One of the very few Indian noble laureates Sir CV Raman made a path-breaking discovery on 28th February 1928 known as Raman Effect. He was awarded a Nobel Prize in Physics for Raman Effect in 1930. In 1986 the National Council for Science and Technology Communication (NCSTC) proposed the Government of India to celebrate 28th February as National science day. The program was initiated to trigger science popularization throughout the country and to spread science education about the current science-related issues amongst the people of the country. The theme of this year’s National Science Day is Science for the people and, people for Science.
Science for the People means the kind of science which transforms the lives of people, which can propel the society in the forward direction and make lives of people comfortable and humanely. For example, Linus Pauling a very famous chemist was awarded a Noble Peace prize in 1962 for his campaign against Nuclear weapon testing. Similarly, Norman Borlaug, an American agronomist was awarded the Nobel Peace prize in 1970 for his contribution towards world food supply. In his Nobel lecture, he said that:
“When the Nobel Peace Prize Committee designated me the recipient of the 1970 award for my contribution to the ‘green revolution’, they were in effect, I believe, selecting an individual to symbolize the vital role of agriculture and food production in a world that is hungry, both for bread and for peace”
This shows how important it is for science enthusiasts to not only work for technological advancements but also for the progress of society. A scientist must always be ready to ask tough questions from science and society for the furtherance of both science and society. America, Japan, South Korea, Germany, UK are the developed economies around the world that run on the shoulder of science and research.
People for Science means people who believe in science and evidence than superstition. Citizens of modern and developed society must garner a scientific temper. Scientific temper means the ability to reason and ask questions, it means to not believe in anything that is illogical and that does not have evidence. However, in recent past, it is seen that there are attempts made to pass off bogus and baseless ideas as science. It is done from very reputed platforms and by leaders who decide the fate of the country. Rationalist writer and bloggers are either tainted as anti-nationals or are threatened without any evidence. The worst of all is the attraction of the modern middle class towards the godmen and pseudoscience. These are some of the reasons why emerging India needs to promote rational thinking.
Top figure shows the disappearing polar ice cap of Antarctica (Source: NASA). Below figure shows a global leader who do not believe in global warming.