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NASSL Induction Ceremony 2020

The induction ceremony of Fellows elected in 2020 was held at 4:00 pm on Friday 22 January 2021 in “hybrid” mode, chaired by the President, Professor Priyan Dias. Only a small group of participants were present at the National Science Foundation Board Room, but a much larger number joined online.

There were four new Fellows inducted, namely Professor Sarath Abeykoon, Professor Saroj Jayasinghe, Professor Ranjith Senaratne and Dr Sirimal Premakumara. Of them, Dr Premakumara was elected a year earlier but could not participate in the corresponding ceremony. He was also the only inductee who was physically present. All the inductees, who were introduced by their proposers, presented brief accounts of their work.

The guest speaker for the event was Professor Sasanka Perera, a professor of sociology at the South Asian University. He spoke on the topic “Science, Belief and State Policy: Towards a Necessary Exercise in Discursive Disentanglement?”, using recent Sri Lankan (pseudo?) science related controversies as case studies, namely the Glyphosate ban, Ravana myth and “Dammika Peniya”. The text of his address can be found here; it was also published in the Daily Island.

Current Practice and Issues for Improvement in STEM Education up to K12 in Asia and the Pacific

The above publication on the important issue of STEM Education (i.e. Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) in our region has been compiled by the Association of Academies and Societies of Science (AASSA), and has country reports from Australia, Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Turkey. The report on Sri Lanka (Chapter 8) has been contributed by NASSL Vice President Professor Nadira Karunaweera and Sajani Karunaweera. The report can be viewed online here.

Sri Lankans in the Top 2% of Scientists Worldwide

An article published in PLOS Biology on 08-10-2020 with authors from Stanford University and Elsevier BV is linked to a publicly available database of 100,000 top-ranked scientists, together with the top 2% of scientists for every subfield. Scientists are classified into 22 scientific fields and 176 sub-fields. Ranking of scientists has reportedly been done using standardized information on citations, h-index, co-authorship adjusted hm-index, citations to papers in different authorship positions and a composite indicator. The career wide database covers the years 1996 to 2019, and includes articles, reviews and conference papers in the Scopus database (and corresponding citations). There are 16 scientists working out of Sri Lanka on this career-wide database. The database for 2019 alone has 14 scientists working out of Sri Lanka. The Academy congratulates these scientists, wishes them even greater outputs and outcomes from their work, and encourages others too. We can be proud that many of the scientists are Fellows of the Academy (indicated in red), including its current President and Vice-President.

Career-wide Database (1996-2019)

Mendis, Shanthi Colombo North Teaching Hospital
Ekanayake, Janaka University of Peradeniya
Uhlenbrook, S. Water Management Institute (IWMI) Colombo
Smakhtin, Vladimir Water Management Institute (IWMI) Colombo
Kite, Geoff Water Management Institute (IWMI) Colombo
Senanayake, Nimal University of Peradeniya
Bandara, Jayasundera National Institute of Fundamental Studies, Sri Lanka
Mendis, Kamini University of Colombo
Dissanayake, C. B. University of Peradeniya
de Silva, Nilanthi University of Kelaniya
de Silva, Hithanadura Janaka University of Kelaniya
Kularatne, Senanayake A.M. University of Peradeniya
Rajapakse, S. University of Colombo
Ratnasooriya, W. D. University of Colombo
Suraweera, Himal A. University of Peradeniya
Dias, Priyan University of Moratuwa

Database for 2019

Mendis, Shanthi Colombo North Teaching Hospital
Vithanage, Meththika University of Sri Jayewardenepura
Uhlenbrook, S. Water Management Institute (IWMI) Colombo
Smakhtin, Vladimir Water Management Institute (IWMI) Colombo
Rajapaksha, Anushka Upamali University of Sri Jayewardenepura
Chandrasekara, Anoma Wayamba University of Sri Lanka
Kularatne, Senanayake A.M. University of Peradeniya
Dissanayake, C. B. University of Peradeniya
Bandara, Jayasundera National Institute of Fundamental Studies, Sri Lanka
Rajapakse, S. University of Colombo
de Silva, Nilanthi University of Kelaniya
Rajapakse, Niranjan University of Peradeniya
Suraweera, Himal A. University of Peradeniya
Mendis, Eresha University of Peradeniya
Karunaweera, Nadira University of Colombo, Faculty of Medicine

Commonwealth academies statement on climate change, biodiversity and sustainable energy (5 June 2020)

COVID-19 has had a profound impact across the globe, affecting health and health services, impacting the global economy, and exacerbating social and economic inequalities. Global cooperation and effective policy are essential for tackling the virus and for ensuring a successful economic recovery. But the global pandemic does not change the fact that the world also continues to face an ever-growing environmental emergency. Indeed, COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of governments working together and we must build on this global response to address the climate crisis.

Click here for full statement