Why Do We Do Research?

Published in IISc Voices,  April 2010 Issue

Why Do We Do Research?

Is it not for saving energy by creating efficient ways of producing and using it?

Is it not for creating more prominent energy resources?

Is it not for creating safer air, water and food?

Is it not for creating a healthy society?

Is it not for the safety of everything on this earth?

If it is about something crazy and is not going to help the society, can we call it research?

We are so much into so called research, that we are too busy to switch off lights when the sun can take care of lighting, in the day! We don’t bother to dispose waste in a proper way! We don’t try to understand what the commercial stored food contains. Is it healthy food to eat? We don’t even bother to close water taps when water is leaking.

Research should be practical in nature and should help the society in the long run. There are many simple things we forget to take care of and we worry too much about unpractical and very complicated stuff. Let us try to understand Nature and use it in an efficient and safer way, keeping in mind the welfare of every living being on this planet. I wanted to convey my message by taking the following simple example. Rain is the natural process of distilling water and let‘s one use the power of nature rather than spending huge amounts of money in getting the same water in a very complicated, inefficient and unsafe way. We use Kaveri water for everything and there are many people in India without proper drinking water. On an average, Bangalore receives a rainfall of approximately 850 mm/year. Very rough calculations show that in a year, approximately 1.7 billion liters of rain water is received by IISc. Assuming 6000 residents and a 150 liter per capita consumption per day, there is a requirement of approximately 0.33 Billion liters of water in IISc per year. If we can practice rain water harvesting in IISc in a proper way, we can save lot of Kaveri water. Also, many a time, at least in hostels, there is frequent water shortage in summer. If we can start water harvesting, we can be self sufficient in crucial times of need. I request the civil engineers in the campus to come up with a strategy to implement rain water harvesting in an effective way.

Note: All the values mentioned above are rough estimates.

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