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!