MIEF chaired a session in the XXXVII Indian Social Science Congress in Aligarh Muslim University on 28th December. The thematic session was focused on “Science Popularization and Science Communication”.
Dr Uday Kakroo chaired and introduced the session . The panelists were Dr. Raakhi Mehra, Ms. Suman Srivasatav, Professor Rakesh Mohan, Ms. Puneeta Malhotra and Air Marshal Retd. Dr. Lal Ji Verma.
Dr Uday Kakroo’s introduction and opening comments:
Before I introduce to you my team who would speak and interact with you on various aspects of the topic assigned to me, I have a question bothering me and which I would like to share with you and hope our experts and all of you would throw some light on and reach to some conclusion at the end of this session.
My understanding is that all of us communicate science daily in one way or the other, irrespective of our level of education but not all of us justify or give proper explanation to what we are communicating. e.g. when in home parents ask kids to wash hands properly before eating to avoid falling sick. We accept this and do not question wisdom behind the statement.
The question is: Has science been communicated here? My answer is no because had I been told that by washing my hands I would wash my hands off bacteria or for that matter micro-organisms which react in the body if ingested with food and cause different types of ailments, science would have been communicated.
Another example: While in school, we stop students from eating small pieces of paper or chalk which is a habit some students develop to pass time when being taught is boring to them or they are not too attentive to what is being taught. The teacher does communicate science here but not fully because she does not tell what is science behind it like by eating paper, we are eating cellulose which is not digested by stomach or by chalk we are at risk to ingest limestone. On the contrary if teacher would be telling these simple things also, she would be communicating science in perfection.
When any scientific news appears in the print or electronic media which is seen/read by millions of people ,most of them leave it to scientists to understand its significance . Here again science has been communicated but not in perfection.
In summary, we find that there are many such limitations that we experience in science communication and popularization. We need to explain it in common man’s language if we want to popularize science in the community.
I am hopeful that experts who will be interacting with you in this session have covered almost all segments of society who need to be sensitized. Our idea is to create awareness about scientific knowledge so that people are able to understand and apply scientific principles in daily life and beat myths and lead a healthy life!
The session was very well received and all the panelists were able to share their insights. We will share more details on this topic in the coming weeks!