Kakodkar wants science anchored in society

Dr. Anil Kakodkar, Chairman Atomic Energy Commission and Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy speaking to delegates of the 26th Department of Atomic Energy's Safety and Occupational Health Professionals Meet in Kolkata. Photo: Sushanta Patronobish  

Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission Anil Kakodkar on Sunday called for greater linkages between the different facets of science.

He was speaking on the final day of a three-day Dr. Homi Bhabha centenary conclave at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research here.

"Isolation damaging"

Dr. Kakodkar said the Homi Bhabha National Institute (HBNI) here was an example of an institution that had managed to do this successfully.

"At the HBNI, a lot of emphasis is given to creating an interface between research and technology, technology and business, science and arts and so on. It is necessary to think in terms of commercial implementation of technology. Isolation would be damaging."

Strong linksDuring Dr. Bhabha’s time there were strong linkages between research and technology, education and research, he pointed out. "These linkages are not so strong anymore."

Dr. Kakodkar emphasised that science had to be firmly anchored in the Indian soil. "Coal-based fertilizers were much talked about once. Two plants of coal-based fertilizers were set up only to eventually come to the conclusion that the fertilizers didn’t work. The Indian fertilizer industry is on oxygen today. Scientists need to be more aware about what is needed in the Indian conditions."

For this, he called for the strengthening of universities and institutions of higher learning.

For effective learning

During his session on ‘Health in Cinema and Cinema for Health’ on Saturday, actor and psychiatrist Mohan Agashe too emphasised on uniting disciplines for effective learning.

He spoke of how cinema could be used for education, as it combined the audio-visual media. It had a mass reach when compared to literacy through the written word.

Speaking of Taare Zameen Par, Dr. Agashe said the film was able to create interest in dyslexia on a mass scale - something that doctors were unable to do over several decades.

He also showed two one-minute films that were entries to a contest called ‘Sixty Seconds to Fame,’ organised by the Ability Foundation in Chennai with ‘Disability’ as the theme.

Dr. Agashe called himself a "professional who performed the surgery of education under the anaesthetic of entertainment."

However, he said the visual medium was a double-edged one, as it also had the capacity to spread the wrong message.

He gave the example of a family planning poster of 40 years ago that showed a married couple with a male child, leading people to believe that a family was incomplete without a son.

Defining a good film as one that provoked thinking on significant issues, he contrasted films like Taare Zameen Par and A Beautiful Mind with old Hindi films like Pagla Kahika and Khilona, which used disability only for dramatic effect.

Vocal recitals

On Sunday, there were vocal recitals by Shruti Sadolikar and Satyasheel Deshpande. In the evening session, there was a panel discussion on history, moderated by noted historian Romila Thapar.

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Printable version | Oct 17, 2021 7:39:24 PM |

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