Eminent scientist Debiprosad Duari feels the academia, government and the press should come forward in sensitising people much more about India’s achievements in the field of science and technology. Duari, who was associated with Kolkata’s Birla Planetarium for over two decades, said one of the main objectives of the Centre’s ‘Technology Vision 2035’ is to make people aware of their own potential and that of the country in terms of technological advancements. He said communicating with people in their language was key to disseminating information about scientific achievements, and instilling a sense of well-being and euphoria in them.
“I was a part of the education and technology sector under the ‘Technology Vision 2035’ and we have sat together and discussed various things for five-six years since 2012 when this was conceptualised. “The main focus of this initiative is to engage and create an environment by 2035 whereby people know the actual reality of developments in the scientific sphere, not just the promises,” Duari told PTI during an interaction at its Kolkata office.
He also exhorted the press to report more on India’s achievements in the scientific arena to motivate the masses to strive for their goals. Citing a few specific examples, he said India is building an ambitious neutrino observatory deep underground, as a part of a particle physics project. The country is also setting up the “world’s largest” liquid-mirror telescope, the surface of which will be made of mercury instead of glass.
“The problem is that the common people are unaware of many such developments in the field of science. News about such happenings will be of immense interest to children and students.”This is where the media must come in and report more on these… The masses should be sensitised, but keeping in mind the classified details that cannot be made public,” Duari said.
The renowned scientist, who has been a faculty member at the University of Manchester, also recently set up an institute in Kolkata with thrust on public outreach over science and technology in a graded and structured manner.”The Institute of Astronomy Space and Earth Science (IASES) began its journey on May 16, and we have a few acclaimed scientists onboard as faculty. The goal of the organisation is to reach out to students in schools, colleges, universities and the general public,” said Duari, who is the director of the institute.
Duari said he has approached the West Bengal government as well as officials concerned in the Centre for financial assistance.He also said the need for an educational facility like IASES arose as astrophysics and space science are not intensively dealt with in most of the national institutes in the metropolis and other parts of the state.Among other plans, the institute is mulling launching an internet radio, a “first for the country”, he said.
“There are community radio channels in existence with a limited reach of 50 km, but an internet radio channel will be something new and without any such limitations. The aim is to showcase India’s potential and link it up with the major scientific and technological developments around the world,” Duari said.
The well-known astrophysicist also harbours the “dream” of coming up with a few more planetariums in West Bengal, which would focus on educational content. “This is my dream. Nothing has been finalised yet. I hope this will materialise in the future,” he said with a wide smile.