Choosing PhD topic and supervisor

"No matter how tough the chase is, you should always have the dream you saw on the first day. It’ll keep you motivated and rescue you from any weak thoughts." ―  Jack Ma “PhD made me poorer, without money, but richer in thoughts.”  ―  Lailah Gifty Akita Many Physics students join a doctoral program with a dream of doing great science. To start well, it is important to choose your PhD research topic and PhD supervisor with care.  In this blog I will try to provide some tips that may help you in this quandary. Which research topic should I choose for my PhD? Statistics show that a majority of academicians continue to work on the same topic as their PhD work for at least 10 years.  Hence, it is prudent to choose your PhD research topic with a proper care.  As I wrote in my blog Should I go for higher eduction in Science & Engineering? ,  I believe that you should choose a topic that interests you most.  This way you will enjoy your work and produce the best results.  But,  h

Should I go for higher eduction in Science & Engineering?

"Questions can be categorized into four groups: 1: Ones for which both a student and a teacher know the answers; 2: Ones for which only the teacher knows the answer; 3: Ones for which both the student and teacher do not know the answer, but someone in the world knows the answer; 4: Ones for which no one knows the answer."  ― A. P. Shukla "Research is what I am doing when I don't know what I am doing."  ― Wernher van Braun After graduation, many students are in quandary: Job, higher education, switch field, take a break, etc. In this blog, I will try to discuss the joys and sorrows of higher education in science and engineering.   I believe that the most dominant factor in your career choice should be what interests you most. You will be productive and happy if your passion becomes your profession.  A good college, good teachers, and friends may help you discover your inner talent, but finally, it is you who has to discover your inner fire and dream that you coul

The anthem of Indian National Army

Most of us are not aware of the anthem of Indian National Army  (INA). Here it is.. शुभ सुख चैन की बरखा बरसे , भारत भाग है जागा पंजाब, सिन्ध, गुजरात, मराठा, द्राविड़ उत्कल बंगा चंचल सागर, विन्ध्य, हिमालय, नीला जमुना गंगा तेरे नित गुण गाएँ, तुझसे जीवन पाएँ हर तन पाए आशा। सूरज बन कर जग पर चमके, भारत नाम सुभागा, जए हो! जए हो! जए हो! जए जए जए जए हो!॥ सब के दिल में प्रीत बसाए, तेरी मीठी बाणी हर सूबे के रहने वाले, हर मज़हब के प्राणी सब भेद और फ़र्क मिटा के, सब गोद में तेरी आके, गूँथें प्रेम की माला। सूरज बन कर जग पर चमके, भारत नाम सुभागा, जए हो! जए हो! जए हो! जए जए जए जए हो!॥ शुभ सवेरे पंख पखेरे, तेरे ही गुण गाएँ, बास भरी भरपूर हवाएँ, जीवन में रूत लाएँ, सब मिल कर हिन्द पुकारे, जय आज़ाद हिन्द के नारे। प्यारा देश हमारा। सूरज बन कर जग पर चमके, भारत नाम सुभागा, जए हो! जए हो! जए हो! जए जए जए जए हो!॥ (Credits:शुभ_सुख_चैन ) This is rewordings of  Rabindranath Tagore’s Bengali poem ‘Bharoto Bhagyo Bidhata’ by Subhash Bose and 

Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam Cray HPC award to TARANG

I am happy to share a news that I received Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam  Cray HPC award for the development of  TARANG. The citation reads.. "Development of open-source code TARANG and using it for turbulence simulation at extreme scales”. I thank all contributors to  TARANG.  I have missed many names in my acceptance speech (given below)… but I thank all of you!! The award is really to the whole team who are scattered at many places. 
“Prof. Balakrishnan, Prof. Balaram, Prof. Narasimha, Dr. Di Rose, and members of Cray Computers, I thank you all for the award that means a lot to me and our turbulent group at IIT Kanpur.  Many thanks! I will briefly describe about our code TARANG and its history.  It is a spectral code for solving fluid flows.  Spectral means we use Fourier transforms to resolve a flow at various length scales.  This method is very accurate, and hence it is popular choice for weather modellers. Now, how is TARANG unique?  There are many kinds of flows—with neutra

Air India and noise pollution in Delhi Airport

In the wee hours of 30th August, I was in the queue of Air India to check in.  It took more than ½ hour with only 5 passengers ahead of me.  Funny part was that  there were 2 counters for all  the economy class passengers, 2 for business class (with  no passenger to check in), 1 for crew.  There was a counter for counter management, and several officials going around.  More managers than workers!!!   Of course, some of the passengers at the counter had huge overweight bags, and possibly they were arguing at the counter for as long as 15 minutes.  But the counter management and officers around were doing nothing.  I complained several times for speeding up the process, or convert the business class queue to economy class, but no avail.     In almost all airline I have travelled with, empty business class counters are also used for economy class passenger.  There was no empathy today. It is impossible to reform the system when there is so much indifference.  Just hope that Air India i

Physics Reference Books

These are my favorite physics and mathematics books that I hope a budding science enthusiast will find interesting and useful. Please keep in mind that the choices are always biased, hence you should develop your own taste.   High School and Intermediate Level: Resnick and Halliday: Principles of Physics H.  C. Verma: Concepts in Physics Kumar and Mittal: Nootan Intermediate Physics (in Hindi, not so popular at present) [Some good mathematics books] S. L. Loney: The elements of Coordinate Geometry; Plane Trignometry Hall and Knight: Higher Algebra Hall and Stevens: School Geometry Undergraduate level: R. P. Feynman: Feynman Lectures in Physics A. M. Purcell and D. J. Morin: Electricity and Magnetis A. Reif: Fundamentals of Statistical and Thermal Physics D. J. Tritton: Physical Fluid Dynamics S. H. Strogatz: Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos Mathews and Walker: Mathematical methods of Physics M. K. Verma: Introduction to Mechanics (my own book) Advanc

IIT System: Its contributions?

I did my undergraduate studies from IIT Madras, and entered IIT Kanpur for work as a faculty.  On the whole I have spent 25 years of my life in the IIT system so far, and I do owe a lot to it for what it gave to me. During my student days,  the environment was an eye opener for me, and it provided exposure to new worldview.  Just to name some of the topics that came up in our mid-night discussions were curved space-time, Godel Eschar Bach, Richard Bach, and many others.  It was very exciting for a kid coming from a small town.  Some classes were very fascinating, and they were the comparable to  my graduate courses at the University of Maryland at College Park.  There are raging debates in India on the contributions of IIT system to the nation.  Did it contribute enough to the development of nation? Did we create new technology, or inspire students to do the same? Why our IITs do not figure in the top 100 institutions of the world? Why don’t IITians appear as biggest names in sc