Principal Correspondent :
Every factor plays an important role in his or her own way as far as nation building is concerned. There are soldiers, there are players, there are frontline healthworkers, there are leaders, there are educationists, there are industrialists. Scientist is one such component, which, too, contributes a lot in the growth of nation. We have several scientists who have done immense work. Had they gone abroad they would have earned huge money. But they preferred to stay and serve their motherland. The basic question is, do the science teachers in colleges tell the stories of such scientists? Prof Sujata Deo, teacher of Chemistry with Institute of Science feels, the stories of the scientists should be told. “Most times we do tell the stories. But frankly speaking, not the way they should have been told. While teaching I do put some quotes by famous scientists and ask the students to find out the name of the scientist who wrote it. Every year February 28 is celebrated as Science Day. On that day we do ask students to take the information of any one scientist and tell his or her story. This we have made mandatory,” stated Prof Deo.
Dr Rajan Welukar, a Nagpurian who has a rare honour with him as he worked as Vice-Chancellor of two universities back to back-- Yashwantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open University (YCMOU) and Mumbai University. He is a professor of Statistics which he taught for some time in the past. He admitted, “Some teachers do tell the stories but most don’t. The basic reason is lack of reading. Teachers would tell stories of the scientists if they know. Simply knowing is also doesn’t help. They should study the person thoroughly. Because story-telling is an art. When teacher would tell the stories, he or she should be able to attract students, should be able to generate interest in them of listening to them. If stories are told then it can surely generate a temperament among the students to emulate the scientist.” Dr Mousumi Bhowal, Professor and Head, Department of Botany with Hislop College always tells the stories to her students. She not only tells the stories but ask students to get the information about the scientists. “In our laboratories we have kept the photos of the scientists who has substantial contribution in Botany and who are Indians. I always ask the students to see the photos and get the information about these stalwarts.
These students prepare a write-up and tell the stories one by one in a special class dedicated to such activity. We organise a talk series in the name of Dr Janaki Ammal, first Botanist woman to get Ph.D. Secondly we ask students that while giving their presentation they should write about any one scientist and tell others, which compels them to read about the scientist,” explained Dr Mousumi Bhowal. Dr Kamal Singh who is known for her passion for research and worked as Vice Chancellor of Sant Gadge Baba Amravati University admitted that stories are not told. Dr Singh has also worked as a professor of Physics at Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University. “Stories of scientists must be told to students. They read everything but not the stories of scientists. Some teachers share some information about the scientists if any reference comes. But that is not enough. For example, teachers must be able to tell students how a couple like Pierre Curie, cowinner with his wife Marie Curie lived, worked, did research. Life of scientists give lessons of life to us,” felt Dr Singh. bbbbbbbbbbbbbbb Inspiring stories of scientists appear in ‘Loud Thinking’ As part of its continuing belief in promoting the real story of Indian sciences and scientists, ‘The Hitavada’ has been highlighting inspiring stories of iconic Indian scientists, in the column ‘Loud Thinking’ every Sunday, in the process eliciting positive response from discerning readers. The scientists whose stories published till now are: Dr Raghunath Mashelkar, Dr C N R Rao, Dr Anil Kakodkar, DR. M S Swaminathan, Dr U R Rao, Dr Shanti Swaroop Bhatnagar, Dr Homi Bhabha, Dr Meghnad Saha, Dr Jayant Naralikar, and Prof Satish Dhawan. The series may continue for some more time.