Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Report from Valencia

Imagine a little big city where you can breathe, walk for miles on a river bed that has been turned into a garden, with some beautiful modern buildings together known as the 'city of science and arts´ where the old city has Moorish buildings, where there are no crowds, the people polite, the weather perfect, miles of sandy beach. Can such a place be? The answer is yes, and it is Valencia on the Mediterranean coast. After the crowds and jostling and aging metro of Paris, what a change! Just outside the airport you will see olive groves, lush agricultural lands and I am also told orange groves.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Vladimir Arnold (1937-2010)

I learnt today of the passing of Vladimir Arnold on June 3, 2010. Here is the obituary from New York Times. He was also a commentator on mathematics education. A quote on French teaching of mathematics reads:

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

Paris -- June 2010

So here I am in scenic Paris en route to Valencia. I will present a seminar tomorrow on our recent work on pion-Kaon form factors. This work involving many of us has been evolving now for over a couple of years. Paris is as pretty ever with variable spring weather but unusually cool. Walked from the Hotel near Gobelins to Chatelet this morning to get a flavour of the city. Will not have time for tourism this time. Maybe in Valencia?

Friday, June 04, 2010

My article in `Phalanx' on doing science in India

Phalanx is a Quarterly Review for Continuing Debate. I am pleased to say that it carries my article on doing science in India. As mentioned there, it is a foray into a complex subject and is hardly comprehensive, and does not propose any solutions. The editors added questions and issues to my write-up. Let me know what you think.