West Bengal Academy of Science and Technology


Sarbani Patranabis Deb Endowment Lecture 2023
Venue: Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata
Date: 17 November 2023

The first Sarbani Patranabis Deb Endowment Lecture was jointly organised by the West Bengal Academy of Science & Technology (WAST) and Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) Kolkata on Friday, November 17, 2023, in the Lecture Room of the Soft Computing Centre, ISI. The lecture was delivered by Prof. Sanghamitra Ray, Department of Geology and Geophysics, Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, and the title of her talk was “If fossils could speak: glimpses from the Late Triassic world”. Dr. Shiladri Sekhar Das, head, Geological Studies Unit, Indian Statistical Institute, conveyed the welcome address and reminisced about the life and activities of Prof. Sarbani Patranabis-Deb. Professor Sivaji Chakravorti, President, delivered the detailed activities of the WAST and introduced the speaker. The presentation gave an idea about the Late Triassic vertebrate fauna from the Gondwana basins of India with case studies from the Tiki and Maleri formations of the Rewa and Pranhita-Godavari basins (India), respectively. The presentation discussed the results obtained from three lesser-known disciplines of vertebrate palaeontology, called taphonomy, palaeobiology, and palaeoecology. The next aspect involved the study of the palaeobiology of 32 premaxillae of varied ontogeny pertaining to Indian hyperodapedons. The final aspect of the presentation shed light on the paleoecology of the Late Triassic of India from a holistic perspective, including the findings from the micro- and trace fossils along with the megavertebrates. The new food web discussed is highly diverse, including several new freshwater sharks, bony fishes, reptilian taxa, rhynchocephalians, and cynodonts. A large number of faculty members, scientists, students, and others attended the lecture both in off line and online mode through Zoom. The President of the WAST presented the endowment lecture plaque to the speaker on behalf of WAST at the end of the lecture. The programme ended with the vote of thanks offered by Prof. Somnath Dasgupta, the immediate past president of the WAST. The program was also streamed live through WAST YouTube channel.


Prof. C.R. Rao Memorial Lecture
Venue: Bose Institute, Sector V, Salt Lake, Kolkata
Date: 07 November 2023

Professor Calyampudi Radhakrishna Rao, one of the greatest names in the discipline of statistics, passed away on August 22, 2023, less than a month before his 103th birthday. The recipient of innumerable accolades including Padma Vibhushan, Fellowship of the Royal Society, US National Science Medal, and the International Prize in Statistics, he has pioneered and enriched research in statistics for more than seven decades. WAST organised a memorial lecture on Prof. Rao on November 07, 2023 at the Bose Institute, Salt Lake Campus, Kolkata. Prof. Sivaji Chakravorti, President of WAST, inaugurated the program, welcomed all the guests and gave a brief introduction about the activities of WAST. Former President Prof. P. P. Majumder, gave a brief speech, where he touched upon the life and works of Prof. Rao, and also shared the experience of some personal interactions. Prof. Sumitra Purkayastha introduced Prof. Probal Chaudhuri of the Indian Statistical Institute, the main speaker for the day. Prof. Chaudhuri gave a heart-warming account of Prof. Rao’s research contributions and his journey through the different phases of his life. The most popular works of Prof. Rao were published in the 1940s, involving estimation theory and differential geometry. Prof. Chaudhuri focused on many other major contributions of Prof. Rao, which remain somewhat confined within the academic community, but deserve as much importance in the literature. The talk was filled with several interesting anecdotes involving Prof. Rao. Apart from the members who attended physically, several others watched the live YouTube stream, which was available at a WAST program for the first time. The program ended with a Vote of Thanks presented by Prof. Ayanendranath Basu.


Prof. M.S. Swaminathan Memorial Lecture
Venue: Sister Nivedita University (SNU), Kolkata
Date: 18 October 2023

A program titled “Remembering Prof M S Swaminathan“ in the memory of Prof. M.S. Swaminathan, a renowned figure in the field of agricultural science, was held at the Sister Nivedita University (SNU) on October 18, 2023. This program was organized by the Plant Sciences Section of the West Bengal Academy of Science and Technology (WAST) jointly with the Department of Microbiology and the Department of Biotechnology of SNU.
The memorial talk delivered by Prof. Swapan Kumar Datta highlighted his personal experiences with Prof. Swaminathan as well as his contributions in dealing with the importance of sustainable agriculture, biodiversity conservation, and the role of biotechnology in addressing global food security challenges. The program brought together a diverse audience of students, researchers, and academicians including several WAST Fellows, eager to learn from Prof. Swaminathan's wealth of knowledge.
This proved to be an inspiring and educational experience, promoting meaningful discussions on the future of agriculture and its impact on society. Prof. Swaminathan's legacy continues to inspire future generations, and this memorial lecture served as a fitting tribute to his contributions to science and agriculture.


Annual Oration (Enhancing Public Enthusiasm for Science: The Role of a Science Academy) of the WAST on 4 July 2023 by Prof. Partha Pratim Majumder, National Science Chair (Scientific Excellence), SERB, Govt. of India & Former President of Indian Academy of Sciences, and West Bengal Academy of Science and Technology.