Author Archives: Amit Misra

About Amit Misra

An artist by birth, a physicist by education, and a lifelong student of languages and cultures.

Book Review: ‘The Citizen’s Guide to Climate Success’ By Mark Jaccard

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Image Source: Amazon

Today I will share my views about The Citizen’s Guide to Climate Success: Overcoming Myths that Hinder Progress by Mark Jaccard. This is a very interesting book. The moment you open this book, you will be drawn into reading it in full. Honestly speaking, I found it really hard to put this book down after having started it. The tone is neither overly passionate nor dull. The writer maintains a balanced tempo throughout the book, and except for few scattered passionate outbursts, he does not leave it. He talks to you slowly, allowing you sufficient time to absorb the knowledge that he is trying to impart. He ensures not to feed you too much information with each morsel, while at the same time makes sure that every page contains something new to learn. This book was an eye opener for me, and even though I took about three months reading it, I would not mind reading it again. It is because the book contains so much stuff which would stay relevant for years to come. This book does not aim at entertainment as it is addressing a very serious issue. At the same time, nowhere does it create any impression of a boring treatise. At one place the writer acknowledges that scientists are poor communicators and this has been one of the reasons behind the knowledge gap between (climate) science and general public. This book will certainly fill that gap, and considering the scarcity of texts aimed at general audience, it will remain a valuable source to refer to. Continue reading

Book Review: ‘The Urban Sketching Handbook: Drawing with a Tablet’ By Uma Kelkar

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Image Source: Amazon

Our occupations may not allow us to be regular in practice of art, mainly because a lot of time is wasted in avoidable activities. For example, you work in an office and travel to work by metro or local train, and it is not possible for you to take all your art equipment with you, or may be your business allows you tiny fractions of time which are not sufficient to arrange your equipment and do reasonable amount of work. Continue reading

A Great Singer!

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‘Headphone’ by Amit Misra, Pencil on Paper

A fellow scientist narrated me an incident from his college days. This scientist has a very beautiful deep voice, and sings classical Malayalam songs very nicely, and enjoys it too. When he was in hostel, every morning he used to sing while bathing, getting dressed up and so on.

One day his senior complimented him, “Ajay (name changed)! You have a very beautiful voice, your pronunciation is perfect, and you do understand the ragas very well. Words come out smoothly and it is simple enchanting melody…”.

Ajay was overwhelmed. Perhaps it was the first time that anyone had given him such sincere compliment, that too someone much senior to him. His senior asked who his guru was, whether he had anytime given concerts etc. Ajay told that he was self taught, and that he never thought that he was good enough for giving concerts. On this, the senior gave him a soft rebuke saying that he was wasting his talent, and that he should start learning classical music while he still had time. Though concert would be tough in the beginning, he could at least try giving auditions at the local radio station where they encourage young artists. Ajay grew shy and said that the senior must be joking.

“No, I am not! You can ask anyone in this hostel. Surely you should present your singing at the radio. Promise me that you will.”

The conversation went on for a long time. Finally, Ajay was convinced and promised his senior that he would contact the local radio station at the earliest.

Before leaving, the senior said, “That is good. At least then I would be able to turn the radio off.”

Keep Smiling!
Merry Christmas!

How Good Is Your Profile Photo?

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‘Kareena’ by Amit Misra, Pencil on Paper.

I usually face a peculiar problem on social media sites. As usual I get friend requests at regular intervals. Sometimes the names are very unique like Bhavik Kodrani and Subimal Deb; in all such cases, I accept them without giving a second thought. But most of the time, the name is very common, like Alok Sharma. I am not sure which Alok Sharma is this — the friend, the rival or the enemy. This fellow has hidden his ‘friend list’ so there is no way to identify him by common friends. Perhaps this fellow is an old friend from my past who has been out of touch for a long time now and I would require several cues to recall his name and face. Or perhaps he is someone I have met recently e.g., in train journey, conference or shopping mall, and he wants to take our acquaintance to a higher level. Now the shortest and simplest way out — and the one which most of us use unconsciously — is to look for the person’s photo(s). Now this profile photo is the topic of my discussion today. You may consider it to be a trivial issue, but honestly, it is the cause of a lot of headache for me. In fact, I have arrived at the belief that it reveals a lot about our psychology. Continue reading

Book Review: ‘The Periodic Table’ by Tom Jackson

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Image source: Amazon

This year we are celebrating 150 years of the Periodic Table of Elements. It is a landmark considering the pivotal and stellar position that this wonderful piece of scientific art or artistic science — whichever way you prefer to look at it — occupies in the progress, growth and development of science, especially modern science. The Periodic Table is the one entity which binds the two different branches of science — Physics and Chemistry together. It is also the first encounter of any school student with the fascinating world of science. If in doubt, consider how the study of Chemistry would look like had there been no such periodic classification of elements. That this classification exists, implies that you do not have to study and rote learn the properties of each individual element, instead just understanding the properties of a ‘group’ would suffice. It made the life of chemists and modern physicists so much easier! And not just that, the Periodic Table had provision (’empty slots’) for yet undiscovered elements. This way, it revealed the pattern in the nature around us and at the same time opened doors to the ingredients of the nature which were not yet known. Several names like Lothar Mayer, Dimitri Mendeleev and Moseley are associated with the history of the Periodic Table. While reading this history, every student participates in the logical reasoning and scientific thinking which went into the development of this process of classification. In a way it was all about observing and noting the pattern in the properties of elements found in nature. That everything fell into such an elegant piece of art must have been really exhilarating for the scientists of that time. Continue reading