Tamil Nadu Science Forum is a people’s movement (a registered society) committed to science popularization and education. Started in 1980 by a group of scholars interested in science and society, it functioned during the 80’s mainly as an organizer of popular science lectures. In 1987, with the starting of Thulir Magazine, a monthly children’s science magazine in Tamil, the group moved on to science communication among children. During the years 1987 to 1991, it mobilized school science teachers in a large way and started organizing efforts in teacher re-orientation so as to make science education more enjoyable.
The starting of Total Literacy Campaigns in 1991 in Tamil Nadu turned out to be a turning point for TNSF. The group provided the lead in these campaigns by assisting the District Literacy Societies in planning the various aspects of the campaign. Its members got involved in a big way in the implementation of the programme in the first 10 districts in which these campaigns were taken up. This experience brought TNSF into a meaningful relationship with extremely poor and oppressed sections of our society, and completely transformed its agenda and the style of its functioning.
- Thulir Magazine (monthly),
- Jantar Mantar Magazine (bi monthly),
- Vizhutu Magazine (bi monthly),
- Vigyana Siragu (monthly private circulation only to TNSF members),
- Arivu Thandral.
While these are periodicals, TNSF’s Science Publications Unit produces books on a variety of themes. The book, Anuvilirindu Aagayam Varai, a collection of essays published in 1993, was once adjudged `Best popular science book in Tamil’ and has since been named as a textbook by two universities in the state for their undergraduate studies in Tamil, in the technical communication component. Some recent titles follow, which give an idea of the range of interests of TNSF: The bicycle (illustrating science in everyday life), on banned medicines and drugs that ought to be banned (a discussion on drug policy), United We Sit (a handbook for savings groups). So far, more than a hundred titles have been published.
A form of mass communication that TNSF has extensively used is that of street theatre. This form, with songs, skits and dance drama, has proved to be extremely attractive among the people, particularly in rural areas. TNSF has a collection of street plays on cholera (emphasizing oral rehydration therapy), blood donation, pollution, children’s education, gender discrimination, and so on. Apart from these, TNSF organizes, from time to time, slide shows and video shows with themes like `Cosmos’, `Evolution’, `Health Care’, `Nuclear Weapons’, `Beyond Savings`, `Use of Pesticides’, etc.
245,Avvai Shanmugam Salai