“Science is merely the systematic accumulation of knowledge about the world. Although science has existed ever since humans started making observations and conjectures about the world they inhabited. The modern scientific method was born in the 16th and 17th century when evidence began to matter more than elegance or appeals to the authorities.” Nobel Laureate Sir Venkatraman Ramakrishnan stated while addressing the Great Talk organised by British Council India on 8th January at K K Birla Auditorium, FICCI, New Delhi.
More than 500 science professors, science and engineering students, attended the Great Talk with Sir Venkatraman Ramakrishnan on “On Nobody’s Word: Evidence and Modern Science”. While addressing the audience he said “This attitude to science was probably helped by the freedom of thought that accompanied the reformation in Europe, and resulted in an explosion of knowledge in the last three centuries with accompanying benefits as well as some hazards for humanity.”
Sir Venkatraman Ramakrishnan added that how modern science is changing the world and is making it a better place to live but scientists are also humans and thus fallible. At the Great Talk Sir Venkatraman threw light on some examples of errors made by scientists and how they were corrected by the scientific process.
“This attitude to science was probably helped by the freedom of thought that accompanied the reformation in Europe, and resulted in an explosion of knowledge in the last three centuries with accompanying benefits as well as some hazards for humanity. Science is also different from dogma because it is constantly changing as new facts are uncovered and theories are overthrown.” He added further.
Sir Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, the Deputy Director of the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) in Cambridge and President of the Royal Society, grew up in India where he received his bachelor’s degree in physics before moving to the USA in 1971. On obtaining his Ph.D. in physics in 1976, he switched to molecular biology and after a long career in the USA he moved to Cambridge in 1999 to work at the LMB. He is best known for his work on ribosomes, the large molecules in all cells that read genetic information to make proteins.
Sir Ramakrishnan is a member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO), the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Leopoldina (the German Academy of Sciences) and a Foreign Member of the Indian National Science Academy. He received the Louis-Jeantet Prize for medicine in 2007 and shared the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 2009.