Indian Science Congress 2011 to see five Nobel laureates

The five-day event will be held at SRM University in Kattankulathur.

Updated: Oct 04, 2010, 23:04 PM IST

Chennai: Five Nobel Laureates and several eminent scientists from across the world are expected to participate in the 98th edition of the Indian Science Congress (ISC) to be held here Jan 3-7, 2011, officials said Monday.

"To be inaugurated by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the theme of the Congress 2011 will be `Quality Education and Excellence in Scientific Research in Indian Universities`," ISC General President K.C. Pandey told reporters here.

The five-day event will be held at SRM University in Kattankulathur, near here, he said.
The Nobel winners who have confirmed their participation are Indian American Venkataraman Ramakrishnan, Thomas A. Steitz and Ada E. Yonath, who received the 2009 Nobel Prize for chemistry. Martin Chalfie, who won the 2008 Nobel Prize for chemistry, and Tim Hunt, the recipient of the Nobel Prize in physiology of medicine in 2001.

Queried about the ISC 2011`s theme being similar to that of ISC 2009 held at Shillong `Science Education and Attraction of Talent for Excellence in Research`, Pandey said: "The focus of the ensuing event will be on how universities can improve and contribute. We have been saying this for the past several years and even in earlier editions of ISC."

According to him, though India has the third largest higher education sector in the world, it has not been able to keep pace with the knowledge explosion.

He said higher quality of science education and excellence in scientific research in Indian universities is the key to success if the country has to become a knowledge superpower.

The innovations and challenges in science and technology required to solve societal problems are quite complex and demanding. There is a need to make radical changes in our educational system and our approach to scientific research, Pandey added.

"The five-day event will have 16 plenary sessions with each one covering different topics. We expect around 7,000 delegates," said SRM University Vice Chancellor P.Sathyanarayanan, who is also the ISC Organising Committee chairman.
He added that a Space Summit will also be held where space agencies like NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) of the US, Japan Space Exploration Agency and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will participate.

A Children Science Congress is also part of ISC 2011 where school children from different parts of the country will interact with the Nobel Laureates.