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Now Nobel laureates for Delhi University faculty

Vijetha S.N
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Likely first:Prof. Jules A. Hoffmann
Likely first:Prof. Jules A. Hoffmann

There is always that incredible story, the story that made you think and think some more before fuelling ambitions that you never thought existed. Everyone deserves to hear such a story and be inspired, be it in college, at some seminar or anywhere, and the more successful the story-teller, the better the chances of being inspired. Towards this end, Delhi University will now be inviting some of the most successful people on earth -- Nobel laureates! -- to be part of its visiting faculty.

“Initially around five Nobel laureates will be invited for short-term assignments to Delhi University. Their main brief will be to talk about their personal and professional experiences that contributed to their successes and also the impediments that they faced while working towards their goals,” says Delhi University Vice-Chancellor Dinesh Singh, adding that the proposal was approved only last week when the university’s Executive Council met.

However, he adds that “we had already been in talks with a lot of the laureates and are in the process of finalising things”.

“We have almost finalised three of them, Jules A. Hoffmann was keen, and he might be the first of them,” he says. The Frenchman had won one half of the Nobel for Physiology or Medicine in 2011 jointly with Bruce A. Beutler “for their discoveries concerning the activation of innate immunity” and the other half had been awarded to Ralph M. Steinman.

“The laureates will also be asked to talk extensively about the challenges they face today in their respective fields, the future of the subject that they have dedicated their lives to and what should be done for its betterment,” says Prof. Singh.

For the first run, the assignments will be for about one month. Prof. Singh did not spell out the names of the other laureates or the budget that the project would entail although he did say that the visiting faculty would be given “special honorariums in keeping with their status”.

“They are coming here under very special terms and conditions and we hope that this will be a continuing exercise. The end-result we seek is that they inspire research among students and their teachers,” he said, adding that learning by experience and by thinking instead of learning by rote as was the norm among most university students was something that he hoped his students would accomplish.

Prof. Singh also said that there would be open lectures for everyone in the university and that other events were also in the pipeline, but that the focus mainly would be on under-graduates.

“There will be popular lectures and seminars in their field of expertise but they will be mainly addressing and helping under-graduate students and the faculty initiate research projects,” he said.

He also promised that it was not just the sciences that would be part of the project but that other fields would also be addressed.

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