Bengaluru, Jan 16, 2020: Science flourishes when left free and when there is freedom of thought and minimal interference by the government, said UK-based Nobel prize winning biologist Venkatraman ’Venki’ Ramakrishnan.
Speaking at a session on ‘Science and Society’ at Bangalore International Centre on Wednesday, the structural biologist and Nobel laureate said, “I think science flourishes where there is a real freedom of thought, opinion and minimal ideological interference. Although the autonomy of science remains an open question”, News18 reported.
Giving the reference of Germany during Hitler’s regime and Soviet Union to make his point, Ramakrishnan said history showed how ideological interference by governments destroyed the science.
“Nazis practically destroyed German science and it took 50 years for the country to recover from that loss. As a result of the Soviet Union government’s opposition to genetics, biology in that country lagged behind by several decades,” he said adding that China was perhaps the only exception in this regard it is making great progress in the domain of science and technology despite consistent curbs on the freedom of speech.
He emphasised on the need for private sector investment in science research and development in India, adding and said that despite being the only country with a Constitution that stresses on developing scientific temperament, India has not done enough in the field of research.
“Oddly, India’s spending in terms of GDP on science and technology is quite less. The country’s goals and actions are not clearly aligned. The GDP is growing but not very fast,” Ramakrishnan said.
“Separation between the government, and the actual science, science infrastructure and establishment is very important to remove politics from science funding,” he added.