Indian Science Congress Association
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Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA) is a premier scientific organisation of India with headquarters at Kolkata, West Bengal. The association started in the year 1914 in Kolkata and it meets annually in the first week of January every year. Today, it has a membership strength of more than 30,000 scientists.
- 1 Genesis
- 2 Objectives
- 3 Indian Science Congress sessions
- 3.1 First Congress
- 3.2 Silver Jubilee
- 3.3 34th Edition – Participation of foreign scientists
- 3.4 Golden Jubilee
- 3.5 Diamond Jubilee
- 3.6 63rd Edition – Introduction of focal theme
- 3.7 67th Edition – Setting up of a task force
- 3.8 Platinum Jubilee
- 3.9 98th edition
- 3.10 99th Edition
- 3.11 Centenary edition
- 4 Sections, committees and forums of ISCA
- 5 Interaction with foreign scientific academies/associations
- 6 Conflict within the Indian science system
- 7 Sessions of Indian Science Congress
- 8 References
- 9 External links
The Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA) owes its origin to the foresight and initiative of two British chemists, namely, Professor J. L. Simonsen and Professor P. S. MacMahon. It occurred to them that scientific research in India might be stimulated if an annual meeting of research workers somewhat on the lines of the British Association for the Advancement of Science could be arranged.
The Association was formed with the following objectives :
- 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 including 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.
Indian Science Congress sessions
The first meeting of the congress was held from 15–17 January 1914 at the premises of the Asiatic Society, Calcutta. Honorable justice Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee, the then Vice Chancellor of the University of Calcutta presided over the Congress. One hundred and five scientists from different parts of India and abroad attended it. Altogether 35 papers under 6 different sections, namely Botany, Chemistry, Ethnography, Geology, Physics and Zoology were presented.
The Silver Jubilee Session of the Science Congress was held at Calcutta in 1938 under the presidency of Lord Rutherford of Nelson but due to his sudden death, Sir James Jeans took the chair. It was at this Jubilee Session that the participation of foreign scientists in session of the Indian Science Congress was first initiated.
34th Edition – Participation of foreign scientists
The 34th Annual Session of the Indian Science Congress was held at Delhi in 3–8 January 1947 with Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister of India, as General president. Pandit Nehru's personal interest in the Science Congress continued ever since and there had been hardly any session which he did not attend. He has immensely enriched the activities of the Congress by his sustained interest in the development of scientific atmosphere in the country, particularly among young generations. In fact from 1947, programme for inviting representatives from foreign societies and academies was included in the Science Congress. This trend still continues with the support of the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India.
The Science Congress celebrated its Golden Jubilee in October 1963 at Delhi with Prof.D. S. Kothari as General president. On this occasion two special publications were brought out:
- A short History of the Indian Science Congress Association and
- Fifty Years of Science in India (in 12 volumes, each volume containing reviews of particular branch of science)
The Diamond Jubilee Session of the Science Congress was held at Chandigarh in 3–9 January 1973, under the presidency of Dr.S.Bhagavantam. On this occasion two special publications were brought out:
- A Decade (1963–72) Indian Science Congress Association (with life-sketches of General presidents) and
- A Decade (1963–72) of Science in India(in section-wise).
63rd Edition – Introduction of focal theme
The year 1976 witnessed a significant departure in the trend of deliberations during the congress. It was being felt for sometime that such a gathering of scientists, covering a wide spectrum ought to be seized of national issues that have scientific and technological implications. In 1976, Dr. M. S. Swaminathan, the then General President of ISCA introduced the Focal Theme of national relevance which is now discussed in every section, committee and forum during the annual session. These apart, several plenary sessions are organised around various facets of the Focal Theme in which scientists and technologists as well as policy makers and administrators interact with one another. ISCA thus became a platform where members from different disciplines and from different walks of life could contribute to discussions on the Focal Theme.
67th Edition – Setting up of a task force
Another significant breakthrough was made in 1980 when the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India, 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. Every year follow-up actions on recommendations made in the previous Science Congress are discussed at a General Session organized by DST during the Science Congress. Through this process, the Indian Science Congress Association has been contributing to the development of Science in general and National Science Policy, in particular.
The Indian Science Congress Association celebrated the seventy-fifth year of its inception, popularly called otherwise, Platinum Jubilee, in 1988, with Prof. C. N. R. Rao as General president. Keeping this in view, a special brochure, entitled "Indian Science Congress Association-Growth & Activities" was published so as to highlight the programmes of the Association over the years. The main programmes were:
- Bringing out special publication on the occasion of the Platinum Jubilee
- Presentation of Plaques to the General presidents of the Association
- Establishment of Platinum Jubilee Lectures to be organised in each section during the annual session of the Science Congress and
- Extension of the recent activities of the ISCA and its further diversification to generate scientific temper and popularise science
The 5-day-long session, from 3 to 7 January 2011, at the Campus of SRM University, Chennai was inaugurated by prime minister Manmohan Singh on 3 January 2011. The focal theme of this session was: "Quality education and excellence in scientific research in Indian universities". The prime minister said: "The Indian scientific community must apply its research findings and translate them into marketable products for the country to realize the true benefits of scientific progress. At the same time, he cautioned on "illiberal" uses of technology and cited use of nuclear weapons, applications of synthetic chemistry in agriculture and in poison gases and "perverse use" of genetics in Nazi Germany to drive home his point.
Nobel laureates Amartya Sen, Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, Ada Yonath, Thomas A. Steitz, Tim Hunt and Martin Chalfie delivered special lectures at the congress. Venkata Ramakrishnan inaugurated the parallel Children's Science Congress on Tuesday, 4 January 2011.
The five-day, 99th edition of the ISCA, from 3 to 7 January 2012 was hosted by KIIT University and National Institute of Science Education and Research(NISER) in Bhubaneswar, Orissa. It saw the participation of more than 15000 delegates, which included 500 foreign scientists and 20 Nobel laureates. It was inaugurated by the incumbent Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh. On its sidelines, the first Women's Science Congress was inaugurated by Nirupama Rao, India's ambassador to United States of America and the Children's Science Congress was inaugurated by the former President of India, A. P. J. Abdul Kalam.
The 100th edition was hosted by the University of Calcutta which is in the city of Kolkata from 3 to 7 January 2013. The theme of the Centenary Congress was, “Science for shaping the future of India.” It was inaugurated by the incumbent President of India Pranab Mukherjee in the presence of the incumbent Prime Minister of India Dr.Manmohan Singh and the incumbent Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee.
Sections, committees and forums of ISCA
From a modest beginning of only hundred and five members, ISCA has grown into a strong fraternity with more than ten thousand members as of 2012. Only thirty-five papers were presented at the first Congress, a number that has risen to nearly one thousand.
In 2000, there were sixteen sections, including Agricultural Science, Anthropology & Archaeology, Biochemistry, Biophysics & Molecular Biology, Botany, Chemistry, Computer science, Earth system science, Engineering science, Material science, Mathematics, Medical & Veterinary sciences, Physics, Physiology, Psychology & Educational Science, Statistics, Zoology, Entomology & Fisheries;
Two committees, including Home science and Science & Society;
There are now fourteen sections, including Agriculture and Forestry sciences, Animal, Veterinary and Fishery sciences, Anthropological and Behavioral sciences (including Archaeology and Psychology & Educational sciences), Chemical science, Earth system science, Engineering science, Environmental science, Information and Communication science & technology (including Computer science), Material science, Mathematical science (including Statistics), Medical science (including Physiology), New Biology (including Biochemistry, Biophysics & Molecular Biology; and Biotechnology), Physical science, Plant science;
Only one committee – that of Science & Society.
Interaction with foreign scientific academies/associations
After independence ISCA has been actively represented in various foreign scientific academies/associations, namely British Association for the Advancement of Science, American Association for the Advancement of Science, French Academy of Sciences, Bangladesh Academy of Sciences, Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science, etc. with a view to have a first hand knowledge on topics of mutual interest.
Conflict within the Indian science system
ISCA has Corruption in India is a major problem and the science sector is no exception. ISCA has served as a platform to discuss the issues facing Indian scientists, with some calling for transparency, a meritocratic system, and an overhaul of the bureaucratic agencies that oversee science and technology. In her commentary on the centenary session of ISCA, Sumit Bhaduri stated, “[t]he challenges of turning Indian science into part of an innovation process are many. … Many competent Indian scientists aspire to be ineffectual administrators [due to administrative power and political patronage], rather than do the kind of science that makes a difference.” Prime minister Manmohan Singh spoke at the 99th Indian Science Congress and commented on the state of the sciences in India, after an advisory council informed him there were problems with "the overall environment for innovation and creative work" and a 'warlike' approach was needed.
Sessions of Indian Science Congress
|Session||Year||Place||General President||Title of the presidential address|
|1st||1914||Kolkata||Ashutosh Mukherjee||About Science Congress|
|2nd||1915||Chennai||W. B. Bannermann||The importance of knowledge of biology of medical, sanitary and scientific men working in the tropics|
|3rd||1916||Lucknow||Sidney J. Burrard||The plains of northern India and their relationship to the Himalayan mountains|
|4th||1917||Bangalore||Alfred Gibbs Bourne||On scientific research|
|5th||1918||Lahore||Gilbert T. Walker||On teaching of science|
|6th||1919||Mumbai||Leonard Rogers||Researches on cholera|
|7th||1920||Nagpur||Prafulla Chandra Roy||Dawn of science in modern India|
|8th||1921||Kolkata||Rajendranath Mookerjee||On science and industry|
|9th||1922||Chennai||C. S. Middlemiss||Relativity|
|10th||1923||Lucknow||M. Visvesvaraya||Scientific institutions and scientists|
|11th||1924||Bangalore||N. Annandale||Evolution convergent and divergent|
|12th||1925||Varanasi||M. O. Forster||On experimental training|
|13th||1926||Mumbai||Albert Howard||Agriculture and science|
|14th||1927||Lahore||J. C. Bose||Unity of life|
|15th||1928||Kolkata||J. L. Simonsen||On chemistry of natural products|
|16th||1929||Chennai||C. V. Raman||On Raman Effect|
|17th||1930||Allahabad||C. S. Christopher||The science and disease|
|18th||1931||Nagpur||R. B. Seymour Sewell||The problem of evolution experimental modification of bodily structure|
|19th||1932||Bangalore||Lala Shiv Ram Kashyap||Some aspects of the Alpine vegetation of the Himalaya and Tibet|
|20th||1933||Patna||Lewis L. Fermor||The place of geology in the life of a nation|
|21st||1934||Mumbai||Meghnad Saha||Fundamental cosmological problems|
|22nd||1935||Kolkata||J. H. Hutton||Anthropology and India|
|23rd||1936||Indore||U. N. Brahmachari||The Role of science in the recent progress of medicine|
|24th||1937||Hyderabad||T. S. Venkataraman||The Indian village – its past, present and future|
|25th||1938||Kolkata||James Jeans (Lord Rutherford of Nelson died prematurely)||Researches in India and in Great Britain|
|26th||1939||Lahore||J. C. Ghosh||On research in Chemistry in India|
|27th||1940||Chennai||Birbal Sahni||The Deccan Traps: an episode of the Tertiary era|
|28th||1941||Varanasi||Ardeshir Dalal||Science and industry|
|29th||1942||Vadodra||D. N. Wadia||The making of India|
|30th||1943||Kolkata||D. N. Wadia||Minerals’ share in the war|
|31st||1944||Delhi||S. N. Bose||The Classical Determinism and the Quantum Theory|
|32nd||1945||Nagpur||Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar||Give science a chance|
|33rd||1946||Bangalore||M. Afzal Hussain||The food problem of India|
|34th||1947||Delhi||Jawaharlal Nehru||Science in the service of the nation|
|35th||1948||Patna||Ram Nath Chopra||Rationalisation of medicine in India|
|36th||1949||Allahabad||K. S. Krishnan|
|37th||1950||Pune||P. C. Mahalanobis||Why statistics?|
|38th||1951||Bangalore||H. J. Bhabha||The present concept of the physical world|
|39th||1952||Kolkata||J. N. Mukherjee||Science and our problems|
|40th||1953||Lucknow||D. M. Bose||The living and the non-living|
|41st||1954||Hyderabad||S. L. Hora||Give scientists a chance|
|42nd||1955||Vadodra||S. K. Mitra||Science and progress|
|43rd||1956||Agra||M. S. Krishnan||Mineral resources and their problems|
|44th||1957||Kolkata||B. C. Roy||On science for human welfare and development of the country|
|45th||1958||Chennai||M. S. Thacker||Grammar of scientific development|
|46th||1959||Delhi||A. L. Mudaliar||Tribute to basic sciences|
|47th||1960||Mumbai||P. Parija||Impact of society on science|
|48th||1961||Roorkee||N. R. Dhar||Nitrogen problem|
|49th||1962||Cuttack||B. Mukherji||Impact of life sciences on man|
|50th||1963||Delhi||D. S. Kothari||Science and the universities|
|51st||1964||Kolkata||Humayun Kabir||Science and the state|
|53rd||1966||Chandigarh||B. N. Prasad||Science in India|
|54th||1967||Hyderabad||T. R. Seshadri||Science and national welfare|
|55th||1968||Varanasi||Atma Ram||Science in India – some aspects|
|56th||1969||Mumbai||A. C. Joshi (A. C. Banerjee died prematurely)||A breathing spell:plant sciences in the service of man|
|57th||1970||Kharagpur||L. C. Verman||Standardization: a triple point|
|58th||1971||Bangalore||B. P. Pal||Agricultural science and human welfare|
|59th||1972||Kolkata||W. D. West||Geology in the service of India|
|60th||1973||Chandigarh||S. Bhagavantam||Sixty years of science in India|
|61st||1974||Nagpur||R. S. Mishra||Mathematics – queen or handmaid|
|62nd||1975||Delhi||Asima Chatterjee||Science and technology in India: present and future|
|63rd||1976||Waltair||M. S. Swaminathan||Science and integrated rural development|
|64th||1977||Bhubaneswar||H. N. Sethna||Survey, conservation and utilisation of resources|
|65th||1978||Ahmedabad||S. M. Sircar||Science, education and rural development|
|66th||1979||Hyderabad||R. C. Mehrotra||Science and technology in India during the coming decades|
|67th||1980||Jadavpur||A. K. Saha||Energy strategies for India|
|68th||1981||Varanasi||A. K. Sharma||Impact of development of science and technology on environment|
|69th||1982||Mysore||M. G. K. Menon||Basic Research as an integral component of self-reliant base of science and technology|
|70th||1983||Tirupati||B. Rama Chandra Rao||Man and the ocean – resource and development|
|71st||1984||Ranchi||R. P. Bambah||Quality science in India – ends and means|
|72nd||1985||Lucknow||A. S. Paintal||High altitude studies|
|73rd||1986||Delhi||T. N. Khoshoo||Role of science and technology in environment management|
|74th||1987||Bangalore||Archana Sharma||Resources and human well-being-inputs from science and technology|
|75th||1988||Pune||C. N. R. Rao||Frontiers in science and technology|
|76th||1989||Madurai||A. P. Mitra||Science and technology in India:technology missions|
|77th||1990||Kochi||Yash Pal||Science in society|
|78th||1991||Indore||D. K. Sinha||Coping with natural disaster: an integrated approach|
|79th||1992||Vadodra||Vasant Gowariker||Science, population and development|
|80th||1993||Goa||S. Z. Qasim||Science and quality of life|
|81st||1994||Jaipur||P. N. Shrivastava||Science in India: excellence and accountability|
|82nd||1995||Kolkata||S. C. Pakrashi||Science, technology and industrial development of India|
|83rd||1996||Patiala||U. R. Rao||Science and technology for achieving food, economic and healthy security|
|84th||1997||Delhi||S. K. Joshi||Frontiers in science and engineering, and their relevance to national development|
|85th||1998||Hyderabad||P. Rama Rao||Science & Technology in Independent India : Retrospect and Prospect|
|86th||1999||Chennai||Manju Sharma||New bioscience: opportunities and challenges as we move into the next millennium|
|87th||2000||Pune||R. A. Mashelkar||Indian science and technology into the next millennium|
|88th||2001||Delhi||R. S. Paroda||Food, nutrition and environmental security|
|89th||2002||Lucknow||S. K. Katiyar||Health care, education and information technology|
|90th||2003||Bangalore||K. Kasturirangan||Frontiers of science and cutting-edge technologies|
|91st||2004||Chandigarh||Asis Dutta||Science and society in the twenty first century : quest for excellence|
|92nd||2005||Ahmedabad||N. K. Ganguly||Health technology as fulcrum of development for the nation|
|93rd||2006||Hyderabad||I. V. Subba Rao||Integrated rural development: science and technology|
|94th||2007||Annamalainagar||Harsh Gupta||Planet Earth|
|95th||2008||Visakhapatnam||Ramamurthi Rallapalli||Knowledge Based Society Using Environmentally Sustainable Science And Technology|
|96th||2009||Shillong||T. Ramasami||Science Education and Attraction of Talent for Excellence in Research|
|97th||2010||Thiruvananthapuram.||G. Madhavan Nair||Science & Technology of 21st Century – National Perspective|
|98th||2011||Chennai||K. C. Pandey||Quality education and excellence in science research in Indian Universities.|
|99th||2012||Bhubaneshwar||Geetha Bali||Science And Technology for Inclusive Innovation- Role of Women|
|100th||2013||Kolkata||Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh||Science for shaping the future of India|
|101st||2014||Jammu||Prime Minister||Innovations in Science & Technology for Inclusive Development|
- "PM inaugurates 98th Science Congress in Chennai". CyberMedia News India Online. 3 January 2011. Retrieved 24 November 2011.
- "100th Indian Science Congress, Kolkata 2013". The Indian Science Congress Association.
- "Indian Scientists Claim Lab Corruption". ScienceNOW. 23 January 1998.
- Singh, Mahendra Pratap (13 February 2010). "GROUND REPORT INDIA: Without prejudice, fingers point to Rs. 50.00 Lakhs financial embezzlement by Dr. R. Tuli, Director".
- Ayyadurai, VA Shiva (16 December 2012). "VA Shiva's Lecture at Indian Science Congress Centenary".
- Bhaduri, Sumit (8 January 2013). "Indian science must break free from the present bureaucratic culture to come up with big innovative ideas". Times of India.
- Jayaraman, K.S. (6 January 2012). "Indian science in need of overhaul". Nature.
- Hindustan Times dated 4 and 5 January 2011