IAS

Volume 1

PERSPECTIVE

On UGC: statement by three Indian science academies

IASc, INSA and NASI
On June 27th, 2018, the Government of India formally declared its intention to replace the University Grants Commission (UGC) Act of 1956 by the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) Act. The Science Academies offer their point of view.

PERSPECTIVE

Rewriting the Contract with Science

Gurpreet Mahajan
The social sciences stand at a critical juncture today; they have lost the capacity to intervene effectively and authoritatively in the public political discourses. Are our methodological practices responsible for this? Do we need to take a critical look at these practices and reassess them?

PERSPECTIVE

On the History, Politics and Science of Invasion Ecology

Ninad Avinash Mungi and Qamar Qureshi
The socio-political influence on conservation science has always been contested. One such arena, which has aroused much interest, is of biological invasions. Owing to the inherent paradoxes and dilemmas in defining geographies and impacts, invasion ecology was criticized for being value-driven.

BOOK REVIEW

Breaking the Silo: Integrated Science Education in India

Neeraja Sundaram
Breaking the Silo is a novel and engaging look at three very pertinent themes in the present time: (i) the persisting divide between Science and Humanities disciplines in Indian institutions of higher education, (ii) the existing contexts and future possibilities for integrating what appears to be ‘two cultures’ and (iii) bridging the perceived gap between the natural and human sciences.

RESEARCH

India’s Nuclear Energy Program

R Rajaraman
I describe the development of nuclear energy in India, its current status and its future prospects vis-à-vis the global trends in the nuclear industry that are also summarized. A short discussion on carbon emissions and global warming is provided to assess the contribution that nuclear energy can make in mitigating the issue of climate change.

PERSPECTIVE

Higher Education Commission of India: Challenges Ahead

N. Sathyamurthy
Now that the Government of India has decided to set up the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI), it is time to look at the challenges ahead. The University Grants Commission (UGC) will cease to exist. All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) and the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) will continue to function. National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) will continue too.

PERSPECTIVE

The ‘Public’ and the ‘Outreach’: Public Outreach of Science in India

Dipyaman Ganguly
In the 21st century, as the global scientific pursuits provide an enormous amount of new revelations about the natural world, the gap between lay public and the scientific community widens more than ever. On the other hand, scientific endeavours all around the world increasingly depend on popular support for such efforts, as the policy decisions are largely driven by popular perceptions.

BOOK REVIEW

Sacred Bovines - the ironies of misplaced assumptions in Biology

Douglas Allchin
This is an interesting book dealing with the Sociology of Science. The origin of experimental science in the modern sense can be traced to the 15th century Renaissance period. Of course, scientific inquiry was being conducted in many civilizations much before the European Renaissance.

PERSPECTIVE

A Policy Statement on “Dissemination and Evaluation of Research Output in India” by the Indian National Science Academy (New Delhi)

Praveen Chaddah, Subhash C Lakhotia
Research adds to human knowledge by addressing well-posed questions about the unknown. Science progressesonly when a new discovery is subjected to thorough peer-review and further validated by the community...

PERSPECTIVE

SERB and other sources of extramural support under the Ministry of Science and Technology

M. Vijayan
For decades, the Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC) of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) has been the most important source for competitive research grants in India. The Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) which recently replaced SERC, has turned out to be less effective than SERC...

RESEARCH

Arsenic Toxicity in Soil-Plant-Human Continuum and Remedial Options

Saroj Kumar Sanyal
Even though the widespread arsenic (As) contamination of groundwater in West Bengal (India) and Bangladesh has remained mostly confined to the Bengal delta basin, bound by the rivers Bhagirathi and Padma, the spread (detection) of such groundwater arsenic contamination has been reported from several states of India, as well as certain other parts of the Indian ...

PERSPECTIVE

Commonwealth Academies of Science Statement on Climate Change

The world’s climate is changing, and the impacts are already being observed. Changing agricultural conditions, ocean warming and acidification ...

PERSPECTIVE

Evaluate the Evaluations!

Raghavendra Gadagkar
Bad practices seem to spread very rapidly and go to near fixation, making it very hard to subsequently replace them with good practices...

PERSPECTIVE

On evolution: statement by three Indian science academies

IASc, INSA and NASI
The Hon. Minister of State for Human Resource Development, Shri Satyapal Singh has been quoted as saying that “Nobody, including our ancestors, in writing or orally, have said they saw an ape turning into a man. Darwin’s theory (of evolution of humans) is scientifically wrong. It needs to change in school and college curricula."

PERSPECTIVE

Science in the public sphere: Dissemination, discussion, and dialogue

Ramakrishna Ramaswamy
By its very nature, the scientific pursuit is a highly creative and individual undertaking. Today it has also concurrently become a highly collaborative enterprise ...

MEETING REPORT

Outcomes and lessons from the first CDRI-NRDC- industry conclave

Sabyasachi Sanyal, Saman Habib, Ritu Trivedi, K.V. Sashidhara, Kishor Mohanan and Amit Misra
The first Industry Conclave organized jointly by the CSIR-CDRI and the National Research Development Corporation ...

PERSONAL NEWS

Dr. Lalji Singh

L.S. Shashidhara
I woke up on 11th December 2017 with the news that Lalji or Dr. Lalji Singh (famously known as the Father of DNA Fingerprinting in India) died of a massive heart attack on the previous evening (10th December)...

INTERVIEW

Standing conventional wisdom on its head: An interview with Raghavendra Gadagkar

Raghavendra Gadagkar, Hari Sridhar
The motivation for this interview is the talk you gave in Young Ecologists Talk and Interact (YETI) conference in 2009, which was in the form of advice to young ...