Kalam's Clarion call to the Young Scientists to become Continuous Innovators
By PIB, India
Mar 31, 2005, 20:32

The Indian President Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam gave a clarion call to the young scientists community to put all acts together to make the country to become a continuous innovator and creator of science and technology-intensive products.

The President emphasised that the science that we do today must have the innovativeness and the foresight and the vision for it to be the centre of the technology that we develop tomorrow for the competitive world. Dr. Kalam said this, while inaugurating a seminar on “Attracting Young people to Careers in Science” organized by the Indian Physics Association on the occasion of the International Year of Physics – 2005. On this occasion the President also released a Special Definitive Stamp to mark the hundred years of the turning point in Physics. It was in the year 1905 that five papers on three major subjects by Albert Einstein on Special Theory of Relativity, Photoelectric Effect and Brownian Motion were published. These papers, published a century ago, changed our fundamental understanding of nature. In celebration of the centenary of these papers, the year 2005 has been declared as the World or International Year of Physics. The Definitive Stamp, brought out by the Department of Posts in the denomination of rupees five is ninth in the Definitive Series.

Speaking on the main theme of the seminar “Challenge to science: Attracting the youth”, Dr. Kalam said that today the country has become one of the strongest in the world in terms of scientific manpower in capability and maturity. Our economy has also become strong. Hence, we are in a position not only to understand the technologies that we may have to borrow, but also to create our own technologies with extensive scientific inputs of indigenous origin. This, in fact, would do a value addition.

Dr. Kalam said, “Basically we have come a long way since our independence, from mere buyers of technology to those of who have made science and technology as an important contributor for national development and societal transformation. In a world where the powers are determined by their share of the world’s knowledge, reflected by patents, papers and so on, the WTO starts to play a crucial role in the economic development”.

Praising the contribution of the country’s Great Scientists, Dr. Kalam said, “In India, science and technology took a two-phase progress with the momentum created in 1930s, by the great scientists of international repute. They gave the country the confidence. We may remember the pioneering contributions to science made by Chandrasekhar Subramaniam for his Chandrasekhar limit and black hole, Sir CV Raman for his discovery of the "Raman effect”, Srinivasa Ramanujan for his contributions towards number theory, J.C. Bose in the area of microwaves, Meghnad Saha for "Thermo-Ionization Equation". This phase, I consider the glorious phase of Indian science. This scientific foundation laid by them always triggered the later generations also. The unique similarities of all these scientists are the one that they had dedicated their entire life for the cause of scientific research and the spirit of inquiry for the fields that they have chosen amidst all the hurdles and problems in their life as well as their career”.

The President also narrated the history of how the country attracted a large number of scientists and engineers towards drawing the road map for achieving self-reliance in critical technologies in defence, space and atomic energy. On this aspect he talked about three personalities, Dr. D.S. Kothari, Dr. Homi Baba and Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, all of whom were physicists and went on to build huge S&T institutions that became the home of more than 20,000 young scientists and engineers. According to Dr. Kalam these three scientists had gone on to concentrate only on science, at least one of them would have got the Nobel Prize, but India would not have had the advantage of having the atomic energy, space and defence research establishments in the country with this magnitude. The president urged the countrymen to intake the message and the mission of successful scientists such as Raman, Chandrasekar, Kothari, Homi Bhaba and Sarabhai to the youth so that they understand the various ways by which one could contribute to the growth of the nation, if they take science as a career. This would surely attract many young people towards science, he said.

While concluding the President made the following suggestions:

Ø It is essential to have an assured career in science for a certain number of high quality committed scientists with aptitude towards research. There should be a minimum annual intake of about 300 M.Sc., and 100 Ph.D. scientists with proper emoluments and assured career growth in the organisations such as ISRO, DRDO, Atomic Energy, CSIR, DST and the Universities. The private and government funded universities must be encouraged to appoint M.Sc., and Ph.D. who have been selected through a nationally coordinated competitive selection process.

Ø The experienced scientists and policy makers of the organisations must recognize the talents available in the organisation irrespective of the position and empower the young scientists to create state-of-the art laboratories once they have concrete thoughts and vision.

Ø Universities and Research and Development institutions must encourage and facilitate the young scientists to write quality research papers in frontier areas and in prestigious journals. They should also facilitate the youth to present the papers in national and international seminars and symposiums which will enable them to assess their standard against international benchmarks.

Ø The youth must be made to understand the beauty of doing science, the pleasure of doing science and the ultimate bliss when the results of science make them understand the nature, master it, control it and finally make things that improve the quality of life of the human kind. Every one of us, scientists must pledge that we will at least spend sometime visiting the schools to ignite the young minds by recounting our own experiences.

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