story

My graduate student days.

My graduate student days were fun — most of the times.

I had 3 different professors — in 3 different semesters, when I was their teaching assistant (TA).

None of them was any acerbic to me ever, even when I would be at fault.

Professor 1:
Guy Indebetow was the very first one. A cheerful person and very friendly. He would say — in spirit, not necessarily all the wording, “I would not interfere in how you grade the students, but wisdom says you give them a little lose marking, if anyone comes with any grievance though, I would redirect them to you.”

It so happened that the only students that would come banging on my doors are the ones who would often just seek some more marks, than “deserve it”. — I am not speaking from their POV though, I wasn’t taking theirs — you see.

I remember two cases.

Case-1
A student who was originally from Pune. He would come looking for some marks.

Me: I am sorry you don’t deserve more here.

You are screwed.

Mrs GANDHI is asked; When did India get Independence ? She replied “1947” and passed.

Advani is asked; How many people died during the independence struggle?

He gets nervous. Yama asked him to choose from 3 options: 100,000 or 200,000 or 300,000.

Advani catches it and says 200,000 and passes.

It’s Laloo’s turn now.

Yama asks him to give the Name and Address of each of the 200, 000 who died in the struggle.

Laloo accepts defeat and agrees to go to HELL.

some of my letters from 2002.

Kalinga Debate.

Some “debate” on Kalinga as a State. April 29 – May 1, 2002

Reproduced ditto, except, space-bar and underline.

Hello P**aa,

I’ve been staying in Blacksburg, Virginia, USA since the last 8/9 months and I am pursuing my PhD. in Physics after doing my M.Sc. in Utkal University. Very soon (in 15 days) I am going to go to Japan for one year (for the time being) to do some experimental work in an international particle physics lab there.

I have the same patriotic feeling as you do about our country in general and our state in particular.

I have so much thing I wish I’d tell you about how my thoughts have changed after I came here that I can not tell you right now because of the time constraint. But I’ll write you back very soon about what I feel what the problem is with India , my changed perceptions about why a country with such large potential is lagging behind.

Probably for the time-being you’d bear with me for begging some more time.

My personal opinion is the name of our state should change to “kalinga”. But you know what we have ground problems.

Mathew and anti Mathew effect.

I wanted to write this article, separately, as I didn’t want to break the flow of Physics arguments in the article, where this point came up.

This point was originally raised by Feynman; as far as I know. If David Mermin comes, he will stick his cotton buds, and wipe this out, and claim he said it, there is no lack of such incredible people. All he does say in that article, linked here, is so typical of plagiarists that you wouldn’t believe how murkily he dismisses Feynman as the original fellow who might have said so, “he is a great mind calculator, so nobody would ask him to shut up and calculate”.

How about nobody would think “Madonna” is a slut. A beautiful lady in the corner, well nobody would be harsh to her, such harshness would only be toward me, only I would be one to whom such a treatment can be mated, and that would be David Mermin’s famous and infamous proof and evidence of Mathew Effect of which he is apparently a victim.
If, anything, even I knew of “shut up and calculate” in my grad days, as a phrase ascribed to Feynman, in my privacy of studies, in other words never discussed with anyone, but knew of it, and grew in associating this behavioral treatment towards myself, going as far idiosyncratically, even to compare the thickness of my own hair, with Feynman’s, I can’t be Feynman, or can I be? Can “shut up and calculate” be used on any grad student or similarly placed researcher? Yes, it can be and thats the whole message, not the interpretation by the name of the city of Copenhagen.

Happy birthday Scientists, James Joule.

It’s the birthday of James Joule, who was born in 1818 in Salford, England. Joule was a commercial brewer in Manchester. His work inspired an interest in physics and in the nature of energy. In a series of experiments, he demonstrated the convertibility of kinetic, thermal and electromagnetic energy. The SI energy unit, the joule, is named in his honor.