Science Beyond Borders with a Cultural Evolution – Art & Culture News, Firstpost

In conversation with Dr. Nicola Ghirardi, Curatorial Team Leader for Science Beyond Borders. The exhibition will trace the combined history of India and France in science.

Science Beyond Borders exhibits the joint scientific history of India-France collaboration. This exhibition, curated by the Institut Français de India and its partners, has been specially designed for this special edition of Bonjour India. In fact, 2022 is a special year, in which India celebrates 75 years of independence. This also represents 75 years of diplomatic relations between the Republic of India and the Republic of France.

Dr. Nicholas Ghirardi, Curator of Science Beyond Borders, says, “Bonjour India was seen as a gift from France to India on this anniversary. It was only natural that telling the story of the relations between the two countries would make us happy. It sheds some light on the foundations of this mutual friendship. Although the scientific partnership is not always well known, it is an important aspect of this mutual friendship.”

Hence, besides the Indian space program for example which is perhaps the most visible product of scientific cooperation between India and France, the two countries have been involved in a wide range of disciplines, from mathematics and medicine to biodiversity, to name a few. Gherardi explains, “One of the goals of this exhibition is to familiarize the public with this shared history. Another goal is to excite professionals and students, so that they may usher in a new era of scientific collaboration between our two countries. We know that sharing the holistic and personal aspect of scientific interactions motivates people to act rather than delve into Technical details of scientific discoveries. Hence, this is the goal of the Science Beyond Borders exhibition.”

The oldest traces of the common history of France and the Indian subcontinent go back to medieval history, especially in the field of knowledge. Thus, in order to put some perspective on it, it seemed clear to the team of curators of the French Institute, that the story must delve into the depths of the ancient world, into the exchanges that emerged between European scholars and philosophers, and the civilizations that emerged in South Asia.

That is why this exhibition focuses, in some sections, on the ancient discoveries that shaped and caused the prolific scientific and technological breakthroughs that occurred throughout the twentieth century and beyond. When it was designed in 2021 as a history of science initiative, this was an academic exercise on a small scale. Its evolution into a traveling exhibition in five cities with the participation of industry giants and institutions, reveals the allure and curiosity of the subject. Since it was announced not too long ago, some platforms have popped up to share their own stories as well as others that they want to share with their fans.

The exhibition does not claim to cover the full scope of this important and exceptional, albeit less well-known, history, but it is a small step forward in getting this out of archives, institutions, research papers and personal memories. This history needs more disintegration, and we hope that students, professionals, historians, writers, journalists, companies, academics, and filmmakers will share and enrich this history further. Is this a science fair? Is this a historical exhibit? Ultimately, this is the story and interaction of the people of India and France, adventure, knowledge sharing and fellowship.

The initiative will take visitors through some rare excerpts from the treasured Tata Central archives, peek into Airbus’ geospatial digital platform, highlight some fascinating records from the Institut Français in Pondicherry, a repository of international research into the cultures, environments and societies of South Asia, and delve into the experiences of Memories and testimonies of many wonderful personalities, from India and France.

It will shed light on lesser known stories such as the electrification of Indian railways. Bring visitors satellite images of Indian cities from space. Let them know about the largest herbal study project in the Indian subcontinent. This will also give them a chance to explore the story behind the exact accounts that led to the creation of Jantar Mantar. Meet the first person in India to soar into the sky and learn how the Indian space program took off in the 1960s. Science Beyond Borders will let you participate in the wonderful stories of discovery, research, travel and innovation.

Bonjour India events are carefully designed to delight and entertain and in most cases are accessible to the public for free. Designed for beginners and enthusiasts alike, they serve as places where families, schoolchildren, young adults and more mingle, discuss, explore and create lifelong memories and experiences.

The Opening Ceremony of the ‘Science Beyond Borders’ exhibition will take place on 12th April 2022, at 7pm at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi.

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