With the advent of latest technologies in the field of science, there is a need to innovate high—science that would benefit a larger section of audience at minimal cost, a top government official said here on Monday.

Department of Science and Technology Secretary, T Ramaswami, said just as the innovation of Marie Curie and Alexander Graham Bell had led to the discovery of radium and invention of the first practical telephone respectively and benefited a large section of society, there is a need to develop science that would help a wider section of the population.

Mr. Ramaswami was delivering his inaugural address at the three—day symposium titled “Chemistry in Societal and Environmental Needs” organised at Central Leather Research Institute as part of International Year of Chemistry Celebration.

Madras Science Foundation Director G Thyagarajan in his address said the overall perception of the common man of chemistry was one of “apprehension and mistrust,” as major industrial disasters were continuing to occur.

“Though the chemical industry itself has pioneered the invention of hazard identification and assessment techniques and procedures, people continue to question the ability of even experienced industrial giants facing crisis,” he said.

CLRI Director A B Mandal, who delivered an address on Advances in Surface Chemistry and Future Trends, said the subject was very much a hot area nowadays as far as CLRI was concerned.

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