Good scientists never make pseudo-claims: C.N.R. Rao

Politicians, and not scientists, are to be blamed for pseudo-scientific claims about aeroplanes having existed in ancient India and about the efficacy of cow urine as a remedy for cancer, eminent scientist C.N.R. Rao has said. Good scientists will never make such claims, said the Bharat Ratna recipient.

“One Minister was heard saying, ‘you take cow urine, cancer will be cured.’ If you do that, you forget about getting cured, that is all,” Dr. Rao, currently National Research Professor and Linus Pauling Research Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), said on the sidelines of a function at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER - Thiruvananthapuram) here on Wednesday.

“Someone will say, during Rama’s time we had jet planes. Or, Ganesha was created by plastic surgery. Scientists are not saying that, the politicians are saying that,” he said.


In any case, constructing an aeroplane would have been a scientific impossibility during the Ramayana, according to him.

India should learn from China and Korea, two countries that had made remarkable strides in science, Dr. Rao said. If India failed to catch up in another five to ten years it would be too late, he warned.

In many areas, including biology and chemistry, China had emerged as a strong presence. “They are publishing more scientific papers; almost as much as the Americans. India is way down,” he said.

If India was to become strong in science, Indian scientists needed to do science that was unique to themselves as individuals, unique to the country, and unique to the subject, he said. Indian investments in scientific institutions and education as a whole continued to be poor. The country was hardly spending 3-3.5% of the GDP on education. “It is extremely difficult in a competitive world to have institutions equivalent to the best. A few should be like the MIT or Cambridge. We ought to create them here. That’s what China has done,” he said. “The best Indian universities are short of facilities, short of infrastructure.”

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Printable version | Mar 7, 2021 8:35:04 AM |

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