JLF: 'Science and mathematics are part of our culture'

Venki Ramakrishnan. Photo by Suman Sarkar 

Stressing that one should engage with science and mathematics, Nobel Laureate Venki Ramakrishnan said both are part of our culture just like history, literature, art and music.

Therefore, all of us should enjoy them, he said, delivering the keynote address on the opening day of the Jaipur literature festival. 

"I'm a scientist. I can already see the first sign of panic and disengagement. 'What kind?' they ask politely. I'm a molecular biologist. I study how information in our genes is used to make proteins. 'Oh, that sounds fascinating and terribly clever,' they say. I'm afraid I was never very good at science or maths. I know nothing at all about it!" Ramakrishnan said.

However, Ramakrishnan, who is the President of the Royal Society, contended that science is more important than anything else. 

Ramakrishnan, who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Thomas A Steitz and Ada Yonath, for his research on the structure and function of the ribosome in 2009, said that the amount of information available to mankind today was perhaps unthinkable 200 years ago. He urged scientists to not forget the human, emotional and social side of our nature, and that there are always other ways of looking at the world.

"We need to be aware of history and its lessons. Art and music move us in deep and unpredictable ways. So we have much to learn from the humanities and the arts," he maintained.

The Jaipur Literature Festival kicked off on Thursday and will host over 350 sessions over the next five days. The festival was inaugurated by Art and Culture minister of Rajasthan B D Kalla. 

5 hurt in tree fall

Around five people, including four photojournalists, got injured after an old Peepal tree fell on the guests in the restricted lunch area meant for the delegates. According to the JLF organisers, the injured were taken to a hospital.

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