Thank you very much for your phone call. My young friends have asked me many questions related to Science; they keep writing on quite a few points. All of us have seen that the sea appears blue, but we know from routine life experiences that water has no colour at all. Have we ever thought why water acquires colour in rivers and seas? The same thought occurred to a young man in the 1920s. The same question gave rise to a great scientist of modern India. When we talk about Science, the first name that strikes us is that of Bharat Ratna Sir C.V.Raman. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for his outstanding work on light scattering. One of his discoveries is famous as the Raman Effect.
We celebrate the 28th of February as National Science Day since on this very day, he is said to have discovered the phenomenon of light scattering, for which the Nobel Prize was conferred upon him. This land has given birth to many a great scientist. On the one hand, there has been a tradition of great Mathematicians like Bodhayan, Bhaskar, Brahmagupt and Aryabhatt; on the other, in the field of medicine, Sushrut & Charak have bestowed upon us a place of pride. Right from Sir Jagdish Chandra Bose and Hargobind Khurana to Satyendranath Bose have brought laurels to India. The famous particle BOSON has been named after Satyendranath Bose. Recently I got an opportunity to take part in a programme in Mumbai – the inauguration of the Wadhwani Institute for Artificial Intelligence. It was interesting to know about the ongoing miraculous accomplishments in the field of Science. Artificial Intelligence aids in making robots, Bots and other machines meant for specific tasks. Through self learning, machines today can enhance their intelligence to a smarter level. This technology can be harnessed to better the lives of the underprivileged, the marginalized and the needy. In that programme on Artificial Intelligence, I urged the scientific community to deliberate on how Artificial Intelligence could help us make life easier for our divyang brothers & sisters. Can we make better predictions of natural disasters using Artificial Intelligence? Can we use it to provide assistance to farmers on crop yield? Can Artificial Intelligence be used as tool to simplify the outreach of health services and modernize medical treatment?
A few days ago, I got an opportunity to accompany the Prime Minister of Israel to Ahmedabad, Gujarat for the inauguration of ‘I create’. There a young person referred to developing a digital instrument that converts the written word into voice. This is to aid those who are incapable of speech to converse normally like any other person. I feel we can harness Artificial Intelligence in many such fields.
Science and Technology are value neutral. They don’t possess any value in themselves. Any machine will work the way we want it to. It entirely depends on us what task we want it to perform. Here human objectives assume significance; the use of Science for the sole purpose of human welfare, with the endeavour to assist human lives touch the greatest heights.
Thomas Alva Edison, the inventor of the light bulb, failed many a time in his experiments. Once, on being asked about it, he quipped, “I have devised ten thousand ways of how NOT to make a light bulb”. What I mean to say is, Edison transformed even his failures into his own strength. Coincidentally, I am fortunate today to be in Auroville, the land, the karmabhoomi of Maharshi Arvind. As a revolutionary, he challenged British rule, fought against them and questioned subjugation. Thus, as a great sage, he questioned every facet of life. Extracting answers, he showed the right path to humanity. The relentless quest to ask questions for knowing the truth is very important. And this is the very essence, the real inspiration behind scientific inventions and discoveries. Never rest till every ‘why’, ‘what’ & ‘how’ are answered. I congratulate our scientists, and all those connected with Science on the occasion of National Science Day. May our young generation be inspired for the quest of truth & knowledge; may they be motivated to serve society through Science. I wish them the best.