IISF 2020: Vijnana Bharati, CSIR-CECRI, NIIST, AlR, Gorakhpur Univ hold outreach programs

New Delhi: The Ministry of Science & Technology stated in a press communication on Sunday, 20th December, that the India International Science Festival (IISF) 2020 will be the largest ever science festival held on a virtual environment. In this Festival, 41 events on different themes will be organised and these themes are directly related to the society and the general public, said the Ministry, adding that the ‘Young Scientists’ Conference’ is one of such events. In this event, participants think out of the box and produce and disseminate their ideas based on science and technology which can be useful in improving the quality of life and boost national development. Young researchers and scientists are the key stakeholders of this science festival. The target audience of many of the events of IISF 2020 is young scientists and students.

To motivate young scientists to participate in large numbers and share their novel ideas, an online outreach event was organised recently by the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) – Central Electrochemical Research Institute (CECRI), Karaikudi, Tamil Nadu. The idea of this programme was to inspire young scientists to highlight a few currently ongoing research works of CSIR–CECRI scientists related to the fundamentals of advanced scientific tools and their applications in strategic sectors, corrosion studies, and healthcare diagnosis.

According to the Science Ministry, the event commenced with a welcome address by Dr. M. Kathiresan, Scientist, CSIR–CECRI. Dr. N. Kalaiselvi, Director, CSIR–CECRI in her presidential address, spoke on the importance of basic sciences and the contributions of young scientists towards advanced topics. She also mentioned the essential role of such young scientists’ conferences that provides a platform for young scientists and youth to present their work and discuss among their peers. Dr. Kalaiselvi also introduced the Chief Guest, E. Arunan, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore. Arunan delivered a special lecture on ‘Making weak bonds, breaking strong bonds and defining all bonds: Experiments with supersonic waves’. Arunan also explained the first-of-its-kind indigenous facility Pulsed Nozzle Fourier Transform Microwave Spectroscopy that he, along with his research group, had developed over the years. His home-made facility fits well with the IISF-2020 theme on self-reliant India, the Ministry stated.

The event also had three lectures by young scientists of CSIR–CECRI. Dr. G. Sreedhar in his lecture titled ‘High-temperature materials and advanced barrier coatings for strategic applications’ presented the basic principles and engineering aspects of thermal barrier coatings that could find application in aerospace technologies and strategic sectors. The second lecture was delivered by Dr. V. Saranyan on “The use of surface analytical tools for contemporary corrosion monitoring” in which he explained the fundamental aspects of various probe microscopic techniques like atomic force microscopy, scanning tunnelling microscopy, scanning Kelvin probe and scanning electrochemical microscopy, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. He highlighted the applications of such spectroscopic techniques in understanding the fundamental corrosion processes and in high-resolution imaging. The last lecture was delivered by Dr. P. Tamilarasan on ‘Science in healthcare diagnostics’. In his lecture, he explained how various molecular spectroscopic techniques and electrochemical sensors are used in recognising various biomarkers in health care diagnosis. He also highlighted the various electrochemical sensors developed at CSIR–CECRI and the role of data science in healthcare diagnostics. The event was attended by a large number of students, faculty members, research scholars, and scientists, the Sci-Tech Ministry stated.

Field Outreach Bureau; Ernakulam; Press Information Bureau, Kerala; CSIR-NIIST, Thiruvananthapuram; Vijnana Bharati; and Department of Zoology, St. Teresa’s College, Ernakulam, also jointly organised an outreach programme for graduate students on as part of IISF. Around 100 students participated in the programme, as per the press communication of the Science & Tech Ministry.

Speakers said that India has an excellent tradition of science and it has always been at the forefront when it comes to scientific and technological advancement. Platforms like IISF gives immense opportunities for students and it is not the time to restrict themselves to the textbook, they added.

The Science & Tech Ministry stated that ‘Science Talk’ was presented by Dr. Radhakrishnan K. V., Senior Principle Scientist and HOD Organic Chemistry at CSIR-National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science and Technology (NIIST), Thiruvananthapuram, on ‘Classical Health Traditions: Hints for Future Technological Development in Health Care’. He spoke on various medicinal plants available in Kerala, especially in the Western Ghats, which is a rich source of plants with medical values. He called upon students to come out of their rooms and explore the rich biodiversity India has and utilise it for the betterment of the society and world.

Dr. C. M. Joy who represented Vijnana Bharati (VIBHA), spoke about IISF 2020. He also explained the aims and objectives, various components, and partners of IISF 2020.

Another outreach programme for IISF 2020 was organised by VIBHA, Shakti Rajasthan, in collaboration with S.S. Jain Subodh Girls P.G. College, Sanganer, Jaipur; Mody University, Lakshmangarh; Maharani College, Jaipur; Jayoti Vidyapeeth Women’s University, Jaipur; and St. Wilfred’s P.G College, Jaipur. The opening remarks were delivered by Dr. Kavita Tak, Secretary, VIBHA, Shakti Rajasthan. Dr. Mukta Agrawal and Dr. Poonam Chandra delivered the keynote address. Dr. Manju Sharma gave the presidential address.

The Sci-Tech Ministry stated that the nation’s science channel ‘India Science’ has initiated a series of discussions and interactions with experts, coordinators, and scientists associated with the India International Science Festival 2020. India Science is an internet-based 24×7 dedicated science channel which is an initiative of the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Govt. of India, and implemented by Vigyan Prasar (An autonomous organisation of DST). On 17th December, India Science telecast an exclusive discussion with the coordinators of the prominent events of the IISF 2020. The themes on which the discussion organised were International Science Literature Festival – Vigyanika, Guinness World Records, Health Research Conclave, and Nav Bharat Nirman. Speakers who participated in this live discussion were Hasan Jawaid Khan, Chief Scientist, CSIR-NISCAIR; Mayuri Dutt, Coordinator, Guinness World Records; Dr. Rajni Kant, Director, ICMR-RMRC, Gorakhpur; and Dr. Sunil Agarwal, Scientist-E, DST.

All India Radio (AIR) talked to the prominent experts about the IISF 2020. Jayant Sahasrabudhe, National Organising Secretary, Vijnana Bharati said the salient points of the vision and major objectives of IISF. Dr. Gopal Iyengar, Scientist-G, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Govt. of India, said that National Institute of Ocean Technology (An autonomous organisation of the Ministry of Earth Sciences) will organise one of the events of IISF that is clean air. He explained this event and said that objective of this programme is to make the citizen aware of the emerging air pollution issues and their implications on our health and environment. Ministry of Earth Sciences is one of the key organisers of IISF 2020.

Another outreach programme was organised by Lok Vigyan Parishad on a virtual platform. Lok Vigyan Parishad is a voluntary organisation set up in 1984 aiming at popularising science and technology in society and making people innovative and research-oriented. In this programme, Dr. Oum Prakash Sharma, Director, National Centre for Innovations in Distance Education, IGNOU, was the key speaker. He spoke about the importance of scientific attitude among students and the common people to make rational decisions in their lives. The other speaker, Kapil Tripathi, Scientist-F with Vigyan Prasar, elaborated on the philosophy of IISF. He said that all the events of IISF are directly connected with society and the public at large.

Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gorakhpur University, Gorakhpur, organised an outreach programme for creating awareness about the IISF 2020. In this virtual program, popular science lectures were organised. Prof. Sarad Mishra, Head, Department of Biotechnology, Gorakhpur University; Dilip Kumar Jha, Programme Executive (Science Cell), All India Radio; and Deepak Sharma, Secretary, Pragati Vigyan Sanstha, delivered their lectures.

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