CNR Rao regrets lack of quality in research

“The quality and quantity of research in India are not so well as it should be," said Bharat Ratna and eminent scientist C N R Rao. 

Bharat Ratna and eminent scientist C N R Rao on Saturday rued on the lack of quality and quantity in Indian research.

“The quality and quantity of research in India are not so well as it should be. We lack hardworking, devoted scientists. The youngsters want money and all sorts of things but would do only a little bit of science,” Rao said at the children’s science congress - a part of the ongoing 107th session of the Indian Science Congress.

Explaining why the standard of research was not up to the mark, Rao, a former scientific advisor to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, said it was always more difficult to please Goddess Saraswati as compared to Goddess Laksmi.

His comments somewhat contradicted the remarks made by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi a day before.

Inaugurating the Congress, Modi stated India stood at the third position globally in the number of peer-reviewed science and engineering publications. “It is also growing at a rate of about 10% as compared to global average of 4%”, he said.

The Prime Minister also highlighted an improvement in India’s ranking at the Innovation Index and observed that government programmes had created more incubators in the last five years than in previous 50 years.

Union Science Minister Harsh Vardhan pointed out that the growth figure in the number of science and engineering publications was based on a recent report by the National Science Foundation, USA.

Vardhan said according to another ranking, made by the Nature group of publications, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bengaluru – a laboratory once headed by Rao – stood at the seventh spot globally in terms of quality of research.

At the children science congress, octogenarian Ada Yonath, who won the Nobel Prize in 2009, narrated her experiences of carrying out experiments since she was a child. She conducted her first experiment – measuring the height of her balcony’s ceiling - as a 5-year-old child.

She stacked all the furniture in her house and climbed on top to reach the ceiling. The aim was to sum up everything’s length and add to her own length to calculate the distance between the floor and the ceiling.

The outcome, however, was different. Instead of reaching the climb, she fell down and had 17 fracture. Her hand was put in a plaster caste for nearly six months.

 “Even if things do not go your way, believe in yourselves. Be prepared that not everything would be going to the way you predicted. But all them (failed experiments) would advance your knowledge,” she said.

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