A Perspective on Asia CHEMISTRY FOR A BETTER FUTURE: DOES IT NEED REPOSITIONING? Goverdhan Mehta Department of Organic Chemistry Indian Institute of Science Bangalore, INDIA
Structure of the presentation • “Obeisance”- A celebration of chemistry • Scoping Chemistry – challenges& responses • Asymmetric world - basic paradigms • Silver lining- chemistry in Asia • Looking ahead……. “tour de force” of Chemical scenario
1776-1856 Dedicated to Amedeo Carlo Avogadro
1743-1826 1901-1994 Chemistry stirs extreme emotions…. If you are obliged to neglect anything, let it be your chemistry. It is the least useful and the least amusing to a country gentleman of all the ordinary branches of science. -Thomas Jefferson I feel sorry for people who don’t know anything about chemistry. They are missing an important source of happiness. - Linus Pauling
1635-1682 Chemistry- a tryst with destiny Chemists are a strange class of mortals, impelled by an almost maniacal impulse to seek their pleasures amongst smoke and vapour, soot and flames, poisons and poverty, yet amongst all these evils I seem to live so sweetly that I would rather die than change places with the King of Persia. - Johann Joachim Becher
A Science of mixing substances Chemistry is in Everything and Everything is in Chemistry An amazing science of familiar things From grand mother’s recipes to…….. Sherlock Holmes detective work to witchcraftand even magic!
Chemistry is in Everything and Everything is in Chemistry Chemistry is a “utility science”
Chemistry is in Everything and Everything is in Chemistry Chemistry is a “Core Science”
Chemistry is in Everything and Everything is in Chemistry Chemistry is an “Integrative Science”
Chemistry is in Everything and Everything is in Chemistry Chemistry...is one of the broadest branches of science, if for no other reason that, when we think about it, everything is chemistry. -Luciano Caglioti Chemistry is a “Synergy Science”
Chemistry is in Everything and Everything is in Chemistry A dynamic branch of science; constantly evolving Chemistry is a “Synergy Science”
Chemistry has changed life……. Let it be acknowledged, whoever we are, wherever we live, whatever we do, chemistry is omni present, improving our life and our world. “…..chemistry is the window given to mankind to glimpse into its material essence” * A very proud record and brighter future ahead….. *S. Shaik, Angew Chem. 2003
ee Chemistry energy and environment • Chemistry – an ever expanding canvas… • Materials to medicines • Nanotechnology to sustainable energy • Climate researchtogenetic modifications • Growing and unmatched interdisciplinarity
…..no matter how the world evolves in the 21st century, chemistry will always be at the centre of human wellbeing, economic development and sustainability of our planet. But……..
Is chemistry at the cross roads? • Is our identity at stake? Do we tend to define ourselves narrowly despite the vast expanse of the discipline? • Generally, chemists seem content in living from publication to publication; missing the big picture? • Should chemistry be repositioned with respect to other sciences? Do we need to cosmeticize our discipline to amplify its intellectual appeal? ‘All science is either physics or stamp collecting’- Rutherford Chemists are often accused of ‘intellectual conservatism’ Science that promotes ‘intellectual polygamy and promiscuity’
Is chemistry at the cross roads? • How to strengthen dynamic synergy between our perpetual quest for new structures with functions? • Are risk factors, the bête noire of chemistry, being overplayed? Despite risks, acceptance of nuclear energy is resurfacing • How can chemistry retune/redeem societal esteem commensurate with its contributions? Do we need to communicate better? Is it only an image problem?
Cynicism about chemistry is highest among the OECD countries which account for <85% of scientific literature, <90% R & D and <85% of IPR Strange correlation between the prosperity of society and disdain for chemistry Curiously, in the pooranddeveloping nations chemistry does not evoke negative responses; it is still viewed as a science for human good
Image of chemistry Scientific competitiveness and economic wealth D. A. King, Nature, 430, 311, 2004
How to champion the cause of chemistry? • Revisit its intellectual landscape - promote chemistry as a science for human wellbeing and sustainable future. • Need icons - a la Feynman for modern physics, Watson or Monod for modern biology or Medawar/ Pauling for science. • Interdisciplinarity vs identity. How much space to yield? Are there lessons from nanoscience and genomics?
How to champion the cause of chemistry? • Harness the full potential of the exceptional interface between chemistry and industry. (Liebig’s model) • Project it as a discipline that equips one with multiple skills, well suited for a range of promising careers. • Chemistry - as a bridge to span the increasing chasm between science and society
I think so Why? What is the way forward Catch the bull by the horns ! Is Chemistry in the retreat? • Many portends : • Departments are being shut down; rechristened or merged in desperation for survival – era of ‘prefixes’ • Many research councils and funding agencies removing the word chemistry as a section • Falling stature of chemistry – seeking shelter • Lack of interest among young – mirroring the trend in science • Near absence of a cohesive and influential voice for the chemistry community and ‘statesman chemists’ Let us reach out to society and project our discipline as the fundamental science in the quest for sustainability in the 21st century
Great opportunities…… Connecting to UN ‘Millennium Development Goals’ eg. hunger, health, education, environment Linkages with Global Change Research Programs eg. climate change, energy issues Looking Beyond discovery : addressing human needs and concerns Grasping the international dimension
UNDERSTANDING A RESURGENT ASIA • A dominant geographic entity, covering nearly one-third (43,608,000 sq km) of the Earth’s land mass. • Home to 61% (3.7 bn) of world’s population.
Changing perception of Asia – from pity to.…… UNDERSTANDING A RESURGENT ASIA • Culturally, ethnically and linguistically diverse. • Civilizational strengths dating back to around 5000 B.C. • Tradition of learning and scholarship. • Ravaged in the recent past by colonization and conflicts. • Galloping population and emerging markets. • Resilient people – adept at facing the core challenges A young continent with vibrant, ambitious population - raring to go (cf. 54% of India’s population is below the age of 30)
How does one look at chemistry from the perspective of a geographic entity? Not in a disciplinary sense but from the perspective of people, culture, practice, perception, opportunities and prospects. Chemistry in Asia Science is becoming a world system Internationalization of Chemistry – a reality
A basic paradigm……… World is asymmetric, not only in socio-economic arena but more so in S & T capacities
Growing inequalities Knowledge Divide A troubled world
Galloping Consumption Depleting resources A stressed planet
A basic paradigm • Asymmetry among Asian and OECD countries • Asymmetry between Asian countries • Asymmetry within the Asian countries World is asymmetric ………… - Chemistry and Asia are no exceptions GDP varies from $500 - 28,000 p.a Universities per country <5 - >300 Chemistry Ph. D’s p.a 0 - >1000 Chemistry publications p.a <5 – >3000
Notwithstanding the asymmetries, chemistry is heading for a boom time in Asia
ASIA: ITS LONG TRADITION OF CHEMISTRY Natural products and traditional medicine • ‘Ayurveda’ in India, Chinese system among many others prevalent in Asia - are being reinvented now for human wellbeing • Neutraceuticals and Cosmeceuticals : $.60 bn herbal market. Artemisinin a potent antimalarial drug, isolated from Quighaosu
Indian Wootz Steel (18th century, Persia) bronze (2600-1800 BC, India) bronze (6th to 8th century, Burma) iron (320-335 AD, India) bronze (211-206 BC, Quin dynasty, China) ASIA: ITS LONG TRADITION OF CHEMISTRY Materials processing
Porcelain vase from the Ming period, China: Use of cobalt oxide to produce blue pattterns (indican) (indoxyl) air Indigo dye (inset), extracted from Indigofera tinctoria, derives its name from India – the oldest center of indigo dying. (indigo) ASIA: ITS LONG TRADITION OF CHEMISTRY Dyes and pigments
Chemistry in Asia Where does it stand? Where is it heading?
From silver lining………to golden edge Chemistry does not yet have a serious image problem in Asia- though there are some legitimate concerns of civil society and environmenalists While chemistry may not be the first career choice among the young Asians, it is certainly not the last Job opportunities for chemists are getting brighter Investments in the chemical industry are flowing both in the manufacturing and R & D sectors as more and more countries become TRIPS compliant
Asia: the Changing Landscape of Chemistry • Chemistry continues to draw students at both graduate and undergraduate level • Signs of incremental improvement in the quality of training and research • It is projected that by 2012 Asia will produce more Ph.D’s in Chemistry than US or Europe! • Increasing capacity to retain knowledge intensive capita - reversing the ‘brain drain’ • Job opportunities with very competitive compensation • Emergence of a new breed of entrepreneurs
Human capital Knowledge capital Economic development Many new initiatives………… • New institutions - focus on Universities • (Re)building research infrastructure • Innovations in chemistry curricula • Web enabled teaching-virtual experiments • Incentives for faculty and students Prime driver……
Chemistry in Asia- Positive signals and increasing visibility • Research contributions in cutting edge areas • Many world class institutions-drawing attention • Emergence of new leadership • More speakers at leading Conferences/Symp. • Regular hosting of major international events • Signs of a spread-new countries in the arena
Asia-increasing share of chemical literature In 2004 contributions from Asia accounted for >30% of the Chemistry literature…… China 12% Japan 11.8% India 2.6% S. Korea 2.4% Source: CAS Population – 61% There are first time contributions from many countries in leading Chemistry Journals
Relative Position in Chemistry (based on Chemical abstracts) In the chemistry world eleven four players from Asia
Material Science Contributions in Material Science 1990-2004
Chemicals accounts for ~15% of global trade in manufactured goods (cf. 10% in automotive sector) Powerful interface of chemistry with industry World trade in chemicals in 2000 was $1500 billion; projected to be over $2000 billion in 2006 Geographic distribution of trade: EU 31% USA 30% Asia 27%
Chemical Industry – Emerging Asian Scenario • Major supply of bulk chemicals • Manufacturing of fine chemicals and intermediates • Phenomenal rise in contract research • Establishment of major R & D Centers by MNCs • What are the drivers for such moves? • Abundant human resources, • Core competence of Asians in process research, • Cost cutting, • Environmental concerns, ‘REACH’ has not yet reached
Chemical Industry – Emerging Asian Scenario • What are the benefits? • Economic growth and employment • Helps ‘locals’ to move up the value chain • Development of entrepreneurship • Draws innovators • What are the concerns? • Environmental pollution– air , water • Hazards –Bhopal gas leak (1984), Harbin (2005) • Growth of indigenous R & D • IPR issues
ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION IN ASIA Pivotal role of chemistry in sustainable development?
Lessons from the “Miracle of Rhine” Following the ‘Basel disaster’ of 1986, a concerted, cross country effort with chemical industry participation and policy interventions has cleaned-up the river; no more heavy metal contamination and even the salamander fish is back
Pharmaceuticals - A sunrise sector in Asia Globally, pharmaceutical industry is worth >500 billion, propelled by a string of innovative blockbusters Generics market is touching 50 billion Asian countries have found a niche in generics primarily due to special flair for innovations in process research But is that enough? Particularly in the TRIPS compliant competitive regime! Blockbuster basket from Asia is rather empty