Professor Dr. Gokulananda Mohapatra : The man who popularized science in Odisha

As I told previously in these 21 days of lockdown I'll share 21 blogs about some great personalities of Odisha.
So here is the twelfth day of lockdown and I'm sharing my twelfth writeup on Professor Dr. Gokulananda Mohapatra : The man who popularized science in Odisha. 
Professor Dr. Gokulananda Mohapatra was born on 24 May 1922 at Bhadrak, Odisha. He had his primary education on his village school and Bhadrak high school. He had his graduation with chemistry honours from Revenshaw. Then he went on to do MSc from Presidency College, Kolkata and was honored with PhD from the Utkal University. He also pursued FIC (Fellow in Chemistry) degree at Brandeis University (Boston, MA). 

After completing his studies he joined as a chemistry lecturer in 1948 at Revenshaw. He retired in 1981. Then he went on to join as the first Principal of Maharishi College. He was in the office from 1982 to 1984. He was also the first director of  The Odisha State Bureu of Textbook Preparartioin & Production from 1970 to 1972. He was also the founding member of Orissa Bigyana Prachar Samhiti with the objective of making science popular in the state of Odisha. 

Way back in the 1930s, when Gokulananda Mohapatra was in school there was no text book for science in Odia language. Teachers collected texts from Bengali and other regional languages and translated those. Even when he wanted to take up science in college, He found good science books in Odia were not available. He wanted to do something to resolve this problem. When he was studying in Presidency College, Kolkata, English science fiction books inspired him. These things led Gokulananda Mohapatra to write science books. Mayadhar Mansingh and Balakrishna Kar also inspired him to write. 

In the 1950s,the state government decided to publish science text books in Odia language and entrusted Gokulananda Mohapatra with the task of writing the books. The job was quite difficult as he had to write the books in a very simple language and in an attractive manner. Another major problem was unavailability of scientific and technical vocabulary in Odia language. He worked to evolve the terminology and as a result the first science text book in Odia language was published in 1952.

Gokulananda Mohapatra Published his first book "Pruthvi bahare manisa", when he was 30. 
Gokulananda Mohapatra has authored over 95 science fiction and children science books and biography of some renowned scientists and many others. Some of his notable contributions are "Krutrima Upagraha", "Prithibi bahare Manisha", "Chandra ra Mrutyu", "Nishabda Godhuli", "Madam Curie" and "Nila Chakra Bala Sapare".
His book "Baigyanika Gyankosha" is a milestone in Odia literature. The book is an encyclopedia of science in Odia language. It took him over ten years to write the two volumes of it.

Everytime when he was asked about how he worked for science in a busy schedule he always told

It's my passion. If you wish to follow your passion, time will never be a constraint for you.

He received Odisha Sahitya Akademy Award for his book "E juga ra sreshtha abiskara" in 1986. He was confered with Sarala Puraskar, Utkal Sahitya Samaj and Bijaya Puraskar. He was also awarded the Kalinga Prize in 2010 and R K Parija Samman Saala Samman for his contribution to science literature in Odia.

References :
  • Times of India
  • Wikipedia