Today we celebrate National Science Day across the country to commemorate the discovery of ‘Raman Effect’ by Sir C.V. Raman on 28 February 1928 which had won him a Nobel Prize in 1930. The day is being celebrated across all institutions of higher learning in our vale as well.
It brings a great excitement to know that a stalwart physicist of the country and a Padma Shri awardee, Professor H. C. Verma will be gracing the occasion today at National Institute of Technology Srinagar.
Hopefully, it is going to be a great day ahead with him. Science has glorified the mankind. It has taken us from great difficulties of past to the great ease at present, through excitement, experiment, work and wonder. Science is struggle. It is the success.
It has completely changed the outlook of man and has placed the magic lamp of Alladin in our hands. However, it will be a huge underestimation to think that Science has only a certain specific role in our lives. Instead, it has a variety of functions that benefit us in more than one way.
It is a false assumption that Science has just improved the quality of life with gadgetry, machines, equipment, medicine, health care or faster means of communication. It is rather traversing almost all dimensions that the human conscience can stretch out to.
Science is both empirical and emotional. It has both theory and theology. It boosts both rationale and morale. It upholds both logic and love. It has the tact and the technique. It is meticulous and mysterious. It lays its foundations on uncertainty even after assembling all facts.
It calculates errors in its own measurements. It is fair. It is open ended even after arriving at a dotting result. It defines a range of values and not a rigid figure. It is flexible. There can be more than one way of arriving at a solution. It believes in unlimited attempts.
A scientific and systematic method is also the preferred way of studying humanities. Science is much more than machine and material. Nowadays, a practicing physicist chooses to do research in intangible mysteries of nature. The material properties do not fascinate him more than it did in the past.
The conscience that enables us to get through these mysteries is itself a hot area of research. It is by applying the knowledge of physics that Einstein had concluded about a prewritten destiny. The musical Mathematics is encroaching in the prestigious premises of God.
We have something called God-particle with us. Physicists are working on God-equation which may lend explanation to all processes and phenomena around us. This is what is called the ‘theory of everything.’ In relation to God, though the following couplet comes from a literary, but it can truly be acclaimed by a practicing scientist.
Arz o Saman kahan teri wussat ko pa saky
Mera hi dil hai wo ki jahan tu sama saky
How can earth and heavens, your vastness contemplate?
It's just my heart, your glory, that can accommodate
Science is the food for thought, it is solace to the soul, it is light to the life. Ours is a profound concept of singularity. It is nothing but oneness of God who has created everything in a certain measure. HE is the greatest Mathematician.
In the sacred scriptures, God wants us to stay curious about everything around us. No wonder that the first Facebook post of Stephen Hawking read, ‘Be curious, I know I am.’ Progress and prosperity of nations are the direct deductions of their scientific advancement and rigorous research. INDIA has though primarily been a land of literary, lyricists, poets, writers and statesmen.
A major chunk of our society pursues careers in theatre, art, business, music, journalism, mass media, administration and governance. However, the challenges of 21st century are increasingly pressing for scientific accomplishments for a vital and viable existence.
Perhaps it was in the same wakefulness that the former prime-minister Mr. Vajpayee had extended the slogan of Jai Jawan and Jai kisan to Jai Vigyan. India’s State Minister for Science and Technology, Dr. Jitendra Singh, has announced the theme for National Science Day 2023 as “Global science for global wellbeing”. This theme is to symbolise India’s growing stature in international affairs. However, much needs to be done to be true to this claim.
The government R&D funding as a fraction of overall GDP is relatively small (0.6% ) as compared to 2.1% for China and 2.8% for the US. We are growing in science but at snails pace.
In this context, the role of Science-20, or S20, the Science Engagement Group assumes importance. Its meetings are scheduled to be held in Puducherry, Bangaram, Agartala, Indore and Coimbatore this year.
Hopefully, the members may address the whole host of issues in scientific domain. Are we doing sufficient for our scientists. Are we facilitating them to stay back and stay home. Why could we not retain them as sons of the soil. Why do they identify as persons of Indian origin. C V Raman belongs to Pre-independent India while as Independent India is yet to know of another Raman.
Dr. Qudsia Gani, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Physics, Govt. College for Women, M A Road Srinagar
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.
The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.