National

Science Congress takes ‘extra care’ to weed out pseudo science

Photo courtesy: Facebook/@isc2020

Photo courtesy: Facebook/@isc2020  

more-in

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is slated to inaugurate the congress, which is scheduled to take place between January 3-7, at the University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS) in Bengaluru on January 3.

On the eve of the 107th Indian Science Congress (ISC), set to commence in Bengaluru, organisers said they had taken “special care” to ensure that ‘pseudo-scientific’ articles or talks did not creep in.

In last year’s ISC at Lovely University, Jalandhar, G. Nageswara Rao, at the time vice-chancellor of Andhra University, asserted that the Kauravas of the Mahabharata had been born of ‘stem-cell’ technology and test-tube baby science and that Rama and Ravana had fought with ‘guided missiles.’

While pseudo-scientific remarks at the congress aren’t unprecedented — in 2015, at the event in Mumbai, there was an entire session dedicated to ‘aircraft from the Vedic age’ — Mr. Rao’s remarks stood out as it was the first time a senior scientist from a well-regarded University had made such comments.

“We’ve had a stricter screening process this time,” Anoop Kumar Jain, General Secretary (Scientific Activities), Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA), told The Hindu. “Only those who’ve sent their entire papers will have a chance to speak, irrespective of the seniority of the speaker,” said Dr. Jain.

As part of the standard process, the ISCA constitutes sectional committees — there are 14 this year — to evaluate the scientific merit of papers submitted by its members. The solicitations for papers, which span a range from agricultural sciences to archaeology, are sent to all prominent colleges, universities and research institutes.

The Kolkata-based ISCA has been the organiser of the congress since 1914, and is funded by the Union Department of Science and Technology.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is slated to inaugurate the congress, which is scheduled to take place between January 3-7, at the University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS) in Bengaluru on Friday.

The theme for the congress this year is ‘science and technology: rural development’ and to emphasise it, the function — which draws school students, college science students and young scholars in droves — will include a Farmer’s Science Congress, providing a platform for innovative farmers. The farmer’s congress will also discuss agrarian distress and strategies to mitigate and navigate the impact of climate change on agriculture, among other pressing issues.

“The rural-urban divide is only widening and the congress will deliberate on the role of science to bridge this gap,” K.S. Rangappa, general president of the ISCA, said in a statement.

Why you should pay for quality journalism - Click to know more

Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 7:44:23 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/science-congress-takes-extra-care-to-weed-out-pseudo-science/article30461435.ece

Next Story