It was a historic moment when Nobel Laureate Sir Richard John Roberts- world renowned Biochemist and Molecular Biologist visited Amity University and delivered an interesting and engrossing lecture on “The Path to the Nobel Prize” at University Campus, Sector-125, Noida.
Sir Richard John Roberts is an English Biochemist and Molecular Biologist who was awarded the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Phillip Allen Sharp for the discovery of introns ineukaryotic DNA and the mechanism of gene-splicing. He currently works at New England Biolabs. Sir Roberts has been a supporter of GMO technology across the world, citing it as absolutely “safe” and having the potential to save lives in developing countries.
Welcoming the luminary, Dr. Ashok K Chauhan-Founder President, Amity Group stated that Amitians have tremendous talent and every individual in Amity is filled with brilliance. He pledged on behalf of all Amitians to herald “GMO India” and transform the country through GMOs. Dr. Chauhan announced the launch of “Sir Richard John Roberts Centre for Genetically Modified Organism (GMO)” at Amity University which will undertake research related to GMOs and promote their benefits .
Delivering the lecture, Nobel Laureate Sir Richard John Roberts outlined how he was encouraged by his father right from early age to pursue Mathematics and Chemistry, which eventually made him fascinated enough to pursue a career in Chemistry. Taking about his research work on GMO, he shared that as part of the GMO Campaign , he promoted GMO technology as safe and advocated its use extensively in developing countries which need better yielding crops which nutritional value. He remarked that in GMOs, genes are carefully crossed which is safe method as the genes could be monitored easily.
He shared that scientific community across the world has reached consensus that GMO is safe and factual but once people are scared of using it, it becomes difficult to assure them otherwise. He opined that the Green Parties, which initially threatened the people about the adverse effects of GMO, have to take up the cause of GMOs for ensuring its acceptance by the people.
He remarked that Bt Cotton is perfect for India since as compared to traditional cotton, it has more output, requires less land and is more profitable for the farmers as well. He stated that weather conditions are changing across the globe; the rainfall is much scanty therefore, traditional methods of agriculture have to be changed with GMOs.
Talking about the regulations in the field of GMOs in India, the Nobel Laureate averred that regulations cost money and small farmers cannot afford to pay money. He opined that there should be least regulations for GMOs in India since it is a better and safer method of increasing the quantity and quality of produce.
Addressing the gathering, Dr. Atul Chauhan- Chancellor, Amity University stressed that it’s a great day for Amity to host Nobel Laureate Sir Richard John Roberts whose life is a great motivation for everyone. He stressed that Amity Universities across India and abroad are known as cradle of knowledge creation and applauded Sir Roberts for advising teachers to customize the teachings as per the need of the students and motivating students to explore their creative minds to find solutions to the problems faced by the human beings and society.
Sir Richard John Roberts, Nobel Laureate was conferred Honorary Doctorate Degree by Dr. Ashok K Chauhan- Founder President, Amity Group, Dr. Atul Chauhan- Chancellor, Amity University, Uttar Pradesh.
During the occasion, “Sir Richard John Roberts Centre for Genetically Modified Organism (GMO)” was also launched at Amity University Uttar Pradesh under the Honorary Presidentship of Sir Richard John Roberts, NobelLaureate.
Scientists of Amity have been working on Soil Salinity problems which are widespread around the globe with increased risk of spreading over the years. They are also working on amalgamation of biotechnological tools with conventional approaches for genetic enhancement in oilseed Brassicas: Nutritional Quality.
The Nobel Laureate took a Special Interactive Session for the brilliant Students ofAmity International Schools, their teachers and budding Teachers from Amity Institutes of Education at Noida & Saket and motivated and inspired the young talents and brilliant minds during which he advised them to get involved in solving Puzzles and Crosswords to improve their vocabulary and intellect. Sharing words of wisdom, the Nobel Laureate said that only money does not make anyone happy and one needs to be passionate about his /her career which gives a long lasting happiness. He called upon the young minds to don’t let people push them around and encouraged them to listen to the voice of their hearts.
Sharing his experiences of the research work, Nobel Laureate stated that when an experiment is being conducted, no one has a clue where it will eventually lead to; sometimes, failures are required to find something new- a big discovery. “Every big discovery cannot lead to Nobel Prize but the excitement of work behind that discovery is much more than that,” remarked Sir Richard John Roberts. He advised students to do the very best research they can and not make a goal to win Nobel Prize.” He called upon students to have a goal in life but if there is something else more interesting, don’t hesitate to change and he advised students to do what they love to do.”
Responding to the question from a student on GMO, Sir Richard replied, “GMO is safe and it is inherently safest way of production. Through GMO methods, the nutrients in food could be improved to solve nutrient deficiency in the population.”