The rise and rise of science in India is the subject of a public lecture to be given by one of that nation's foremost scientists, Professor Chintamani Rao, FRS, at UNSW on Tuesday evening, 29 July 2008.

One of the world's foremost solid-state and materials chemists, Professor Rao has contributed to the development of the field over five decades and is the Indian Government's most senior scientific advisor. During his only public lecture in Australia, he will discuss the past, present and future of Indian science, with special emphasis on the unusual situation faced by this large democracy in the present-day world.

Rao is the National Research Professor and Linus Pauling Research Professor and Honorary President of the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research in Bangalore, India. He was the director of the Indian Institute of Science from 1984 to 1994, and has been a visiting professor at Purdue University, the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge and University of California, Santa Barbara.

He was appointed Chair of the Scientific Advisory Council to the Indian Prime Minister in January 2005, a position which he had occupied earlier during 1985-89. The author of some 1400 research papers and author/editor of 42 books, Professor Rao says India has been committed to science ever since it gained independence in 1947. It built up scientific institutions gradually, although the facilities for research were generally marginal.

There was a big gap between advanced countries and India at that time, he says. India made slow progress and produced reasonable science over the years. Globalization has had a major effect not only on the geopolitical scenario but also on the status of science here and elsewhere.

India now faces an unusual situation of keen competition within Asia and with the advanced countries of the west. It is establishing institutions and structures to promote science and higher education in a big way.

What: Science in the Future of IndiaWhen: Tuesday, 29 July 2008. 5 - 7pm (lecture starts at 5.30pm) Where: UNSW Matthews A lecture theatre (map ref D23)

Acknowledgements: ARCNN, ARNAM, ICEM-08

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