'Narrative of reviving ancient science may backfire'

'Narrative of reviving ancient science may backfire'

Representative image/Pixabay

Two Nobel Prize-winning scientists visiting India cautioned that the revival of “ancient science” narratives which are currently in vogue may backfire.

Speaking at a press conference during the 107th Indian Science Congress, Nobel prize-winning scientist Stefan W Hell (58) of Germany won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2014 for his work in developing super-resolved fluorescence microscopy, said while people can have a legitimate interest in understanding the past and its role in culture, it should not cloud legitimate scientific findings.

“Nature has its own laws and we cannot make it adhere to whatever laws we have in mind. Scientists must be objective, they have to detach themselves from beliefs and opinions. You cannot be successful as a scientist if you are not frank and open to the result that you get,” Hell said.

He added that the “laws of nature are the same in Germany, as they are in the rest of the world. If you are not open to discovering how nature works and you are missing the point, nature will punish you as a result.”

When scientist Ada Yonath of Israel was asked about her impressions of India and growth of Science in India, Yonath responded that she has seen great strides being made by the scientific community, especially in Bengaluru.

When asked how India could increase interest in science among young students, she added: “We need people in government who understand science and appreciate it. That is often not happening. Interest can also be built through funding. Also, by improving the educational atmosphere in which students are encouraged to be creative and curious.”

Hell portrayed government around the world as being largely interested in the short-term results of science. 

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