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Indian National Science Academy's Inspirational Journey in 75 Years

Indian National Science Academy's Inspirational Journey in 75 Years
Item Code: NAZ864
Author: S.k. Sahni and P.N. Tandon
Publisher: Indian National Science Academy, New Delhi
Language: English
Edition: 2017
ISBN: 9788100000397
Pages: 310 (Throughout Color Illustrations)
Other Details: 11.00 X 8.50 inch
weight of the book: 1.44 kg
It gives me immense pleasure in presenting this volume Indian National Science Academy's Inspirational Journey in 75 Years authored by Shri S.K. Sahni and Professor P.N. Tandon. The volume represents the saga of perseverance of a few exceptionally talented and committed scientists and teachers of 1930s who laid a solid foundation for a scientific institution. Their zeal, dedication and sacrifices brought to fruition, through its long and eventful historical journey, an institute now known as the Indian National Science Academy.

The cumulative outcome of the articulated inspiration of the early luminaries of Indian Science viz., MN Saha, CV Raman, SN Bose, JC Bose, JC Ghosh, PC Mahalanobis, PC Ray, LL Fermor etc. paved the way - in several interesting milestones - in setting up of NISI in 1935 at Calcutta - the precursor of INSA of 1970 at Delhi as a professional scientific organization to act as a think tank on national scientific issues as well as an adhering body on behalf of the Government of India for representing the nation in ICSU.

The Indian National Science Academy's Inspirational Journey in 75 Years depicts Academy's scientific heritage, historical background and its various activities and programs. I congratulate Shri S.K. Sahni, former Executive Secretary of INSA and Professor P.N. Tandon, Past President of INSA, for having completed successfully this stupendous and valuable task. I also appreciate the tremendous efforts of the Publications Division of INSA in helping in its publication.

I hope that this valuable publication shall serve as a useful and informative reference source, providing significant insights into the historical events that have influenced the inception and growth of INSA during all these years, for the scientific community and general readers at large.

During our long experience of serving Indian Science and specially long association with Indian National Science Academy (INSA), an august body of science, we were deeply concerned to trace the genesis of establishing an autonomous institution such as an 'Academy' specially at a time when the main intent of the colonial power was exploiting India economically. During the first quarter of twentieth century there were many Indian scientists who received their higher education and research training in British universities and research establishments and returned to serve their mother land. Some of them were imbued with patriotic pride deeply concerned with national honor and had a vision for an independent developed country. The foremost among them was Professor Meghnad Saha (M.N. Saha), a brilliant scientist, who was committed to raising the standard of Indian Science and its application to national development. He published an article in 1930 in the Allahabad University Magazine, ‘A Plea for An Academy' expressing his concern about the state of science in the country and a need for an organization which can coordinate the scientific activities in India, bring scientific workers together as a community and liaise between scientists, government and the society and interact with overseas scientists.

This article caught the imagination of other like-minded scientists led to an intense discussion to establish an independent organization of science which can act as a Scientific Advisory Body in the country. To start with, this led to the establishment of the U'P Academy of Sciences in 1930. Subsequent developments including the creation of the National Institute of Sciences of India (NISI) have been described in the second Chapter on 'The Idea of the Academy'. It covers the detailed history and genesis of NISI in 1935, which was renamed as The Indian National Science Academy (INSA) in 1970. The Council and the Fellowship constitute the backbone of INSA.

Their constitution and functions have been described in the next Chapter, 'The Council and the Fellowship’.

The subsequent two Chapters deal with the initiatives taken by the Academy to promote the culture of research and encourage the young scientists to take up basic research. One of the important functions assigned to the Academy was to serve as the nodal agency to promote research in history of science which is elaborated in Chapter 5.

Efforts made by the Academy to disseminate scientific knowledge, to recognize excellent work done in India, including substantial improvement in rural economy, industrial development and the creation of an innovative environment is discussed in Chapter 6 & 7 under the heading 'Dissemination of Scientific Knowledge' and 'Recognition of Excellence’.

Since its inception, INSA has advised the Government departments and agencies on various policy matters related to science and its place in national development (see Chapter 8). This chapter also includes efforts made by the Academy in reaching the people by making them aware of what science can do for them and how a society can benefit from scientific endeavors.

To project the achievements of Indian Science abroad and to build close interaction with international scientific community and to participate in the international programmes and projects, which are important objectives of the Academy are described under 'Building International Bridges' in the ninth chapter. The circumstances and important developments for shifting the Headquarters of the Academy from the Asiatic Society, Calcutta to Delhi and Constructing a well designed and beautiful Science Complex with modern facilities have been highlighted in the tenth chapter titled 'Journey from Calcutta to Delhi'. Main activities carried out during landmark celebrations such as Silver Jubilee, Golden Jubilee, Diamond Jubilee and Platinum Jubilee have been highlighted in the last Chapter.

In order to provide a back drop to the environment leading to the establishment of the Academy it was decided to include a chapter on 'Beginnings of Modern Science in India: which gives glimpses of the progressive evolution of modern science in the country.

The task of retracing various developments and decisions of an Academy, founded 75 years back, has not been easy but we had the advantage to have served the Academy for more than three decades and having witnessed the growth of its programmes and activities which constituted the major landmarks. We also had a ring-side view of the development and the decision making process. Fortunately, we had access to the minutes of the meetings of various committees, council, annual reports, presidential addresses, newsletters, and other materials. Based on these, it was possible to put together the developmental history of the Academy.

It is always a challenge to work on such kind of publication where help of many individuals and organizations is sought and have to be acknowledged.

We are grateful to Prof. A.K. Sood, President and Prof. Raghavendra Gadagkar, Prof. Krishan Lal, Prof. M. Vijayan, Prof. G. Mehta, Past Presidents of INSA for their unstinted support and for encouraging us to work on this publication. This publication would not have seen the light of the day without their personal interest and involvement.

We are grateful to Professors S.K.Joshi, R.C. Mahajan, N. Sathyamurthy, N. Appajirao, H.Y. Mohan Ram, R.A. Mashelkar, G. Govil, V. Krishnan, G. Mehta, S.K. Saidapur, and other distinguished Fellows of the Academy, who at some stage were involved in serving the Academy as office bearers and agreed to review the draft of the publication. Their valuable advice, critical comments and suggestions have greatly enhanced the value of this publication.

To ensure that documents of historical Significance are available to historians of science, the authors have procured them from various sources and included them in this document as annexure.

Special thanks are due to the National Atlas and Thematic Mapping Organization, Kolkata (Dr. V.C. Jha), Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (Prof. M. Barma, Dr. Oindrila Raychaudhuri and Dr. K. Prabakaran), Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore (Shri G. Madhavan and Shri Chandra Mohan), National Academy of Sciences of India, Allahabad (Dr. Neeraj Kumar), University of Allahabad (Prof. A.K. Singh and Prof. B.K. Singh), Office of the Surveyor General of India (Dr. S.S. Rao), Centre for International Co-operation in Science, Chennai (Late Dr. B. Babuji and Shri S. Balachandran), Indian Institute of Geomagnetism, Mumbai (Prof. G.S. Lakhina), Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science, Kolkata (Prof. S. Bhattacharya), Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, Kolkata (Prof. M.K. Sanyal and Ms. Seema Bhattacharya), Dr. P.K. Shukla, Former Member- Secretary of the Indian Council of Historical Research, New Delhi, International Mathematical Union (Prof. M.S. Raghunathan and Dr. G. Mishra), International Foundation for Science, Sweden (Dr. Gram Haylor and Ms. Prikko Talano), The World Academy of Science (TWAS) (Ms. Gisela Isten and Ms. Sandra), Inter Academy Council (Prof. Bruce Alberts), International Council for Science (ICSU) (Ms. Bahmani Fard, Ms. Rohini Rao and Ms. Tish), The Nehru Memorial Museum & Library, New Delhi, The Association of Academies & Societies of Sciences in Asia (AASSA) for providing historical materials and photographs. Source of photographs/images wherever not indicated have been procured from the INSA archives.

Book's Contents and Sample Pages

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