Against the odds: Indian science and science journalism (plus video)

03 05 2017

T.V. Padma (Delhi / India), science journalist and HITS Journalist in Residence 2017, will speak about the challenges and chances for scientists and journalists in the most populous democracy. Public talk on May 10, 2017, in the Studio Villa Bosch in Heidelberg. (See the video of the talk below)

T.V. Padma (photo: HITS)
T.V. Padma (photo: HITS)

As a rapidly growing economy, India is attracting global attention, both for its market opportunities and growing knowledge base. Since the dawn of Independence, successive governments have emphasized science as the key to the country’s progress. The country has a mixed science bag: on the one hand, India is recognized today for its achievements in space, biotechnology, information technology, engineering, chemistry and nanotechnology, while its ambitious solar power program has caught the world’s attention. On the other hand, the country continues to struggle with high maternal and infant death rates; tuberculosis burden; mosquito-borne infections of malaria and dengue; sanitation and drinking water problems.

In a HITS colloquium talk at the Studio Villa Bosch in Heidelberg, Indian science journalist T.V. Padma explains to what extent science is covered in India today, and how journalist balance the various perspectives – from the curiosity and excitement of basic science to the pragmatism of applied science; from the research policy focus and priorities to the role of science and science communication of the country’s development narrative? Some of their problems are common to science journalists worldwide; others have a more specific context.

T.V. Padma earned a B.Sc. in Botany (Honours) and an M.Sc. from the University of Delhi, where she undertook special courses on genetics and microbiology. She was awarded the National Science Scholarship for post-graduation studies and also has a post-graduate diploma in bioethics. Padma writed for Nature, Nature India, New Scientist, Physics World, BioWorld, and other outlets. Before, she was a science correspondent at India’s leading news wire agency, Press Trust of India (PTI), covering space, nuclear energy, medicine, the environment, and crop research. From 2004 to 2014, she served as the first South Asian news editor/regional head of SciDev.Net, a not-for-profit, free-access international science website that focuses on science policies and research in developing countries. Since February 2017, T.V. Padma is the 6th “Journalist in Residence” at HITS.

More about the “Journalist in Residence program.

About HITS

The Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS) was established in 2010 by the physicist and SAP co-founder Klaus Tschira (1940-2015) and the Klaus Tschira Foundation as a private, non-profit research institute. HITS conducts basic research in the natural sciences, mathematics and computer science, with a focus on the processing, structuring, and analyzing of large amounts of complex data and the development of computational methods and software. The research fields range from molecular biology to astrophysics. The shareholders of HITS are the HITS-Stiftung, which is a subsidiary of the Klaus Tschira Foundation, Heidelberg University and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). HITS also cooperates with other universities and research institutes and with industrial partners. The base funding of HITS is provided by the HITS Stiftung with funds received from the Klaus Tschira Foundation. The primary external funding agencies are the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the German Research Foundation (DFG), and the European Union.

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