Sunday, September 22, 2013

Ramachandra Guha on Current Science

For Guha, it all started with Prof. Balaram's editorials:

I first began subscribing to Current Science for Balaram’s editorials. These sometimes analysed the less salutary aspects of science (as when he wrote about the politics of prizes or the prejudices against women scientists), sometimes noted anniversaries of important or critical discoveries, sometimes explained the origin and spread of new sub-fields, sometimes spoke of the need for scientists to communicate to a wider public. The last injunction he put into practice, for his own editorials were written in an elegant, understated style.

Soon, I found other reasons to read Current Science. For one thing, it carried well-researched essays on climate change and on biodiversity conservation, two areas that I had an interest in. For another, it had really excellent obituaries. [...] This was a journal that cared about the traditions and histories of the men and women of Indian science. The obituaries it carries (averaging one or two an issue) are a model: sketching the scientist’s intellectual development, his or her major contributions, while not forgetting to mention personal landmarks (where born, where died, whether married, how many children, etc).