Science has impacted our daily life in a myriad different ways. In today's world many of the things which we have
taken for granted, like instant light at the press of a button, are gifts from science. However, science is not
about just technological development and innovation; science is a world-view; it is a particular way of looking
at the material world; it has a distinct methodology of understanding the world around us; it inculcates a
particular way of thinking and it has a social commitment. The philosophy of science is distinct from other
categories of philosophy, ancient and modern. Unfortunately, our education system is almost entirely geared
towards the technical aspects of science only; its methodology, its philosophy and world-view are given only
a cursory treatment if at all. Our education particularly at the school level does not teach the learners to
think rationally and act logically. As a result, though our Constitution enjoins the citizens to adopt and
promote scientific temperament, virtues like rationality, objectivity and a robust skepticism have not taken
a deep root in the psyche of the contemporary Indian society. Inevitably, there is a disconnect between society
and science, which has proved to be detrimental both to the Indian society and the practice of science in India. Vast sections
of the people are not able to lift themselves out of their degrading situation and the Indian science is
languishing because of the lack of social support.
Breakthrough Science Society, a voluntary organization committed to science, culture and
scientific outlook, has taken a small step for addressing this problem by planning to hold a
National Conference on "Integrating Science with Society".
Tentative session plan
Philosophy of Science (10.30AM-12.30PM): After the emergence of modern science,
particularly over the last two centuries,
there has been intense debate about the
correct method of seeking truth. Schools of thought like materialism, idealism, positivism, post-modernism, and spiritualism have waged and are still waging battle for supremacy in the intellectual space. This session will seek the correct path in doing science. It will delve into issues like objectivity, falsifiability, reproducibility, causality, etc., and will discuss the complexity, uncertainty and humility in the enterprise of knowledge generation.
4 lectures: 25 min talk + 5 min Q&A
Cultivation of Scientific Temper (1.30PM-4PM): This session will discuss ways of inculcating scientific bent of mind among the common people. Issues like prevalent unscientific beliefs and superstitions, and ways of countering these with science will also be discussed.
5 lectures: 25 min talk + 5 min Q&A
Ethical Practice in Science (4.30PM-6.30PM): The cases of scientific misconduct are on the rise today. Unless the scientific community of India addresses this problem squarely, cases of unethical practice in science may tarnish the image of Indian science before the world community. This session will discuss the issues of scientific ethics and research misconduct (fabrication,distortion, plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in reporting research results).
4 lectures: 25 mins talk + 5 min Q&A
Cultural programme (7PM-8.30PM): This will include a drama enacted by professional scientists
Reforming Science Education (9.30AM-11.30AM): A persistent problem of the education system in
India is that students learn science as a collection of subjects, as a set of information. Most students do not
understand the way of thinking that science preaches and do not acquire a scientific temper. As a result,
many people who have gone through the education system up to the highest level, still harbour many
unscientific beliefs and superstitions. In that sense, our education system is not `scientific'. This session will discuss what changes should be brought in our education system to make it scientific.
4 talks: 25 min talk + 5 min Q&A
Panel Discussion "The role of scientists in society" (12 noon-1.30PM)
6 x 10 min talks + 30 min Q&A
Open Session (for the public): Problems facing development of scientific culture in India
Registration fee: Rs. 2000
Concessional rate for bachelor's and master's students: Rs. 1000