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
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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
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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
Wish you a healthy and happy new year!
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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.”
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