In a damning charge, scientist Venkatraman Ramakrishnan has slammed the ongoing Indian Science Congress, being held in Mysuru, and called it a 'circus'. The Indian-born Nobel laureate had earlier condemned the Science Congress and said that politics and religious ideologies shouldn't be mixed with science.
Speaking to reporters, Ramakrishnan said, "I attended one day (of an earlier Congress) and very little science was discussed. It was a circus. I find that it's an organisation where very little science is discussed. I will never attend a science congress again in my life."
Speaking at the Panjab University in Chandigarh on Tuesday, Ramakrishnan said that despite crucial scientific achievements, a large number of Indians are still superstitious, which results in poor decision making. Mentioning the launch of Mangalyaan, Ramakrishnan said that he was surprised to know that the launched day was fixed on Tuesday because it was an auspicious day. "If I was holding that post, I would not have gone anywhere 24 hours before the launch."
He also mentioned a claim made by a participant during the 2015 Indian Science Congress about planes having been invented by a sage in the Vedic era. Speaking to The Times of India, Ramakrishnan said, "The idea that Indians had airplanes 2,000 years ago sounds almost essentially impossible to me. I don't believe it. The point is that if that technology was produced in a method so described that anybody could replicate it, then it becomes science."
In December 2015, Ramakrishnan, speaking at the fourth in the series of Centenary Lectures of the University of Mysore, had said that India needs to put an end to its superstitions and be more rational as a society. "It is not an accident that modern scientific methods developed in western Europe and as a result it propelled industrial revolution and modern medicine, and these countries, including the US, which adapted similar values, advanced dramatically in the last 200 years. But other societies were stuck where they were because they did not incorporate scientific beliefs," The Hindu quoted the Nobel laureate as saying.