Nobel Prize Series India 2017

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

PM inaugurates Nobel Prize series

Hon’ble Prime Minister Sri Narendra Modi inaugurated the Nobel Prize Series Exhibition at Science City in Ahmedabad as part of the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 2017.

He greeted the nine Nobel Laureates present on the occasion and hoped that they would inspire the future scientists from all corners of India, who had come together for the occasion.

He said that it is an ideal platform to engage citizens to learn about solutions to global challenges we face. We will strive to make this Science City a truly attractive, world-class place for young students and science teachers from all over the country and the world to come and be inspired by the exhibits.

“Our vision in Science and Technology is to make sure that opportunity is available to all our youth. That training and future preparedness should make our youth employable in the best places. India should be a great science destination”, he mentioned.

He pointed out that scientists develop programmes on science teaching in our schools across the country. This will also involve training teachers. At the next level they have been asked to create new programmes both in skilling and high-tech training. These programmes will make you employable in the new knowledge economy and make you effective entrepreneurs and thinking scientists. You will be able to compete for positions and jobs here and anywhere in the world.

He looked forward to significant outcomes from the Nobel Prize series like  follow up of students selected through an ‘Ideathon’ competition for attending the Nobel Prize series and also their teachers, sessions for school teachers from all over Gujarat during the exhibition, stimulation of entrepreneurship locally.

The Nobel Prize series brought together large number of students, researchers, scientists from all over India who were hoping to interact with the nine Nobel Laureates who were attending the series.

India has a great potential to be a scientific power: Nobel laureates

Several Nobel laureates opined that India has a great potential to be a scientific power and should invest more in basic & fundamental researches. The themes of the dialogue were captured by artists as they were speaking to a huge gathering of scientists, students and general public as a part of the first Nobel Prize Series being held in Ahmedabad in conjunction with the biennial summit of Vibrant Gujarat.

The Programme christened as Nobel Dialogue saw active participation of nine Nobel Laureates including Dr. Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry, Dr. Richard Roberts, Nobel Prize Laureate in Physiology or Medicine, Dr. Harold Varmus, Nobel Prize Laureate in Physiology or Medicine, Dr. Randy Schekman, Nobel Prize Laureate in Physiology or Medicine, David Gross, Nobel Prize Laureate in Physics, Dr. Ada Yonath, Nobel Prize Laureate in Chemistry, Dr. Serge Haroche, Nobel Prize Laureate in Physics and Dr. William E Moerner Nobel Prize Laureate in Chemistry.

The dialogue was held in two sessions: 1. Basic or Applied Research? Fostering an Innovative Environment and 2. Local Research, Global Impact: Addressing Global Challenges. Interesting discussions ranging from getting rid of mosquitoes to tackle malaria, research for finding out new vaccines, genetic modification of food crops and the need for strengthening education particularly science education were discussed at these two sessions.

The first dialogue was introduced and moderated by the Secretary, Department of Biotechnology, Government of India Prof. K. Vijay Raghavan and the second by the Deputy Chairman, Nobel Foundation Dr Goran K Hansson. Several students and Scientists posed interesting questions to Nobel Laureates.

Dr. Venkatraman Ramkrishnan highlighted several areas of science in which India has the potential of strengthening its research base, one significant one being vaccine research. He also pointed out the necessity of linking research and education.

Dr. Richards Roberts pointed out that 125 Nobel Laureates have signed in favor of Genetically modified food crops and that opposition against them is unjustifiable as about 800 million people world over go without food every night. Dr. Randy Schekman said that India with a history of having had Nalanda University over 1000 years before the first university in other parts of the world should think of having a high quality affordable education system. The Laureates suggested that India can set up funds for undergrad students to develop their own research areas, a strategy which could direct some of the best brains towards research in their early years.

Dr Serge Haroche Nobel Prize winner in Physics underlined the importance of basic research for sustaining scientific curiosity and seeking answers to challenges that nature poses. He said that blue sky research is important, it may not cater to short term goals, needs trust and funding.

Dr William E Moerner Nobel winner in Chemistry insisted that basic and applied research could coexist and outlined the importance of curiosity driven innovative research. Dr David Gross Nobel winner in Physics pointed out that nature doesn't know the boundaries between physics, chemistry and biology and stressed the importance of dreaming big, being able to take risks & not be afraid of failure

The dialogue is part of the Nobel Prize Series, India 2017, formally inaugurated by the Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, on 09th January. The Nobel Prize Series Science Exhibition, also inaugurated by the Prime Minister at the Science City in Ahmedabad is meanwhile attracting large number of people. The five week long Science Exhibition being set up by the Nobel Foundation, with exhibits from the Nobel Museum, Stockholm, Sweden.

As a run-up to these events, a nationwide Ideathon contest was organised that invited ideas from students that could address any challenges faced by society. The ideas were reviewed by a panel of experts and about 150 students from across the country were selected and have been invited to participate and meet with the Nobel Laureates.

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed last year by Nobel Media and the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India for hosting Nobel Prize Series in India for the next five years.

After this agreement, a trilateral Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Department of Biotechnology of Government of India, the Government of Gujarat and the Nobel Media. Accordingly, the first of the Nobel Prize Series, India 2017 is being held as a prelude to Vibrant Gujarat to demonstrate how science and discovery underpins all enterprise and human well-being under the overall theme of “Science Impacts Lives”.

As a part of the Nobel Prize Series, India 2017 lectures are also to be held in Delhi and Bengaluru on 12th and 13th January, 2017.