Vice-Chancellor says financial aid can help revive interest in basic sciences

Mangalore University is considering a proposal to give at least 100 scholarships to students pursuing pure sciences courses to encourage more scientists and researchers.

Speaking at “Sugama Ganita”, a function to mark the 125th birth anniversary of mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan held on Saturday, T.C. Shivashankar Murthy, Vice-Chancellor of the university, said the falling number of students taking up pure sciences prompted the move. “Twenty-five years ago, more than 45 per cent of the students taking up higher education enrolled in a pure science course while now it is less than 19 per cent,” he said and added that scholarships could help revive the interest in basic science.

The proposal might come to fruition next academic year, after approval from the Finance Committee. “During the academic meeting held on Saturday, we decided that the budget for this could be up to Rs. 25 lakh. So, even if we give a minimum of Rs. 5,000 as scholarship per year, we can include around 300 in the scholarships. The specifics have to be chalked out after a meeting with the Syndicate and Academic Council,” he told The Hindu.

The scholarships would be available for meritorious students taking up physics, chemistry, biology or mathematics for graduation or post-graduation, said Mr. Murthy. The scholarships would be available for all 198 colleges under the university. With there being strong demand for scientists, and an increased expenditure in research infrastructure of colleges, a career in pure sciences could be made attractive, the Vice-Chancellor said.

Inspiration

Exhorting the gathering to learn “dedication” from the life of Ramanujan, who in just five years as a mathematics researcher had written more than 400 research papers and calculated more than 2,500 solutions. “He lived for only 32 years, of which five years were spent in Cambridge University in the Mathematics Department. Yet, he rediscovered a century of mathematics and contributed numerous discoveries of his own. He showed dedication and sacrifice to become the greatest mathematician of all time,” said Mr. Murthy.

The function featured an exhibition by students of mathematics displaying models showing magic numbers, the concept of pi, and Vedic mathematics. In the preceding days, the students had gone to rural schools, educating high school students on the concepts of mathematics and the contribution of Ramanujan.

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