GoI to hold ‘Science Impact Lives -Nobel Series 2017’ in collaboration with Nobel foundation
NewDelhi , Jan 9:THE NOBEL Foundation has been in talks with the Government of India to hold the ‘Science Impacts Lives – Nobel Prize Series India 2017’ for over two years, Executive Director of the Nobel Foundation Lars Heikensten said two days before the event is scheduled to be held along with the Vibrant Gujarat Summit 2017. Heikensten is here for this Nobel dialogue to be presided over by Prime Minister Narendra Modi featuring nine laureates. Heikensten said that talks for this series began October 2014, which is a few months after the Modi government was sworn in. The event is being organised in partnership with Government of Gujarat, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Biotechnology, Government of India. It will be preceded by inauguration of the Nobel Prize series exhibition to be inaugurated Monday evening.
“In October 2014, we were here in Delhi, we had a dialogue with the government and wanted to find ways to come back and do these things. We wanted to do things in India and we were in contact with them. They took the initiative and suggested that this might be excellent opportunity with Vibrant Summit to reach out to more people. It is a high-level business event with the presence of Prime Minister also, and when we are inviting the Nobel laureates they get a chance to meet and interact with him,” Heikensten told The Indian Express.
He also added that the Nobel prizes for peace and literature had “political dimensions” and that some got the Nobel when they “perhaps should not have”.
The five-day ‘Nobel Prize Series India 2017’, where nine Nobel laureates — including structural biologist Prof Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, who was conferred the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2009 — will engage in inspirational meetings, question-answer sessions, lectures, interactions and roundtables is being held in Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar, Vadodara in Gujarat and Delhi and Bangalore.
Student interactions will take place in IISc Bangalore, NCBS Bangalore, IIT Delhi, IIT Gandhinagar, Gujarat University, Ahmedabad and MS University, Vadodara.
To a question on whether the Nobel laureates were judged on their political leanings, Heikensten said, “No, it is certainly not a common political theme and it is certainly not the idea that it should be a ‘party politics’ but when it comes to peace and literature, there is a political dimension in that, it is sort of unavoidable for peace and literature to some extent. In practical terms, when you talk about science, I think, there are different views but if you ask all the leading chemists in the world, they would fairly come up with a similar list but if you talk about peace it is inherently a more political issue and people would have very different views in the world.”
Explaining the process further, he said: “Each prize is decided by different organisations. Alfred Nobel said in his will that Swedish Academy of Literature should decide the prize in Literature, science prize by Royal Swedish Academy, while medicine is decided by National Medical School Karolinska and for peace prize it is the Norwegian Parliament. So, he did decide himself, but he also wanted them to choose the best among those who benefit the mankind in their areas…”
Holding a copy of the autobiography of Mahatma Gandhi in his hand, Heikensten, who visited the Sabarmati Ashram, expressed regret about Gandhi not getting the Nobel.
“I am sure there are people who you think should have got the prize and Gandhi is one. I think that the problem was Nobel not allowed to give prize to someone who is dead, they wanted to give a prize to him when he was dead and that was not possible. I personally think he would have been an obvious choice. There are some people who get the prize who perhaps should not have got the prize, afterward you realise that….,” he said.
Speaking about the purpose behind the exhibition, Laura Sprechmann, Deputy Chief Executive Officer for Nobel Media AB, the company that spreads knowledge about Nobel Prize-awarded achievements via digital and broadcast media, publishing and events, said, “We want to inspire students to raise interest in Science and also to reach out to decision makers on importance of Science which is a long-term endeavour.”