India can offer world the largest number of scientists. Hence there should be no aspect of Science we shall miss it out. Mega Projects in the area of science are indispensable and essential.
He said mega science programmes brings science and technology together, both the basic & applied sciences and encourages innovations. Also ,it is important to have the pursuit of scientific enterprises having some source in the Indian soil too. These were the opening remarks of Dr. Anil Kakodker, fromer Chairman of the Department of Atomic Energy at Bhabha atomic Research Centre, Mumbai while chairing the Plenary session on the subject” Mega Science in India’ organized under the aegis of the 100th Indian Science Congress being held at Kolkata today.
Shri Kakodker said country like India can not ignore any aspect of science. It is necessary for answering some of the most fundamental questions He appealed to involve cutting edge technology or technology of tomorrow. He said one can get hands on experience. India has significant experience. However in scientific terms they look disproportionately large. There is need to cultivate International cooperation in scientific ventures. He also, laid emphasis on the importance of Human Resource Development programmes attached with each mega Science Projects in collaboration with the industry.
Br. Bikash Sinha , the Homi Chair Professorship to the Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre (VECC), DAE Kolkata spoke on the status of India in Global Mega Science Scenario and Mega Science in India. Shri Sinha gave an account of his pioneering work in the field of Quark Glucon Plasma. He said India is now participating in a substantial way in many mega science facilities in the world such as CERN, FERMILAB, TRIUMF, RHIC, DESY and few others. Also,several mea science type of facilities are being established in India. These include ANURIB, Superconducting Cyclotron, Indus, GMRT, INO etc. Shri Sinha highlighted the need to increase the India based activities specially in the area of value addition and promotion of local facilities.
The other speaker was Dr. S.S.Hasan, Former Director, Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangaluru (Karnataka) who deliberated on “National Mega Projects in Optical Astronomy”. He said Two mega projects in optical astronomy have been proposed by the astronomy community in India;viz, the setting up of a National Large Solar Telescope and participation in the International 30 Metre Telescope Project. In the India’s 2m- National Large Solar Telescope (NLST) the objective is to study the solar atmosphere with high spatial and spectral resolution. Also, the main science goal of NLST include; A. Magnatic Field Generation and the Solar cycle;b. dynamics of the magnetized regions;c. Helioseismology; d. Long term variability; e. energetic phenomena and Activity; and f. Night time astronomy. He said after its completion in 2017, NLST will fill a gap in longitude between the major solar facilities in the world and will be for some years the largest solar telescope in the world.
The other mega project is the participation in the 30 (Thirty) Metre Telescope (TMT) led by a consortium of five countries, viz, USA, Canada, Japan, China & India. Construction of this telescope is scheduled to begin in mid-2014 on on of the summits Mauna Kea, Hawaii (USA). India’s share in the multi-billion dollar project is about 10%, and much of its contribution is through providing many of the key systems to the project. TMT is a segmented mirror telescope of 492 segments each of 1.44 m with integrated adaptive optics. The unprecedented light gathering power (9 times of current large telescopes) and angular resolution (~7 milli arcsec at 1 micron) enables TMT to probe the universe much deeper and the nearby universe in near finer detail. The science goals include: a) Direct imaging of exosolar planets and study of their atmospheres; b) Nucleosynthesis of first stars & galaxies; c) Cosmology and probing dark energy. This project is scheduled for completion in 2020.
Dr. Horst Stoecker, Scientific Director from GSI Helmholtz, Centre for Heavy Ion Research Germany spoke on “India at FAIR: A founding Member of an International Endeavor”. He said India is the third largest shareholder in a fascinating endeavor; the international Facility for Antiproton & Ion Research, FAIR in Europe.
He said FAIR is the largest fundamental Science Facility under construction worldwide with, investment cost of 1.6 Billion Euro in its initial phase. FAIR has been founded by Finland, France, Germany, India, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovenia and Sweden. From 2018 onwards, FAIR will provide unique opportunities for cutting –edge research in nuclear, hadron and particle physics, atomic and anti-matter science, high densityplasma and applications in condensedmatter, biology and the bio-medical and material sciences. Also, a global community of 3000 scientists from51 countries prepare for outstanding research in the APPA, CBM,NUSTAR and PANDA detector collaborations. A cutting edge accelerator complex with eight storageand superconducting synchrotron rings and several linacs is constructed with GSI Helmholtz, Centre for Heavy Ion Research in Darmstadt Germany. He hoped that India will play a big role with its ample manpower in this area.
Another speaker was Dr. G. Rajasekharan from the Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai. He soke on “Manpower for Fundamental Physics Experiments. He was concerned with the exodus of trained and qualified scientists from India to other destinations across the globe for want of better facilities, Job Security and proper facilities along with amicable atmosphere for work. He said unless a congenial work friendly environment clubbed with handful of pay packet is assured, the proposed commissioning of some of the major experimental projects in fundamental physics seems to be a difficult task.
The last speaker in the session was Dr. Rolf-Dieter Heuer, Director General, CERN, Geneva who spoke on “Science without Boundaries”. He highlighted the role of Indian Institutions that supplied useful input in the findings in the area of Higgs-Boson Particles. He expected the hope that with its expertise India will become an Assosiate meber of the CERN Project.