Page 24 - April 2021
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         G. Madhavan Nair with former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam
to be competitive and reduce the cost of access to space.
Space re“search involves almost all fields of science and technology. School children should be encouraged to study basic science subjects such as Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics so that they can e”nter into space research in due course.
Space technology has revolution- ised almost all human activity. Communication and entertain- ment are the major areas where its impact is clearly noticeable. For ex- ample, we cannot exist without sat- ellites beaming DTH programmes, digital connectivity to computers or weather monitoring. The earth ob- servation satellites provide informa- tion about natural resources for the whole country and help monitoring agriculture, forestry and fisheries. They are also helpful in infrastruc- ture development and appropriate
utilisation of natural resources. Navi- gation satellites provide precision and timing signals which are effectively used for civilian and military applications.
Both as a space scientist and ISRO chairman, you brought laurels to the country. Now af- ter joining the BJP, how are you planning to serve the nation as a politician?
I certainly support the policies of the BJP-led NDA government under the able leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. I do not intend to enter active politics. I am willing to contribute to the field of science and technology as demanded by the government. At the moment, most of my time is spent in transferring my knowledge and experi- ence to the young generation.
* The writer is Editor, Science India.
 Earlier, Indian students who studied astrophysics or space science as-
pired to work for NASA; but now, the
new generation is looking towards
ISRO. How did this change happen?
The Indian space programme initially concentrated on the development of launchers and satellites for meeting societal
needs. Only a small budget was
set aside for space science. Now,
with better funding and encour- agement by the government, missions to the Moon and Mars were undertak- en. Several national facilities for large observation telescopes and laboratories have been set up. ISRO’s space research activities have taken it to the fore- front of space-faring nations. All these efforts help retain talent in space science in India.
Space science is virtually absent in school curriculum. What are the efforts being made to attract the curiosity of students to it early in their lives?
The school curriculum covers the chal- lenges of the space programme mini- mally. To make children aware of space research activities, ISRO celebrates the ‘Space Week’ every year between Oc- tober 4 and 10. During this week, it
24 SCIENCE INDIA APRIL, 2021
Dr Vikram Sarabhai (third from right) with young ISRO engineers APJ Abdul Kalam (centre) and G. Madhavan Nair (left) in early 1960s
coordinates with schools and conducts essay and quiz competitions, exhibitions on space achievements among other programmes.
Space research involves almost all fields of science and technology. School children should be encouraged to study basic science subjects such as Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics so that they can enter into space research in due course. After completing Class 12, they can also join the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST, Thiruvananthapuram), where special- ised B Tech programmes on space re- lated subjects are available. If they get a good score, they can join ISRO directly.
How is space technology likely to impact the lives of ordinary citizens? What are the foreseeable result areas?
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