The courses of scientific development and research around the word are borderless. An illustrating example is of Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, winner of the 2009 Noble Prize for Chemistry for his studies of the structure and function of the ribosome and whose work very successfully combines the traditional domains of physics and chemistry.
Even modern biology has become very mathematical, based on genetics quantum mechanics and other streams and it is very unlikely to come across minds in the west that believe that the traditional, disciplines can work in silos. Unfortunately in India, the compartmentalization starts very early as students study biology because they do not like maths. Given the way the scientific developments are happening all over the world, this is a serious handicap.
Centers of Excellence:
In the fields of environmental science, health sciences and computing specializations, there is a palpable demand for interdisciplinary professionals immediately. In India, leadership in interdisciplinary sciences has been shown by the ISI, Chennai Mathematical School, Delhi University, Hyderabad Central University, Jadavpur University, Anna University, IIT Kharagpur , IIT Kanpur; IIT Chennai. The reason we have not been able to bring this crucial approach tour scientists and engineers is that in India most convergence education happens at the doctoral level.
An interdisciplinary ecosystem:
Several institutions are working towards bringing on the change. We are aware that the curriculum available is restricting the capable student. Not only are we sprucing up the different streams in engineering, we are starting a school of medical sciences and a school of law on campus to help create an ecosystem for interdisciplinary students to flourish. We are setting up several interdisciplinary masters programmers with the electrical, mechanical engineering, biosciences, cyber law and infrastructures engineering streams, shares Director of NIT.
Some institutions have reorganized their entire curriculum to suit the interdisciplinary approach. IIIT – Hyderabad for example, which specializes in robotics computer vision, natural language processing has master’s program which draws from disciplines of the arts, biology, mechanical engineering and artificial intelligence. Our interdisciplinary approach starts at the undergraduate level and this year about 30 international publications have come from the. Science itself has become largely computational in all the new frontiers of technology and a rigid approach would make a student seriously handicapped. Students should focus on strong fundamentals and then pick up the other disciplines as and when they need.
While science is getting increasingly interdisciplinary, students should have specialist strengths at the base level. What is becoming very common is an interdisciplinary work groups and an appreciation of multiple sciences is absolutely essential in the pharma work space today.
Corporates today have realized the importance of multi-disciplinary teams that can be crucial while finding solutions to complex problems. In Microsoft for example, we have a equal number of sociologists and technologists in our ICT team foe development programs which focus on new technology for developing countries.
A Liberal Mindset:
Education always responds to the requirements of society. They actually started thinking of indigenous products and solutions only after we liberalized our economy in 1991, and never before that. Most of the innovations that you see today are interdisciplinary and we are in the nascent stage when it comes to sectors like telecommunications, pharma and alternatives health sciences. The cell phone revolution and the making of the Nano car exemplary examples of the application of inter-disciplinary science to modern day needs and feels that indigenous discoveries and inventions in pharmacy and technology were delayed and hampered by our own closed minds.
New Career Avenues:
Deals with the integration of medicine and instruments i.e. material engineering sciences with life sciences catering to the endless needs in diagnostics and internal medicine sensors (bioinstrumentation). Prominent biomedical engineering applications include various diagnostic and therapeutic medical devices arranging from clinical equipment to micro-implants, common imaging equipment such as MRI and EEGs biotechnologies such as regenerative tissue growth and pharmaceutical drugs and biopharmaceuticals.
Cognitive Science is the study of mind or the study of thought. It embraces multiple research disciplines including psychology, artificial intelligence, philosophy, neuroscience, linguistics, anthropology, sociology ad biology. It is used extensively in the fields of artificial intelligence and robotics. Courses offered at Center of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences (CBCS) University of Allahabad.
Nanotechnology is very diverse, ranging from extensions of conventional device physics to completely new approaches based upon molecular self assembly from developing new materials wit dimensions on the nanoscale. The IITs at Mumbai, Kanpur, Chennai, Guwahati and Delhi offers courses ion this discipline.
Applied Linguistics is an interdisciplinary field of study that identifies investigates and offers solutions to language related real lie problems and is used widely in the technology space. The University of Delhi offers an advanced diploma course in it.
Bio Physics is an interdisciplinary science that employs methods of the physical sciences for the investigation of biological systems. Courses offered at University of Madras
Astrobiology is the study of the origin evolution, distribution and future of life in the universe. Astrobiology makes use of physics, chemistry, astronomy, biology, molecular biology, ecology, planetary science, geography and geology.