Sri Lankan Geologist makes the news

Posted on August 6, 2005  /  0 Comments

A Sri Lankan Geologist, Prof. CB Dissanayake has just been recognized as a leader in research by no less a body than the editorial board of ‘Science’, one of the most prestigious journals in the world. During 2005, Science celebrates the 125th anniversary of the publication of its first issue with a special essay series, inviting researchers from around the world to provide a regional view of the scientific enterprise. The journal has invited  Prof. Chandra Dissanyake of the Geology Department in the University of Perdeniya to write the essay for the month of August under the theme Global Voices of Science. His essay is titled "Of Stones and Health: Medical Geology in Sri Lanka ".

Congratulations to Prof. Dissanayake and his team at the University of Perdeniya. We are proud of you.

It is not often we can say something nice about our universities. These are institutions that can not even keep to an academic calendar. They close at a moments notice and stay closed for indefinite lengths of time. The inability to keep a calendar is a manifestation of many ills of the system and is also the cause many other disfunctionalites of the system. Who is to be blamed? That is another blog for another time. This blog is for praising those who do quality work in the middle of inefficiency, incompetence, lethargy and other assorted ills of others.

According to the Science Citation Index, an index of recognized science journals from around the world, Sri lankan institutions published 1250 items in international journals during the 1993 to 2002 period. Of these publications approximately 70%  involve the universities. A notable feature of these publications is that 90% of them fall into one of the following -Clinical Medical Research, Malaria & Filaria, Bioactivity of Natural Products, Natural Resource Studies and Applied Physics. Our faculty seem to succeed in a highly competitive world of global academic publishing by finding  the appropriate niches for themselves.

Considering our strengths in both Natural Resource Studies and Clinical Research, Medical Geology has a lot of potential to enthuse young faculty members from across disciplines to do research. Very importantly, this type of interdisciplinary research has a lot of potential for involvement of social science and even management and humanities faculty members. Sri Lanka’s reocord of publications in the social science citation indexed journals is rather poor. During 1999 to 2002, Sri Lanka averaged only 12 publications per year and 50% of all publications originated from the Faculties of Medicine! Collaborations across disciplines can bring about benefits for all concerned.

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