Saturday, June 04, 2011

Jairam Ramesh of the Day


Prof. C.N.R. Rao, a couple of days ago:

Referring to the demand for sophisticated equipment for research labs, Professor Rao said in a lighter vein: “Shortage of equipment will make brains work better.” Referring to the premier IISc., he said, “The IISc. is characterised by very mediocre research mainly because they have a lot of facilities.”

This cuts a little too close, so I'll have to restrict myself to just this, rather obvious, point: Coming from someone whose institution boasts some of the most awe-inspiring pieces of equipment (including this beauty, alleged to be among the most expensive phallic symbols in the world), this is a bit, well, rich.

6 Comments:

  1. Desi Babu said...

    Professor Rao said in a lighter vein: “Shortage of equipment will make brains work better.”

    Now, this is what I call the Shashi Tharoor comment of the day! I can understand your being so gentle with Prof. Rao, since he is a big shot and all. But, this type of a comment from such a well regarded scientist makes me wonder why we are so far behind in research, compared to our peers elsewhere.

  2. sacredfig said...

    So by not investing in sophisticated equipment is precisely how he thinks nanotechnology can be a cottage industry in India. I guess he does believe nanotechnology is bit like rolling beedis and spinning the charkha.

    What a tosser!

  3. himanshu said...

    Hi Abi,

    I think what Dr. Rao was trying to say is that for doing good research, motivation and hard work is the most important factor. If one has motivation and is willing to take problems head on, one can produce extraordinary research with bare minimum facilities, as Dr. Rao has shown especially in his earlier career. Probably, with the kind of facilities IISc has, the research output is not optimum. No one is denying that the facilities need to be improved, however some researchers also need to improve their approach.
    Moreover this comment was in lighter vein, we must not assume Dr. Rao said this to humiliate anyone.

  4. Wavefunction said...

    It does sound rich, especially considering that CNR lamented the lack of facilities in IISc when he joined the institute as a young professor back in the 50s. Maybe he should have actively tried to stop the purchase of modern equipment to encourage the brains to work better? (and I say this in a light vein)

  5. jbeck said...

    CNR Rao has earned the privilege to talk thusly by every measure. Personally brilliant with a stratospheric h-index, he has advised scores of highly successful solid state theorists, and built two institutions - the SS Unit at IISc and the JNCASR. The former, his idea and realization runs one of the largest solid state programs anywhere in the world.

    And why don't we also commend him for this
    “India has more brilliant people than any other country. Sixty per cent of India's population is from villages. It is these villages that have the best of brains. This is where our hope is. Those from big cities like Bangalore are more interested in money and they will not make much contribution to the future of the country's research,” he said.

  6. Ankur Kulkarni said...

    I dont like the unanalytical talk from an academic. Comments like his which paint all city dwellers in one light or all of India in one light seem to be too prejudiced and subjective to be taken seriously.