Bonding... Chemically

How does one attract students to a career in science? A question that has begun to occupy many people at all levels, from the hapless lecturers in colleges who see their classes dwindle each year as the entry percentages fall lower and lower, to the science mandarins who advise the cabinet and beyond, who can see other countries in the neighbourhood make great advances, and who can also see that unless things change, we will not be anywhere in the knowledge creation business. At least not the knowledge that other people care about...

The science academies of India- and there are three, based in New Delhi, Bangalore and Allahabad- do try to do something about it, as well they should. Each of these academies has a group of something like a thousand scientists. Which is not a lot, considering that we are a country of a billion, and that there are around 10 disciplines represented- mathematics, physics, chemistry, and so on...

So what can be done? There is so much to do, almost anything will work- and one of the things that does is providing material that is accessible to the young student. One person who has thought about these things- and has done something about it- is C N R Rao. Apart from the other books an monographs he has written, there is Understanding Chemistry published by Universities press, that addresses this issue.

"This supplementary book for senior school and first year B.Sc. students is intended to bring out the excitement of chemistry and encourage more students to pursue this subject further. It explains the Hows and Whys of chemistry to whet the appetite of a good student."

Early in the day we realized the absolute paucity of original books in the physical sciences (with our slowest growing lists!) in the country. Compared to the social sciences, for instance.

Well, this makes some difference. In our Chemistry section. Rs 225.