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‘Ek Pradarshini’ -- The celebration of Indian science and scientists

  • Photo : Purabi Deshpande / Research Matters
    Photo : Purabi Deshpande / Research Matters

Goa is a paradise for those seeking the sun and the sea. The coconut trees lining the shores, the bird calls from the mangroves, and the vast Arabian sea make for a perfect holiday. If you are in Goa until the 28th of February, you have a chance to see more than the sandy beaches and the tropical sun. It is the unique exhibition Ek Pradarshini 2018.

Ek Pradarshini 2018’ is a creative collection showcasing the best of Indian science and the scientists behind it. The elegantly caricatured portraits, as distinguished as those portrayed, are on display at the Kala Academy, as a part of the Nobel Prize exhibition. It may be recollected that Goa hosted the second edition of the Nobel Prize Series India from 1st February to 4th February. The exhibition, which was a part of the Nobel Prize Series, is on until the 28th February.

Organised by the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, the exhibition is a the first of its kind attempt to celebrate India’s science and scientists. The exhibition features 28 scientists, in no particular order, across many areas, whose work in India have impacted many lives -- a true realisation of  the theme of Nobel Prize Series India -- “Science Impacts Lives”. While names like Sir C V Raman or J C Bose may be familiar to many, the exhibition strives to bring the hidden gems like Anna Mani, Sambhu Nath Dey, Ronald Ross or Tessy Thomas, to the front.

The scientists showcased in the exhibition, have varied areas of study -- ranging from biology to nuclear science. They belonged to different parts of India, with a background as diverse as the country itself. For some, their Indian education had laid a firm foundation for their later success. For others, the skills learnt elsewhere inspired them to apply those back home. Some of them worked during the pre-independence era, under conditions very different from today. Yet some others showcased are living examples of the best of Indian science, toiling their way to achieve something bigger.

And in this diversity, lies unity -- their passion for science and the impact that their contributions have had on the society is remarkable. They believed that science is global and without boundaries. At some point in their life, they were either trained, collaborated, or even practiced their science in countries beyond India, with people across the world.

“The ultimate objective of Ek Pradarshini was to bring out these inspiring tales”, remarked Prof. VijayRaghavan, Secretary of Department of Biotechnology, in his address to the gathering at the Nobel Prize Series India event. He added that the list was not exhaustive and that the exhibition is a work in progress. “It is a humble effort to let the world know of the great work of these scientists”, he said.

The exhibition was also showcased during the seminar held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on the 5th of February, as a part of the conclusion to the second edition of the Nobel Prize Series. Hon’ble President Shri Ram Nath Kovind, who hosted the seminar, spoke about the need for our country in recognising its heroes -- the scientists.

The organisers of the exhibition brought out a small booklet containing the details of the featured scientists in English, along with a QR code to visit the exhibition’s website to learn more. They plan to bring the booklet in regional languages too. In addition, they plan to add a few more scientists, to the list, each year and make the exhibition a growing collective.

Here is a complete list of scientists featured in Ek Pradarshini - 2018.
Physics and Astronomy: Jagdish Chandra Bose, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, Rohini Godbole, Anil Kakodkar, C V Raman, Meghnad Saha, Ashoke Sen and Govind Swarup
Mathematics: S N Bose, D D Kosambi, P C Mahalanobis, M S Narasimhan, Raman Parimala, S Ramanujan, Sujatha Ramdorai, C R Rao
Engineering and Earth Sciences: Anna Mani, Syed Zahoor Qasim, Tessy Thomas
Chemistry: R A Mashelkar, C N R Rao
Biosciences and Medicine: U Brahmachari, Sambhu Nath De, P Maheshwari, K S Manilal, G N Ramachandran, Ronald Ross, Obaid Siddiq