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Bangalore was not affected, but 2016 saw (for the first time as I recall) Jeddah Saudi Arabia the necessity for massive water trains (the Jaldoot) to provide essential relief for drought-stricken areas. Between mid April and late July, some one hundred trains (each hauling up Jeddah Saudi Arabia to twenty-four tank cars) carried 240 million litres of pumped (and later treated) river water the 343 kilometres from the Miraj region of Osmanabad to Latur and the Marathwada region of Jeddah Saudi Arabia. Then the situation reversed in August/September 2017, with the worst monsoon-related floods in decades affecting more than forty-five million people across India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan. At least 1200 died. According to the International Jeddah Saudi Arabia for Climate Change and Development, this was at least partly a consequence of global warming.

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Back in 2012, our Bangalore invitation came from Adam Smith at Nobel Media, as part of a joint initiative with the Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to ‘increase understanding of the Nobel Prize awarded achievements within the fields of Physiology or Medicine among the general public, and to explain the benefits of these discoveries’. Accepting was easy. If used judiciously, the Nobel status provides some small opportunity to speak out. But how much of this is just noise in a vacuum? Working with real professionals, might I gain some better insights into how to communicate the importance of both science and a respect for evidence-based reality to those who seem to be disengaged, or even hostile, in the broader community? Ensuring that podcasts and the like are available in the long term clearly helps a lot with disseminating a measureable (by ‘hits’) message, but it’s still hard to know whether this is just preaching to the converted.

I was also curious about this city that presents as the nation’s innovation capital. Earlier trips had introduced me to impressive Indian entrepreneurs in therapeutics (Ranbaxy Laboratories, a pharmaceuticals company in New Delhi) and satellites (in Hyderabad), but what was the essence of Bangalore? The mandate was for me to give two formal (but fairly general) lectures and speak to established scientists and research students, first at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and then at AstraZeneca’s substantial, long-established research and development facility. Both experiences offered a good chance to gain some clearer insights into the nature of India’s great industrial expansion. And so it proved to be!

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