Inaugurated Facility for Research in Experimental Nuclear Astrophysics (FRENA) at Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics in Kolkata
The Vice President of India, Shri M Venkaiah Naidu has said that the real purpose of Science and Technology and Research is to make human lives better. He was addressing the gathering after inaugurating the Facility for Research in Experimental Nuclear Astrophysics (FRENA) at Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics in Kolkata, today. Shri Bratya Basu, Hon’ble Minister of Information & Technology, IT, Govt. of West Bengal and other dignitaries were present at the venue
The Vice President said that one should always be thankful Farmers, Scientists and soldiers for their service to the nation. We must recognize and respect them for their great service- Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan & Jai Vigyan, he said.
The Vice President said that Professor Meghnad Saha was a great astrophysicist, visionary and science reformer and said that his visionary genius is evident in the reorganization of the physics syllabus of the university and plans to build a cyclotron.
The Vice President said that Prof. Saha’s initiative to introduce the pre-PhD course, the first of its kind in the country to train M.Sc students for PhD was truly impressive. It is really noteworthy that only recently the UGC has realized the importance of such a bridging course and made it mandatory for all universities, he said.
The Vice President went around the research facilities in the institute and lauded the accomplishments of scientists, faculty members. My interaction with the members of the institute convinced me that there is so much that has been accomplished and that the grand tradition of learning, research, teaching and innovating will continue with renewed vigour and persistent passion, he said.
Following is the text of Vice President’s address:
SPEECH BY HON’BLE VICE PRESIDENT OF INDIA AT SAHA INSTITUTE OF NUCLEAR PHYSICS ON 28TH JUNE 2018
Sisters & Brothers,
I am pleased to be with all of you today in an institution that was founded by Professor Meghnad Saha – a great astrophysicist, visionary and science reformer of India and the founder director of this institute. I have gained immensely from the interaction with all of you and have learnt more about the work you are doing and the inspiration you derive from the founder’s work.
Prof. Saha was the first person in the country to initiate courses in nuclear physics in 1938.
Following the discovery of nuclear fission in 1939, Prof Saha had foreseen an immense potential of nuclear physics in the country.
His visionary genius is evident in the reorganization of the physics syllabus of the university and plans to build a cyclotron. He accomplished this path-breaking task with a generous grant from the Dorabji Tata Trust.
It is truly remarkable that the construction of the cyclotron began in 1941, long before the foundation of the Department of Atomic Energy by the Government of India in 1954.
After 1940, the rapid growth of nuclear physics in the world inspired Prof Saha to propose an independent institute with close link to the university. That is the genesis of this Institute. Institute of Nuclear Physics (INP) was formed in 1949, which was later renamed as Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics (SINP) after the untimely death of Prof Saha in 1956.
I am privileged to visit this historical institute which was formally inaugurated by Madame Irene Joliot Curie, a Nobel Prize winner, and daughter of the famous scientist and Nobel laureate Marie Curie, on January 11, 1950.
I am glad to learn about the pioneering work done by Prof. Saha. His introduction of innovative initiatives like the pre-PhD course, the first of its kind in the country to train M.Sc students for PhD is truly impressive.
It is really noteworthy that only recently the UGC has realized the importance of such a bridging course and made it mandatory for all universities.
You have today given me an excellent glimpse into how young scientists are being encouraged by your institute to take up scientific research and how this has been done over the past 67 years. With about 40 students being inducted into the research & teaching program through a nation-wide selection test, it is heartening that scientists are being mentored and many of them are participating in large international collaborations in CERN, Geneva.
It is good to see that you are focusing on several outreach programs, and school and college level students are participating in debates, quiz, visit the Institute laboratories, essay competitions, and popular lectures.
I notice that you have not confined yourself to merely urban areas and have conducted programmes even in the remote areas of West Bengal.
I am glad that the journey which started around the design and development of a small cyclotron initiated by Prof. Saha has traversed a long path, and you are now setting up a facility for Research in Experimental Nuclear Astrophysics (FRENA) which will unravel some more mysteries of the Universe.
I must say that I am quite impressed by the range of programmes taken up by this centre including an underground laboratory named as Jaduguda Underground Science Laboratory (JUSL) at the existing uranium mines in Jharkhand.
Dear sisters and brothers
I am filled with a sense of optimism for the future as I see about 15 young scientists with diverse skills and backgrounds joining hands for working on a novel multidisciplinary project related to cancer cells and therapeutic strategies.
Similarly, your focus on encouraging young students to become scientists is a welcome initiative. The Vigyan Prathiba programme launched by you on 31st July 2017 would undoubtedly train and motivate school students from class 8 onward to become scientists.
All in all, my interaction with you today in this historic institute convinces me that there is so much that has been accomplished and that the grand tradition of learning, research, teaching and innovating will continue with renewed vigour and persistent passion.
My good wishes to the Director and entire faculty, the researchers and students who are keeping the light of learning burning bright.
May your path be full of well-earned success and if at all there are any failures, as they are bound to be in any endeavour, I do hope you will take them as stepping stones for leaping higher.
I wish you all the very best in your endeavours.