Public needs to understand more about science: Prof Ashutosh Sharma
He speaks on occasion of celebration of Teacher’s Day
Kapurthala: Science today is too big, too diverse and too deeply inter woven into an array of societal issues which are equally diverse. It has profoundly impacted our lives, lifestyles, economy and ecology with the melting of barriers between Science, Technology and Innovation. Further, even in developed countries with high literacy rates, scientific literacy is shockingly low. The public needs to understand more about science if we want to see the end of fad diets, anti-vaccination movements and quick gobbling up of unverified information on the digital media. Hence, communicating Science in its simplest form is important. This was expressed by Prof. Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary Science & technology, GOI at the occasion of celebration of Teacher’s Day.
In his message to the participants, Alok Shekhar, Principal Secretary, Science & Technology said that COVID-19 pandemic is a drastic reminder about the importance of science communication. Policy-makers and researchers, communication practitioners and affected citizen have seen that measures to contain the spread of the virus would only be socially accepted if the communication between stakeholders is effective. These reflections are a stark reminder of how important it is for science communication to effectively place public interests at the heart of ‘how’ and ‘what’ scientific knowledge is produced, shared and applied. Pushpa Gujral Science City will have to play a role in assessing what information audiences are receptive to, what issues they take action on, and what behaviors they may be willing to change. PGSC, therefore, need to continually adapt and evolve to remain relevant, fresh and useful and also develop an effective strategy to evaluate their impact, he added.
Dr. Neelima Jerath, Director General, Pushpa Gujral Science City while addressing the participants said that in the past 50 years, India has made phenomenal progress in the S & T domain, but, the significance of research performed, has largely remained within institutional boundaries or peer reviewed research journals. A yawning communication gap still exists at the Science and Society interface. Bridging this gap is a challenging task, but it is recognized that undoubtedly the best mechanism is to engage with teachers and students of today, for better tomorrow. Science Cities, Science Centres and Science Museums assume importance as they act as a bridge between the knowledge generators and the knowledge users.
A D. Choudhury, Director General, NCSM in his concluding remarks at the occasion said that there are about 60 Science Centres in the country. By encouraging understanding and engagement with science and how to look at everything with a scientific perspective, these Centres could serve as important platforms for the empowerment of people and play multiple roles in societal development.