Due to its very nature, Science at the Sabha drew a diverse audience to its venue at The Music Academy on Sunday.
A dancer and music lover, V. Madhurima was no stranger to The Music Academy. But it was the first time she was there to present a talk about the science of dance.
“I had to don three hats — of dancer, rasika and a scientist,” said Prof. Madhurima, who is a condensed matter physicist at the Central University of Tamil Nadu in Thiruvarur. “In a way, there is a dichotomy — in art you are taught to accept and in science to always question. I think it is very important for us to question many things about dance as well,” she added.
The fifth edition of Science at the Sabha also had Shannon Olsson of the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bengaluru; Harinath Chakrapani of the Indian Institute for Science Education and Research, Pune; and R. Ramanujam of The Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai (IMSc), as speakers.
Prof. Olsson spoke about the chemical interaction between lifeforms and the effect of human interventions. After building up the talk with stories and a friendly description of the history of drug discovery, including serendipitous accounts, Prof. Chakrapani briefly addressed the work being done in his lab.
Role of logic
Prof. Ramanujam, a computer scientist, spoke about using logic to understand how human behaviour differed when people got together in groups, as in when voting for elections. “The relationship between the individual and the State, or the person and society, is changing with the advent of social media, and what is the role of logic in this?” he asked.
“Instead of working for Google or some such organisation, a few smart minds should work on such problems,” he said.
The event also featured a poster exhibition on ‘Deep History of the Subcontinent’. “We thought it would be topical, given the discovery of ancient DNA at Rakhigarhi this year,” said Varuni. P. of IMSc, who is part of the organising committee.
“The exhibition gave a bird’s-eye view of the archaeological wealth of the region,” said Padmaja Anant of Orient Blackswan, who was there for the event.
J.S. Yadav, head of the Fuel Processing Division of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, had come down to Chennai just for the event. He expressed interest in taking the programme to Mumbai.
Rahul Siddharthan of IMSc, an organiser of the programme, also spoke.