Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu announced a Rs 100-crore reward for the first Nobel laureate to emerge from his state (January 4). The money is 14 times the Nobel Prize value! He said this while inaugurating the Children’s Science Congress. The catch is that you would have to grow up to be an ‘Andhra scientist’. Scientists are unimpressed, it seems.
Naidu made the reward offer – worth about 14 times the 2016 Nobel Prize value – while inaugurating the Children’s Science Congress on the sidelines of the Indian Science Congress.
“I am announcing a prize. If an Andhra scientist gets a Nobel Prize, we are going to give Rs 100 crore as reward. (From now on) you should develop curiosity to achieve it and work very hard towards that end,” Naidu said as large numbers of school students clapped.
None of the eight Indian or Indian-origin Nobel laureates so far is from Andhra Pradesh.
The chief minister asked Japanese Nobel laureate in physics Takaaki Kajita, present on the dais with him, to give his advice to the students to achieve the honour, to which the Japanese physicist said “hard work”.
But scientists who heard or learnt about Naidu’s offer said it appears to be driven by a mistaken assumption.
“Money is not what motivates people to do science,” said Suvrat Raju, a physicist at the International Centre for Theoretical Sciences, Bangalore, a unit of the Mumbai-based Tata Institute of Fundamental Research.
Instead of gifting such a sum to an individual, the money could be better used to improve infrastructure for science or improve scientific temperament in the country, Raju said.