Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I am quoted in IBT on the Higgs

My afternoon email in response to a query via Prof. H. R. Krishnamurthy is quoted in the International Business Times here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Higgs Seminar at CERN

The best way that I could think of following the Higgs seminar was on the live blog reporting of Prof. Matt Strassler here. Thank you Prof. Strassler!

Monday, September 26, 2011

I am quoted by Mail Today

Yes, it is true. I was contacted by Dinesh Sharma from Mail Today Delhi on Saturday to ask me about my views on the OPERA experiments `superluminal' neutrinos. The first I heard about this was from my old friend M. P. Srikanth on Friday morning who called agitatedly to ask if the heavens had fallen. He read about it on BBC News. I followed it up on many other sites and blogs and was able to talk to the Mail Today reporter, although in reality I am not an experimentalist and cannot really vouch for this. But the general drift seems to be that a lot more scrutiny must go into this. Also, coincidentally the main person Antonio Ereditato is from the Albert Einstein Centre for Fundamental Physics, University of Bern where I was a post-doc 1995-96 and to which I am a frequent visitor, including this year for about four weeks. In any case, check out page 18 on the 25th September issue of Mail Today at the following link.
I am quoted in the following:
B. Ananthanarayan, chairman of the Centre for High Energy
Physics at the Indian Institute ofScience, too echoed similar views. “Historically, neutrino experiments have been notoriously difficultto conduct because it is a fundamentally complex science. Therefore, scepticism is natural,” he said. “My feeling is that they have underestimated the errors.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I am quoted by Times of India

Yes, it is true. I was `interviewed' by a Times of India reporter some time ago and I forgot about it. Today in my mailbox I found a copy of the Student Edition of the Times of India of September 6, 2011 Bangalore edition [no ecopies, I believe]. On page 6, Bangalore is featured as `More than a silicon city' by Ruth Dhanaraj, and several Institutions are featured. They say of the Indian Institute of Science:

``As famous as the Indian Institute of Science is today, not many people know the story behind its inception. The idea for an institute that would contribute that would contribute to India's development was long a dream of Jamsetji N Tata. During a chance encounter with Swami Vivekananda aboard a ship in 1893, they discussed this idea. Five years later, JN Tata invited Swami Vivekananda to be part of the committee that would draft a plan for an institute of research and higher education.

Bangalore was suggested as the best place to base the institute and IISc was eventually founded in 1909. The campus sits on 400 acres of land most of which was donated by the Maharaja of Mysore. Though the institute began with only two department: General and Applied Chemistry and Electro-Technology, today its ambit extends to almost all branches of science and engineering.''

``I have been with IISc for the past 15 years and it is a great place to work. I am sure one cannot find a better place elsewhere. At my time of joining this institute, I have five other offers in hand, but I have never had reason to regret my decision. I had finished my higher education in the US and Switzerland; I will say there is no place like IISc.

Here there is complete academic freedom as well as a vibrant intellectual atmosphere. Compared to other colleges there is a lot of world class research going on here. We also have highly trained, international faculty here. Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize for Chemistry has accepted a chair with us and will be spending time here -- not many other institutes can give you that!''

--B Ananthanarayan, chairperson, Centre for High Energy Physics, IISc

[Some minor inconsistencies and for the record, the five offers were including IISc,
and I said internationally trained faculty, and not trained, international faculty,
but in general for a telephone interview, it is quite faithful to what I said. I will try and upload a scanned copy, if I get around to it.]

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Chess and the internet

As a kid I used to play some chess but was not very good at it. In fact, big sister was far better than me, playing in the inter-school, college and perhaps even the state level. Recently my interest was (re)kindled at the time of the Anand-Topalov match and I discovered a very nice web-site which is one of several, where there is plenty of news, tactics, games, puzzles, and one can even play against the computer. I have been faring quite well with both black and white pieces when the computer is at the 1600 level. What is interesting is that the computer really punishes you for a mistake and you are done for. However, if you play cautiously and play many moves without mistakes, you can start beating it at this level. Even more amazing is that there are thousands of games that you can see and study. It is great fun to see how Anand has beaten top players and some of his games. On the other hand, I remember from long years ago that there was someone called Mir Sultan Khan who was supposed to have beaten Jose Raul Capablanca. So I asked google if there was indeed such a game. Here it is!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Thanking old teachers

For many of us, our lives in school represent some of the most important years of life, and we also have excellent memories of our teachers. Considering that one finished Class X thirty three years ago, where was I going to find information on my old school teachers? A google search on the names of favourites teachers took me here. My comments on the blog got me in touch with Gopal Gurram, the owner of the blog. I wonder why many of us in India are so thankful to our teachers? Maybe because we cannot really take good teachers for granted? Maybe at that age, we will did not yet have a sense to entitlement. [The latter has been commented upon in a different context here.] Comments welcome

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Rahul Basu -- In Memoriam

It is with the most profound sorrow that I must write to you about the loss of our friend, collaborator, teacher and esteemed member of the High Energy Physics community.

The end came quite suddenly after a series of health problems, first in the form of lung infections and eventually cardiac arrest. I met him recently in December in Chennai at which time he was planning a holiday to Bali and Singapore. Apparently he had been recovering from a lung infection, but on his return there was a recurrence and he spent many weeks in the ICU. I spoke to him last month and he sounded a little tired, but apparently otherwise he was getting better. It seems that these infections had weakened him to such an extent that he had a set back.

Rahul was known to many of us for his organizational skill and enthusiasm in organizing schools, conferences, workshop, etc.. Some of our own students have recently heard his lectures in Chandigarh, and he was to lecture in April at the SINP school. For others he was a collaborator and friend to many of us. Recently many of us have known him for his blogging on As I Please, where his powerful language and logic and wit speak for themselves.

At this stage I have very few words left to say. I would like to request you all to join me in my thoughts and pay our respects to his memory.

Update: You can leave a message on the official memorial page here.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Hyderabad as the accidental tourist destination

How can one's place of birth and childhood and growth possibly be a tourist destination? Easy: if you have moved away and your kid comes back every vacation to visit grandparents, granduncles and cousins. So that is what happened to us.

Of course Charminar is a must and we visited it last week. Impressive as ever. What is more, the weather was the best I could remember in years. Then we asked our driver to take us to `Paigah Palace' which I thought was nearby. He confidently took us to a nearby palace which was not Paigah but was the Chowmohalla Palace. This is terrific. We did not have much time and could only a small part of it. The Nizam's descendants in 2005 have allowed the public to come and walk through. It is a must.

Earlier we had done the usual Public Gardens and the Birla Mandir and a short walk along the Hussain Sagar where there are now two gardens on either side of the Necklace road.

We also visited the Mahavir Harina Vanasthali National Park, which is now a deer park in about 16 sq. km. of what was once the Nizam's hunting grounds. There is a safari ride for 15 min. and costs 5 rupees. There is no safari between noon and 3:00 pm. We also went back to the Public Gardens to the State Museum which has one of 6 Egyptians mummies in the country's museums, which had been bought from London and they say it is that of a 16 or 18 year old female and daughter of a Pharoah. The Buddhist and Bronze collections and Ajanta reproductions are excellent. There are also murals in several scripts and apparently there is a miniature which we did not see. This is not be confused with the Salar Jung Museum which we did not visit.

There is also a small tribal museum in Sankshema Bhavan at Masab tank which we visited.

For the tourist, there is also the crafts festival in December at the Shilparamam near the Hi-Tech city.

This is what we did this year. Last year, we had done the Qutb Shahi tombs, the Golconda fort and on an earlier occasion the famous Nehru Zoological Park near the Mir-Alam tank. So what more can one ask from one single city. And, don't forget that you can get by with Hindi if you are someone who does not know Telugu.

So if this information has been useful to you, happy holidays now or for later...