News Excerpt
107th edition of Indian Science Congress was organized at University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS) in Bengaluru. The theme of the event was Science & Technology: Rural Development”.

Pre-Connect
•    The idea of the Indian Science Congress Association was purported by two scientist Professor J. L. Simonsen and Professor P.S. MacMahon.
•    The first meeting of the Congress was held from January 15-17, 1914 at the premises of the Asiatic Society, Calcutta.
•    ISC since its inception is the major focal point for scientists, researchers and academicians interested in various aspects of scientific discoveries and technologies.
•    ISC was the intellectual nursery of modern science in the country. Early ideas of how science and technology could aid the development of the new nation were incubated at ISC.
•    The prime purpose of the ISC now is to draw school and science college students to hear Nobel Laureates and Indian-origin scientists from abroad to lecture about their work and the future prospects of science.

Analytica
Challenges faced by ISC
Several luminaries of India’s science establishments — the Principal Scientific Adviser, secretaries from several ministries, the chiefs of major organisations such as ISRO or the Department of Atomic Energy were absent this year. This shows the decline in the quality of ISC, there are several reasons responsible for it such as:
    Creeping Pseudoscience: Distinguished Speakers invited in the events have resorted to mix of mythology and science and publicise far-fetched assertions such as Kauravas were born from stem-cell technology and the Vedas discussed avionics. These things have eroded the congress public image.
    Lack of innovation: There is a lack of innovation at the congress which is evident from the fact that several laboratories have re-run from old congressesor from similar and past science fairs.
    No real-life demonstration: Many laboratories showcase their work as ‘posters’ rather than actually showing demonstrations or working inventions. This fails the purpose of attracting young minds towards science.

Way-forward
Time has come for the Indian Science Congress to take a rebirth and make sure that it makes way for inspiring new ideas, or new models of taking science to the public. For this, it must take the following steps
    Pre-Screening of papers presented by speakers to stop the propagation of pseudoscience from its stage.
    Live Science experiments including students must be increased.
    Competition with monetary prizes must be organized to allow for presentation of innovation.
    Rural scientific development must be encouraged and hence a dedicated Rural Scientific innovation centre could be created showcasing India’s rural innovation.
    ISC should promote innovative solutions to global problems such as Climate change. For this, it must engage with eminent institutes such as IITs and present their innovation in the ISC for global investors.
    Its focus in research & development should provide a boost to a number of patents registered from India, from current 18% to at least 50% out the total applied patents.
    ISC should also make connections with Indian Diaspora so that the best of Indian minds can collaborate on a single platform. This will help in creating linkages between India and Global Science.  

PEPPER IT WITH
VigyanSancharakSammelan, India ISC Expo, Rashtriya Kishore VaigyanikSammelan, Women Science Congress