Science Communication in India

Written by  //  January 13, 2011  //  Science & Technology  //  3 Comments

My trip to India this time presented me with an excellent opportunity to speak to students at Pune’s National Chemical Laboratory (NCL) and Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), and at Mumbai’s Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT). The topic I chose was something close to my heart, science communication, by which I mean everything but scientists talking to scientists (it is exactly what we are exploring here at C20s Science & Technology section.)

You can find the slides to my talk here. I think the slides will give you a rough idea of the structure of the talk. I essentially spoke about how effective communication forms the basis of almost everything we do and the same power can be used to aid the cause of science and the society. I hope that through my talk people realised that communicating science to the non-scientists can be a very fruitful and satisfying endeavour. However, the purpose of the talk was not just to convince the audience that science communication is good for the society at large but also that it is very easy to undertake and a lot of fun to be involved with.

I was very happy to see the response to the talk, especially at NCL where I also conducted a small workshop on science writing (slides here). But more importantly, it was a pleasure to know that science communication is already considered as an important part of the Institute’s activities. Although such things were unheard of when I was an undergraduate at ICT three years ago, these days many outreach activities have been initiated by such institutes. NCL, for example, heads an initiative called Exciting Science where researchers give talks to school students and also get involved in mentoring students on science projects. Under this initiative scientists also visit under-privileged schools to perform experiments and take science to students in an interesting and more engaging manner.

During my conversation with the brilliant people behind such initiatives (Guru and Magesh), I was introduced to a new monthly magazine called Brainwave started by the ACK Media. The magazine which started in December 2010 aims ‘to show young readers how amazing, relevant and all-pervasive science is.’ It is aimed at students of the age group 7-13, one of the most challenging and most impact-making age groups to talk about science to. Although I haven’t seen the first issue, I am hoping to get my hands on it soon.

All in all, I am extremely grateful to have gotten this opportunity to talk about science communication at these premier institutes of science in our country. Most of all, I am quite proud of the initiatives that have been taken and hope that they flourish to greater heights. Taking the metaphor of leading by example quite seriously, if institutes of the calibre of NCL consider science communication to be an important enough activity to involve their own scientists’ then I hope that other science institutes in India will take the cue and invest into an activity with many benefits.

About the Author

Akshat is working towards a DPhil in organic chemistry at the University of Oxford. He is on a mission to better understand the impact of science on the society and in the process communicate science to influence public opinion. He blogs about science on The Allotrope and about everything else at Contemplation."

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3 Comments on "Science Communication in India"

  1. Kamlesh Meena July 19, 2011 at 11:07 am ·

    happy to read your effort in science communication , very soon I will be regular part of your effort in science communication

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