New Delhi: National Science Day (NSD) will be celebrated at Vigyan Bhawan on 28 February with women in science as the focal theme of the program. President Ram Nath Kovind will present several awards for science communication and popularization as well as for women scientists. Harsh Vardhan, Minister of Science & Technology, Health & Family Welfare and Earth Sciences, and Smriti Irani, Cabinet Minister for Textiles and Women & Child Development will also grace the occasion.
A total of 21 awards will be given which will include National Science and Technology and Communication Awards, Augmenting Writing Skills for Articulating Research (AWSAR) awards, National Award for Outstanding Efforts in S&T through Innovative and Traditional methods, National Award for Efforts in Science & Technology Popularization among Children, National Award for Outstanding Effort in Science & Technology Communication, SERB (Science and Engineering Research Board) Women Excellence Awards and National Award for Young Woman Showing Excellence through Application of Technology for Societal Benefits.
The National Award for Outstanding Efforts in S&T through Innovative and Traditional methods will be awarded to Dr Mahesh Verma, Dr S Nagarathinam and Dr Rajendra Kumar.
Dr Verma is the Vice-Chancellor of Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, Delhi. He has been instrumental in promoting the scientific temperament and awareness among students, youth, health professionals and community at large as he has organized dental health melas for over 25 years, dental camps in schools and underserved areas and initiated Mobile Dental Clinic Project with six mobile dental vans for rural areas in 3 districts of Delhi to bring about awareness for masses. Verma has authored many books and appeared in more than 150 programmes on TV, Radio and contributed press articles and media reports bringing education and scientific awareness about dental health. He established the Maulana Azad Institute of Dental Sciences, for education, patient care and awareness. As past President of the Indian Dental Association, he led over 75,000 dental professionals in community-directed projects such as tobacco cessation, oral cancer awareness and many more.
Dr S Nagarathinam is a professor and the Head of the Department of Communication, Madurai Kamaraj University, Tamil Nadu. Nagarathinam studied science communication, worked in popular Tamil- Daily Dinamalar and wrote science articles regularly since 1996 and connected the scientific world with common people particularly through innovative and traditional methods. He introduced a Daily Science Column, published till-today. He has been popularizing and communicating sci-tech related to water bodies, rivers, tanks, ponds and eco-sites among youth and communities.
Nagarathinam’s efforts culminated into pan India mobilization of groups of experts & volunteers, especially the Eco Vision Indica, to help protect natural ecological resources. These efforts also resulted in thousands of seed plantings of Palmyra Palm─ an eco-friendly and alternative resource to plastics. Overall, he made outstanding efforts using Ecological places as a creative medium and building peoples’ everyday understanding of Nature by communicating S&T of a wide transdisciplinary range and in-depth knowledge as a people’s professor through Field Immersive Innovative Models, practices, outreach, fostering communities of learning, and special interest groups, for a far-reaching visible impact.
Dr Rajendra Kumar, Principal Scientist, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)- Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), is an agricultural scientist. He has made an outstanding contribution to the popularization of science & technology through several innovative & traditional approaches. He has published 7 books, 116 research articles, more than 100 popular articles, 28 volumes of newsletters, more than 500 newspaper articles, delivered more than 100 television-radio talks along with more than 150 conference lectures, numerous poster presentations, and more than 500 public lectures.
Kumar popularised science among children, women, illiterate elderly people in rural, urban & sub-urban localities by organizing more than 180 goshthees, corner/roadside meetings & chaupals in fields, village ponds, fish ponds, grain threshing places, sugarcane cutting places, cattle sheds, primary/junior/high schools in English, Hindi & vernacular languages leaving very large impact across the state/nation. He has been instrumental in motivating students, teachers, scientists and the general public in popular science reading, writing, and utilization at learning centres, and outreach activities and created a significant spread over 75 districts of Uttar Pradesh demonstrating a typical ‘boom – bust’ cycle.
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