Monday, December 21, 2009

My article on Barack Obama's Nobel Prize

Here is the link to my article on Barack Obama's Nobel Prize published on the Lok Raj Sangathan web-site.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Year end post

Seems a bit early already for the year end post. But this is because we are going to go away to Hyderabad for the mandatory vacation (how can it be a vacation if it is mandatory? Anyway...). This has been a very bad year for blogging; maybe the next one will be better. Life has been hectic as the Chairman since end of January. Started with a lot of work organizing the Strong Frontier workshop in PPISR. The remaining months have been a blur. Scientifically it has been good with many projects finishing. However, scientifically it has been a great year for the world with the LHC recording collisions, with the first hints of dark matter detection from CDMS experiment. There has also been a lot of reading that I have been doing on general science on BBC which is quite extraordinary. These include stories of plants in Malaysia (I think) which trap and eat science mice, discovery of many new species in India, Western ghats and Arunachal Pradesh. And one should not forget the discovery of water by the Chandrayaan project. Have a left anything out? Comments welcome.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Article on bibliometric evaluation of scientists

Here is a link to an article with an intriguing title, Bibliometric evaluation of individual researchers: not even right... not even wrong! by Franck Laloƫ and Remy Mosseri. Worth checking out.

Prof. M. S. Raghunathan gives the 18th Meera Memorial Lecture

The 18th Meera Memorial Lecture will be given on
Thursday, December 3, 2009 at 6 pm at the Indian Institute of World Culture, Basavanagudi, Bangalore, by Prof. M. S. Raghunathan of TIFR Mumbai entitled "The queen of sciences: her realm, her influence and her health". The trust web-site is here.

Update: Here is the abstract

What is mathematics? That is evidently a difficult question to answer. Nevertheless mathematics has had an independent identity as an intellectual discipline since antiquity. In this talk, I will first discuss the main characterestics that contribute to giving mathematics its identity challenging in the process some common negative perceptions about mathematics, viz., that mathematics is a dry unimaginative subject, that its rigorous discipline is forbidding and that its cold logic destroys all sensitivity in its practitioners. I will then briefly dwell on the importance of mathematics to our society and finally say something about the state of mathematics research and teaching in our country

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Program in IISc on the situation in Chattisgarh

One of the members of Concern, an IISc student's forum wrote to me requesting me to advertise a programme they are organizing on Chattisgarh, November 7, 2009. [I will take this opportunity say that I am happy to post any students' organization's notice if they write to me as long as the tone is civilized and in my estimation they will not offend any particular group or community.] Details at their web-site here and here.

Mathematics and Physics

Let me have the luxury of day-dreaming a little about the connection between mathematics and physics. To me it seems that the separation took place only about a 100 years ago. Perhaps Poincare did not consider himself either a mathematician or a physicist, but both. But the reason for this post is a reaction to some thoughts that have been in my mind for some time. Today it was catalyzed by reading a news item about the Shaw prize which was awarded to Donaldson and Taubes. It seems to me that Taubes notable achievements are in the mathematics arising from gauge theories and quantum field theories. He is concerned with various monopole solutions in part of his work. So the connection is quite clear. The other reason is the claim of objectivity in these disciplines which is supposed to transcend subjectivity, unlike in other spheres of human endeavour. But is this really so? Atiyah has written that mathematics will get a big boost from string theory, while Langlands has said that it will get a boost from quantum field theory and statistical mechanics. While there is no dispute about these, it seems to me that these are really quite subjective views in which there is a human intervention. In other words, are these assessments really objective, or is it that mathematics and physics are also like any other enterprises, guided by taste and aesthetics. This is not to say that there are no rigorous standards. Let me welcome comments.

2010 Sakurai Prize

The 2010 Sakurai Prize honours all the discoverers of what is known as the Higgs mechanism. These are Hagen, Guralnik, Englert, Brout and Kibble, in addition to Higgs. Read about it here.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Appeal for Vikram Buddhi

For the first time yesterday I heard of Vikram Buddhi who has been incarcerated in the USA under the most mysterious of circumstances. It appears very shocking. I believe the Hon. Minister Mr. S. M. Krishna has now promised help. I would urge you to go and sign the appeal here which was brought to my attention by my sister.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Thomas Henziger is President of new Institute of Science and Technology

Those of you who read my posts from 2008 on my travel-log in Switzerland may rember a brief reference to old friend Thomas Henzinger in this here. Yesterday I received an alert from a friend Japhet Bagilishya that Thomas had moved back to Austria to take up an important post. It turns out that it is not just any old post: he is now the President of the Institute of Science and Technology in Vienna and you can read about it in an article from Nature.

Friday, October 23, 2009

India-Nobel prizes at "Reflections"

Over at "Reflections" Shivanand Kanavi has many posts on the Indian near hits of Nobel prizes (NPs).

While it is sad for those gentlemen, is there not too much talk about NPs among in our science administration?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Magnetic monopoles in spin ice

Part of my duties will be link to interesting science articles and posts. Leading candidate this Thursday is the article in magnetic monopoles in spin ice over at "As I please" which you can find

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A blogger is reborn?

I feel impelled (one of my dictionaries warns me against getting impelled and compelled mixed-up incorrectly) to wake up and to become a blogger again. The hiatus in blogging resulted with a general dis-satisfaction with the quality of my own posts, turbulent events in personal and professional life, including serial hospitalizations of near and dear at the time of my last post 10 months or so ago, but a semblance of order seems to be creeping in now. A recently joined colleague asked me if I had stopped blogging because I am now Chairman of my Centre and if that has influenced my decision, while Rahul Basu over at "As I Please" has deleted my blog from his list of blogs he reads, and while Abi at "Nanopolitan" has been decrying the lack of science bloggers, and finally a mail today from some one at the Centre for Society and the Internet wrote to me on my views on open-source or something of that sort, even though I am no longer a regular blogger, etc., has prompted the decision to rise from the ashes. In the meantime, I have been continuing to read blogs. One of the important things that has made an impression on me is the elementary proof of the density Hales-Jewett problem on Timothy Gowers' blog featured very prominently on Nanopolitan which has woken me up to the importance of science/maths blogging. While it is impossible that this humble blog will ever find a niche of that sort, it is the paucity of Indian science blogs which has jolted me out. So let me promise all 3 readers of this blog (are there that many?) that I will make an effort.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Climate change affects Jupiter

After a long long break from blogging I thought it is time to start again. Let us begin with this science story which says that climate change is there on Jupiter also. See here.