President Pranab Mukherjee will inaugurate the centenary session of the Indian Science Congress here on Thursday in the presence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, six Nobel laureates, and a gamut of eminent national and international scientists and thousands of delegates.  Describing the session as a “momentous event,” West Bengal Governor and chairperson of the Host Committee M.K. Narayanan said its significance lay in the fact that not only the Science Congress had completed 100 years but this was the first time a serving Prime Minister was its general president.

 It was also the first time the Prime Minister would chair a panel discussion on the event’s theme, ‘Science for Shaping the Future of India’, said Mr. Narayanan.

Union Minister for Science and Technology S. Jaipal Reddy, said here on Wednesday that all the scientists would contribute, through lectures and papers, to make the centenary session a “glorious and memorable occasion”.

Scientists and Nobel laureates such as Venki Ramakrishnan, Ei-ichi Negishi and Abel Prize winner Mathematician S.R. Srinivasa Varadhan are among those who will participate.

Department of Science and Technology Secretary T. Ramasami said about 14,000 delegates would participate in the five-day event. Over 8,000 papers and abstracts would be presented.

 “All the plenary sessions and the technical sessions have been named after people who have made contributions to science from the country.”

Dr. Ramasami said all nine science departments and councils under the government of India would showcase their programmes and hold public outreach sessions.

 The organisers said about 70 scientists from 20 countries including members of the Royal Society, U.K., and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences would participate in the event.

 Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will unveil a book ‘The Balancing Act’, an autobiographical account of the scientific pursuits of 21 eminent women scientists.