You are here

INSA releases a new book reflecting India’s journey in Science and Technology post-independence

  • Photo : Pramananda Barman / Research Matters
    Photo : Pramananda Barman / Research Matters

In a ceremony held on the 25th of April, 2018, in New Delhi, the Indian National Science Academy (INSA) has released a new book entitled "Indian Science: Transforming India. Impact of Science in Independent India". The book is a compilation of interesting stories about some of the significant developments in the field of science and technology in the country, and their remarkable impact on the society.

In his inaugural speech for the book release ceremony, Prof. A K Sood, President of INSA, mentioned that books like this containing the achievements of scientists would inspire the younger generation of India.

The editor of the book, Prof. L S Shashidhara from IISER Pune, presented a brief overview of the content. Commenting on the origin of the book, he remarked—“We often hear questions like -- 'what has science achieved for the common good in India?' or 'what is the benefit of pursuing research in a country where a majority of the population is still impoverished?' In that context, it struck us the need to communicate to the public about the importance of teaching and research in basic and applied science, since the solution to a majority of our problems comes from science and technology”. He also added that for sustainable growth and development, the future needs science more than ever, and it can happen only when science reaches the society.

Prof. Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology formally released the book. In his address, Prof. Sharma appreciated the stories in the book and mentioned about the importance of science communication for the society. Dr. Adita Joshi, one of the authors of the book, shared her thoughts on how personal interviews with renowned scientists influenced the narration in the stories, and that it was a learning and transforming experience for her.

The book contains 11 chapters compiled by four authors spanning a wide range of topics. The first chapter by Dr. Adita Joshi describes how a team of scientist at CSIR’s National Physical Laboratory struggled to make the famous ‘election ink’ or the ‘voter’s ink’. The second chapter “Information Technology: how a revolution was seeded”, describes the journey of information technology industry in India starting from the development of the first analogue electronic computer in 1953. The beginning and subsequent events in the Indian pharma industry has been described in the third chapter. The fourth chapter, compiled by Dr. Kavita Tiwari, explains how the plant tissue culture technology initiated a ‘second green revolution’ in the country.

The famous story of Amul, scripted by the great visionary Dr. Verghese Kurien, forms the fifth chapter of the book. The sixth chapter by Dr. Nissy Nevil describes the initiation and development of India’s diamond processing industry and documents the progress in the technology ranging from traditional diamond cutting to use of laser technology. In the 1970s, blood transfusion services in India were not technologically advanced, and glass bottles were used for blood transfusion. The seventh chapter describes how blood bags, developed by Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology and later by Penpol Pvt. Ltd., changed this scenario.

The process of development of fish farming in India and the contribution of Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture (CIBA) in the process has been described in the 8th chapter. The 9th chapter chronicles the journey of Shantha Biotechnics, the first company to establish recombinant DNA technology in India. The tenth chapter describes how DNA fingerprinting technology helped revive India's Basmati rice's identity. The story on ‘Improved Samba Mahsuri’, a variety of rice resistant to bacterial leaf blight, forms the eleventh chapter.

Gubbi Labs played a role in editing the chapters in the book and incorporating colourful infographics for the chapters in the book.

Want to book a copy of yours? Please feel free to contact Ms Seema Mandal on sci-soc@insa.nic.in for a copy of the book. INSA will soon put up some info on how to access soft copy and buy the printed version on their website.

The event also saw the release of another book titled “Opportunities and challenges for research on food and nutrition security and agriculture in Asia” Prof. Krishan Lal, Past President of INSA presented a brief overview of the book.