Prof. Jean Marie Lehn at KiiT International School

Prof. Jean Marie Lehn, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry visited our school on February 17, 2014 to a warm welcome. Dr. Mona Lisa Bal, Chairperson of the School welcomed Prof. Lehn with a bouquet of flowers and Principal, Mr. Sanjay Suar introduced him. An eager assembly of students and faculty proved to be just the perfect energizer for the interaction that followed.

Prof. Lehn won over our hearts with his words of praise for the School and its ethos of internationalism. He appreciated the fact that the School was a microcosm of the world, literally with students and faculty from several countries living and learning together to build a better future. He urged students to question and develop a spirit of enquiry of a true knowledge seeker. He also emphasized on the role of teachers in guiding and nurturing that spirit.

An aficionado of music, Prof. Lehn encouraged children to find joy in performing arts and cultural activities even as they pursued their studies. He answered the questions from the students with great enthusiasm, patience and alacrity. When asked whether his decision to pursue Chemistry stemmed from the fact that he excelled in it in School or took to it later in life, he said that did toy with the idea of pursuing a career in Philosophy initially in higher education, but took up Chemistry instead as he had done his share of little experiments as a school boy and was intrigued by its possibilities also.

Asked to address the fundamental query of Creation being the harbinger of destruction in a way, Prof Lehn commented that it was true, but in his understanding, it was meant to be as nature, as perfect as it may seem has constantly evolved and changed. In that process the world has also seen very significant change and destruction. But, that is inevitable and has to be accepted. Regarding training the mind for this, he said that as a scientist he felt the mind was a component of the brain and did not function outside of it as some would like to believe.

He concluded saying that a Scientist has to discover his path by questioning and seeking answers. Scientists cannot be believers, as that contradicted the basis of their research and the authenticity of their findings.

Prof Lehn showed exceptional warmth and affection towards children, and his spontaneous gestures of affection towards the children was overwhelming. A scholar extraordinaire, it was his humility and sincerity was a like a balm for all of us to treasure and admire even in his absence.