10 Aug THE DEC. 1952 MEETING OF INDIAN ACADEMY OF SCIENCE, TRIVANDRUM & VISIT TO THE MUSEUM OF MS&RD, TRAVANCORE UNIVERSITY
THE DEC. 1952 MEETING OF INDIAN ACADEMY OF SCIENCE, TRIVANDRUM & VISIT TO THE MUSEUM OF MS&RD, TRAVANCORE UNIVERSITY.
In 1952, the Indian Academy of Sciences, on the invitation of the Vice-Chancellor of Travancore University (TU), decided to hold the annual meeting in Trivandrum. Dr.C.S.Venkateswaran, was the local organizer. The Pro-Vice Chancellor, Sri Parameswara Panicker was the Chairman of the reception committee.
The Annual Meeting was held from 26th to 29th Dec., 1952, and the scientific sessions met at the V.J. Town Hall and the Physics Lecture Hall of the University College, Trivandrum. His Highness the Rajapramukh of Travancore-Cochin state inaugurated the meeting.
There was a Symposium on the 27th entitled “Methods and results of Infra-red Spectroscopy”.
Besides the Presidential Address by C.V. Raman on “Iridescent Crystals”, there were Public Lectures by CV Raman on the “Nature of X-Rays” and another by Homi J Bhabha on “Elementary Particles and Cosmic Rays”.
During this meeting, Dr C S Venkateswaran, (a former student of Sir CV Raman, Principal, University College, Trivandrum, and Director in Charge, of Central Research Institute of TU), invited Sir CVR to go on a tour of the museum of the Mineral Survey &Research Division (MS&RD), Central Research Institute (CRI) of TU, where slabs of zircon mega crystal bearing pegmatite facies of the zircon syenite rock of Puttetti were on display. Dr C S Venkateswaran knew quite well that Sir CVR will be very much amazed especially by the unique mega-crystals of zircon and the zircon syenite rock.
Zircon syenite slabs and mega crystals of zircon in the museum were the topic of research of Sri KVK Nair, who is a now leading a peaceful life with the family on retirement from the Dept. of Geology, Kariavattom Campus. According to Sri K.V.K. Nair, Sir CVR was awed at the sight of mega crystals of zircon and zircon Syenite of Puttetti, now in the Kanyakumari Dist of TN State.
Sir CVR went around the museum of MS&RD where minerals, rocks and other geologic materials were on display. Sir CVR on viewing the slabs of zircon mega crystals commented that if some slabs of the rock were on display in his IISc laboratory, the international scientific community will have the rare opportunity to closely see and examine these unique zircon crystals and zircon syenite.
Then, Dr CSV readily agreed to forward a parcel of the rock samples. But on the contrary, Sir CVR wanted the rock slabs with crystals be packed right away under his own eyes, so that they will safely travel along with him to Bangalore. In fact, Sri KVK Nair still vividly recalls Sir CVR choosing the samples from the museum of the MS&RD for packing
A word or two about the MS&RD of the TU. In 1947, it was created as a division of the CRI of TU. And Dr.K.L. Moudgil was the founder Director of the CRI. The other divisions of the CRI are the Applied Chemistry, Pharmacognosy, Statistics etc. The MS&RD was mandated to make an inventory of the industrial/commercial mineral deposits of the state and to impart professional training to the young scientific staff. The TU offered Mr. T.R.M. Lawrie, British educated geologist, the position of Chief Geologist in the MS&RD, who readily agreed by accepting the offer.
However after independence, the National Mineral Policy of the Indian Republic identified
the Geological Survey of India as the sole agency to be in charge of exploration and inventory of the non-living natural resources (minerals, ores etc). This shift in mineral policy divested the MS&RD of its responsibility in Mineral exploration.
Consequently, in 1953, the TU (by making use of the infrastructure of MS&RD) with the professional and laboratory facilities began to offer a B.Sc., degree course in Geology in the University College, Trivandrum. Using the major chunk of the infrastructure of MS&RD of TU, in 1963 June, the Department of Geology, University of Kerala (now in the Kariavattom Campus) was inaugurated in the University of Kerala.
Hence, it is more than a pleasant coincidence that a bust of Sir CVR, a great scientist son of India, was unveiled a little earlier in the campus, wherein the museum of the Dept. of Geology (which might still reminisce Sir CVR’s tour), also stands tall with slabs of zircon syenite and samples of mega-crystals of zircon – all from Puttetti. .
Note by Dr.Thrivikramji,K.P. in consultation with Shri KVK. Nair; part of the information is due to G. Madhavan through Dr. Kusala Rajendran and CP. Rajendran, IISc, Bangalore.