Union Minister for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr Harsh Vardhan announced in Kolkatta today that the centenary of Bose Institute, a premier institution for multidisciplinary research in fundamental sciences, founded by Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose, will be marked by the unfurling of a Perspective Plan on R&D over the next few decades. The centenary falls in 2017.
The Minister said that the Narendra Modi government is committed to nourish the legacy of Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose as the new century has already set out a series of exciting challenges for those involved in fundamental research.
Bose Institute’s centenary is only two years away (2017). That in mind, Dr Harsh Vardhan instructed the Director and staff to prepare a perspective plan so that it could be fitted out with infrastructure to meet the challenges of the next few decades.
Dr Harsh Vardhan remarked, “Science is about change and young people are the ones that bring about change. There needs to be a paradigm shift, which gives more power and autonomy to young scientists. There are many good and sincere scientists in India whose interests are not motivated by awards and recognition. These people have served and will continue to serve as the mentors to future generations of Indian scientists. Science is the result of the efforts of these people, though limited resources have strained their efforts.”
He noted that Bose Institute is one of the few multi-disciplinary institutions for scientific research in the country. The Acharya had built it up from scratch with minimal funds so that budding scientific talent of India could get the chance to carry out research.
“I will ensure that the name of Acharya Bose is preserved by making this institute founded by him the backbone for research and development in genetic engineering, biocrystallography, biocomputing, molecular modelling and related fields. These days genome analysis has become an exciting area of research and I wish to see this institute achieve prowess in it.”
Dr Harsh Vardhan, who was visiting “Bose Vigyan Mandir”, a museum showcasing the life and works of the great Indian scientist at the “Bose Institute”, which was founded by him in 1917. The Minister said, “The dream of Jagadish Chandra Bose to provide infrastructure for young researchers is also my dream. I am a man of science and would like to see this great institution become a world class centre.”
The museum has, among its interesting exhibits many of the precision instruments which Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose himself used for developing the first radio and later for his pathbreaking research on the nervous system of plants. As the Minister went around, Dr Shivaji Raha, Director, Bose Institute, explained that many of these were fabricated, under the great scientist’s specifications, by local artisans.
Later, Dr Harsh Vardhan commented to reporters, “I am awed by how much was achieved with so little. The great man worked in a colonial era but impressed the whole world of science. This is an inspiration for all future generations.”
There was the original equipment which the Acharya used to demonstrate wireless transmission. In 1895, he gave his first public demonstration of electromagnetic waves, using them to ring a bell remotely and to explode some gunpowder. He sent an electromagnetic wave across 75 feet passing through walls and the body of the man who turned out to be the then Lieutentant-Governor of Bengal.
Dr Harsh Vardhan noted: “Not many people are aware that Acharya Bose was the inventor of the receiver which we subsequently came to call the radio. But the credit is given to Guglielmo Marconi who is celebrated as the inventor. This museum would inspire today’s youth on the first great inventor in the history of modern India.”
He went on: “I have said this before and I reiterate here. If only a small fraction of today’s youth comes to be aware that India was the birthplace of medical science, of many branches of mathematics, chemistry, alchemy and technology, we would be galvanised by profound inspiration which would once again make our scientists world beaters. I congratulate the scholars and scientists of Bose Institute for setting up this museum and I have asked the Director to reach out to schools and colleges so that conducted tours are organised.”
Earlier, Dr Harsh Vardhan went to Madhyamgram in North 24 Parganas where he inaugurated a state of the art , world class, environmentally-controlled “Central Animal House and Research Facility” for Developmental and Toxicology Research.
Covering an area of 15,000 sq. feet, the new facility will breed and rear small animals for research purposes. The centre will also be involved in developing skills in animal care and experimentation techniques. It has received the clearance of the Union Ministry of Environment. Scientific and academic institutions all over eastern and north-eastern India would benefit from this facility.
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