West Bengal Academy of Science and Technology


Report on Dr. Sunil Chandra Bose Memorial Lecture 2023
Venue: Dept. of Pharmacology, Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education & Research, Kolkata
Date: 20 March 2024

The Annual Dr Sunil Chandra Bose Memorial Lecture (2023) under the aegis of the West Bengal Academy of Science & Technology was hosted in the Dept. of Pharmacology, Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education & Research, Kolkata, on 20th March 2024. The lecture was delivered by Prof. (Dr.) Madhumita Dobe, Chairperson - FAITH (Foundation for Actions and Innovations towards health promotion), and Former Dean, Director-Professor & Head, Department of Health Promotion & Education, All India Institute of Health and Pubic Hygiene, Kolkata. Dr. Dobe’s talk was titled ‘Reflections on the history of public health in Kolkata; a journey from 1858 to 1911’. Dr. Sivaji Chakravorti, President, WAST, introduced the audience to Dr. Sunil Chandra Bose, an eminent cardiologist, who established the Cardiological Society of India, while Prof. Mitali Chatterjee introduced the speaker, who then took the audience through a fascinating journey of important public health related anecdotes/events that ranged from the introduction of small pox vaccination, usage of a cholera belt to name a view, as also landmark discoveries made during the period, e.g. Sir Ronald Ross’s discovery of mosquito based transmission of malaria, Haffkine’s cholera vaccine etc. As a token of appreciation, a plaque was handed over by the President, WAST, to the speaker, which was followed by a vote of thanks by Prof. Mitali Chatterjee.

The Inaugural session on 10 February 2024
"Prof. Mitali Chatterjee introducing the speaker"
Participants during the inaugural session
"Prof. (Dr.) Madhumita Dobe delivering the lecture"
"The audience in rapt attention"
"Prof. Sivaji Chakravorti handing over the plaque to the speaker"

Report on National Science Day Lecture 2024
Topic: Raman Spectroscopy: A Journey Towards Modern Biology
Mode of Lecture: Online
Date: 28 February 2024

West Bengal Academy of Science and Technology (WAST) invited Dr. Nakul C. Maiti, FAScT, Senior Principal Scientist, Structural Biology and Bioinformatics Division, CSIR Indian Institute of Chemical Biology, Kolkata, to deliver the National Science Day Lecture.
The Lecture was held on 28th February 2024, at 7 PM through online mode. The program was streamed live on the YouTube channel of the WAST and is now available in the channel playlist. Prof. Ranjan Ganguly introduced the speaker to the audience. Several WAST Fellows, post-graduate students, research scholars, and faculty members attended the Lecture.
The Lecture on "Raman Spectroscopy: A Journey Towards Modern Biology" delivered by Prof. N.C. Maiti was a comprehensive exploration into the revolutionary role of Raman spectroscopy in biological sciences. The Raman Effect, discovered by Sir C.V. Raman in 1928, has found remarkable applications in understanding the molecular composition, dynamics, and interactions within biological systems. The Lecture commenced with an overview of the Raman Effect, a phenomenon where light interacting with molecules results in a shift in the wavelength of the incident photons, providing a unique fingerprint of the molecular vibrations within a sample. Beyond the confines of laboratory settings, Raman spectroscopy has practical applications in different sectors. The Lecture touched upon how it can be used to detect, analyze and help patient suffering from diseases like Parkinson, Alzheimer and Diabetes.
The speaker highlighted certain challenges such as the need for enhanced sensitivity, resolution, and the development of user-friendly instrumentation. The speaker also introduced the Raman Spectroscopy Facility installed at CSIR-IICB. The facility is designed and built entirely (except the optics) using indigenous technology, which shows the appropriateness of 2024 National Science Day theme: "Indigenous Technology for Viksit Bharat". The Lecture on "Raman Spectroscopy: A Journey Towards Modern Biology" provided a captivating insight into the diverse ways this spectroscopic technique is revolutionizing biological sciences. From cellular imaging to disease diagnosis, drug development to environmental monitoring, Raman spectroscopy stands as a powerful tool at the intersection of physics, chemistry, and biology.
An intense interactive session followed the illuminating talk. Prof. Sivaji Chakravorti, President WAST, thanked the speaker for his enlightening talk. Prof Pradeep Sengupta appreciated the interesting content of the Lecture. Prof. Maitrayee Dasgupta, Secretary WAST, offered a formal vote of Thanks.

The Inaugural session on 10 February 2024
"National Science Day Lecture 2024 organized by WAST"
Participants during the inaugural session
"Dr. Nakul C Maity delivering the lecture in online mode"
"Future directions in the application of Raman Spectroscopy"
"Participants in the online mode"

Report on the Two-day Training Course on Introduction to Programming for Internet of Things (IoT)
Venue: Dept of Instrumentation and Electronics Engg of Jadavpur University, Salt Lake Campus
Date: 10-11 February 2024

Internet of Things (IOT) is a new and advanced technology, which involves a collective network of connected devices. A large pool of trained manpower in this frontier technology is required for the Indian Industry. Understanding this need, the Engineering Sectional Committee submitted a proposal to the Council of West Bengal Academy of Science and Technology to conduct a two-day training course on Introduction to programming for Internet of Things (IOT) for the Engg. and Science students, which was duly approved. A Kolkata based company Xconics, who are experts in this field of IOT, was approached to formulate and conduct this course and they agreed to the proposal without any cost involvement. The venue was identified at the Dept of Instrumentation and Electronics Engg of Jadavpur University, Salt Lake Campus. For sponsorship, Tata Steel Ltd. was approached and they also readily agreed to sponsor the course. A few fellows and associates of WAST and the faculty members of Jadavpur University in consultation with the personnel of M/s Xconics formulated the course content and prepared the brochure. An army of 8 student volunteers and 3 faculty members were deployed to take care of the participants and ensure smooth functioning of the logistics during the two-day event.
The dates of the course were decided as Feb. 10-11, 2024. The course was fully based on hands-on with the IOT kits and devices, and thus the total number of participants was limited to 30. The course brochure was circulated to several engg. and science institutions and the interested applicants were asked to submit their applications through a Google Form. In total, 136 applications were received from which candidates were selected from different colleges, disciplines and level of studies. Students of the following institutions were finally selected, who took part in the training course:
  1. Aliah University
  2. Jadavpur University
  3. Heritage Institute of Technology
  4. Netaji Subhas Engg College
  5. St Thomas College of Engg.
  6. Gargi Memorial Institute of Technology
  7. Haldia Institute of Technology
  8. Jalpaiguri Govt Engg. College
  9. MCKV Institute of Engineering

During the course on 10-11 Feb, twenty-four candidates attended the course from the disciplines of Electronics and Communication Engg, Electrical Engg, Information Technology, Mechanical Engg, Instrumentation and Electronics Engg and Information Technology from the above-mentioned nine institutions.
The course was inaugurated on 10th Feb at 9:30 AM with the welcome address by Prof. Rajib Bandyopadhyay, Course Co-coordinator. The Chief Guest of the inaugural program was Prof. Anupam Basu, Former Director, NIT Durgapur. He addressed the students and mentioned the use of IOT and the future of this technology. On behalf of the WAST Council, Prof. Sivaji Chakravorti, President, and Prof Amit Ghosh, Vice President, were present and addressed the participants. Prof. Swarnendu Sen, Joint Course Co-coordinator presented the vote of thanks. Special thanks were given to Mr. Sandip Sarkar, Chief Technology Officer, Xconics, for the support in conducting the course with the hardware kits and Tata Steel for financial sponsorship.
The participating students were divided into six groups and each group was given the IOT kits for programming. The course was conducted in the Electronics Laboratory of the Dept. of Instrumentation and Electronics Engg and the students received adequate hands-on experience to learn the intricacies of IOT programming. It covered microcontroller (ESP32) programming, interfacing digital devices, sensors and connection to cloud through wi-fi.
At the end of the course on 11th Feb, the valedictory program was held. The program was graced by Prof. Ratna Ghosh, Head, Dept of Instrumentation and Electronics Engg and Prof Amit Ghosh, Vice President, WAST. Feedback form was given to the students and the responses were collected. The participating students were awarded with the certificates by Prof. Amit Ghosh, Vice President, WAST. Both the inaugural program and the valedictory program were streamed live in YouTube.

The Inaugural session on 10 February 2024
"The Inaugural session on 10 February 2024"
Participants during the inaugural session
"Participants during the inaugural session"
"Hands on training session in progress"
"The valedictory session on 11 February 2024"
"Certificate distribution"
"Group photo at the venue"

Report on the JC Sengupta Endowment Lecture 2023
Venue: Archana Sharma Memorial Hall, Dept. of Botany, University of Calcutta
Date: 30th January 2024

West Bengal Academy of Science and Technology (WAST) organizes every year Endowment Lectures in the names of well reputed Scientists/ Educationists. The great Teacher cum Researcher Prof. J.C. Sengupta having pioneering study on basic aspects of plant metabolism has been one of them.
This year the eminent plant scientist, Prof. Paramjit Khurana of Plant Molecular Biology Department of Delhi University, South Campus, was invited to deliver the JC Sengupta Endowment Lecture (2023).
The Lecture was held on 30th January, 2024, at 2 PM in collaboration with the Botany Department of Calcutta University in the Archana Sharma Memorial Hall of Botany Department of CU in Hybrid mode. The program was streamed live in the YouTube channel of the WAST and is now available in the channel playlist. A number of WAST Fellows including honorable Dr. Amiya Bagchi and many post-graduate students, research scholars were physically attended the lecture. Good number of faculty members and students also joined on line.
At the outset Prof. Rita Kundu, Head, Dept. of Botany, CU, extended her warm welcome to the Speaker as well as participants attending both in the online and offline modes. Prof. Amit Ghosh, Vice President of WAST, addressed the gathering and briefly described the biography and scientific achievements of Prof. J.C. Sengupta. Prof. Sampa Das, INSA honorary Scientist, introduced the Speaker. Prof. Maitrayee Dasgupta, Secretary, WAST, expressed her sincere gratitude on a personal note to the speaker for her acceptance of the invitation for this endowment lecture.
Then Dr. Khurana started her lecture on “Creating Climate Resilient Crops in the Era of Plant Genomics”. She initiated with their participation in Rice genome sequencing study as a partner of International collaborating team. Her Indian group sequenced Chromosome 11 and completely annotated. As the first attempt of Indian Scientists in genome project published in 2005, she described it as “Golden Standard” work, which inspired them to involve in another international project of Tomato genome sequencing. Tomato being a fleshy fruit the genome sequencing became challenging. The fruit have lots of diversity but genetic variability is low. Their investigation published in 2012 helped to understand other solanaceous genome organization like Brinjol, Capsicum etc, which are important with respect to adaptation and evolution of fruits. She also described her independent chloroplast genome, subsequently whole genome sequencing, of Mulberry. Industrially important crop Mulberry suffers from both biotic and heat and salinity stresses. She developed transgenic Mulberry with LEA protein gene, which showed heat and salinity tolerance. Those materials are transferred to Seiculture Institute and GKVK, Bangalore, for further advancement. Rising of temperature and falling of water table, two global issues of current days, are affecting the sustainable development of food crops. To increase the wheat productivity in the current scenario she is applying Functional genomic approach. Hexaploid nature, huge genome size and problem in segregation made her to apply haploid culture development followed by Diplodisation for transgenic development. As a proof of concept the transgenics exhibit temperature tolerance in controlled condition. She also described her efforts on improvement of photosynthetic efficiency of plants and exploiting soil microbes to increase productivity for affordable and sustainable food for everyone.
An intense interactive session followed the illuminating talk. Thereafter, Prof. Sivaji Chakravorti, President, WAST, felicitated the speaker with sincere appreciation and briefly talked about the ongoing activities and future mission of the WAST. Prof. Krishnendu Acharya, Department of Botany, CU, offered the formal vote of Thanks. The program ended with tea and snacks.

Prof. Paramjit Khurana delivering the lecture
"Prof. Paramjit Khurana delivering the lecture"
A section of the audience
"A section of the audience"
President WAST speaking on the occasion
"President WAST speaking on the occasion"
Felicitation of the speaker
"Felicitation of the speaker"