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Devoted to taking science to children

Special Correspondent



Proud achievement: G.S. Unnikrishnan Nair, Agricultural Officer, receiving the National Award for Science Communication from Union Minister for Science and Technology Kapil Sibal at the National Science Day celebrations in New Delhi.

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: G.S. Unnikrishnan Nair, Agricultural Officer at the Farm Information Bureau here, has won the National Award for Science Communication for 2008 instituted by the Department of Science and Technology of the Union government.

Mr. Nair received the award from Union Minister for Science and Technology Kapil Sibal at the National Science Day celebrations in New Delhi on Friday. The award comprises a cash prize of Rs.1 lakh, a plaque and a citation.

Mr. Nair, a prolific writer, was selected for his outstanding contribution in popularising science among children. His subjects range from agriculture to mechanics, space travel, green technology, ecological science, cloning and robotics. He makes use of a vast repertoire of tools such as photos, illustrations and interactions.

Talking to The Hindu, Mr. Nair said his strategy was to come up with a creative approach in each of his works to generate interest and hold the attention of children who had a short attention span.

One of his articles employs a pet robot dog to highlight a point, while a book on robots features a dramatic interaction with the Hollywood character Terminator to introduce cyborgs.

In a book on tiger conservation that is about to be published, Mr. Nair uses three approaches — the version of a child visiting a tiger sanctuary, the plight of the last tiger left in the Sariska Reserve forest in Rajasthan and a narration by action hero Jackie Chan, who is the brand ambassador for the Save Tiger project.

Mr. Nair is the author of over 2000 popular science articles and 24 science books for children, including two translations published by Discovery Channel.

He is a regular contributor to the columns of Malayalam and English newspapers and has scripted and edited 55 documentaries on agriculture. He handles science classes for children in schools and conducts quizzes for them.

Mr. Nair scripts and directs the Noorumeni agro magazine programme on Doordarshan’s Malayalam channel. He is the editor of the Haritha Dalam newsletter brought out by the Farm Information Bureau.

Mr. Nair had won the national award for book writing from the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development in 2002.

He got the State award instituted by the Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment in 2005 for lifetime achievement in the field of science popularisation among children.

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