You are on page 1of 2

NEWS

and a review talk on experiments using Russians have got expertise in this tech- on priority for data collection and preparing
14 MeV neutron source by T. K. Basu nology so far. P. Satyamurthy (BARC) the Indian database for ADS. The organizers
(BARC) showed the involvement and delivered two talks on this aspect presen- have released powerpoint presentations
preparedness of big teams of scientist ting preparations being done by Indian of all the speakers in a CD. The Abstract
world over in the development of several scientists for the eutectic technology. R. Booklet of the workshop will be avail-
techniques for studies related to ADS. M. Vadjikar (CAT) discussed heat dy- able on a CD. The text of full papers will
Besides, S. K. Gupta (University of Raja- namics of solid targets. K. Kobayashi be published shortly in Pramana – J. Phys.
sthan) delivered a talk on time-of-flight (Kyoto University, Japan) presented a
technique for measurement of neutron theoretical talk on the issue of interpreta-
cross-sections. tion of sub-criticality coefficient in case P. K. Nema, Nuclear Physics Division,
(f) Spallation target and technologies of neutron source-driven systems like the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai
(four talks): Development of a spallation ADS. 400 085, India; and V. Kumar*, HENP
target for ADS, particularly that in the The workshop ended with a concluding Laboratory, Department of Physics, Uni-
liquid phase is a matter of developing a session emphasizing the need for ex- versity of Rajasthan, Jaipur 302 004, India
special technology of Pb + Bi eutectic. perimental facilities that should be set up *e-mail: kumar-vinod@uniraj.ernet.in

MEETING REPORT

New developments in rapeseed mustard*


Oilseed crops in India account for almost colleges, university departments, scientists research in all frontiers so that aspirations of
5% of Gross National Product (GNP) and working in NGOs, Indian Council of Agri- farmers to gain better market prices for
10% of the value of agricultural products. cultural Research laboratories and entre- their produce are assured.
Rapeseed mustard (Brassica) contributes preneurs from the oilseed industry S. C. Manchanda (All India Institute of
32% of the total oilseed production in attended the conference. Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi)
India, and it is the second largest indige- The one-day deliberations consisted of in an interesting lecture on ‘Role of In-
nous oilseed crop. Despite many changes four technical sessions and a panel dis- dian mustard in controlling coronary
in the rapeseed mustard sector, such as cussion for drafting recommendations to heart diseases’, stated that the use of
development of improved varieties, region- the Government and various agencies invol- mustard oil could contribute significantly
specific production and practices, India ved with the improvement of this crop. to check increasing epidemic of coronary
is not self-sufficient in this crop. Agri- The four technical sessions focused on heart diseases (CHD), which are the
cultural scientists, policy makers, field (a) health and nutritional aspects, (b) crop leading cause of death in the developing
botanists, biotechnologists and the industry improvement, (c) quality and value addi- countries. Discussing the properties of
are gearing up to the challenge to bring tion, and (d) processing and storage. mustard oil, Manchanda emphasized that
back the lost glory to this crop by enhancing A. K. Bhatnagar (Department of Bot- it is a healthy cooking medium because
the yield per hectare, developing impro- any, University of Delhi) while delivering of low saturated fatty acids (8%), high
ved hybrids, improved farm mechanization his welcome address, focused attention on monosaturated fatty acids (70%) and al-
methods and post-harvest management the uses of mustard and added that ‘the pha linolenic acid (10%). According to
strategies. In view of recent research car- golden crop with strong aroma needs se- the recently published study by the Harvard
ried out in the above-mentioned methods rious attention from all quarters and Medical School of Public Health, USA;
and research in health and dietary aspects, a cross-sections of society associated with AIIMS, New Delhi and St. Johns Medical
one-day national conference was organized. this crop’. He added ‘scientific institu- College, Bangalore, it has been demon-
The conference received infrastructural tions, marketing managers and industry strated that use of mustard oil as a cook-
and financial support from NAFED. The need to work together and carry out col- ing medium reduces CHD risk by almost
conference was attended by 200 dele- laborative research with inputs from 70%. M. S. Ganesh (Fortis Hospital, Delhi)
gates from various parts of India. Re- farming community to make the elusive shared his views on anticancer properties
search scholars, teachers from various “Yellow Revolution” a reality’. The semi- of mustard oil. He elaborated on the role
nar was inaugurated by Kailash Jyani of various components of oil, such as cur-
(Additional Director General, NAFED) cumin, antioxidants, and isothiocyantes in
*A report on the National Conference on
who emphasized the need of region-spe- preventing malignancy. In the second
‘New Developments in Rapeseed Mustard’,
organized by the Mustard Research Promotion cific research in this crop. He cautioned technical session, Deepak Pental (Uni-
Consortium, an autonomous organization, and the scientific community about loss in yield versity of Delhi) spoke on the recent de-
the Delhi University Botanical Society at the of crop due to pests and pathogens in the velopments in hybrids and transgenics in
New Conference Centre, University of Delhi, field as well as after harvest. He also mustard. He stressed on the need of modern
Delhi on 21 January 2006. stressed on the need of more proactive biotechnological innovations vis-à-vis

1174 CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 90, NO. 9, 10 MAY 2006


NEWS
conventional breeding for improving this products. Rajeev Churi (SARBI Petroleum Several measures in various sectors of
crop. He also focused on the role of male and Chemicals Pvt Ltd, Mumbai) dealt with research and marketing were suggested.
sterility, hybrid DMH-II and pollination use of environment-friendly lubricants from The conference concluded with a vote
control systems developed in various mustard, and its properties and advantages of thanks from H. B. Singh, MRPC. He
species of Brassica. Addressing the over mineral oils such as superior biode- thanked the delegates and speakers for
gathering on the importance of value- gradability and excellent viscosity. S. K. their valuable inputs and encouraged the
added products from mustard and their Saxena (Centre for Analysis and Training) research scholars to indulge in pro-active
applications in food and industry in the made the audience aware of quality stan- research in frontiers areas of mustard
third technical session, D. K. Bhattacharya dards required for manufacturing and ex- sector to meet the future challenges.
(University of Calcutta, Kolkata) gave an porting food derivatives from mustard and
interesting account of many useful value- the importance of quality in trade in the
added products from mustard and its oil. WTO regime.
He mentioned that modification of Bras- There was a brainstorming discussion Monika Koul Moza, Department of
sica seed oils by chemical and enzymatic on how to improve the processing of mus- Botany, Hans Raj College, University of
reactions provides scope for production tard at various levels and make mustard Delhi, Delhi 110 007, India
of ‘nutraceuticals’ and functional food oil a better heath choice for the public. e-mail: monikabot@rediffmail.com

COMMENTARY

Scientists anonymous

Asha Gopinathan

As I sit down to write this piece, a seminar think of it today, to fill this book is a apparatus, specimens and translated for-
I attended recently comes to mind. It was daunting task. eign books. Some of these names have
an interesting talk given by a woman ar- Women working in the area of the history been retrieved by Fara and form the con-
chaeologist on evidence collected of trade of science and technology have slowly tent of this very readable book.
between the Roman Empire and India, begun to change this by asking some Fara begins her story in the 17th century
especially Kerala in the period between fundamental questions of what constitutes because that is when the first scientific
the 1st century BC and 5th century AD. I science, who the people are whose con- society appeared. The Royal Society of
asked her whether she had thought of any tributions constitute recorded history and London was established in 1660. It was
gender dimensions to her work. She re- have formulated ways of rewriting the during the period 1550 to 1700, referred
plied that a few pieces of cloth had been people at the margins back into the his- to as the period of the Scientific Revolu-
discovered in some of the digs which led tory books. It is in this connection that I tion, that reformers campaigned to bring
them to conclude that families may have find the writings of Patricia Fara, a Fellow about a change in methods of learning
been present. I probed her for any evidence of Clare College, Cambridge unique and about nature. They put forth the view
to prove that the boat-builders, sailors interesting. In her book Pandora’s Breeches, that conducting experiments was a better
and traders were all men. She had no answer Fara makes the argument that during the way to learn about nature than relying on
to that. She wanted to know if I was spe- Enlightenment, women took part in sci- books that were centuries old. The new
cializing in gender studies. I answered in ence in many roles ranging from being scientific societies were formed to adver-
the negative and told her that I was a sci- translators of major works to funding tise this new approach. They supported re-
entist who is interested in the workings various projects1. In her more recent book2, search and its communication. However,
of the brain. Fara takes this, one step further. This is a no woman was ever a part of these socie-
As a scientist, I have often tried to locate book written primarily for a younger audi- ties. During the 17th century, there were
in the past, women and other underrepre- ence, where Fara describes and lists the no scientists as we understand the word to-
sented minorities. Often, in a collection achievements of many women in science day. The word was not invented till 1833.
of stories of white men, one can find a in Europe (though a few from the US are Even Isaac Newton was not called a sci-
sprinkling of men of colour and may be also mentioned) from the 17th century to entist, but a natural philosopher. These
an odd white woman thrown in. In the the present. The stories form interesting natural philosophers did not work from
few collections of biographies of Indian reading for the range of activities these laboratories, had no research grants and
scientists, rarely does one find the story women engaged in, the obstacles they most oddly, they believed that their work
of even one woman. I have a scrap book faced and the strategies adopted by them helped them to learn more about God.
in which I enter the names of important to succeed. It is clear that these anonymous However, even though these societies
Indian and other women of colour who women carried out experiments, recorded excluded women, Margaret Cavendish, a
have worked in science. Of course, when observations, created theories, built-up wealthy woman who critiqued the work
one looks at contemporary science as we collections, went on expeditions, illustrated of Robert Boyle, demanded that she be

CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 90, NO. 9, 10 MAY 2006 1175