Science today has pervaded society as never before. All matters of social concern like health, education, environment, communication, travel, security, law and order, and even social behavior are deeply influenced by scientific advancements. In fact, more than ever before science is expected to address social concerns and this is reflected in the increased funding for research by governments across the world. While the last century witnessed some amazing fundamental discoveries in basic sciences like physics and chemistry, the recent decades of our century have witnessed advancements particularly in biological sciences that have greatly added to our understanding of the living world. This has led to the development of new technologies for producing novel drugs, vaccines, new therapies with huge potential, and much more. However, on the other hand emergence of multi drug resistant bacteria, tuberculosis, new deadly viral diseases like SARS and Ebola underscore the challenges ahead for both science and society. Rapid advancement in sciences has inevitable serious ethical and social concerns. There is a great need today, more than ever before, for scientists and society to interact and have a continuous dialogue with each other. Some of these issues particularly those dealing with health will be the focus of the talk.
Prof. Chauhan obtained his Bachelors, Masters and Doctorate degree in Chemistry from Delhi University. In addition to a brilliant academic record, he also has been an outstanding sportsman and represented Delhi University, Delhi State and Oxford University in athletics and cross country. He taught at St. Stephen’s College, IIT - Kanpur, and University of Delhi. In 1998 he joined the International Centre for Genetic and Biotechnology (ICGEB, New Delhi) and became as Director in 1998, a position that he held until March, 2014. Prof. Chauhan has made major contributions in the fields of Malaria vaccine and drug research and in design and synthesis of peptides of biological importance. An experimental malaria vaccine, first of its kind that was developed entirely in the country was taken to clinical trials also in India.