The voluntary, bi-monthly English science magazine, “Jantar Mantar” turned 25 on November 6. In celebration of the milestone, magazine founder, Dr R Ramanujan, a professor at the Indian Institute of Mathematical Sciences (IIMS) organised a conference bringing together like-minded scientists to discuss the future of the printed magazine and ways of digitizing it, going forward.
Started in 1994, Jantar Mantar consisted of Dr Ramanujan, Dr Sridhar Iyer of IIT Bombay and Professor Kamal Lodhaya also of IIMS coming together in an effort to make science accessible to high school teens. The language used in the articles is painstakingly aborted of all jargon by Professor N Gouda of IIT Madras, who has been the editor since 1996.
“Today, there are barely any people in the state who can write a decent scientific article in Tamil,” lamented Dr Ramanujan. “This is why we started Jantar Mantar. It’s an effort to make science friendlier to children. So that they know that there’s more to the subject than just medicine and engineering.”
Unfortunately, circulation of the magazine has proved to be a challenge to its voluntary makers. However, the Hindu has taken over circulation duty out of, according to Dr Ramanujan, “sheer altruism.”
– Sashwata Saha