism and ridicule in the social and traditional media. But the Prime Minister repeatedly underscored the importance of scientific temper for the betterment of the society and to tackle the fear of the unknown.

He also observed that on the 70th anniversary of the Indian Constitution, it would be the responsibility of every citizen to develop scientific temper.

On the first day of the IISF, 1598 school students created  a new Guiness record by successfully assembling  spectroscopes at a single site using cardboard boxes and discarded compact discs. Out of the four Guinness records to be attempted at the fifth edition of the IISF, this was the most challenging one due to its requirement of the presence of a large number of students.

Over the next three days, three more Guinness records would be attempted. But compared to the first one, they would be easiér as the number of students required for them are just about 300.

While more sophisticated spectroscopes are used by scientists for research, a basic model that would help students understand the fundamentals of a physical process called diffraction was attempted in the Guinness effort.

“The way science is taught in schools and colleges only help students crack examinations. How can anybody be interested in science. We hardly have anybody with a command of science. Learning by rote is a deterrent to disruptive research. People are not rewarded for creativity,but rewarded for their coaching skills,” Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology said inaugurating a session at the IISF.

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