I’m looking for the crazy ones: CNR Rao

Scientist and Bharat Ratna Dr CNR Rao said youth were obsessed with making money and lacked the curiosity that led to genuine scientific breakthroughs. “There is a value system problem in India… We are creating a generation of people who are only focused on making money and the intellectual quest is lacking… Unfortunately Bengaluru has too many normal people, where are all the crazy ones that science needs?” he said, during the 103rd Indian Science Congress in Mysuru. Bengaluru, about 150km from Mysuru, where the congress is taking place this year, is the country’s tech hub but very few people are really interested in science, he said during his lecture on ‘Doing Science in India’. One of the reasons China has raced ahead of India as far as ‘Doing Science’ is concerned is that their students are extremely hard working and ours are not today said Rao, who has spent 57 years doing research. “Many years ago when we were on par with China in research, we weren’t too competitive. Today, they’ve left us behind. They produce 2,300 PhDs every year,” he said, adding that publishing papers s crucial. “Unfortunately our papers are not getting good citations and not enough papers are being produced,” he said. “I do not want anyone to feel bad when I say this, but Indians are not hardworking. An average professor takes four to five tea breaks of an hour each, which leaves very little time for research,” he said. Rao explained that it is important for scientists to pick problems that provide them with scope to contribute breakthrough works instead of working in areas where many others were already doing research. “When I did my masters abroad, I learnt that the topic (problem) in which we do science is more important than what we do in science,” he said. He pointed out government apathy towards science. “But one cannot always go on asking the government. We must understand that no other democracy of our size has faced as many problems simultaneously as India. Therefore, industry must also begin investing,” he said.”If industry does not bear 35%40% of the investment burden for science, we will go nowhere. India has only about 10 to 15 years and if we don’t find ourselves on top of the world by then, we never will,” he said, reiterating the point he had made at IISc last year.He said scientists must be selfless and fearless, not selfish, and work with passion. “Great scientists have time and again declined positions and said their life is in the lab. How many of our scientists do that? They run to administrative jobs for Rs 10 more,” he said. “Science comes with passion, what money did people like CV Raman, JC Bose or Ramanujam get?”


Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/

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