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07-01-2023

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Table of Contents



  • GS-3 Science and Technology
  • Science Congress: Why its glory days are over
  • Fact File
  • What is causing the winter heat wave in Europe?


Science Congress: Why its glory days are over

GS-2: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

 

Recently, the Prime Minister of India has addressed the five-day 108th Indian Science Congress (ISC) held at Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University. The focal theme of this year's ISC is “Science and Technology for Sustainable Development with Women Empowerment”, which witnessed discussions on issues of sustainable development, women empowerment and the role of science & technology in achieving this.



Indian Science Congress (ISC)

  • The first session of the Indian Science Congress was held from January 15-17, 1914 at the premises of the Asiatic Society, Calcutta.
  • The Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA) holds an annual Congress at different places.
  • Aim: To promote the cause of science in India.
  • It brings together scientists and researchers not just from the premier institutions and laboratories but also science teachers and professors from colleges and universities.
  • It offers a platform for their interaction with students and the general public on matters related to science.


Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA)

  • ISCA is an independent body functioning with the support of the DST.
  • Origin: The ISCA owes its origin to the foresight and initiative of two British Chemists, namely, Professor J. L. Simonsen and Professor P.S. MacMahon.
  • Functions
  • To advance and promote the cause of science in India
  • To hold an annual congress at a suitable place in India
  • To publish such proceedings, journals, transactions and other publications as may be considered desirable.
  • To secure and manage funds and endowments for the promotion of Science inlcuding the rights of disposing of or selling all or any portion of the properties of the Association.
  • To do and perform any or all other acts, matters and things as are conductive to, or incidental to, or necessary for, the above objects.
  • Introduction of focal theme:  In 1976, Dr.M.S.Swaminathan, the then General President of ISCA introduced the Focal Theme of national relevence which is now discussed in every section, committee and forum during the annual session. 
  • Task force: In 1980, the DST set up a permanent Task Force involving representatives of ISCA and chiefs of different agencies and voluntary organizations chaired by Secretary, DST, as being responsible for following up various recommendations on the Focal Theme.


Young Scientist's Award Programme

  • Introduced by ISCA from the 68th session of the Indian Science Congress in 1981.
  • Enables Young Scientists to present their research work with opportunities to exchange ideas in the relevant scientific problems with their counterparts and specialists.
  • At present, 14 such awards are given along with a Certificate of merit and prize amount of Rs. 25,000.


108th Indian Science Congress

  • The participants discussed and deliberated on ways to increase the number of women in higher echelons of teaching, research and industry, along with trying to find ways to provide women with equal access to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education, research opportunities and economic participation. 
  • A special programme showcased the contribution of women in science and technology was held, which witnessed lectures by renowned women scientists.
  • Children’s Science Congress was organised to help stimulate scientific interest and temperament among children. 
  • Farmer’s Science Congress provided a platform to improve the bio-economy and attract youth to agriculture. 
  • Tribal Science Congress provided a platform for the scientific display of indigenous ancient knowledge systems and practices, along with focusing on the empowerment of tribal women.
  • A mega expo 'Pride of India' was the centre of attraction, which shed light on notable developments, major achievements, and significant contributions to society made by Indian science and technology.
  • The expo signifies the strengths and achievements of the government, corporate, PSUs, academic and R&D institutes, innovators, and entrepreneurs from all across the country.


Achievements of Indian Science Congress

  • DST has established five Technical Research Centres (TRCs) in the existing autonomous institutions of the department to reinforce translational research.
  • DST has also collaborated with Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) in Impacting Research Innovation and Technology (IMPRINT) Project. 
  • The initiative expands the catchment of implementing institutions by adopting a more demand- driven strategy of solution development and incorporates specific externalities of the states of India so as to make end- user translation and technology adoption easier.
  • Department of Biotechnology (DBT) promotes innovative Research and Development activities in the field of Biotechnology through research institution, scientific organizations and universities. 
  • The department also promotes translational research through its public sector undertaking Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC). 
  • The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is pursuing cutting edge science and developing technologies, products and knowledge based services in diverse areas such as – Aerospace, Electronics and Instrumentation & Strategic Sector, Mining, Chemicals, Energy, Ecology, Agri, Nutrition & Biotechnology and Healthcare. 
  • To give more emphasis on translational research, CSIR is implementing two types of projects, viz. Fast Track Translational Projects and Mission Mode Projects.
  • India is being counted among the top countries of the world as India moved to 40th place in the Global Innovation Index in 2022 from 81st place in 2015. 
  • India is among the top three nations in the world in terms of the number of PhDs and startup ecosystems.


Challenges faced by the ISC

  • Lack of serious discussion, the promotion of pseudoscience, outlandish claims by random speakers, and the absence of useful outcomes.
  • Most attendees are from colleges and universities with limited scientific credentials and leading scientific institutions and laboratories only have a token presence.
  • The papers presented or the talks delivered hardly reflect the latest advancements in science.
  • The government has no role to play in the selection of the panelists or speakers, the papers to be presented, or the subjects to be discussed.
  • Though, the government provides an annual grant, which has been increased to Rs 5 crore from this year to organize the ISC.
  • Moreover, the salaries of the permanent staff of ISCA are paid by the DST. 
  • The event is also presented as a showcase scientific forum in India, and that does not often convey a very impressive picture of Indian science internationally.


Way Forward

  • Develop an alternative forum where top Indian and global scientists could be invited to talk about the latest developments in the scientific world and their impacts on our lives.
  • Such an alternative forum could further the cause of making Indian science more competitive, and could also lead to an increase in collaborative research with leading scientific groups and institutions.
  • They should serve as platforms to get youngsters and the general public excited about science, and help in the cultivation of scientific temper, which is one of the main purposes of the Science Congress

 

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Fact File


What is causing the winter heat wave in Europe?

  • Recently, several parts of Europe such as – Poland, Denmark, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Belarus, Lithuania and Latvia – witnessed an unprecedented winter heat wave.
  • It is expected that the continent is experiencing an extreme warm spell because of the formation of a heat dome over the region. 

Heat dome 



  • A heat dome occurs when an area of high-pressure traps warm air over a region.
  • The longer that air remains trapped, the more the sun works to heat the air, producing warmer conditions with every passing day.
  • Heat domes generally stay for a few days but sometimes they can extend up to weeks, which might cause deadly heat waves.
  • Formation of Heat dome
  • The heat dome’s formation is related to the behaviour of the jet stream — an area of fast-moving air high in the atmosphere – having wave-like pattern that keeps moving from north to south and then north again.
  • A high-pressure system gets stuck when these waves get bigger and elongated – they move slowly and sometimes can become stationary – which leads to the occurrence of a heat dome.
  • With the rising temperatures, it is expected that the jet stream will become more wavy and will have larger deviations, causing more frequent extreme heat events.
  • Climate change may also be making them more intense and longer.







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