Sunday, November 27, 2016


``The living owe it to those who no longer can speak, to tell their story for them.''

Czeslaw  Milosz.

A video.  (Note: The video can be disturbing.)

This blog post by Neelima Gupte and Sumathi Rao.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Rahul Basu Memorial Award 2014-2016

It is our great pleasure to declare that the winners of the Rahul Basu Memorial Award have been selected. These are:


Dr. Bhavna Gomber,  Calcutta University.
Thesis Title: Search of Large Extra Dimensions in g+ET final state in pp collisions with the CMS detector at the LHC.

Dr. Roji Pius, Harishchandra Research Institute, Allahabad.
Thesis Title: Perturbative aspects of String Theory and Gauge/Strong Duality

Honourable Mention:

Dr. Md. Rihan Haque, NISER, Bhubaneshwar.
Thesis Title: Nucleii Production and Azimuthal Anisotropy of charged particles in heavy-ion collisions at RHIC

Dr. Kirtiman  Mohan,  CHEP, IISc, Bangalore
Thesis Title: The Higgs Boson as a probe of physics beyond the standard model in the era of the LHC.

The award ceremony will be held as a part of the DAE symposium on High Energy Physics, on 16th December, 2016 (Friday) in Delhi University between 12.00 and 1.00 pm. 

Award committee: Bedangadas Mohanty (Chair), Sunanda Bannerjee, Debayoti Chowdhuri, Debashis Ghoshal, Rohini Godbole, Sourendu Gupta, Neelima Gupte, Sunil Mukhi.

Thanks all.

This blog post by Neelima Gupte and Sumathi Rao.

Monday, November 14, 2016

The week that was

And what a week it was! It started off pleasantly enough, at the theater with  Wooster and Jeeves, trotting off in the two seater to Totleigh Towers, with Aunt Dahlia, Madeliene Basset, Sir Watkin Basset, Roderick Spode and Stiffy Byng in the mixture. Bertie was in trouble, but Jeeves saved the day. It was a terrific production, given that all roles were played by just three actors, with the two seater and the bath tub also playing stellar roles. Here is Bertie in a bath tub, although at a large distance! The ticket prices played their role in keeping the audience at a distance, with the front seats being priced at Rs 5000 a piece!

If Bertie had a bad week, the rest of us had it worse. On Tuesday, the U.S. got Trumped and India got Modified.  `Change' had a great week. The public was out of money, the ATMs were out of cash, and the PM was out of the country. However, the apologists were not out of excuses. After holding out for several days on the basis of 10 Rs notes  having found their way to the corners of sundry purses, sheer necessity forced a trip to the bank. Two and a half hours of patience yielded four of the notes below, with Gandhiji smiling bashfully on a background of a colour hitherto associated with Barbie.

All the chaos was in a good cause, being dedicated to rooting out black moneys. Here is one of them below, looking dejected. (In case of incomprehensibility, consult Google Translate).

We now await the rigours of the next week. However, Chennai might look forward to some relief. Amma is expected to be discharged from hospital. Please stand by for further bulletins from the frontline.

This blog post is by Neelima Gupte and Sumathi Rao.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Turbulent times

This post is long delayed, and hence covers a lot of mileage, due to long journeys, all through troubled parts. Although, just about everywhere is troubled these days, including, home. It's more a case of troubled times than troubled parts.

July was Europe: Slovenia, France and Germany. Summer in Ljubljana was beautiful, flowers everywhere, and dragon statues on the bridge. However, there was shocking news  every night. Bombs in Turkey, terrorist attacks in Nice and Rouen, terrorist attacks in Munich, protests in Berlin. The streets looked deceptively peaceful, but the long lines in airport security and the number of policemen in the streets gave clues to the tense state of affairs. There was a huge protest outside the Berlin Hauptbahnoff. Angela Merkel's humanitarian generosity was provoking xenophobic backlash. (There were anti-protest protests too. Good for those guys).

August was the U.S: blue skies, fresh air and the Rocky mountains. All looked idyllic, but the presidential race was hotting up. Xenophobia and misogyny were rearing their ugly heads again. Who knows what the election results will throw up, and whom it will affect? No country is truly sovereign these days, as everyone knows.

September was back home again. Dead silence in the newspapers on Kashmir, despite numerous indications of trouble. The Uri attacks and `surgical strikes' blew the lid on the bottled hysteria. All the chest thumping nationalism was woefully similar to that seen in other parts of the world. Saner voices were dubbed `anti-national', exactly like elsewhere. Xenophobia, and a preoccupation with immediate interests, seems to have become a worldwide theme.

The pictures belie the simmering discontent. All looks so pretty and so peaceful. Maybe that is the real truth, and  all the turmoil is superficial and  a passing phase. The pundits claim the world is becoming more peaceful, not less. Otherwise, as ordinary citizens, we are fearful. Let's hope the learned ones have got it right!

This blog post is by Neelima Gupte and Sumathi Rao.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Brigadier Sir Nils

This blog has been following the career of  Sir Nils Olaf, a king penguin, a member of the Norwegian Kings Guard, a long time resident of Edinburgh Zoo, for many years now (see earlier post).
Rising through the service ranks of  a corporal, a sergeant, a sergeant-major and a colonel-in-chief, and after being knighted in 2008 (the occasion celebrated in the previous post), Sir Nils was promoted to Brigadier, by the King's Guard, who were in Edinburgh yesterday to take part in the Military Tattoo. Sir Nils received his promotion with composed pride, after inspecting his comrades at arms, who maintained absolutely straight faces. (See news item and video). Congratulations, Sir Nils!

This blog post by Neelima Gupte and Sumathi Rao.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Happy Birthday, Chennai

Today is the 377th birthday of our city by the sea. Happy Birthday, Chennai, and may global warming never destroy your climate, or your coastline. The city has been through a harsh test, but managed to emerge with its characteristic resilience, leaving the smiles of its citizens intact. (Sometimes we new Madrasis wish the citizens would have less patience!) However, there is something to be said for those who go through disasters, and come out still armed with their usual good nature. We hope the next year will be nicer, to all of us. Meanwhile, the celebrations are on. The MahaVishnu of Mount Road is always the most informed about all that happens here. So here are the full details.  
Hope to see everyone at the numerous festivities.

This blog post by Neelima Gupte and Sumathi Rao.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Juno and Jupiter

Juno's reached Jupiter, and is in a Jupiter orbit, as everyone with a news feed knows! Nasa's spacecraft  Juno has a very intensive scientific programme planned, including an investigation into the unusual stability of the solar system's biggest coherent structure, the famed red spot of Jupiter. More updates as information trickles in.  Meanwhile, a picture of the red spot from an old friend.

A picture of the little red spot of Jupiter by New Horizons, taken when it flew by Jupiter in 2007.

This is a polar map of Jupiter (South pole) constructed from images taken by the Cassini spacecraft.
(Thanks, Ashutosh). Dynamics aficionados will note the effects.

This blog post by Neelima Gupte and Sumathi Rao.

NASA photos.