Future of science lies in India, China: Nobel laureate

The future of science lies in India, China and other Asian countries and these are set to dominate new scientific inventions and discoveries in the coming times, Nobel laureate George Smoot has said.

New Delhi: The future of science lies in India, China and other Asian countries and these are set to dominate new scientific inventions and discoveries in the coming times, Nobel laureate George Smoot has said.

"We are seeing a shift in science from all the advanced societies like US, Japan, etc. Basic research, making new inventions and discoveries, would be important to countries like India, China and Korea who will dominate the making of new discoveries," Smoot said here Thursday.

"The new economy is going to rest on their shoulders as it had rested on the shoulders of the western societies," he said.

The 2006 Nobel winner in Physics made the observation at the seminar, 'How can scientific creativity deliver the greatest benefit to humankind?', at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library here.

Smoot, whose basic work delves into how the universe began, shared the Nobel with colleague John Mather for their work in developing a satellite, COBE, which measured radiation from the earliest moments of the universe, 13.8 billion years ago.

The 69-year-old Smoot, who has also competed on and won a USD 1 million prize on the US show 'Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader' included in his seminar a description of the 2002 Hollywood sci-fi film, 'Minority Report'.

Screening a short clip of actor Tom Cruise engaging in a gestural interface in the film whose plot involves a futuristic technology which allows police to arrest people before they commit crimes, Smoot asked, "Why don't we do the things that he did in the film now that we have the suitable technologies?"

In his answer, he said "it is because of a lot of reasons like money and vision".

The Nobel laureate also talked about how people obtain new ideas and gave a description of the wonder material, high- quality graphene -- an invention which bagged a Nobel in the year 2002.

He said that the special water filtration potential of graphene was being harnessed by countries like Israel to become "game changers".

He also cited the example of the invention of X-rays to explain his point that creativity does not need a genius but "one who can make the connection between things".

"Scientific creativity can deliver the greatest benefit to humankind by well supporting basic science that allows transformative discoveries followed by strong development and implementation," he said.

Smoot's keynote address was followed by a discussion which also featured Pawan Agarwal, Adviser, Planning Commission, Lila Poonawalla of the Lila Poonawalla Foundation and Prof K Vijay Raghavan, FRS, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology and Science and Technology. The discussion was moderated by Mattias Fyrenius, CEO of Nobel Media. 

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