Date & Time : Tuesday, 10th December 2019, 3:30 pm
Venue : Lecture Theatre, Department of Materials Engineering, IISc
Instrumental Lives – an intimate biography of an Indian laboratory’ (Routledge 2019) is an account of instrument making at the cutting edge of contemporary science and technology in a modern Indian scientific laboratory. For a period of roughly two-and-half decades, starting in the late 1980s, a research group headed by CV Dharmadhikari in the the physics department at the Savitribai Phule University, Pune, fabricated a range of scanning tunneling and scanning force microscopes including the earliest such microscopes made in the country. Not only were these instruments made entirely in-house, research done using them was published in the world’s leading peer-reviewed journals, and studentswho made and trained on them went on to become top-class scientists in premier institutions.
The book uses qualitative research methods such as open-ended interviews, historical analysis and laboratory ethnography that are standard in Science and Technology Studies (STS), to present the
micro-details of this instrument-making enterprise, the counter-intuitive methods employed, and the unexpected material, human and intellectual resources that were mobilized in the process. It locates scientific research and innovation within the social, political and cultural context of a laboratory’s physical location and asks important questions of the dominant narratives of innovation that remain fixated on quantitative metrics of publishing, patenting and generating commerce.
Prof. Pankaj Sekhsaria’s research interests lie at the intersection of science, society, technology and development. He has a Phd in Science and Technology Studies (STS) from Maastricht University and is currently Associate Professor at the Centre for Technology Alternatives for Rural Areas (CTARA), IIT Bombay. He has written extensively on environment, wildlife and development issues particularly on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. His two most recent books include his debut novel ‘The Last Wave’ (HarperCollins India 2014) and ‘Islands in Flux – the Andaman and Nicobar Story’ (HarperLitmus 2019), which is a collection of 20 years of his journalism on the islands. Instrumental Lives tells the story of the scanning tunneling and scanning force microscope laboratories in Pune university that he studied as part of his doctoral project.
Refreshments: 3:15 PM