India Int’l Science Festival (IISF) 2020 celebrates science, connects us all: Dr Shekhar Mande, CSIR

New Delhi: Various outreach and popularisation programs for the India International Science Festival (IISF) 2020 are going on across the country, stated the Ministry of Science & Technology (MST) in a press communication yesterday. Laboratories and institutes of the Scientific Ministries and Departments are holding these programs as outreach and publicity activities of IISF 2020.

The Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) – National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI), Hyderabad, organised the curtain raiser and outreach program on the virtual platform recently. In his presidential address, Dr. Shekhar Mande, Director General, CSIR, and Secretary, DSIR, Govt. of India, stated that, since 2015, IISF celebrates the joy of science and connects the enthusiasts and experts of all varieties of science disciplines to the public. Such interactions would be the seed to deepen and widen the reach of science within society and enrich our lives by bringing all forms of science on a common platform, he said. He expressed the need to strictly follow the Covid-19 protocols for people from all walks of life.

The Chief Guest of the occasion, Dr. Satheesh Shenoi, Former Director, INCOIS, Hyderabad, spoke on the ‘Challenges and Opportunities of Deep Sea Research’ in the Indian context. He introduced the idea of the uniqueness of life on Earth based on its ability to preserve the water environment on the planet and touched upon the main challenges and opportunities of today. He explained in simple terms the phenomena El Nino/La Nina/Indian Ocean Dipole, the increase in Sea Surface Temperature, and the increase in frequency of observed extreme climatic events, which are interlinked mechanisms affecting our lives and economy.

Jayant Sahasrabudhe, Organising Secretary of Vijnana Bharati (VIBHA) spoke about the rationale of IISF and its important role in inculcating scientific thinking in the public. He said that this year’s theme of IISF is ‘Science for Self Reliant India and Global Welfare’, and that CSIR has been given the responsibility to conduct it.

Welcoming the dignitaries, Dr. V. M. Tiwari, Director of CSIR-NGRI assured that the institute will make all efforts to make science popular among the masses and make them aware about IISF 2020. Similarly, CSIR-Human Resource Development Centre (HRDC), Ghaziabad, organised a webinar on ‘Science for Masses and Grass root Innovations’ along with the Nodal Institute of IISF 2020, CSIR-National Institute of Science, Technology and Development Studies (NISTADS). This webinar was a part of the curtain raiser events for the IISF 2020, and Dr. R. K. Sinha, Head CSIR-HRDC, in his welcome address, gave brief contours of the IISF 2020.

Jayant Sahasrabudhe emphasised the need to communicate science in regional languages and said that India is a diverse country and it has a diversity of languages, culture, religions, and many other aspects of life. The journey of IISF is going on and we believe that we will accomplish the challenge of reaching every section of society, he said. He emphasised the social responsibilities of Indian scientists and said that science should be communicated in the local and regional languages so that it can reach every citizen of India. This will help to restructure our New-India, he added.

On the occasion, Dr. Mande, said that IISF 2020 through virtual mode is a great opportunity to connect and reach out to large masses of people. The general public is curious to know the work being carried out in research laboratories and therefore it is our duty to showcase the research work to the common people, he observed. He emphasised promotion of IISF so that everyone in society is benefited. In the current scenario of the Covid pandemic, he urged everyone to take proper measures and follow all the instructions and guidelines issued by government for the warding off of the coronavirus. Wearing masks and social distancing should be strictly followed in crowds, he said.

Professor Y. Vimla, Pro-VC, Chaudhary Charan Singh University, Meerut, appreciated the initiative and thanked CSIR-HRDC. A botanist, she delivered her talk related to the science behind nature, and emphasised the exposure of young students and children to nature and knowing about surroundings. Scientists should come forward to create awareness and share their knowledge and experiences among the masses, she said.

Professor Anil Gupta, Founder of the Honey Bee Network, SRISTI, GIAN & NIF, CSIR Bhatnagar Fellow 2018-21, delivering the keynote address, highlighted that the organisation of such events creates awareness among the public and students on the importance of science and technology in development of the nation. He gave examples of grass root innovations from India. Dr. Shobhna Choudhary, Senior Scientist, CSIR-HRDC gave the vote of thanks.

CSIR-Central Electronics & Engineering Research Institute (CEERI), Pilani, and Vijnana Bharati-Rajasthan Chapter also jointly organised a curtain raiser for IISF 2020. In this program, valuable discussions were organised on the important events of the IISF Students Engineering Model Competition & Expo.

Vigyan Yatra is a prominent event of the India International Science Festival. This journey of science is meant for creating scientific temper and interest in science among students and the public at large. There are about 35 prime locations identified for the Vigyan Yatra across the country. On 2nd December 2020, Swadeshi Science Movement-Kerala organised Dr. Abdul Kalam Vigyan Yatra at Kochi on a virtual platform. On this occasion, Alphons Kannanthanam, Former Union Minister, Tourism, and Dr. V.P.N. Nampoori, Professor, School of Photonics, CUSAT, delivered special talks.

The Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune, also organised the Vigyan Yatra in association with Vijnana Bharati, Pune Chapter, to showcase the scientific activities virtually.

The India International Science Festival (IISF) 2020 is scheduled from 22nd to 25th December 2020 on a virtual platform. This is the largest science festival on a virtual platform, stated the Ministry of Science & Technology. This year, 41 events will be organised under 9 verticals. IISF 2020 will also endeavour to send entries for the Guinness World Records in five different categories, having set 3 Guinness World Records at IISF 2019.


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