Vigyan Prasar celebrates National Science Day; launches mobile alert service to inculcate interest in science
There could have been no better way to celebrate the National Science Day on February 28 than launching a mobile alert service to promote and propagate scientific and rational outlook. Vigyan Prasar, an autonomous body under the Department of Science and Technology, launched the service, Science@mobile, in collaboration with the Indira Gandhi Open National University (IGNOU).
Speaking at the launch at National Science Centre in New Delhi, O P Sharma, deputy director with IGNOU and project coordinator of Science@mobile, said scientific literacy is as important as reading and writing, and mobile phones are the best way to achieve it. Under the project, subscribers can receive daily or weekly alerts on scientific breakthroughs as well as science lectures and seminars, articles on latest scientific research and achievements, interesting facts on inventions, astronomy, space, planets, environment and health, quotes by scientists, humours related to experiments, tips for an environment-friendly life, a free guide to live a healthy life and biographies of national and international scientists.
Sharma said alerts will be sent out in three categories based on the level of scientific literacy of the subscribers: one, alerts for the layman; two, non-scientific population interested in science; and three, scientists and others associated with scientific activities. To subscribe to the alerts, one can either send an SMS to 09923051616 with SCIMBL in the subjectline, or visit http://scienceatmobile.ignou.ac.in to register.
Continuing with its tradition, Vigyan Prasar had also organised a discussion to commemorate the occasion. This year’s theme was on clean energy options and nuclear safety.
Addressing a talk on nuclear safety, Amit Roy, director of Inter-University Accelerator Centre, an autonomous research facility, said, the fears over nuclear radiation is because our senses do not detect its presence and there could be potential harm done to the biological systems by such radiation. However, all life on the earth is subjected to continuous radiation exposure from cosmic rays and from radioactive elements in the earth’s crust. Today, from medicine to energy generation, nuclear science provides hitherto unavailable techniques that are environmentally clean. Of course as with all technologies, this one also has to be handled with proper safety and precaution, Roy said.
RK Shivpur, advisor to University of Delhi, said in order to manage energy and environment in a sustainable way, we should train many more engineers and technologists each year. Sustainable development is not a matter of choice but a necessity. Nuclear energy is and will be part of the solution. Explaining his point, Shivpur said, now attention is being focused on carbon-free production of energy sources such as hydro sources, biomass and biogas and wind. But even added together, all these sources would not meet the human demand. Hence, we have to take recourse to the existing reliable and economically competitive carbon-free source, which is nuclear energy,” he adds.
The first day of the two-day event comprised of national level essay, slogan and poster competitions and quizzes.
National Science Day is celebrated on February 28 every year in memory of Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman. On the same day in 1928, the physicist had made public his discovery of Raman Effect, which earned him the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1930. Raman Effect says that frequency of light changes after it comes into contact with molecules. In other words, if a light beam passes through material, some of the outgoing light will have a different frequency from the incoming beam. This happens because light travels in the form of photons. When these photons interact with molecules in a material, they either lose or gain energy. This effect is also known as Raman Scattering.
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