Mobbed everywhere for photographs and autographs on the first two days of the 98th Indian Science Congress, Nobel laureate Venkatraman Ramakrishnan asked Indians not to confuse scientists with movie and cricket stars.
Inaugurating the Children's Science Congress-2011 at SRM University on Tuesday, Mr. Ramakrishnan said science had no place for rituals and ceremonies, and that Indians were confusing scientists with stars.
“Scientists are not movie stars or politicians who will feel insulted if they are not showered with accolades. Scientists are not interested in accolades,” he said.
When Mr. Ramakrishnan escorted Nobel laureate Thomas Steitz — who arrived on his invitation to the Pride of India exhibition at the Science Congress — Mr. Ramakrishnan said they were mobbed and that the tour lasted 15 minutes.
“I could not explain to him the advances in Indian science. We are not cricket or movie stars,” Mr. Ramakrishnan said.
Similarly, at every meeting, he said he only spoke for 15 minutes and that the rest was pure ceremony.
“Science is curiosity, testing and experimenting,” he said, adding that as a scientist, he was accumulating human knowledge and not playing cricket for India.
“Science is an international enterprise where discoveries in one part of the world are useful in other parts. The traffic should be both ways, and at present the flow from the West to India is more,” he noted.
Concluding his remarks, Mr. Ramakrishnan said, “I've been honest with you. You are free to disagree. That's science.”