Editorial

Whether it is chemistry, physics or any branch of study, the story is the same. Less people are interested in basic research which is the backbone of technology. In addition to this problem, a few brilliant students who choose the subjects like food chemistry and biochemistry make to the Indian MNC's as a stop-over to take off to the developed countries. But these problems are common even to engineering and medical students. Further, the disease of the falling standards in education is the biggest problem today. The National Assessment and Accreditation Council, whose ex- officio president, the UGC Chairperson is also the president of the council, is doing enormous work by defining what is good education, assessing the institutions to A++A+, A etc., down to C-. The better colleges do get an encouragement by this and become better. Unless it is mandatory to obtain good ranks to maintain their recognition more...

This year's Nobel Prizes were won by Prof. Martin J. Evans, professor of genetics from Britain, Prof. Mario Capeechi from U.S. and Prof. Oliver Smithies, also from U.S. Capeechi's work is uncovering the roles of genes in organ development in mammals. His work is in identifying the causes of several human hereditary malformations. By the technique of gene targeting, Evans and Smithies could identify the genes responsible for a particular disease and then "knock out" these genes. Particular genes could also be introduced into the system by E.C. cells (Embryonic carcinoma cells) from mice. These are derived by homologous recombination. Identification of genes (hundreds of them) responsible for a particular growth or disease, using EC cells as vehicles to carry information, knock-out the bad genes and introduce new ones and to find out therapy for the diseased genes - all these work have been individually studied independently by these scientists. more...

This year's Nobel Prize winner, Herr Dr. Gerhard ErtI has laid the methodogical foundation for an entire research field Surface chemistry. His outstanding ability to refine problems, his meticulous precision, his wide vision and ability to harness every single technique available to systematically identify the process, verify them by various other techniques is his forte, Electron spectroscopy has been used by Prof, ErtI from the description given in the news papers. By X-ray fluorescence emission and absorption, one can see the changes in the atoms heavier than Z = 10 or 11. By electron spectroscopy, one can study even very low atomic number elements. Spectroscopy can identify whether molecular nitrogen or atomic nitrogen has taken part in reaction. Catalysts are used widely in industries such as cars and petroleum refining. Apart from the qualities of Prof, ErtI as a scientist, he must have another tremendous quality not mentioned. His ability more...

Of late, many students who could not get admission in the medical courses in India were making a bee-line for foreign universities. Among them, Central Asian republics and China were the main countries. The fact that education in socialist countries is not costly was also one of the reasons. Recently, China has limited the admission of Indian students to thirty. The reason given was that the foreign students dilute the standard. Even if other countries advertise that a pre-knowledge of their language - French, German or Chinese is not compulsory, it should be impressed upon the students that unless one knows the language of the country, they cannot make full use of their visit. The result is bound to be bad because it will not be very wise to expect teachers and professors in other countries to know English, Hindi or Tamil and be able to teach in these languages. more...

Long time back, there was a trend in school education. To raise the level of standard in high schools, the set theory, calculus, PERT, optimization etc. were introduced right in the 8th standard classes. Later, they were shifted to higher classes. By comparison with other developed countries, our +2 education is as good as or even better than that in many countries. However, we have to give more importance for clear concepts. This is what is being wanted now by CBSE and IIT's. Yet, when we compare the eleventh and twelfth chemistry text books with the twelfth physics text, there is a glaring difference between the two. While Bohr Atom Model is treated in the twelfth class in physics, right in the eleventh class, quantum mechanical model, hybridization and chemical bonding are studied in chemistry. When one talks of atomic wave functions, atomic and molecular orbitals and probability densities, there more...

Considering the number of American tourists who make a bee-line for Ayurvedic massage and treatment in the holiday resorts, the attempt by the Government of India to create awareness of Ayurvedic Science among those in medical profession in foreign countries is welcome news. We are aware of the families of the great Vaids who practice Ayurveda, doctors who take up homeopathy for social service, and Siddha and Yoga Acharyas for curing diseases and maintaining good health. What we lack is sheer numbers. However, if the benefits have to percolate down to the masses, the government may have to open medical colleges for every system. The easier and faster method is to identify the experts in the field, request them to open and run those colleges with grants from the governments   state and central. Of course land and building and infrastructure will be needed. But to run them one needs men. Materials more...

The earth's protective mantle is getting polluted. All resolutions to reduce CO2 emissions have to be supported by finding alternate sources of cleaner energy. Wind power, solar energy, hydroelectric plants and nuclear energy are some of the sources which can help us to reduce pollution and in addition show the way to attain self-sufficiency in petroleum products also. We had been neglecting solar harvesting for a long time. Karnataka is making use of it in a big way. However for industrial consumption, hydroelectric power and nuclear reactors are the only sources which do not pollute and also produce power in sufficient quantity. For a country like India with 700 million people, to sustain our industries, we need to develop different types of power reactors and particularly those which are also breeder reactors to avoid importation of fuel materials. Our friendly nations had been and will be often under their own political more...

The percentage of students who take up the science stream is very small compared to the population and the need of our country. The field of options available for the students who try for medical groups are as good as any of the physical science stream. The range is from geochemistry to biochemistry, textile chemistry to pharmaceuticals. Whatever the field, one has to be prepared for a long trek to be a specialist in any field. A specialist is a research scientist who never assumes any result without experimentation. Innovation in the methods of analysis is also important. Artificial colours and pesticides in vegetables and fruits can be easily found out by paper chromatography just as petroleum products are studied. Science has to percolate to the common man. One studies the fastness of the colour of polyester fabrics as well as other dress materials. We feel the effect of radiation more...

When all of us are feeling that the person who got the first rank in AIIMS entrance exam must be in the 7th heaven, jumping with joy, we got a little jolt. The boy who got the first rank in AIIMS entrance and the 1636 rank in JEE (IIT), has already preferred to join civil engineering in IIT Delhi. This is not an isolated incident. If Savinay Kapoor got the first rank in AIIMS Entrance Exam, Satwik Dudeja got the only seat reserved for handicapped children in medical but Satwik chose to join IIT Delhi. He could get electrical engineering. If this is a question of pure taste, it is understandable. But the reason mooted by Savinay was that in order to specialise in medicine it takes much longer. True. Whatever may be the reason, the fact remains that many students prepare for both, some go for medical stream, and more...

Let us stop this "Marche Arriere" right here and now. After more than twelve years of school education and a few years in colleges, if our students cannot be trained to think of themselves as Indians first and Indians last, we cannot expect anybody else to take up this job. Economic or social backwardness has to eliminated/ not only physically but mentally. Forced segregation of the backward-economic or social, is a crime. But by voluntary segregation by attaching a tag to themselves, any section will only harm themselves in the long run.                    To flaunt anybody's social status or higher economic power is arrogance. To flaunt somebody's poverty and backwardness - real or imaginary is antiwisdom. It is not somebody's fault that one is born poor, but it is one's own fault if one does not work and earn and does not have the confidence in one's ability to win. Humility, more...


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