Thursday, December 09, 2010
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Let me regale you with some quotations:
1) The dedication `To the Eklavya in each of us'. (What a marvellous dedication!)
2) On page 91, from `Zero'
I am in a plane flying to the US for this lecture. Everything seems so American -- the way people look, the way they talk, their gestures, their dress, even the colour of their hair: blond, red, brown blue...It's all so different from India. It's clear to me that I'm at the opposite end of the world. And I wonder: How can these people ever begin to understand a country like India? Or vice versa?
And then suddenly a baby cries. And astonishingly, all the differences fall away -- it sounds just like an Indian child! Perhaps within each of us, there's a Volume Zero struggling to get out?
3) From `Great City, terrible place'
CODA: If you drop a frog into a saucepan of very hot water, it will desperately try to hop out. But if you place a frog in tepid water and then gradually, very very gradually, raise the temperature, the frog will swim around happily, adjusting to the increasingly dangerous conditions. In fact, just before the end, just before the frog cooks to death, when the water is exceedingly hot, the frog relaxes, and a state of euphoria sets in (like those hot-tub baths in California). Maybe that’s what is happening to us in Bombay, as everyday we find it getting to be more and more of a great city…and a terrible place.
(This could easily be a metaphor for our entire country and not just Bombay! In any case, you will find a long excerpt from LiveMint here.)
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Abstract: Light has illuminated our understanding of space, time, and gravitation via Einstein’s special and general relativity. . The focus of this lecture is the interplay between gravity and light - redshifts, gravitational lenses, and black holes are already a standard part of how astronomers observe and model the universe, and more is to come. . .
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Heck's seminal studies were conducted in the late 1960's, but he did not receive a major award for his work until 2004. Yet, his day has come, and to see Heck recognized on this grandest of stages is absolutely remarkable. Something is right in the world when the Nobel prize goes to such a modest individual, based so purely on merit. It reminds me of why I went into science in the first place.
That is from Joseph Fox's article on the Nobel Prize to Richard Heck.
Monday, October 04, 2010
Sunday, October 03, 2010
Monday, August 09, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Monday, July 26, 2010
I will give a 10 min. talk on the paper "The size of the proton" just
published in Nature, in our BSM coffee club. CHEP, Chairman's office,
10am, Tuesday, 27/7/2010.
Best regards, Anant
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Friday, July 23, 2010
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Stoking a potential controversy, environment minister Jairam Ramesh on Friday called as "barbaric colonial relics" the practice of wearing the traditional coloured robe at convocation ceremonies and publicly removed his own gown at one such event.
On the other hand, Mahmoud Mamdani has the following to say:
For over a millennium, these gowns have been a symbol of high learning from the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic. Should anyone ask you where they came from, tell them that the early universities of Europe – Oxford, Cambridge, le Sorbonne – borrowed them from the Islamic madressa of the Middle East. If they should seem incredulous, tell them that the gown did not come by itself: because medieval European scholars borrowed from the madressa much of the curriculum, from Greek philosophy to Iranian astronomy to Arab medicine and Indian mathematics, they had little difficulty in accepting this flowing gown, modeled after the dress of the desert nomad, as the symbol of high learning. Should they still express surprise, ask them to take a second look at the gowns of the ayatollahs in Iran and Iraq and elsewhere and they will see the resemblance. Education has no boundaries. Neither does it have an end.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
fn. : the treachery of language which has named what should really be "walled communities" as "gated communities".
fn. : from wikipedia
Hindustani , literally: 'of Hindustan'), also known as Hindostani or more commonly Hindi-Urdu, is an Indo-Aryan language, the lingua franca of India and Pakistan.
fn. : from the online dictionary
Often, slums. a thickly populated, run-down, squalid part of a city, inhabited by poor people.
any squalid, run-down place to live.
Strange that he should himself call his neighbourhood this.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Thursday, June 17, 2010
To the question "what is 2 + 3" a French primary school pupil replied: "3 + 2, since addition is commutative". He did not know what the sum was equal to and could not even understand what he was asked about!
Another French pupil (quite rational, in my opinion) defined mathematics as follows: "there is a square, but that still has to be proved".
The full article can be found here.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Friday, June 04, 2010
Monday, May 31, 2010
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Saturday, April 03, 2010
April.03 : After the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Geneva earlier this week reported collisions of beams of protons — each of which was accelerated in a 27-km ring that runs deep underground across the Swiss-French border region at “centre of mass” energy — three and a half times higher than the highest energy reached before — scientists at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research announced that the world had now entered an unprecedented era of exploration of the sub-nuclear domain.
This will cast light on many mysteries, including the nature of the so-called “dark matter” which is known to exist in galaxies and without which they cannot be held together. Also, theories of elementary particle physics advanced by a generation of scientists will now be validated or falsified. This considerable achievement results from decades of planning, construction, and work on precision engineering and highly advanced accelerator technology coupled with gigantic detection apparatus married to phenomenal grid-computing facilities. The discoveries of recent centuries show that in order to get to the basic building blocks of matter, one needs ever-increasing energies to probe matter at the smallest length scales. The LHC experiments, by reaching unprecedented energies, will throw open the windows to discovery. They will help go beyond what scientists know as the “standard model” that describes the familiar electromagnetism, weak interactions that lead to radioactive beta decay, and the strong interactions that keeps quarks inside protons and neutrons. The Higgs particle, termed the “God particle” required for the consistency of the standard model, might yet be one of the early spectacular discoveries at the LHC. Furthermore, when the collider replaces protons by ions of lead, which are very heavy, it is expected that conditions that must have prevailed just after the “Big Bang”, from which the entire cosmos arose, will be replicated on earth. These can be studied at high precision under controlled conditions.
The LHC could not have come into being but for the foresight and dedication of hundreds of scientists across the world and the funding from a consortium of European member states. Like all great voyages, the LHC has had its share of tragedies, with a technician’s life being lost in an accident, and the helium leak in 2008 that set it back over a year. While the field of particle physics might appear arcane, its allure captures the fancy of the young and the enthusiastic in science. The spinoffs are immense: nuclear medicine without which cancer treatment would be impossible arose from nuclear physics, of which particle physics is the descendant; and indeed, the world knows CERN as the birthplace of the World Wide Web. India can be justly proud of its observer status at CERN and of the immense contribution made by scientists from its leading research institutions and universities in the project. Companies like BHEL, ECIL, Kirloskar and Compton-Greaves have won international tenders to supply top-of-the-line components to the LHC, in a commendable example of industry-research partnership. This could not have happened without the foresight of pioneers like Homi Bhabha, the father of particle physics research in India, who believed that the destiny of modern nations can be shaped only by a commitment of its men and women to a life of science. It is worth recalling the words of Robert Wilson when asked if particle physics research had any defence implications: “It has only to do with the respect with which we regard one another, the dignity of men, our love of culture. It has to do with: Are we good painters, good sculptors, great poets? I mean all the things we really venerate in our country and are patriotic about. It has nothing to do directly with defending our country, except to make it worth defending.”
Thursday, March 25, 2010
here we are in Delhi to visit family, and also, as tourists. Yes, it is a fabulous
tourist destination, provided you have a comfortable family pad to return to. Or of course you have lots of money to afford hotel accomodation, which comes in all varieties. Tourism is rendered much more effective thanks to the metro which now reaches many destinations, or at any rate always reaches Connaught Place where the metro stop is called Rajiv Chowk. We visited Qutb Minar, and I learnt that the oldest mosque in the sub-continent due to Alauddin Khalji (I remember spelling it Khilji in all school examinations, but political correctness must have taken over) is in the same complex, Humayun's tomb and Lodhi gardens Tuesday. The city is really and I kid you not, full of history in every corner and every pore. We were clearly not the only ones to think of tourism as we ran into Raghu Rangarajan and extended family at Humayun's tomb! Today was the day for the Jama Masjid which is impressive for its sheer size. We walked up to the top of one of the minars, about 130 steps, not counting the 60 or so you have to climb up before you get to the minar, up a narrow spiral staircase, to reach the top from where you have a view of Shahjahanabad. Then a short rickshaw ride to the Red Fort which is also magnificent. There are actully three museums in there, and the entrance to all these costing virtually nothing. Then on to the National Museum just off India Gate on Janpath which is as good a museum as any in the world. But one was already too tired to enjoy these. The trick is not to pack too many things into the same day. And of course, you want to pick the time of the year when the weather is pleasant. Although today was alright, in general it has been 7 degrees hotter than `normal'. Good luck to all of you who want to visit the City of Djinns. And I have not included in this so many other sights such as the Lotus Temple, Birla Mandir, Malai Mandir, National Gallery of Modern Art, Purana Qila, the zoo... (OLO, have I left anything out?).
Monday, March 15, 2010
I am linking to a fun post with lot so equally fun comments!
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Tuesday, February 02, 2010
That is the title of a new book by Anil Ananthaswamy, also class of 1985, IITM. Life was complicated as my classmates and I spent five years at IITM and are also the class of 1985, but not Anil. You may be wondering if we all failed a year, but no. We were the last 5 year batch, while Anil and his classmates were the first 4 year batch. But I digress. Today he will give a talk at CHEP on his adventures that resulted in this book. Anil also writes a blog. You can find information on the book here and the blog is here. In one of the articles on the blog, which you can find here, he talks of one of Hawking's many bets, which also features work of my thesis advisor Qaisar Shafi.
Monday, January 18, 2010
Friday, January 15, 2010
Fortunately, through Facebook we were able to contact our old friend Dominique Toublan whose wife Farah is from Haiti, and checked that almost all their friends and relatives are alright. One aunt was still unaccounted for.