Let me start by posing a question. I will give you a word, say ‘torch’. Now I will give you two more words, and you have to tell me which of those two words this word closely resembles. So, the two words are ‘question’ and ‘answer’. So tell me, what does the word ‘torch’ closely resemble to? Those who attend my classes would know that mostly my answers are not the expected answers. I tend to think that actually you are coming from a system where you have been told that answers are like torches. You don’t understand the importance of questions because questions are written for you by the author of the book. But the book of life has no author; so you are the author of the book of your life. And very often it is very important to find the right questions to pursue. When you find the right questions, they become torches; without them you are groping in dark. I think questions are the torches. Questions are definite; answers in matters of life can be different for each one of us. And that’s why you have to find your own answers.
It is amusing to note that human being who has created such marvels of culture and civilization has also invented several ways to destroy those very marvels. Mostly the human mind, which is credited for our accomplishments, is also blamed for the miseries faced by humanity. In all such debates and discussions, one factor that is often ignored is that mind itself is not the whole being; instead it is just a part of our overall identity. It has its importance, but has its limits also. Hence it should not encroach upon the territory which is not its domain — the fields of love, harmony and beauty. But still we love to think. We choose to think about beauty instead of looking at it, prefer to talk about it instead of understanding and appreciating it.
I am really very sorry. Once again my writing has become irregular. I always try to post a new article on Tuesday morning, and except few gaps, have maintained that consistency for the last 5 years. But for the last one month, the country is in lockdown. And we Kanpurites, notorious as we are, are one of the primary hotspots of the virus attack. That means, we are under severe restrictions, and venturing out of our homes is not allowed. All days appear same, and I have long stopped keeping track of dates and days. While I think it is still Monday, it is in fact already Thursday, and I have missed my weekly post. Continue reading →
Today I will tell you about the book Is it Serious? How to Search for Health Information on the Internet by Burton Paul. I did not find any negative points in the book, so this ‘review’ may appear to be a summary of what this book is about. Continue reading →
One of the most depressing and frustrating things to witness in today’s world is society’s apathy towards science and scientists. It is true, even after centuries of technological progress, people don’t seem to appreciate what science and technology mean to them, and what life would be without them. Everyday things, objects, devices, gadgets, which they take for granted, they don’t seem to care how that came into being if not by technological innovation. Note that science and technology need not mean only explorations like nuclear energy or Apollo or Chandrayaan, but also something as simple and small as a safety pin, or a TV set, computer operating system, or Hansom cab. Or it need not be reflected in the form of a palpable device, instead a scientific explanation of some phenomena like nuclear fission, properties of gases or child mortality. Continue reading →
Once again I seek your apology for the unintended gap in communication. WordPress has again changed its editor and I have been struggling for the last one week to understand how it works. I am not sure if I have understood it completely and correctly, so I would refrain from writing anything important today. It is indeed frustrating to write for an hour or two only to find that all your precious text has been swallowed by the black hole of Internet. Continue reading →
Physics is generally called as the queen of all sciences, perhaps because of its elegance, beauty, charm and glamour. And among the various branches of Physics, from mechanics to thermodynamics, and from electromagnetism to acoustics, none attracts so much attention as astrophysics. It is true that astronomy and astrophysics are among the most glamorous branches of physics; most of the young students who choose physics do so mostly due to their infatuation with astronomy and astrophysics. Also, as we progress in our research career, sooner or later we do try to link our research work with the terrestrial and celestial worlds. That being said, astrophysics is also the subject to invoke if you want to attract young students to take up science education, in particular physics. After all, the lessons do start with star gazing and solar/lunar eclipses! But at the same time, it is also interesting to note how less do we know about space. No, here I am not commenting on how little do we know about space even after so many centuries of research. Instead, I am taking note of the various facts which are known, and is supposed to be in public knowledge, yet the general audience is either ignorant of it or oblivious to such information. Mark Thompson has compiled about a hundred such pieces in his book 101 Facts You Didn’t Know About Space. His aim is to bring the fascination of space science to general masses, and to educate them in an entertaining fun way. Continue reading →
You have heard about scientists who were artists. In some of earlier posts, I have talked about collaborative efforts between artists and scientists. For example, the book Periodic Table presented scientific knowledge accompanied by beautiful graphic illustrations. Likewise, I talked about scenes from the movie 15 Park Avenue, which depicted struggles in the life of a physics professor. Continue reading →