A series of public talks, organised by University of Göttingen, will bring together experts from Göttingen and India on a single platform to provoke thoughts that foster ideas on diverse subjects. Students across schools and colleges will benefit from experiences of experts at Göttingen India Forum. Public talks, held every hour, will range from topics on environment, economics, leadership and fascinating experiments in science. Join, learn and experience!
Schedule for January 14th:
Science with Toys, 2 pm - 3.30 pm
Speaker: Dr. Arvind Gupta, IUCAA Sci-Pop
In 90 minutes, see how you can make toys from trash and learn fascinating science ideas developed and explained with glaring simplicity. School students are welcome to this demonstration conducted by the expert, Arvind Gupta himself. Visit www.arvindguptatoys.com for more information.
Genomic medicine: How to make drugs out of nucleic acids, 4 pm - 5 pm
Speaker: Dr. Krishna Ganesh, Director, IISER Pune
New drug discovery is a very complex process which involves a time span of 12-15 years from the discovery stage to making it available in market. It is also an expensive process with average costs ranging from $500 million to $800 million per new drug introduced in market. The process of discovery varies from serendipity to empirical and rational drug discovery. This lecture aims to review the current process of drug discovery and development. The lecture ends with the most recent concept of using genomic information to drug discovery process through antisense, aptamer and siRNA mechanisms. The challenges and potentials of using nucleic acids and their mimics as drug molecules will be highlighted with some examples from our own research.
Schedule for January 20th:
Nurturing science talent in rural India, 3pm - 4pm
Speaker: Padmashree Dr. M G Deo, Vice President, Moving Academy of Medicine and Biomedicine
‘Creativity’, which has been rated higher than knowledge by Einstein, is evenly distributed in all societies irrespective of caste, creed and geographic locations. On that score rural India which accounts for 70% of the nation’s population should have the same proportion of creative minds.
However, the actual number of ‘creative minds’ will depend on how effectively they are spotted and nurtured. Although tremendous strides have been made in science and technology in post independent India, almost all developments have been city-centric; rural India has been grossly ignored. In the process huge number of creative minds or ‘out of the box thinkers’ who resides in rural India has remained untapped. Obviously, if India were to assume global leadership in S&T it will have to develop strategies to tap its rural science talent.
These ‘gifted’ children have a different mindset and cannot be exclusively spotted through prevailing conventional examination-based systems, which predominantly test scholastic abilities. The Academy has developed a number of programs to tap and nurture science talent in rural India.
“Discovering Little Scientists” which is a two month summer vacation research program for class X student, is our flagship program. A documentary on the program with commentary in Hindi will be shown at the meeting. Other programs are (a) “Mobile science fair” (b) Hands-on technology workshops for class IX – X students and (c) Experiential learning (Learning through experimentation) for class VII – VIII. All programs are conducted in rural setting in village schools.
Impact of these programs on the broad issue of nurturing science talent in rural India will be discussed in the discussion session.
Dr. Madhav G. Deo is one of India’s leading medical scientists whose work is widely recognized and cited internationally especially in the fields of protein energy malnutrition, endemic goiter, anti-leprosy vaccine, tobacco liked oral cancer and growth modulators. He has published more than 100 original papers. To promote research-embedded medical education he organized for the first time in this part of the world, two National Medical Students’ Research Conferences in 2006 and 2008 in Pune. This is a trendsetting event in the history of medicine in India. He obtained MBBS from Gajra Raja Medical College, Gwalior and MD, PhD from All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi.
He was a professor of Pathology at the AIIMS (1974-78), Director Cancer Research Institute (1978-95). He is a member of all prestigious national Science and Medical Academies. He was perhaps the youngest medical scientists to have been elected as a fellow of INSA and was its Hon. Secretary (Biology) between1978-82. In recognition of his contributions to medical research, the Govt. of India decorated him with Padmashree in 1990. Even 10 years after retirement Dr. Deo is very active developing new approaches in medical education and research. We are in the “knowledge century” and era of globalization. Dr. Deo along with some leading doctors and scientists have established the ‘Moving Academy of Medicine and Biomedicine’ in 2001 to meet these challenges. Under the aegis of the Academy he has developed a novel concept of Mobile Information and Technology Workshops to close this gap taking new knowledge to students doorsteps.Session 2:
The Role of Cycling, 4 pm - 5pm
Travelling in a city is a difficult, exhausting, time-consuming, stressful and an often expensive experience. The immense congestion, noise, air pollution and rising number of accidents plays on everyone’s minds, be you rich or poor, student or professor, young or old, man or woman.
Is a solution from all this possible? How can we create a world class city (and what do we mean by “world class” anyway)? Surprisingly, the modest (ignored, dismissed, derided . . .) cycle may hold the key. Thinking about cycling in a city can lead us to rethink the city, its function and form, and our place in it.
Speaker Profile: Ranjit Gadgil
Ranjit has been obsessed with the idea of creating walkable, cyclable cities (with good public transport of course) and works at Parisar, a Pune-based NGO (www.parisar.org), to propagate them. This involves working on policy, standards and projects, advocacy and public awareness and often fighting against bad ideas (like flyovers!).
He graduated from IIT Kanpur, getting a Masters in Physics, pursued post-graduate studies at Cornell University and worked as an IT consultant for a while before returning to India. Ranjit has been associated with various NGOs working on issues such as education for out-of-school children, waste pickers and urban governance. He almost exclusively uses a cycle to get around in Pune.