by Ellen Griffee
The following article appears in the November/December 1997 issue of the ASTC Newsletter. Ellen Griffee is director of government relations/public relations, ASTC.
A world leader in the science museum field, Saroj Ghose was presented with ASTC's 1997 Fellow Membership at an October 18 ceremony during the ASTC Annual Conference in St. Louis, Mo. ASTC awards an honorary Fellow Membership to individuals who merit special recognition for having made significant contributions to the advancement of public understanding and appreciation of science and technology. In ASTC's 24-year history, only 15 people have received an honorary Fellow Membership.
Ghose has had a long and distinguished career in the science center field. In the 1970s, he went to Bombay to head the development of the Nehru Science Center and was soon appointed director general of the National Council of Science Museums. Armed with a vision of increasing science literacy across India, he built the network from two to 26 science centers -- the largest chain of science centers developed under one umbrella in the world. He also guided the development of outdoor science gardens, fleets of mobile outreach vans, and centers of science in more than a thousand schools.
Capitalizing on the resources available through the Indo-U.S. Subcommission on Education and Culture, Ghose also worked with American counterparts to arrange a decade-long series of staff exchanges and training workshops for Indian and U.S. science center staff in a successful international cultural enrichment program. The subcommission's work included joint workshops on science museums without walls, planetarium education, creative exhibits, and outdoor science playgrounds. Ghose founded similar programs of international collaboration between the science museums of India and other nations in Asia, Europe, and Africa. His dedication to international dialog was recognized in 1995 when he achieved the distinction of being chosen president of the International Council of Museums (ICOM). He is now serving his second term in that capacity.
Ghose began his career in science museums 39 years ago. His first post was director of the Birla Science Museum in Calcutta in 1958. In 1966, he came to the U.S., where he received a master's degree in electrical engineering from Harvard. Completing the research for his dissertation at the Smithsonian, he went on to receive his Ph.D. from the University of Jadavpur.
Recently, Ghose stepped down as director general of the National Council of Science Museums, retiring to become chairman of Science City in Calcutta, which will host the 2nd Science Centre World Congress in January 1999.