Language remains one of the biggest barriers to the dissemination of current scientific news among a wider audience beyond the scientific community. The natural language of the scientist or academic is far removed from what a common reader will be able to grasp and relate to. Bridging this gap is the biggest challenge before science journalists, who serve as the conduit between scientists and society.
How can stories from the domain of scientific research be presented in a language that catches the interest and imagination of all readers?
How can such news be presented sans the jargon, but without oversimplifying the science in it or draining it of substance?
Can journalists and scientists help each other resolve the language conundrum to pave the way for compelling media reporting of science stories?
This panel brings together different stakeholders in this issue to explore answers to the above.
- Prof. Debasis Deb, Dean, Undergraduate Studies, Professor, Dept. of Mining Engineering, IIT Kharagpur
- Prof. Pallab Dasgupta, Head, Centre for Classical & Folk Arts, Dept. of Computer Science & Engineering, IIT Kharagpur
- Prof. Abhijit Mukherjee, Dept. of Geology & Geophysics
- Chirosree Basu, Editor, The Kgp Chronicle, IIT Kharagpur
- B R Srikanth, Executive Editor, Deccan Chronicle
- Talat Salahuddin, Senior Journalist, Akhbar-e-Mashriq
- Mohammed Safi Shamsi, Freelance Journalist & YouTuber
Pallab Dasgupta is AK Singh Distinguished Chair Professor in Artificial Intelligence, Professor at the Department of Computer Science and Engineering and former Dean, Sponsored Research & Industrial Consultancy. He wears many hats. He is Co-Coordinator for the Indo-German Collaborative Research Centre on Intelligent Transportation Systems and Professor-in-Charge of Academy of Classical and Folk Arts. Prof. Dasgupta is a highly cited researcher whose research interests are Formal Methods, CAD for VLSI & Embedded Systems and Artificial Intelligence. Prof. Dasgupta plays the sitar and is collaborating with Padmashree Pt Ajoy Chakraborty, renowned classical vocalist and scholar, in studying the deep structure of Indian Ragas and their representation as semi-lexical languages – a study which is expected to highlight the creative liberty in Indian Classical Music from a cognitive perspective.
Debasis Deb is Professor and former Head of the Department of Mining Engineering, and Dean, Undergraduate Studies, at IIT Kharagpur. He is also Coordinator, DeySarkar Centre of Excellence in Petroleum Engineering. Prof. Deb is recipient of the National Geoscience Award for outstanding contribution in Mining Technology. He holds several patents and has worked extensively with private and public organizations on mine safety and research. He is Member of the Governing Body, International Center of Excellence in Mining Safety & Automation and Academic Program Mentor, Indian Institute of Petroleum and Energy among several other related organizations.
Abhijit Mukherjee is a renowned hydro-geologist. He is Associate Professor, Geology and Geophysics, Environmental Science and Engineering and Associate Editor of several well-known journals, such as the Journal of Hydrology, and Groundwater for Sustainable Development. Prof. Mukherjee’s research areas are ‘Arsenic and other contaminants’, Interaction of groundwater with sea and river water, Groundwater recharge and estimation, Groundwater evolution of large sedimentary basins, Groundwater exploration, management and remediation and Influence of water systems on ancient civilizations. Among his current research is the use of AI in predicting future groundwater resources. He regularly works with top international organizations including NASA and the British Geological Survey.
Mohammed Safi Shamsi is a communicator and freelance journalist with experience in print, television and digital media and interest in communication academics and content creation. He is an an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) and has worked with leading media brands – The Statesman, The Indian Express, Business Standard, NewsX, Headlines Today (now known as India Today), AajTak, and News18 India (earlier IBN7) of Network18. Safi led content and communication at Omaxe Ltd, India, in 2019. At present, he is working on freelance projects. He also teaches journalism as a guest faculty at a college in Kolkata. A recently initiated project is a Youtube channel, ‘Off-beat with Safi’, focused on building a video repository for communicators and journalism students.
B.R. Srikanth is an inveterate Science & Technology buff with an award for S&T journalism presented by the Vision Group headed by Bharat Ratna Prof C N R Rao. He has made sincere attempts to popularize Science & Technology through his news reports and popular features during the last three decades in publications such as The Asian Age, Hindustan Times, The Telegraph, OUTLOOK (Magazine) and Deccan Chronicle. He has mentored several young journalists in S&T journalism, and supported Science & Technology through donations to organizations like the Agastya International Foundation. He is the co-author of a book titled “The Incredible Journey of Indian AWACS.”
Talat Salahuddin has been associated with urdu daily newspaper Akhbar e Mashriq since November 2006 and is currently designated as a Senior Journalist. Her focus area is civic, political and environment reporting and has covered parliamentary elections in 2009, 2014 and 2019. Talat was recipient of bravery award for her reportage of incidental and disaster news. She was also selected for a three-week International Visitor Leadership program in the USA. Talat is also associated with All India Radio as announcer and programme producer since 2014 to further her contribution to Urdu literature. She was also associated with The Telegraph as a guest reporter for a brief period.
Chirosree Basu is a former journalist with over two decades’ experience in the print media. Chirosree was Assistant Editor with The Telegraph, where she was leader writer, book reviewer, and commentator. She is now part of the Media, Branding and Communications Office of IIT Kharagpur, where she writes for KGP Chronicle and edits various publications.