PM Modi will inaugurate the Science Congress tomorrow

BENGALURU: Since the consecutive editions of the Indian (ISC) have been marred by controversies around what the scientific community calls non-scientific claims, the ISC-2020, which will begin Friday at the University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS) here, it will be an event seen

The congress has a very relevant central theme of Science and Technology: rural development at a time when the agrarian crisis has taken over the country and the contribution of the agricultural sector to GDP has stagnated. The five-day event, which will be opened by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi , they will see more than 15,000 delegates, including scientists from India and 24 other countries, while more than 5,000 students have also registered.

With a focus on rural development, the 107th ISC, linked as the mother of all scientific conferences in the country, has chosen a topic with which most of the researchers with whom TOI spoke are relevant. In addition to the Children's Science Congress and the Women's Science Congress, which have been part of the ISC for some years, this year's edition will also feature a 'Farmers Science Congress' and more than 100 farmers who have been pioneers in the use of technology in agriculture will speak at the event.

... Discussions on policies and mechanisms to address agricultural distress and the empowerment of farmers together with issues related to climate change, biodiversity and conservation developed by the Association (ISCA) and the vice chancellor of the UAS, S Rajendra Prasad, are very necessary, Breakthrough India, a collective of scientists, researchers and rationalists who fight against pseudoscience and non-scientific claims, he said.

The organization has written to the ISCA, which organizes the ISC, urging it to avoid the type of speakers that the last editions of the congress have been attracting.

We want to remind you of the rather unjustified and unpleasant publicity that the last ISCs have received due to the non-scientific statements made by some speakers. For example, at ISC 2019, there were complaints about the birth of Kauravas with stem cells and test tube technologies, the existence of guided missile science and the different types of aircraft and airports in ancient times, etc., in addition to derogatory comments on the valuable contributions of Newton and Einstein, the letter, addressed to the general president of ISCA, Professor KS Rangappa, read.

He added that most of these statements, surprisingly, were made in the section of the ISC Children's Science Congress 2019, where the audience was largely made up of teachers and young students.

We hope that ISC 2020 strives to meet the stated objective of ISCA to promote and promote the cause of science. It is a breakthrough in the construction of a scientifically literate country and in shaping the younger generations empowered with critical thinking and scientific temperament as enshrined in article 51A (h) of the Constitution, the letter added.

The organization, although expressing its happiness at the fact that ISCA has duly taken into account the blatantly scientific presentations made from the ISC 2019 platform, said: We hope that the lapses in the selection process that led to this fiasco will be analyzed and addressed thoroughly. I hereby ask you to ensure that you avoid any possibility of recurrence of such non-scientific claims from the ISC 2020 platform.

After some non-scientific claims at ISC-2019, there was a torrent of anguish from the scientific community, and even Professor Vijay Raghavan, chief scientific advisor to the Prime Minister, had expressed great concern over such scientifically unsustainable statements.

Subsequently, the then general president of ISCA, Manoj Kumar Chakrabarti, also expressed his concern, and the association, according to press reports, then approved resolutions in search of statements from all invited speakers to ensure that they would not make any irrational and non-scientific claims , and to find an early copy of the summary of the speeches of all guest speakers.

The congress will have four public conferences on January 3 and 4, of which two will be for Nobel prizes: the German physicist Stefan Hell and Ada E Yonath. Materials scientist Subra Suresh and CN Manjunath, director of the Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Science and Research, will be the other two speakers.

While there are a series of plenary sessions, ISCA has also identified 14 sections, each of which will have multiple sectional sessions spread over five days. The women's science congress is January 5 and 6, while the children's congress is January 4, 5 and 6.