Scientists tell us that life on Earth was possible only because it is at an ‘optimum’ distance from the Sun. This energy — a combination of light and heat — was behind the creation and sustenance of all flora and fauna on Earth. But it did not stop there. In my personal opinion, light played the most crucial part in our scientific quest and discoveries. Optics is the foundation of human civilisation. Only by light are we able to see the natural world and its treasures. We looked up at the source of daylight, viz., the Sun, and the innumerable stars dotting the night sky. We were curious, and tried to make sense of it all and have an explanation of it — first from mythological stories, then by logic and analysis. Who are we, where did we come from, who created these celestial and terrestrial objects? And what does it all mean?
The whole world is in conflict, either in the form of war or disputes. In families there are conflicts in relations. If you observe closely, you would discover a conflict within yourself — your ideals and philosophy against the practical wisdom on how to survive the world. Your professional life is nearly always in conflict with your personal life.Continue reading
What is a friend? When do you decide to call a person as your friend? You say ”A friend in need is a friend indeed”. But as far as my memory goes, I have tried my best to help everyone who sought my help — irrespective of whether they were acquaintances or not. On the occasions when I could not help, it was solely because of my limited potential and capabilities. If you tend to help only selected individuals who come in your ‘friend circle’ and shut your doors to everybody else, then I would say that you might be a good friend to your fellows, but not a human being. As for relationships, you need not tie people into bonds in order to love them. Love freely, expand yourself, spread happiness.
I have never been able to understand Friendship Day, or for that matter, any similar day — be it Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or Valentine’s Day. It might be the norm in the countries and cultures where the individual is more important and people tend to live an isolated life. As soon as children grow up, they live separately and only on selected days meet their parents — after seeking an appointment. When such is the norm, I doubt if friendship has any more meaning than a mutually beneficial agreement with unwritten clauses. All this is unthinkable for Indians. Here our ethics tell us to sacrifice the individual for the family, sacrifice the family for the nation, sacrifice the nation for humanity, and to sacrifice everything for the Divine. We believe in relations, and making and keeping bonds. Relations come first and are the foremost consideration in every decision making. I do not see any sense in having a special day to celebrate a particular relation; for me, every day is Mother’s Day, every day is Father’s Day and every day is Friendship Day.
The branch of Physics which deals with the study of light and various phenomena associated with it is called Optics. In Geometrical Optics (or Ray Optics) we assume that light travels in a straight line in the form of rays. This model is useful for studying the formation of images by lenses and mirrors. On the other hand, in Physical Optics (or Wave Optics) light is assumed to be a wave. Various phenomena such as interference, diffraction and polarization, which cannot be explained by Ray Optics, are studied under Wave Optics.
If you want to be successful in any form of art, you need to practise it regularly in order to hone up your skill. Otherwise, any gap in your practice would slide you back and erase whatever little progress you had made. This way you would find yourself forever beginning from scratch and never making any considerable progress. But easier said than done. If you are an artist, you would know that making a piece of art is easy when you are in mood or it is your hobby, but it loses its charm when you have to perform on demand. And here the demand is ‘regular practice’. Sometimes you do have the will and discipline to get up and sit at your working table, but have no idea where to start — what to draw and how to start with it. Note that here the first stroke is the most difficult step, for once you have overcome that hurdle, then the art would by itself pull you into it. Thereafter it becomes easy. But the first step — the artist’s block as it is called — is the most difficult phase. If you ask me, personally I do not consider it to be any issue. While sketching, I start drawing whatever object is lying in front of me.Continue reading
There are a fixed 24 hours in a day. And also your capacity is limited. You have to manage everything within these resources. You cannot spend your time watching cricket and movies, discussing politics, gossiping, fighting with your spouse, and yet aspire to be an artist, writer, scientist. All these occupations demand enormous concentration, perseverance, practice. A lot many sacrifices have to be made. You have to make a choice — either select the good or the pleasant. If you aspire to rise higher than everyone else, you have to choose the good and let go the pleasant. Unfortunately there is no other way.
Everyone has a vision for the future — how to change the world and how to make it a better place to live. We are nobody to challenge anyone’s personal views, but some ideas look more sound and workable. For example, Nehru was of the opinion that the progress of India can be achieved primarily by science and technology. Post-independence, Prof Sarabhai envisioned harnessing space technology for India’s progress and growth. Indeed, if one looks forward to a bright future for oneself, society, nation or the world, then there doesn’t seem to be any other way than to invest in scientific temperament. Note that by scientific temperament I do not simply mean scientific and technological innovations and inventions, instead I use the term in a rather broad sense which implies looking at the world logically, critically and sensibly.Continue reading