During the past decade or so, there have been several natural/unnatural events, some being global, that served as effective tools to enhance knowledge of science and also promoted the scientific temperament. This paper describes the approach and impact in changing the orthodox attitude to the scientific in face of superstitious and unscientific environment. Being privileged to have been directly involved with several of these events as a scientist as well as science communicator, using TV, radio, print and direct interaction media, I had an opportunity to evaluate their efficacy. The TSE of 1995; the Venus transit of June 8th, 2004; the unfortunate earthquake in western India, later Tsunami of December, 2004 and hurricane of 2005 not only offered the opportunity to educate people about the causes of the events but also strengthen their scientific approach to enjoy wonders of nature or to minimize damage wherever possible as appropriate, whether by prevention or remedial measures. Even though eclipse and transit of Venus were believed to be ?inauspicious? by the laypersons, sustained efforts and coordination between scientists and the media led to inhibition- shedding and unprecedented response to these events even in the remote places. However, the scientific approach was found to be useful even in the case of the unnatural event of rumour of face- scratcher (?muhnochwa? in local parlance) in 2002 that had led to a fear-psychosis in certain area of northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. A systematic, scientific and interactive approach was adopted but the report here is unorthodox in several ways. It’s neither an experiment carried out with result reported, nor is it a field observation such as of a geologist who can describe things comparing with some standard. The pleasant observations of attitude- change are reported in both categories as a result of scientific approach.

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Natural and unnaturalevents
Effective tools to enhance scientific temperament

Chandra Mohan Nautiyal   BSIP

During the past decade or so, there have been several natural/unnatural events, some being global, that served as effective tools to enhance knowledge of science and also promoted the scientific temperament. This paper describes the approach and impact in changing the orthodox attitude to the scientific in face of superstitious and unscientific environment. Being privileged to have been directly involved with several of these events as a scientist as well as science communicator, using TV, radio, print and direct interaction media, I had an opportunity to evaluate their efficacy. The TSE of 1995; the Venus transit of June 8th, 2004; the unfortunate earthquake in western India, later Tsunami of December, 2004 and hurricane of 2005 not only offered the opportunity to educate people about the causes of the events but also strengthen their scientific approach to enjoy wonders of nature or to minimize damage wherever possible as appropriate, whether by prevention or remedial measures. Even though eclipse and transit of Venus were believed to be ?inauspicious? by the laypersons, sustained efforts and coordination between scientists and the media led to inhibition- shedding and unprecedented response to these events even in the remote places. However, the scientific approach was found to be useful even in the case of the unnatural event of rumour of face- scratcher (?muhnochwa? in local parlance) in 2002 that had led to a fear-psychosis in certain area of northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. A systematic, scientific and interactive approach was adopted but the report here is unorthodox in several ways. It’s neither an experiment carried out with result reported, nor is it a field observation such as of a geologist who can describe things comparing with some standard. The pleasant observations of attitude- change are reported in both categories as a result of scientific approach.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

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