Singapore may be renowned for its research facilities today, but the situation was very different as recently as the 1970s.
Then, when National University of Singapore Emeritus Professor Sit Kim Ping needed to blend rat livers at high speed, she improvised using a pestle and a rotating drill bit.
One of her colleagues drilled holes into a cooking pot to boil multiple test tubes over a Bunsen burner.
"When you are desperate enough, you innovate," she wrote in a new SG50 book, Singapore's Scientific Pioneers, which will be launched tomorrow at Goodwood Park Hotel. The book is the brainchild of Dr Juliana Chan and Dr Rebecca Tan. Dr Chan is editor-in-chief of Asian Scientist Magazine, a print and online science and technology magazine about research and development in Asia. Dr Tan is its managing editor.
Writing in the book's preface, they said: "Little is known about the individuals who laid the foundations of Singapore's scientific achievements. (They) are not household names; their contributions can seem obscure."
The book is an attempt "to capture their struggles and the successes... and articulate their immense contributions to the world of science".
The book was supported with grants from the Nanyang Technological University and the SG50 Celebration Fund.
It can be downloaded free at www.asianscientist.com/ pioneers/