Whenever there is a discussion about science in the Bharateeya context it is natural to refer to Varahmihir, Sushrut, Parashar, Bhaskaracharya, Aryabhatta, etc about zero, decimal, surgery, astrology. This tradition was taken to new heights by Sir CV Raman, Raja Ramanna, Homi Jehangir Bhabha, Vikram Sarabhai, DS Kothari, Meghnath Saha, Satyendra Nath Bose, etc. The tradition of knowledge and science is a continuous process. Our scientists of today are proving it once again. Bharateeya scientists have brought in focus many inventions; be it Dr SubbaRow’s work on Vitamin B Complex and human civilisation or Dr SP Tyagarajan’s discovery of Ayurvedic treatment for Hepatitis B. Today’s scientists are taking forward this tradition of Bharateeya scientists.
As the world scientists eagerly engaged in the discovery of ‘God Particle’, more and more supporting evidences are now coming to the fore. The biggest scientific experiment of the day is the discovery of LHC i.e. Large Hadron Collider, through which the scientists discovered a new particle, which resembles with Higgs-Boson. The entire world is delighted over this discovery at CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, is located at Geneva, Switzerland. The scientists have proved that the human quest for knowledge has no end and we are marching in the right direction. The newly discovered particle was eluding the scientists for the last 45 years. Its discovery became more significant because all the theorems of physics discussed the role of particles, but were unable to explain the reason behind mass in the matter. The scientists were at loss to identify which of the particles was responsible for this.
The Higgs-Boson particle has been named after Professor Peter Higgs and Satyendra Nath Basu of Bharat. This particle is held responsible for giving mass to any particle. Till now, this particular particle was alive only in the logic of scientists. Many a scientists, including the famous Stephen Hawking of our times, had disagreed with this hypothesis. Hawking however lost his $100 bet as science is based on facts and the facts were indicating to a presence of such particle that could be Higgs-Boson. A team of 100 Bharateeya scientists were engaged in identifying this Higgs-Boson particle. They included Prof. Sunanda Banerjee of Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, Prof. Satyaki Bhattacharya, Prof. Suchandra Dutta, Prof. Subir Sarkar and Prof. Manoj Saran. All of the aforesaid names are known all over Bharat. Though we may not be familiar
with their names, many of them had accomplished global recognition.
Prof NK Singh, who associated with Delhi-based Lal Bahadur Shastri Biotechnology Centre, is one such Yogi scientist who contributed profusely in discovery of genome of tomato, rice, arhar and wheat. Despite all difficulties and hurdles, Prof Singh made his significant contribution to world by discovering the arhar genome. Many other scientists including a multinational company were also engaged in this work and had they discovered this genome and patented it then they would have monopoly over it. But a patriotic Prof Singh with his team did not allow this to happen. Presently, his team is engaged in discovering the wheat genome besides other crops.
According to a survey, four per cent population of Bharat is suffering from Hepatitis B virus. This means, almost five crore people are moving around as the carriers of Hepatitis B virus and are capable of infecting others. There is an anti-dote of Hepatitis B, but it is very costly. However, Dr SP Tyagarajan, Head of Dr AL Mudaliyar Institute of PG Medical Sciences, Microbiology Department, who believes in medicinal qualities of plants, discovered the anti-dote of Hepatitis B from Philenathus Emerus, which is known as ‘keezhanelli’ in Kerala, and ‘Bhui Amla’ in north Bharat. Now the patent of this plant is with Madras University. Interestingly, the specific anti-virus chemical is present only in the plant variety which is found in Kerala, not anywhere else. This proves that the chemical and medicinal values of plant species are determined by the factors like climate, soil and soil fertility. Dr Tyagrajan’s discovery proved to be a milestone in establishing the supremacy of Ayurveda on scientific basis.
Global warming has affected the rain cycle of the earth for the last some years. Fifty per cent of our arable land is dependent on rainfall, though the government has initiated many a schemes to irrigate the fields. D Sivanand Pai of Pune’s National Climatic Observatory has made significant stride in forecasting monsoon rains with near zero error. Pai developed a statistical model and five-tier forecasting model that has made the monsoon forecast error-free. This has enabled the government to implement successfully the schemes according to rainfall forecasting. Pai’s model is hundred per cent indigenous innovations.
Human brain is a wonderful object. It is said that the entire universe is condensed in our brain. This is a pleasant coincidence that there are 100 billion stars in the galaxy and our brain too has 100 billion neurons. But with the growing age, we lose memory and suffer many a neurological ailments. For such people, the discovery by brilliant scientist Dr Upinder S Bhalla of National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore, has brought a ray of hope. The 48-year-old neuroscientist concentrated his study on understanding the working system of brain. He is also working on changes accompanying instructions and memory. He is filming the changes that will lead to understand the loss of neurons in senior citizens.
Like other scientists, 59 year old Dr Partha Preetam Majumdar of National Institute of Biomedical Genomics, Kalyani, is engaged in collecting some happy moments for human life. Dr Majumdar is engaged with research in Cancer Genome. Once this genome is read effective
treatment for cancer can be developed. With his discovery it would be possible to identify the cancer before it
affects the person and treat it according to that person’s requirements.
With the increasing number of vehicles on the roads, the number of tyres too is increasing accordingly. In the absence of proper system, these tyres are becoming major source of pollution. It takes years for these tyres to merge with nature, therefore they are used as fuel in the furnaces. But that creates another environment hazard with the emission of poisonous gases from these burning tyres that affect the human health and ecological balance. Now, Dr Vinod Kumar Gupta of IIT Roorkee is working on disposal of such tyres and recycling of sewage water. Using the carbon in these old tyres, Dr Gupta is trying to develop a cheaper system that would recycle the waste water and make it ready for reuse. His discovery would prove revolutionary in the field of environment protection in the world.
Bharat is speedily marching towards self-reliance in the field of energy. Many institutions are working in developing green or environment-friendly energy technology all over the country. The Government of Bharat has set a target of providing electricity to each household in every village by May 1, 2018. The availability of power is most important in transforming Bharat into a developed nation. The world is debating the merits of atomic energy or nuclear energy after the explosion at Japan’s Fukushima. Dr Ratan Kumar Sinha of Mumbai’s BARC is searching answers for these questions. This 59-year-old scientist has added many important factors in Bharat’s largest Nuclear Reactor at Nuclear Research Centre of Trombay. Dr Sinha has developed Thorium based ultramodern Heavy Water Reactor, which is secured even in densely populated areas. Dr Sinha is also engaged in separating Uranium-233 from Thorium, which would solve the fuel problem for nuclear energy reactors.
In our country, nearly 50 crore people suffer from palsiferrum malaria and unfortunate part is that it takes a toll of 10 lakh children every year. The malaria parasite is most complicated as it resides in the RBCs and transmits into human body this makes it difficult to prepare its vaccine. But Dr Chetan Chitnis of Delhi-based International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology is busy in developing its vaccine. It is expected that Dr Chitnis will be successful in developing effective vaccine and save many lives.
Eyes take us to the world. But in our country thousands lose their vision due to corneal blindness. Dr Virendra S Sangwan of LV Prasad Eye Institute of Hyderabad has developed a new stem cell therapy to correct the damage to cornea and restore eyesight. Dr Prasad’s this discovery helped in restoring eyesight of around 20 lakh people who lost their sight due to burn or chemical injury. The success rate of Dr Sangwan’s technique is 76 per cent.
Besides, pioneering work is being done in solar cell, nano technology, bio-fuel, hydrogen fuel, biotechnology sectors. Many scientists are working on cosmic rays like Dr Vikram Sarabhai and exposing many layers from the mystery of universe. Bharat is known as capital of world diabetes. There are reasons for this change in our lifestyle being the most significant one. Treatment for diabetes is available in Ayurveda besides yoga and exercise. Dr Avadhesh Suroliya, Director of Delhi’s National Institute of Immunology, is working on insulin protein conversion, which would give a lasting solution in diabetes cure.
Researchers in IIT Delhi have developed a waterless urine pot at a low cost production and maintenance.
If we talk of entire human body then the 25 to 35 per cent protein is collagen, which is found in all the limbs of the body including cornea, cartilage, nerves, bones, teeth, etc. Many a diseases are caused due to contaminated collagen and there is no effective treatment for this. Dr Krishna N Ganesh of Pune based Indian Institute of Science Education and Research has succeeded in preparing artificial collagen. This will help to resolve the problems of collagen.
We have mentioned about the work of some of the scientists but the expanse of their work is visible form of the tradition of knowledge and science. Today there are many such fields where scientific research is going on only in Bharat. Bharateeya scientists are thriving to find cure for diseases like Chikungunya, Japanese fever that have affected the third world population. Fully indigenously developed Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) has become the talk of the space world so as the Indian Space Programme. Today, there is a need to provide sufficient funds to facilitate research. The Research programmes, mainly the agriculture related researches, carried out in Bharateeya institutions and universities indicate the direction and vision of the scientific research in our country. This also indicates the social commitment and concern of the scientists besides making Bharat numero uno in the field of scientific research. They are cautious about their duties and responsibilities. The young scientists are proving their worth.
Dr Anurag Sharma (The writer is Science Scholar and has authored many books on scientific issues)