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ISC 2010 begins in Kerala
Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 3 (IANS):
Published on 3 Jan. 2010 10:28 PM IST
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The 97th edition of the premier Indian Science Congress (ISC 2010) began here Sunday on an upbeat note with chief guest Prime Minister Manmohan Singh being accorded a traditional welcome with musical tones and invocational songs. Kerala Governor R.S. Gavai, state Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan and general president of the five-day event G. Madhavan Nair greeted Singh and his wife Gursharan Kaur at the flower-decked venue for the inaugural function of the five-day mega event amid tight security. Singh accompanied by union ministers Vayalar Ravi, Prithviraj Chavan and Shashi Tharoor. Ravi and Tharoor hail from southern state. Minutes later, Singh was led on to the dais in a procession and seated centre-stage after the council members took their seats. About 6,000 delegates, seated in the huge makeshift tented hall (pandal), gave a standing ovation to the prime minister and other VIPs amid claps and cheers. Nair, a former member of the state-run Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) delivered the welcome address after invocation and lighting of the lamp. Manmohan Singh inaugurated the congress and addressed the eminent scientists, Nobel laureates, policy makers and students on the technology challenges and the direction in which the country should move to find innovative solutions to achieve equitable growth and development. As the congress is being held for the first time in this Kerala capital, unprecedented security arrangements have been made, with about 1,000-policemen deployed in and around the sprawling campus of Kerala University at Karyavottam, about 15 km from the coastal city. “The campus has been sanitised in accordance with the security measures required to protect the country’s prime minister. Prior to delivering the inaugural address, Singh will release the plenary proceedings of the science congress and present 24 awards to noted scientists and research scholars. The awards are instituted by the Kolkata-based Indian Science Congress Association (ICSA), the main organiser of the five-day event. General president of the science congress and former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman G. Madhavan Nair outlined the various programmes and activities of the 97th edition of the congress. The green campus has been given a face-lift and its surroundings spruced up to befit the grand occasion. Eminent scientists like M.S. Swaminathan, father of India’s green revolution, former atomic energy secretary Anil Kakodkar, space commission member Roddam Narasimhan and Nobel laureate Irving Zucker will be the noted speakers at eight plenary sessions. Former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, distinguished scientists M.G.K. Menon and C.N.R. Rao and Nobel laureate Roger Tsien will also deliver public lectures. The plenary and public lectures will provide broader international perspectives and create awareness about the role of science in society. Kalam will also inaugurate Monday the ‘Children Science Congress’ being held as part of the national event. A major attraction at the congress is a science exhibition showcasing the latest scientific developments and achievements in the country. PM salutes Nobel laureate ‘Venki’ Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Sunday saluted the latest Indian Nobel laureate Venkatraman (Venki) Ramakrishnan for his creativity, talent and commitment to good science. “All Indians felt proud that an Indian-origin scientist, who earned his early spurs in India, was a recipient of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry,” Singh said, inaugurating the 97th Indian Science Congress here. Singh also endorsed Ramakrishnan’s recent comment that Indian scientists needed greater autonomy from red tape and local politics. In this context, the prime minister lamented that red tape, political interference and lack of proper recognition of good work led to regression in Indian science from the days of another Indian Nobel laureate C.V. Raman and other pioneering scientists in the past. Though Ramakrishnan is presently in India, camping at the renowned Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bangalore, organisers of the premier science event - Indian Science Congress Association, hosts Kerala University and the state-run Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) did not invite him for the annual science summit. “We were not aware about him being still in the country or his itinerary. We knew through media reports that he was in Mumbai and Chennai recently. Had we known that he was in Bangalore, we would have certainly persuaded him to come here,” a senior varsity official told IANS on the margins of the conference. Ramakrishnan, 57, though a US citizen, was born at Chidambaram in Tamil Nadu and graduated in science from Baroda University in 1971 and did Ph.D in physics from Ohio University in the US in 1976. He is currently a senior scientist and group leader at structural studies division, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, at Cambridge in Britain. Ramakrishnan was awarded the Nobel Prize jointly by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences ‘for studies of the structure and function of the ribosome’ along with Thomas E. Steitz of the US and Ada E. Yonath of Israel.

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