Special Correspondent

VIT Chancellor makes a plea to universities while inaugurating convention of chemists and ICRRTCS’09

Calls for credit transfer system to allow migration to other universities

Chemists should collaborate with scientists in biosciences, material sciences: U.S. professor

VELLORE: Universities in India should introduce a flexible system of education providing for simultaneous study of diverse subjects such as engineering, science and humanities while pursuing a particular course, as in the in the U.S. and many other western countries, said G. Viswanathan, Chancellor of VIT University.

Inaugurating the 46th Annual Convention of Chemists 2009 and the International Conference on Recent Trends in Chemical Sciences (ICRRTCS’09) at the varsity here on Wednesday, Mr. Viswanathan said that in the U.S. and many other western countries, a student studying a particular engineering discipline could simultaneously take up a course in physics, chemistry or humanities, and a student of physics or chemistry could take up a course in a humanities discipline.

“The Indian universities too should move into such a student-friendly system,” he said.

The Chancellor wanted universities to introduce a credit transfer system wherein students from one university could easily migrate to another and complete their course through transfer of credits.

“India is a country of diverse languages and cultures, and the Indian universities should take advantage of this diversity and allow students to migrate to other universities so that they could imbibe different cultures during their study period,” he said.

Richard C. Larock, distinguished professor, Iowa State University of Science and Technology, who released the conference souvenir, called upon chemists to go in for research collaboration with scientists engaged in biosciences and material sciences, which offered plenty of scope for collaboration. Bio-plastics is an area which offered ample scope for collaboration between chemists and bio-scientists and material scientists.

His own research at the Iowa State University has proved the possibility of producing rubber and bio-plastics using soya bean oil and corn.

The ability of chemists to make compounds is something which attracted biologists towards collaboration, he said.

150th birth anniversary year

Presiding over the meets, Girjesh Govil, president, Indian Chemical Society, said that this was the 150th birth anniversary year of Profulla Chandra Ray, the most distinguished chemist in the world, who contributed a lot to chemistry and the chemical industry.

100th year of radium discovery

This is also the 100th year of the discovery of radium by Madame Curie, he said.

Professor Govil presented Lifetime Achievement Awards to Harjit Singh, Professor Emeritus, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, and S.K. Dogra, professor of chemistry, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Bhopal. Mr. Singh said that experimental research required a lot of funding, which at present is lacking.

Though there are a lot of funding agencies, those working in universities managed by State governments find it difficult to get funds.

“If you have to survive in the competitive world of research, do not hesitate to get help from the funding agencies. If you have a genuine research interest and you approach the funding agencies, you can always get funds,” he said.

D.P. Kothari, Vice-Chancellor, VIT University, received the first copy of the souvenir from Professor Larock. P.L. Majumder, honorary secretary, Indian Chemical Society (ICS), said that the ICS which was started in 1924 with 110 fellows, currently had 2,500 fellows.

The society periodically organised endowment lectures by eminent scientists and encouraged research.

It gave 16 endowment awards and 17 ‘Young Scientist’ awards every year.

Lifetime Achievement Awards are given to those chemists who have made an outstanding contributing to the world of chemistry, he said. K. Sathiyanarayanan, director, School of Advanced Sciences, VIT University, and chairman of the local organising committee, welcomed the gathering. Badal Kumar Mandal, convener, local organising committee, introduced the foreign guests. A. Sivakumar, joint secretary of the committee, proposed a vote of thanks.