December 11, 2013
ஏதோவோர் விதிசெய்ததில் கலவாரைத்
தீதேயென முழங்கித்தனியே வைத்து
வேதம் இதுவேயெனவும் வழக்குரைத்து
பேதம்பல சொல்லி அன்பைப்பழிசெய்து
நீதிமறந்து நிலைதவறிப் பொய்வழிக்
காதல்சொல்லிப் பதைபதைத்து நின்றப்
பேதையர் பயமகலப் பெருகியத் திரளிதுவோ.
வண்ணம்பல அணையும் அன்புக்கொடிதாங்கி
மண்ணிலோர் மானுடம் வாழ எங்கும்
பெண்ணியம் தங்க பால்பணம்பரம்பரை கருதா
நண்ணிக்காதல் செயுமோர் நல்வழிப் பெருக
திண்ணிய நன்னடை திமிர்ஞானச் செருக்கு
கண்ணிய நோக்கு பயமறியா நெறிகளென
எண்ணியப் புலவன்வழி ஆடிவருந்திரளோ ஆர்கலிதானோ .
நிசிநடுவில் நினைவுற்று நெடுமூச்சு நெஞ்சில்
புசிபடப் பறந்தமனம் அல்லல் தனிமையெனும்
பசியதனில் படர்ந்துவிழ நாடுநட்புறவுவீதி
வசைவருமோ எனக்காதல் வெறுத்துலவும்
திசையறியாய் தெளியாயோ தாழ்கதவம் திறவாயோ
இசைமுரசம் பயின்றுனது இதயத்தை மீட்டவரும்
விசைநடையர் வீரர்திரள் வந்ததுகாண் இவ்வழியாய்.
தன்னினத்தைக் காதலித்த தவறிலாத் தனியோரை
முன்னம் யூதருடன் முழுதே சிறையெடுத்த
மன்னன் கொடுங்கோலன் வண்ணத்திரிகோணச்
சின்னம்பதித்தச் சிறுமையும் சிவப்புதிர சேறிஃதே
என்னச்செய் படுகொலைகள் பற்பலவும் கண்ட
பின்னுமந்நினைவில் இன்ப இளஞ்சிவப்பை
தன்னதாக்கியத் தகைமை வரும்வடிவு காணீரோ.
அணங்கையவள் காதலித்தால் அன்புதானாகாதோ ?
இணங்குமனம் இரண்டென்னில் இருள்விதியோ இங்கிடுக்கண் ?
மணங்களெலாம் மனயிசைவு மறுத்திடில்பின் மணமாமோ?
குணங்கழிந்தக் குறுமதியர் கூறுமடக் கருத்தெல்லாம்
பிணங்காது பாரெங்கும் பிதற்றிவரும் பாவியர்கை
ரணங்களையே ரத்தினமாய் ரசித்தணியும் ரகமிதெனத்
திணங்கமழும் திருனர்திரள் தீக்கனலாய்த் துணிந்ததுகாண்.
நிலையில்லா வாழ்வுதன்னில் பொய்யைப் புண்ணியம் செய்து
மலையாய கொடுங்கோலர் மேலையர் ஆளுமைகீழ்
கலையிகழ்ந்து கருத்திழந்து தன்கவிமரபைத் தான்மறந்து
தலையாய நபியொருவன் தந்தயிறைவாக்கின் பேரால்
வலைவலையாய் வாதம்பின்னிக் காதலையே குற்றம்கண்டு
கொலையும் கொடுமையும் கோதிலார்மாட்டிழைத்தீர்
நிலையறியீர் நியாயத்திரள் வருவது காணீரோ .
சற்சுகளில் சாத்திரஞ்சொல்லி சரிசமானமென்னும்
பொற்சிலுவை பிரானின் பொருள் பொதிந்தவுரைமறுத்து
பற்பல பாவம் பண்ணி புண்ணியன் பேரைச்சொல்லித்
தற்பெருமை தானேகூறும் தரிசுதர்க்கந் தானுதிர
கற்சுவர் கலகந்தன்னில் காவலர்மேல் காசெறிந்து
நற்சுவையோடு நகைத்தவரை நண்ணி நின்ற
அற்புதநடனநீதி அறிவித்தோம் அகிலமெங்கும் .
வானவில் ஆனிப்பீடு வந்ததுகாண் மானுடமே தன்-
மானமுளோர் அழைக்கின்றார் மோனங்கலையாயோ
மேனியிலே நிறம்தடவி சேனைபோல் அணிவகுத்து
கானம் கொணராயோ நானிலந்தான் களிகூர
தேனினிய நீர்நிலையாம் கானகத்தனிச்சுனை
மீனோடு ஓடிவந்து தானேநதியானதுபோல்
ஞானநிலைக்குரியாய் நீநடந்துவாராயோ .
அரிதுஅவாவுற்ற அரியர்க்(கு) அமைதி கேட்டு
உரிதுஉரிமையென உலகெலாம் தெரியக் கேட்டு
சரிதவறு இதுவென்று சமரச சத்(தி)யம்வாழ
விரிபுவியில் நீதிகாணும் நிலையென்றும் வளரக் கேட்டு
பரிவென்றும் மாறாநல்மதியர் உறவு கேட்டு
மரிவுவரில் மானுடம் கலையாது பிரியக் கேட்டு
பெரியவிதி உதவட்டும் எனக்கேட்டு நடைபயின்றோம்.
வேறினம் காதலியேன் வெறுப்போயெனக்
கூறிக்கைப்பிசைந்து கண்ணீரில்நின்றமக !
மாறிடுமோ அன்பு மாயங்களோ மமதை
ஆறெனப்பெருகவள்ளி அள்ளியணைத்ததுவும் பழச்
சாறுண்பயோ இனியச்சுளையுண்பயோ இல்லைப் பாலுண்பயோயெனத்
தூறல்மழைமாலைத் தூக்கிப்புகட்டியதும் நானல்லவோ நீ
பேறென வந்திங்கு பரவசம் தந்தவகைப் பேசிட நடந்தேன்யான்.
தனியே வைத்தாய் என்னை விதிமுதலே
இனிமை மாறாத இன்பம்சேர் விதையில் வாழைக்
கனிபோலும் காசினியில் களிபரவக் கட்டளையோ
பனிமலையும் பாலையும் பெருங்கடலும் பொந்துகளும்
குனிவறியா மரமும் கூடிய உயிரிசையும்
நனிநிறமும் நறுமணமும் கலவிக்களிவழியும்
மனித அறிவொளியும் இன்பமென அருளிவருமிறையே.
- புவியன் நம்பி
June 4, 2010
Distributaries of a distant stream
the veins of a small delta dance
in the silence of eternal waves.
monsoon breeze, useless guns,
‘दोस्ती’ of dualities.
Uncryptic unuttered words, arguments,
moments of responsible hesitation,
fresh smell of gentle dawn.
A beautiful flower, an anxious pollen.
Wings that are never to be withdrawn,
but to be lost and liberated
in the winds like infancy.
June 3, 2007
The Blog Physica Page on Condensed matter books is up. It is a page under construction and a lot more work has to be done. For example, as of now, it is egregiously weak on soft condensed matter books, books on semiconductor physics. So, dear reader, if you think you can help us in that regard, please do so.
Sometime ago, I came across the site by Arvind gupta at IUCAA Children’s Science Centre. For those who haven’t heard of him before, he is the 1988 winner of the National Award for Science Popularisation amongst Children, conferred by the Department
of Science & Technology, Government of India. And a recipient of Distinguished Almunus Award 2000 from the IITK “In recognition of his outstanding and seminal contributions in developing low-cost science-base teaching aids for young children and thus doing a great service to humanity at large”. (or you could just watch him in action at youtube right at the end of this post).
The site http://www.arvindguptatoys.com has a great collection of material regarding popular science and education in general. I particularly liked the comic titled the story of physics with a slightly humorous slant. You should check it out sometime, you might like it too. It is a children’s history of physics with pages like the one below
Or, if you think you have already outgrown comics, you might like articles like this one – “In Search for the Meaning of Science” by A.K.Roy . There are many articles like the one by Roy which take a hard look into what science means for Indian society – deep reading, indeed.
And as promised, here is the youtube video of a “talk” by Arvind Gupta.
Arvind Gupta – Toys from Everyday Stuff
This video was shot at MAIS, Bangalore when tinkerer and toy-maker, Arvind Gupta (winner of the National Award for Science Popularisation) worked with kids of Std. 06 and showed them how to make some exciting inventions from ordinary stuff like straws, film roll cannisters, empty toothpaste tubes and string!
May 29, 2007
May 29, 2007
Sometime ago, Arunn, a professor from IITM put up a post in his blog complaining about the lack of enthusiasm for science blogging in India. I have nothing much to add to what he has already said.
However, something is painfully clear – I, among the few Indians blogging on Science, haven’t done enough to make the situation better. And hence, the title of this post.
I very much sympathize with Arunn’s frustration – I am no stranger to that feeling. Last year, when I was still an undergraduate, I had along with some other undergraduate colleagues of mine started a blog named blogphysica . From whatever experience I have gained from that exercise, I can safely say that it is almost equally difficult to convince students about blogging science.
And that is just a restatement of what has already been said . A more pertinent question is of course, what can be done about it ? That, I realize is a difficult question – and it should be answered in the way all such difficult questions are answered : Formulate solutions, Attempt to implement them, Note the obstacles that arise, Go back to the drawing board armed with that knowledge and Repeat till you succeed.
This is a game in establishing a vibrant Indian SciBlogsphere and we are not going to win it in a day. It is very tempting for us to get annoyed when say, Scian Melt gets disbanded or when Panta Rei gets very few entries , but, I think we will win this game in the end .
Do I have anything more concrete to say than that broadly optimistic assertion ? Yes, indeed. Among the links to the left, you will find a list of links listed under the title “India/Science”. That list, captures in a way all that I know about Indian SciBlogging.
In particular, let me draw your attention to some blogs whose names have never been raised in this discussion before . Indian Science News and Popular Science Writing – both maintained by a journalist named Y.Bala Murali Krishna. If we dig a little bit, we come across the “about us” posts tucked among the early posts in the blog .
So, we are told
Welcome to this “Popular Science Writing” blog aimed at promoting popular science writing for the young and the old and even the scientists,besides inculcating scientific temper.Any articles on this aspect are most welcome. …
I am bureau chief-cum-special correspondent of the United News of India(UNI) now working in Panaji-Goa specialising in science and technology, media and related issues besides photography. I have also been a journalism educator and resource person to the National Council for Science and Technology Communication(NCSTC) under the Union Ministry of Science and Technology….
I have been engaged in participating in various science writing workshops across the country as a resource person besides various annual National Science Communication Congress sessions.Our aim is to prepare a dedicated band of people including the scientists, particularly the youth,who could write for different media organisations exposing the potential of the Indian Science and Scientists to the common man.The process involves application of various journalistic forms of writing, known as genres and avoiding jargon.
and the second blog welcomes us with the post
This blog is to bring out some of the best science stories contributed from journalists,particularly of the United News of India, across the length and the bredth of India to benefit the readers.
It is aimed at encouraging popular science writing by post graduate students,scientists and journalists.
So, my question is this – How many other science writers are out there , who will be both eminently capable and very much interested in advancing the cause of Ind-Sci-Blogging ? And how is it that such kind of science writers are rare in Indian blogsphere despite the fact that we have whole institutions devoted to science communication ?
 To be fair to Arunn, he has already made it clear that his interest in this particular post is to understand “why “scientists” (or say, Ph. Ds. who have an expertise) in India seems not to have picked blogging yet as a means for communication.” And the blog I am now referring to, does not fall under that category.
 Those familiar with blogsphere would probably remark that it is not a very good blogging practice to bury the “About us” page among the early posts.
March 26, 2007
A peripheral glance at this blog should convince the reader that I enjoy reading more than writing. I write very sporadically (I do realise how cruel it is to the blog-readers ..). But, those who frequent here often will hopefully realise a kind of “silent blogging” happening as I update my links to the left.
For example, I’ve created new lists as new Maths blogs came along and my lists were updated when geology/chemistry blogsphere grew to its present size. I call this “silent blogging” for a very good reason. One, I am trying via these links to attract the attention of my readers to these blogs which is very similar to what a lot of posts in blogsphere end up doing. Secondly, the list of links to the left is my way of conveying my tastes – to tell those who visit this blog what sort of stuff I find interesting. In that sense, this list is a form of self-commentary, a way of communicating my perspectives.
A substantial part of what people are is what they find interesting. On that vein, I’ve included a link to my Google Reader(Shared Items) page (Feed URL) . It’s mostly a list of posts from all over the physics blogsphere. Occasionally, you might find a non-physics post, but, I will try to stick to physics posts for now.
As a compensation, here is a list of non-physics links which I found interesting.
1) Here are some great photos of the institute from which I got my undergraduate degree. It shows a lot of buildings as they were under construction. To my colleagues from there who are reading this, how many of these venues can you identify ?
3) Terence tao has an interesting post about the Navier Stokes equation – Why Global Regularity for Navier Stoke is Hard ? (By the way, I should probably sit down and write a post on whatever little I’ve learnt about Ricci flow and Perelman’s proof on Poincare’s conjecture – but, unfortunately, it is a bit too much effort to put together all my notes…)
4) See also his post about mathematical education – there is an interesting discussion in the comment section about math-literacy and its significance in the present world.
7) Carl Zimmer has an interesting post titled Said the Mouse to the Other Mouse, “Dude, You Would Not Believe The Colors I’m Seeing….” based on this paper in Nature. By changing a gene, biologists have made Mouse see colours that it normally cannot see ! Though Zimmer quiet doesn’t come around to talking about it, I was reminded of Ramachandran’s discussion (on what is known as “Qualia” in philosophy) in his book “Phantoms in the Brain”.
8 ) Talking of Ramachandran, if you haven’t read/heard it already you should definitely have a look at Reith lectures by Vilayanur S.Ramachandran titled “The Emerging Mind”.
P.S. : Recently, I was tagged by the “Entertaining Research” Blog asking me to link this post by the “Effect measure” blog in which they have resolved to explain a technical paper on “a mathematical model to investigate the spread of antiviral resistance in the control of pandemic influenza”. In their own words
Why consider this an “experiment”? The experiment was to see if a paper that used a coupled system of non-linear ordinary differential equations as its main technical tool could be explained sufficiently so a lay audience could understand what was involved and how the model worked. In that way they would have a better appreciation for the findings and some understanding of an important tool, mathematical modeling. We took it as a personal challenge…
As somebody who can almost never sit down to patiently explain in writing the interesting things in science, I have nothing but great admiration for this effort spanning some sixteen posts on a single paper !
March 7, 2007
Subhojoy wrote an interesting comment to my previous post. You can of course read the entire comment and the ensuing discussion. But, for the benefit of readers, I just wanted to pull out some interesting things that came up – especially the latest comment of mine. I will just provide some context and reproduce that comment.
He pointed out that
.. science – universal and unifying as it may be – is also very much a *human* pursuit.
as you say, there is something quiet engaging about science – a mature passion that is a mix of child-like curiosity, a detective’s diligence, a kind of exalted honesty not to fool oneself , a deep humility  combined with a conviction to stand for a scientific fact come what may.
to which he replied
Well if one has the analogy of a ‘child’ in mind, I wouldn’t stress too much on the ‘exalted honesty’ and ‘deep humility’ part of it … Also, I think the ’scientific method’ is there precisely to exploit human intuition, and other human cognitive biases.
And here is the reply I wrote :
..I wouldn’t stress too much on the ‘exalted honesty’ and ‘deep humility’ part of it..
I think it is a question of what you choose to emphasise.
Sometimes in science, the boundary defining “being honest with oneself” is so clear-cut, so obvious that one should be crazy to cross that Rubicon. What would you think, say, of a person who denies a proven theorem in mathematics and actually believes that theorem to be false with his whole heart ? Such people are indeed rare  and their self-delusions are obvious enough to their colleagues.
But, more often, it takes a lot of effort to protect oneself from self-delusion. Mathematician to a large extent and physicists to some extent do not need to put in so much effort – but, we should not underestimate how our natural cognitive biases can hamper our understanding of say evolutionary biology, anthropology or Cognitive Neuroscience. It often takes some effort to not let in our prejudices(both innate and acquired from our culture) seep into our analysis.
Having said that, the misleading notion of a dispassionate scientist wearing lab-coat staring into nature “scientifically” should be thoroughly debunked – there is no great scientist I know of who did not have deep feelings about their subject. Or more importantly, both rational and emotional thinking arise out of a single nervous system – to assume a priori that reason and emotion inhabit two different worlds is not an easy hypothesis to justify.
This brings us to what you later write :
..I think the ’scientific method’ is there precisely to exploit human intuition, and other human cognitive biases.And as for ‘human’, I really mean these human ‘qualities’, like our curiousity or our bias towards seeing patterns.
I will agree that Science is deeply human in the way it involves some of our cognitive biases. But, the keyword is “some”. A bias towards seeing patterns might be a great gift but it is known how it hampers our understanding of probability and the notion of randomness – we tend to “see” patterns even when they are really not there ! Quantum mechanics is not very intuitive, which is unsurprising given that our brain evolved in a mostly classical world. So, science picks and chooses among our biases, sublimates some of them into deep understanding while cautioning us to be careful about some others.The scientific method could not have been formulated by those who didn’t have at least a preliminary understanding of human biases. In my opinion, a scientific understanding of human irrationality is absolutely necessary for better understanding of what constitutes scientific method.
And I liked the quote by Grothendeick.
“Only innocence can surmount them, which mere knowledge doesn’t even take into account, in those moments when we find ourselves able to listen to things, totally and intensely absorbed in child’s play.” Grothendieck
I will just add that among the noblest influences that science has on its practitioners is to deepen that innocence. It takes quite a lot of wisdom to be child-like.
 I have chosen an example in mathematics . Similar examples in Natural Sciences do exist but are slightly more trickier to find/formulate.
 The main reason for they being rare is this – Most people (are simply ignorant of) / (do not care about) deep theorems in mathematics to express their opinions one way or another.
 I suspect “innate vs acquired” distinction might itself be an almost universal cognitive bias. That suspicion of mine , if you are interested, comes from my inability to formulate a natural way of defining that distinction.
 Sometimes one hears people sincerely believing that to do something “scientifically” is to take a thing, break it into pieces, get rid of all the “beauty” in the stuff, put it into a mental centrifuge, take the useful thing and dump the rest ! To be fair, quite some “scientists” go about doing their work this way – but, to do science this way is, in my opinion, is to descend into mediocrity. Scientific diligence is not mere mechanized execution. To do something scientifically is not so much about breaking stuff as much as it is about the wisdom to know when/how to break and when not to.
 Given that art,culture,science and religion(of both superstitious and deeply philosophical kind) arise out of a single system, the onus is on those who believe in great walls dividing these human endeavours, to justify their belief.
 The pseudo science of Astrology, for example, sustains itself mainly because of our “ability” to see connections between things which are unconnected. In fact, the wikipedia list of cognitive biases reads like one long answer to the question – “Why pseudo-science is so popular ?”
 I consider scientific method to be (at least partly) a scientific theory like quantum mechanics or evolutionary biology and that explains why our understanding of it is definitely incomplete.The successes of science definitely show that we have got a very good approximation to the theory of scientific method and scientists in most cases seem to have a very good gut feeling for what is scientific. But, it would definitely help to understand this gut feeling better. Many do not realise that “what is science ?” is as much a scientific question as it is a question in philosophy.