Asian Science Camp: Meeting Field Medalists and Nobel Laureates

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The Asian Science Camp is organized by a committee of Nobel Laureates for promoting development in science and inter-cultural understanding. This time, it was being organized by India in Bengaluru, the IT Hub.

We were nominated by the Government of Pakistan to attend this week long camp. We reached on the 4th day and were lucky enough to interact with the eminent scientists and Nobel Laureates from around the world. I attended the lecture of Dr. Cedric Villani and Nobel Laureate J. Georg Bednorz who was awarded Nobel Prize in Physics for his work in superconductors. We were also taken to the laboratories of Indian Institute of Science.Before visiting these labs, I used to avoid lab work in my college and was of the view that I can never be a scientist in my lifetime. But such labs made me change my way of thinking about lab work. The same experiments that we do and draw on the graph paper rollers were being performed with a laptop attached automatically drawing the graphs. If we could also upgrade our labs, we can also promote the interest of our students in research oriented knowledge.

Though there are thousands of memories that we made and can be shared here but the most important lessons that we learnt from the lectures of Nobel Laureates deserve to be shared first. The Nobel Laureate George Bednorz was asked if he would prefer career, money or fame. But he surprised us by saying, “Enjoyment is my first preference. I enjoy my work. If I don’t enjoy, I leave it.” This was something similar to “love what you do and do what you love” mantra.

Attendees of the Asian Science Camp 2016 with Cédric Villani, Fields Medalist

Another very important lesson by famous ecologist, Dr. Raghavandra was to break the stereotype “do not try this at home”. He was of the view that this approach was not conducive to harbour innovative thinking in children.He insisted that we need to shatter this rule and we need to introduce “try this at home” rule now for promoting science education in Pakistan.

However, one thing that I felt during my stay in India was that Pakistan still needs to do a lot for the development of science and technology. We need to produce more scientists in Pakistan and we need to tell parents that adopting science as a major is not a taboo. India has hosted the science camp for the second time and unfortunately Pakistan has not hosted it even once.

What we need is a team of diplomats and scientists tasked by the science ministry to negotiate with Nobel Laureates for hosting Asian Science Camp in Pakistan in 2018 because the ASC 2017 is already taken by Malaysia. I hope that we will host the Asian Science Camp in Pakistan in near future.

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