From the editor’s desk
Chronicle Editor @ Nov 12, 2007

This issue includes many important articles and special reports.

The highlight of this issue is the interview with Prof. R Balasubramaniam, who is in the faculty of IIT-Kanpur and convener of Metallo seminar at IIT-K.

The issue contains usual reports of seminars/workshops on the campus and alumni meet/reunions. The issue contains special reports about Crusade India movement and about Report on Outsourcing Exhibition held recently at New York. We have also covered our online discussion groups, including yahoo groups, as we appreciate the service provided by the groups and their moderators.

This time Chronicle is being published on ( From this issue, we have resumed sending the published issue by email to our registered alumni/students/faculty on our database.

We need more news. Please send us news, events, articles, information, etc, at: chronicle [AT] Please indicate your branch/year and college (if other than IT-BHU).

For specific information, contact Yogesh Upadhyaya at:

Or Anshuman Singh at:

Thanking you,
The Chronicle Team

Chronicle to be published on new website
Chronicle Editor @ Nov 12, 2007

As reported in the last issue, starting from this issue, Chronicle shall now be published only on our official website Information about this change is posted on the old website You can view all the current and past issues of chronicle on

We are also pleased to state that from this issue, we shall resume delivering chronicle each month by email to all our registered users.

All alumni/students/faculty are requested to register their names at new website, if they have not registered so far. The new website contains useful information about reunions, travel info, latest news, etc.

ITBHU News:chemical engineering department develops natural colours for sarees
Chronicle Editor @ Nov 11, 2007

Centre tells IT-BHU to give technical help to Bhadohi’s carpet industry
Varanasi |November 19 IST

The carpet industry of Bhadohi district is in for a revamp as the Union government has asked Banaras Hindu University’s Institute of Technology (IT-BHU) to provide the artisans with technical assistance.

The Department of Science and Technology (DST), which had recognised seven Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) clusters in the 11th plan, has identified Bhadohi’s carpet industry as the eighth cluster under its Technology Information Forecasting and Assesment Council (TIFAC) facility.

A detailed survey of the carpet belt will be conducted by Dr P K Mishra and Dr Pradip Srivastava, coordinators of the DST’s Techno Entrepreneur Promotional Programme outreach centre at IT-BHU.

The duo has been given six months to survey the SMEs in the belt, determine their technological and financial requirements and suggest home-grown technology for the trade. The experts told The Indian Express on Monday that they have selected 125 SME units in the carpet belt for the study. These units are involved in weaving and colouring carpets.
As part of the study, the team will also test the quality of underground and surface water for arsenic, cadmium and chromium pollution. This kind of pollution is caused by chemical dyeing and washing of carpets. The report will be sent to the DST for necessary action by the Planning Commission.

“Child labour and low production of eco-friendly carpets are the two prime problems which have marred the export potential of the Bhadohi carpet industry,” said the experts

    Additional Links
  1. India : Naturally dyed Benarasi sarees help conserve environment
  2. About Chemical Engineering department of IT-BHU

Alumni News: Laxmikant Kale (Electronics 1977), professor at department of Computer Science, University of Illimois at Urbana-Champaign
Chronicle Editor @ Nov 11, 2007

CS Colloquium, Laxmikant (Sanjay) Kale of the University of Illinois

Speaker CS Colloquium, Laxmikant (Sanjay) Kale
DateOct 22, 2007
Time4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Location1404 Siebel Center
SponsorDepartment of Computer Science, UIUC
ContactElaine Wilson
Event typeColloquia

The Excitement in Parallel Computing

The almost simultaneous emergence of multicore chips and petascale computers presents multidimensional challenges and opportunities for parallel programming.
Machines with hundreds of Trillions of Floating-point OPerations per Second (TeraFLOPS) exist now, and one of them includes over 130,000 processors. Petascale machines, planned for 2008, will perform at 1000 TFLOPS peak performance; The largest planned machine by NSF will be at UIUC (we won the competition!) by the end of 2010. At the same time, there are already hundreds of supercomputers with over 1,000 processors each. Adding breadth, multicore processors are starting to get into most desktop computers, and this trend is expected to continue.

This era of parallel computing will have a significant impact on the society. Science and engineering will make breakthroughs based on computational modeling, while the broader desktop use has the potential to enhance individual productivity and quality of life for everyone. I will review the current state in parallel computing, and then discuss some of the challenges, and my group's research direction within this field. In particular, I will try to answer questions suchas: What kind of programming models will prevail? What are some of the required and desired characteristics of such model/s? My answers are based in part on my experience with several applications ranging from quantum chemistry, biomolecular simulations, simulation of solid propellant rockets, and computational astronomy.

Professor Laxmikant Kale has been working on various aspects of parallel computing, with a focus on enhancing performance and productivity via adaptive runtime systems, and with the belief that only interdisciplinary research involving multiple CSE and other applications can bring back well-honed abstractions into Computer Science that will have a long-term impact on the state-of-art. His collaborations include the widely used Gordon-Bell award winning (SC'2002) biomolecular simulation program NAMD, and other collaborations on computational cosmology, quantum chemistry, rocket simulation, space-time meshes, and other unstructured mesh applications. He takes pride in his group's success in distributing and supporting software embodying his research ideas, including Charm++, Adaptive MPI and the ParFUM framework.

L. V. Kale received the B.Tech degree in Electronics Engineering from Banares Hindu University, Varanasi, India in 1977, and a M.E. degree in Computer Science from Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, India, in 1979. He received a Ph.D. in computer science in from State University of New York, Stony Brook, in 1985.
He worked as a scientist at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research from 1979 to 1981. He joined the faculty of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as an Assistant Professor in 1985, where he is currently employed as a Professor.

Alumni News: Sad Demise of our alumnus Amit Bajpai (CIVIL 1984)
Chronicle Editor @ Nov 11, 2007

With deep sorrow we announce the death of our alumnus Amit Bajpai (Civil 1984) on November 24th. He died of cardiac arrest. May his soul rest in peace.
We have received the following message from his classmate, Shakeel Ahmad (Civil 1984):
I am forced to share this sad news with you. Amit Bajpai, the jolliest person of my class died of cardiac arrest yesterday, in Mumbai. He had just returned home after playing cricket when he collapsed never to recover again. This news was conveyed to me by another class-mate, Krishnan Hariharan. Please pray for peace to his soul. May it be easy for his family
and friends to bear this loss!

Shakeel Ahmad
Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Chronicle requests all batch-mates, friends and others who wish to offer tributes to Amit, to send email to: Tributes and memoirs will be published in Dec. 2007 issue of the chronicle.

    Tributes by classmates/alumni/friends
  1. I was in constant touch with Amit after passing out from the institute until his untimely demise. I had attended his marriage along with Devaki Nandan Gupta on January 26, 1987 in Allahabad. I used to visit him regularly till he was posted in Bangalore. He would visit me when he had some official work in Delhi. We would roam around without any specific purpose to recall Godowlia, Lanka days. Last time, I talked to him was sometime before Diwali exchanging words for not calling in between. “Amit! The paradox is, you came to meet me twice when I was bedridden, whereas I couldn’t even know you were hiding something more fatal within you. Your smile camouflaged the facts. I will keep praying to God to give strength to your parents, wife and kids to overcome this loss.” K.Hariharan (Civil 1984), New Delhi. Email:
  2. ____________________
  3. Sudhir Rampal phoned me up to give the most shocking news of the untimely demise of our dear Amit. He was one of the most jovial, hassles free and easy to go along with classmates. He would raise the spirits of the class on many an occasion. His smiling face would always be etched in my mind. It`s tragic but a well known fact-Good souls are called back early by the Almighty. May Amit`s soul rest in peace. May God give courage to the family to cope with the tragedy. We are all here united in grief. Ramesh Kumar Jha (Civil 1984)

Faculty News: Prof. Devendra Kumar (Ceramic Engineering) visits Tata Steel
Chronicle Editor @ Nov 11, 2007

(This report was prepared by Rama Krishna, Manager, Tata Steel and forwarded by Sourabh Tripathi, ceramics 2006).

cer_fac.JPGProfessor Devendra Kumar, Head of the Department of Ceramic Engineering was invited to Tata Steel, Jamshedpur by Tata Steel, Refractory division. He initiated industry institute relationship between Tata Steel and Department of Ceramic Engineering, IT-BHU. The Purpose of the visit was to showcase the capabilities of department and take up some collaborative projects.

During his visit on November 14, 2007, Prof Devendra Kumar met alumni of IT-BHU: Mr. Bimalendra Jha, EIC TGS, Mr. Brijender Singh, Head LD2 refractories, Mr. Tushar Agarwal, Manager LD2 refractories, Mr. Rama Krishna Adepu, Manager RTG, Mr.Aman Manager RTG, and other key personals including Mr. Atanu Pal, Head RTG (Refractory Technology Group)

Tata Steel showed interest in taking up collaborative projects of common interest with IT-BHU Ceramic Engineering dept. which shall be funded by Tata steel. These projects will include both under graduate and post graduate students.

Tata Steel’s Refractory Technology Group also showed its interest in developing a central Refractory laboratory facility at IT-BHU.

A short course on steel plant refractory will be designed by Prof Devendra Kumar which will be taught by professionals from Tata Steel and Tata Refractories Ltd.

As a part of his visit, he delivered a talk on advanced ceramics and nano technology & its application in refractories at Center for Excellence, Jamshedpur organized by Tata Steel and Indian ceramic society, Jamshedpur chapter. It was attended by key personals from Tata steel, Tata Refractories Ltd, Tatanagar Refractories Ltd., NML (National Metallurgical Laboratory) and ICS (Indian Ceramic Society) members. In this talk Prof Devendra Kumar provided valuable information on how nano materials improve the performance of refractories.

    Additional Links
    1. Ceramic Engineering Department, IT-BHU
    2. Professor Devendra Kumar's home page
    3. Indian Ceramic Society
    4. Tata Steel
    5. Tata Refractories Ltd.
    6. National Metallurgical Laboratory, Jamshedpur

Faculty News: Prof. N K Mukhopadhyay (Metallurgy) receives MSRI Medal for the year 2008.
Chronicle Editor @ Nov 11, 2007
nk_mukhopadhyay.jpg We are pleased to inform you that the President, MRSI Material Research Society of India) has selected Prof. N K. Mukhopadhyay (Metallurgical Engineering department) to receive the 'MRSI Medal for the year 2008’. The medal will be presented to him during the Annual General Meeting of MRSI to be held at Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala during February 14-16, 2008. The copy of the email received from MSRI office by Prof. Mukhopadhyay is attached here
    Additional Links
  1. MSRI website
  2. Prof. M. K. Mukhopadhyay's home page

BHU News: News about Institute of Medical Sciences
Chronicle Editor @ Nov 11, 2007

Diabetes count: Three crore patients in India now
HT Correspondent
Varanasi, April 13, 2006
First Published: 00:00 IST(13/1/2007)

“THERE ARE nearly 2.5 crore to 3 crore patients of diabetes in India. It usually affects people above the age of 40 years, but even younger persons can be affected (juvenile diabetes). It is more common in males,” said Institute of Medical Sciences- Banaras Hindu University faculty member Dr Madhukar Rai.

He was delivering a lecture on “Complications, Prevention and Treatment of Diabetes” as part of the ongoing “Public Awareness Lecture Series on Health’ at KN Udupa auditorium in BHU on Thursday afternoon. He said that diabetes could be diagnosed by a simple blood sugar test.
“If the after-meals blood sugar is more than 180 mg/dL, than a diagnosis of diabetes is made,” he said, adding that it was important to consult a doctor at the earliest.

“In addition to medicines, which should be taken only on the advice of a doctor, lifestyle modifications are also important. These include regular exercise, avoidance of smoking, alcohol, cholesterol-rich and junk food,” he said. All persons above the age of 40 should undergo a yearly blood sugar test, he added.

Head of Endocrinology Department Prof SK Singh delivered a lecture on complications of diabetes, which included diabetic nephropathy (kidney diseases) and retinopathy (visual disturbances).

He emphasised that regular monitoring of blood sugar level and strict control of blood sugar were the most important preventive measures.

“These patients should also undergo check-ups at regular intervals, so that complications be detected early and treated promptly,” he said.

Dr SK Gupta, Reader in General Surgery Department, spoke about diabetic foot.
“Foot ulcers are very common in diabetic patients. As many as one in seven diabetics develop foot ulcers during their life-time. Foot ulcers can become infected and lead to life-threatening complications,” he said.

“It is one of the most common causes of lower limb amputation. Foot ulcers generally occur due to ignorance and carelessness. All diabetics must inspect their feet daily to look for any cuts or wounds. They should not walk bare foot and should wear comfortable shoes. If any cut or injury occurs, it should be immediately shown to a doctor,” he suggested. BHU finance officer Smita S. Chaudhary inaugurated the programme.

BHU News: News about Institute of Medical Sciences
Chronicle Editor @ Nov 11, 2007

Emergency ward for BHU paediatric department

Varanasi, November 12

Over four decades after it was established, a separate emergency ward was inaugurated at the Paediatric Department of the Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University (IMS-BHU) on Monday.

BHU Vice-Chancellor Panjab Singh inaugurated the 6-bed ward on the first floor of the Paediatric Department at Sir Sunder Lal (SSU) Hospital.

Coming up at a cost of Rs 20 lakh, the ward will provide specialised care to children - up to 15 years of age - needing immediate medical or surgical intervention in cases of sudden spurt in blood pressure, epilepsy, asthma, meningitis and bronchitis, Head of Department Professor O P Mishra said. The new facility will address the 20-25 cases of emergency the hospital handles everyday.

The ward is likely to get at least ten more beds and two more ventilators in the future. It will also have a team of trained resident doctors and nurses attending to patients round-the-clock on beds equipped with a multi-channel monitor facility, pulse oximeter, infusion pump (automatic drug delivery system) and direct oxygen lines, Mishra added.

Mishra, however, said the ward lacked space for quarantine of infectious diseases. It will also not be handling cases of diphtheria, rabies and tetanus. “We will continue to send these cases to the Varanasi district hospital until three more floors are added to the department building, for which a Rs 2.5-crore proposal has been sent to the UGC,” Mishra said.

Besides the emergency ward, the department has also been centrally air-conditioned at a cost of more than Rs 25 lakh, which means the department now offers emergency care, a paediatric ICU and a neo-natal ICU, all fully air-conditioned.

Addressing the inaugural function, Panjab Singh said, “With the start of this unit, we will be able to reduce cases of infant and paediatric mortality.”

Singh added that plans were afoot to create a Medical Endowment Fund at the Hospital, where donations from prominent people, IMS alumni and industrialists will be pooled to provide free treatment and medicines to the poor.

BHU News: Interesting news about BHU
Chronicle Editor @ Nov 11, 2007

Versatile varsity

Friday October 26 2007 15:16 IST

Banaras Hindu University (BHU), one of the forerunners to achieve excellence in science and higher education, received first ranking in the country by the office of the Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government of India for its performance in the field of science.

BHU has achieved the status of an academic and research system, which receives significantly greater resources. At present, the BHU administration is consistently trying to build up an effective management system that creates the ethos of an academic meritocracy, generates sustained financial support with accountability and autonomy, and indulges in truly merit-based hiring and promotion policies for its academic professionals.

Some of the highlights of BHU during the last two and a half years include _administrative and academic reforms, decentralization, autonomy to institutes, human resource development, e-governance, redeployment and rationalization of support staff, research priorities and reforms (the quality of education in the university largely depends on the quality of research being carried out in it. The research priorities have already been identified and R & D projects are being submitted accordingly to different funding agencies. Collaboration with industries, universities from developed countries and other premier institutions are being encouraged.)

BHU excels in academic pursuits. Here are some of the major achievements of BHU, which excels in academic pursuits:

1. The university was ranked first in the country on the basis of publications in cited journals, quality of students produced and fellowships of National Academy of Sciences.

2. BHU ranked seventh among the top 50 Government Engineering Colleges in the country (Outlook, June 11, 2007). Its Faculty of Law was ranked 14, Institute of Medical Sciences ranked 15 among the top 25 law and medicine colleges, respectively (India Today, June 4, 2007).

3. Among three central universities in Uttar Pradesh, BHU is rated at a much higher level (Outlook, Hindi, June 25, 2007).

The Vice Chancellor of BHU also encourages ad-hoc funds. Keeping in view the developmental activities in BHU, the Government of India has raised its planned funding (Rs 14.6 crores for 2004-05, Rs 37.2 crores for 2005-06 and Rs 207.2 crores for 2006-07). The Institute of Medical Sciences, SS Hospital and Institute of Technology have been upgraded to the status of AIIMS and IIT for funding purposes by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Ministry of Human Resource Development.


The Central Library of the university has been attached with the facility of Web of Science, creating a new e-era, for which Rs 6 crores has been sanctioned. Over 8,700 scientific research papers and magazines will be readily available on the net for the benefit of the faculty members and students of the university.


Master and Doctoral Programme in Food Science and Technology worth Rs 30 crores have been agreed in principle by DBT, Government of India.

Faculty of Dental Science created in Institute of Medical Science, BHU.

Science Block in Mahila Mahavidyalaya, Nanoscience Technology Laboratory, Kavery (Girls) Hostel, IT Guest House, NE Railway Reservation Counter and a 33 kv power station constructed in the main campus. Construction of lecture theatre complex of IT and a trauma center started.

Creating a BHU alumni data bank is yet another landmark development.

Internet connectivity has also been provided at the South Campus, Barkachha.

Ministry of Human Resource Development has decided to link Banaras Hindu University with Super Computer at Pune. For the development of infrastructural facility required for this connectivity, a sum of Rs 12 crores has been sanctioned by the Ministry.

Future Developments

A fifty-year future master plan for a full-fledged university campus in the area almost is in its final stages. The aim is to develop a potential hub for education, research and training in the heart of the tribal belt.

A Barkachha Dialogue Document is ready. A “Conservation Centre” for conservation management, training and utilization of natural resources of Vindhyan region is underway.

The process for the development of Institute of Social Sciences, Institute of Law and Institute of Management Studies is on the anvil.

Under the expansion plan of the Faculty of Ayurveda, Institute of Medical Sciences, a new 125-bed hospital will be built very soon. The faculty of Ayurveda, in collaboration with the tourism department, has planned to introduce a unique concept of ‘Medical Tourism’. The Government of Uttar Pradesh has also sanctioned a fund of Rs 3.5 crore for the establishment of an Advanced Centre of Ayurveda, combined with Yoga and Meditation.

A project proposal on ‘Jagjivan Ram Centre for Rural and Tribal Development’ worth Rs 15 crores has been submitted to Ministry of Rural Development.

US-India Educational Partnership

Professor Panjab Singh, Vice Chancellor, visited United States of America on the invitation of United States Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, under “International Visitor Leadership Program”.

This Programme aimed at “Strengthening the US-India Educational Partnership” was intended as a follow-up to the March 2007 visit to India by the Honorable Karen Hughes, Under Secretary of State of Public Diplomacy. The focus of the programme- “Furthering the Indo-US Relationship through Higher Education” is being implemented as a project for India’’


The office of the International Visitors manages and funds the International Visitor Leadership Programme(IVLP). Launched in 1940, the IVLP seeks to build mutual understanding between the US and other nations through carefully-designed professional visits to the US for current and emerging foreign leaders.

Education and Research

From session 2006-07, courses on MBA (Agribusiness), B Pharma (Ayurveda), B Ed, BP Ed, Diploma in Office Management and Business Communication and Tourism Management have been started.

In addition to above mentioned courses, MCA, MSc (Tech) in Environment Science and Technology, BCom, PG Diploma in Insurance and Risk Management, Naturotherapy and Yoga Therapy and Hospital Management have started from 2007-08.

Adhoc projects are being run at their campus. Here’s the proposal for additional infrastructure and academics

A comprehensive proposal for Rs 308 crores for the development of the BHU campus has been submitted to UGC.

A proposal worth Rs 65 crores has been submitted to Ministry of Rural Development for establishing an Institute of Rural Development.

A proposal worth Rs 125.82 crores for establishment of Institute of Biotechnology has been submitted to MHRD.


The institute offers postgraduate courses in General Biotechnology, Plant Biotechnology, Food Biotechnology, Animal Biotechnology and Bio-Informatics. It will also focus on research activities in these areas through its core and adjunct faculties.

A proposal on the establishment of “Jagjivan Ram Center for Rural and Tribal Development”, worth Rs 15 crores, has been submitted to the Ministry of Rural and Tribal Welfare

A proposal worth Rs 11 crores for lifting water from Khajuri dam and Ganges are ready.

The possibility of connecting the Barkachha Farm (South Campus) to Bandh Sagar through a minor is being explored. For further information contact 9415214088.

Varanasi News: Blasts in Varanasi, Lucknow and Faizabad
Chronicle Editor @ Nov 11, 2007

Multiple blasts in Uttar Pradesh several killed

23 Nov 2007, 1822 hrs IST , PTI

blasts.jpgLUCKNOW: Terror struck in Uttar Pradesh on Friday when militants triggered near-simultaneous blasts in court premises in Varanasi, Faizabad and the state capital killing 14 people, some of them lawyers, and injuring over 50 others.

Six bombs -- three in Varansi, two in Faizabad and one in Lucknow -- some planted on cycles, went off within a span of 15 minutes in the crowded court complexes between 1310 hours and 1325 hours.

A near stampede broke out in and around the blast spots with many injured bleeding profusely running for their life while several other wounded lay on the floor crying for help.

Police immediately rushed to the spots and cordoned off the area and helped people in rushing the injured to various hospitals.

Apart from Uttar Pradesh, security was put on high alert in several parts of the country including the Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad.

S B Shirodkar, Senior Superintendent of Police in the temple town of Varanasi, which was the target of a terror strike last year, said nine people were killed and 45 others injured, some of them seriously, when two bombs planted on cylcles went off in quick succession.

He said the injured have been admitted to four hospitals including Benares Hindu University Hospital. He said the explosives, planted on cycles, went off when the court premises was crowded with lawyers and litigants.

Four of the dead in Varanasi were identified as Bodh Raj Verma (advocate), Yagya Narain Singh, Moolchand Singh and a 11-year-old boy Sanjeev Kumar.

National Education News:Over two lakh students appear for CAT
Chronicle Editor @ Nov 11, 2007

Over two lakh students appear for CAT

18 Nov 2007, 1245 hrs IST , PTI

NEW DELHI: Nearly 2.3 lakh students on Sunday sat for the Common Admission Test (CAT) exam in 23 cities across the country for admission into elite B-schools.

About 35,000 students from Delhi region appeared for the test, sources said.

Nearly 1.8 lakh students had appeared for the test last year.

There has been shift in pattern of the test as each question has more options now while the total number of questions for each of the three sections (verbal, data interpretation and quantitative aptitude) has gone down.

The process of reducing the question papers was started in 2004.

The number of questions, which was 90 in 2005, was reduced to 75 in 2006. In 2004, it was 123, while in 2003 there were 150 questions.

The students qualifying the test will be eligible for admission into six IIMs - Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Kolkata, Indore, Kozhikode and Lucknow.

The results of the exam will be out in December. About 1,600 postgraduate diploma in management seats will be on offer in the seven IIMs.

This year, students can expect 120 additional seats at IIM-Bangalore and the newly launched Shillong institute.

National Education News
Chronicle Editor @ Nov 11, 2007

IIT lectures, course material to go online
Students and faculty will be able to access lecture videos and course material by logging on to a search engine

Jeetha D’Silva

Now, even those who didn’t make the cut for admission to the legendary Indian Institutes of Technology can still get an IIT education.

Within the next few months, the seven institutes and the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore plan to stream lectures and course material online, as part of a Rs110 crore government project to help lift generally poor standards at an estimated 1,500 engineering colleges across India.

The development represents an innovative way to address several issues plaguing higher education. The private sector has long complained that engineering graduates arrive ill-equipped to work and need much more training and exposure. Meanwhile, academia finds itself in the midst of a crippling faculty shortage.

“The project is aimed at providing a standard for academic content for both faculty and students across India,” says Mangala Sunder Krishnan, principal coordinator of the project at IIT Madras. “A large number of private institutions have entered the field of engineering education with inadequate faculty support and training.”

Education for all: Students at the computer lab in IIT Bombay.

Students and faculty will be able to access lecture videos and course material by logging on to a search engine.

“We are in advanced stages of discussions with a few service providers to provide our course content on a non-exclusive basis,” says Kannan Moudgalya, head of IIT Bombay’s distance engineering education programme.

This initiative stems from the National Programme for Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL), a project that was initially conceptualized by the faculty at IIT Madras and has been under development since 2003.

“The days of gurukulam are now being redesigned,” says M.S. Ananth, IIT Madras’ director and national programme coordinator of NPTEL. He refers to the shift in how knowledge can increasingly reach Indians instead of a privileged few.

A gurukulam is a sort of residential school popular in ancient India.

While some course material is already available on the NPTEL site, an alliance with service providers—Google has been mentioned—would make both text and videos available at one location.

Google India said it could not comment specifically on a venture with IIT. “Google is very committed to making our products as locally relevant and useful as possible, but we have nothing specific to share at this time,” a company spokesperson said in an email.

Many of the courses that will go online, especially core science and engineering curricula, are similar across IITs and, to a lesser extent, other institutions in the country.

The ministry of human resource development, which oversees education, has already invested Rs20.5 crore in the completed phase I of the project. For that, the institutions developed 240 courses in five streams of engineering—civil, computer science, electronics and communication, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering.

Interview with Prof. R Balasubramaniam
Chronicle Editor @ Nov 11, 2007
Prof_r_bala.jpgProfessor Ramamurthy Balasubramaniam (Bala for short) is an IT-BHU alumnus (Metallurgy 1984). In 1990 he obtained the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Materials Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He is a Professor in the Department of Materials and Metallurgical Engineering (MME) at IIT Kanpur, where he has served since 1990. He has followed the footpath of Prof. T R Anantharaman to examine the famous Iron Pillar in New Delhi for its hidden mysteries, and other original research pursuits.

Apart from receiving the University Gold Medal for academic performance and Ghandhy Gold Medal from Metallurgy Department of IT-BHU for overall all-round performance, he has received many awards, including the Young Scientist Award in 1993 from the Indian National Science Academy (INSA), Alexander von Humbodt Fellowship from German Government (1996), MRSI Medal from the Materials Research Society of India (1999) and Metallurgist of the Year from the Indian Institute of Metals (1999). He is a well published author with more than 230 referred papers in journals.

He is also author of nine books. He is on the editorial boards of several reputed international journals. His work on the famous Delhi Iron Pillar has earned him national and international repute.

He is the Convener of METALLO 2007 (International Conference on Metals and Alloys), which is being organized at IIT Kanpur between 07 and 10 December 2007 in honor of Professor Anantharaman’s eightieth birthday.

For Chronicle, Yogesh K. Upadhyaya talks with Prof. Balasubramaniam to learn more about his career and about METALLO 2007.

For bio-data of Prof.Balasubramaniam, please click here

This interview of about 3,000 words is condensed from the original full-length interview of 5,000 words to match chronicle format. The original interview contains much more interesting details about Bala’s days at IT-BHU and other subjects, etc. To view the original interview, please click here

Q-1: Prof. Bala, please tell us about yourself.

I am from Salem in Tamil Nadu. I was born and brought up there. I did my schooling in Salem till my 11th standard (1978). I was part of the Salem District School Cricket Team that won the P.R. Thevar Inter-District School Tournament in Tamil Nadu for that year. After my schooling at Salem, I went to Madras (now called Chennai) to complete my PUC (Pre University Certificate in 1979) from Agarchand Manmull Jain College at Meenambakkam in Madras. Then I gave JEE exam and got through with All India Rank of 1542. I am ever thankful for this turn of events and would not have wished it otherwise.

When I went for counseling to IIT Madras, the only entry that I made was “VMT” which stood for “Varanasi Metallurgy.” I choose Metallurgy at Varanasi as my only choice during JEE Counseling because it was clear that I will get something in BHU for sure. (I remember it was Professor K.A. Padmanabhan who had come to IIT Madras for counseling purpose from BHU, who also happed to be from the Metallurgy Department of IT-BHU, and later a good guide and friend, and also Director at IIT Kanpur.) My father accompanied me when we first set foot in BHU early morning on an August in 1979 after an arduous two day train journey from Madras.

In my final year of study at IT-BHU, I applied to different universities. Although I was offered admission with partial assistance from University of California at Berkeley and full scholarships from other universities, there were some last minute hitches and I decided on RPI.

I took up the offer of Professor Duquette to do work on corrosion and I am happy that I decided to do corrosion. I quite enjoy this subject and it is also very important for industry.

After my PhD, I did not want to take up a job there in the US and I applied to BHU but they could only offer me a Research Associate position, which was not a teaching position. On the advice of Prof Suryanarayana, who was visiting the US that time, I decided not to come back with a research position. Then IIT Madras and IIT Kanpur offered me faculty positions. IIT Kanpur had the fire and zing when I first stepped in and I immediately decided that this was the place to be. And I have been here ever since July 1990.

Q-2: Please tell us about your working as faculty member at IIT-Kanpur.

IIT Kanpur is really special to me and it is a very important place that I owe my appreciation. Remember that whatever research and development that I have done for the past 17 years, practically my entire original research work, we supported and aided by IIT Kanpur. The academic environment here is dynamic and the people, both faculty and staff, great! They let you do what you want, interfere the least and are happy to note that you are doing well. Plus, the teaching here in IIT Kanpur is really great and it is a pleasure to face the IIT Kanpur students both in class and outside. They really charge you up with their ideas and easily, they are a great source of inspiration.

Most of my colleagues here in IIT Kanpur are also very good at what they do and IIT Kanpur is the unrecognized gem of India, when it even comes to research. For teaching, of course, there is no one to even come near to us as you can see the number of text books authored by IIT Kanpur faculty far outweighs the number from any teaching institution in India. However, what is not known is the research out put from IIT Kanpur has been very significant and it has been path breaking in several manners. We do not get the light on us like a few other places, but still if one looks at the situation from outside (especially I have heard people from Europe, Japan and US comment), IIT Kanpur easily leads the pack in innovation, originality and impact of research. Remember that we are not that heavily funded like few other institutions in India and we manage to work with what ever we have. I remember one of the research heads of General Motors visiting my lab and after seeing the pathetic condition it was in (at that time, but since improving thanks to the generous consideration of IIT Kanpur’s Dean of Research and Development Professor Srivastava – ITBHU Alumnus from EE-, Deputy Director Professor Kripa Shankar – ITBHU Alumnus from ME- and, most notably, the Director Professor Sanjay Dhande, a great workhorse himself) commenting that “Bala, looks like here is a laboratory where ideas are working rather than equipment.”

Q-3: Please tell us about the material composition of Iron Pillar at New Delhi and why it is still standing without any deteoration.

I have talked at great length about this in several other places and also the entire scientific information is available in published literature. In short, the relatively high phosphorus content in the Iron Pillar helps in the formation of a protective passive film on the surface which provides the Pillar its exceptional atmospheric corrosion resistance. You can visit my homepage for a list of papers related to Iron Pillar (

Q-4: Please explain the phenomenon of corrosion and its control to our readers.

Well, you want me to tell something that I have been teaching over the last 17 years at IIT Kanpur. I will try to make it as short as possible. Corrosion is simply the degradation (either partial or complete) of an engineering material due to electrochemical reaction with the environment. The main reason that corrosion is important is because of the huge amount of losses that the industry has to entail due to corrosion. Therefore, there is great need to control (or better still, prevent) corrosion. Large sums of money are spent in combating corrosion and that is what makes the subject very important from an industrial perspective.

There are several ways in which corrosion can be controlled and prevented. These include materials selection, modification of the environment, by electrical protection methods, protective coatings and by proper design considerations. There are so many intricacies involved in the subject that it would be difficult for me to spell out all the specifics. However, the comment that I want to make is that corrosion is an important subject and by proper use of knowledge, one can save a huge amount of money that generally is lost due to corrosion.

Q-5: What is the status of study of metallurgical engineering in Indian colleges/universities?

It is pretty bad. There are no takers for metallurgical engineering or materials engineering in India nowadays. It is quite obvious going by the number of colleges in India who offer this as a discipline. While I do not know the exact causes for such decay, it is clear that there are more opportunities for engineers doing other subjects. If India is to grow economically, it has to produce good engineering materials, and for this we need a good workforce. There is therefore a need to train more materials engineers. However I do not see that happening and maybe the people from other disciplines are filling up the traditional role covered by the metallurgical and materials engineers. I can already see that happening in nanotechnology, where people from different disciplines have put their hands in “the pie.”

There is need for metallurgical engineers and materials engineers to regain their sphere of influence. The push for the same must come from Industry. However, the Indian industry is (rightly, maybe) focused on producing more and without having to reinvent the wheel. It is obvious that there appears to be no need for metallurgical and materials engineers in the Indian economy in this scenario. I do not see much hope for the future because there are no concerted efforts to promote learning in materials engineering related disciplines. There are very few new institutes that offer materials engineering as one of the disciplines. Materials engineering does not figure anywhere in the list of priority disciplines. Therefore, unless we wake up, we are going to face a serious shortage of good materials-engineers in the future and the idea of a developed India by 2020 may be a mirage more than a reality. Without engineering materials, you just cannot have a developed country. Simple as that!

Q-6: Metallo-2007 International Conference on Metals and Alloys is being organized this year at IIT-Kanpur. Please explain our readers about this seminar and the preparations behind it.

The conference has been conceived as a forum to honor Professor Anantharaman, who will be completing 80 years on 25 of November 2007. As I mentioned earlier, he was the visionary who gave direction to the Metallurgy Department at BHU (which incidentally was the first in India, begun in 1923 as a college of Mining and Metallurgy by Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviyaji, to regain India’s rightful place as a leader in metallurgy, as it has always been in the past). He is an inspiring teacher and has guided several people (both in India and abroad) who are now leading stalwarts in the discipline. If I have to list the achievements of Prof. Anantharaman, I will need another interview altogether. We have complied an interesting publication (book) on Professor Anantharaman and if anybody is interested in obtaining a copy (Professor T.R. Anantharaman: An Inspiring and Dedicated Educator), please send an email to me ( and I will see how best I can get it across to you. The same information is also hosted on the METALLO 2007 conference website (

The response to the conference has been good. We have now a good program of good speakers and very good contributed papers that will be presented in the conference. We hope to have three days of intense academic discussion and debate during the conference. We invite all people to try and make it to the event. Even if one cannot be there in person, at least to visit the website as we shall be constantly uploading the PDF of all the talks presented at METALLO 2007 at the website and hopefully have photographs of the events as they unfold.

Q-7: Please tell us about your days at IT-BHU and at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Just to remind readers that for people like me coming from a relatively faraway place like Salem in Tamil Nadu, reaching BHU and getting back home was a great adventure. We really enjoyed the trips to and from BHU because there used to generally be a crowd of students and the trips were memorable as we used to play music and sing songs on the way to pass time. In the same manner, I want the readers to also note that it was very difficult especially when BHU closed sine-die. I had seen 4 sine-dies during my five year stay at BHU and it was quite another adventure to clear out of the campus within 24 hours and catch the train back home, without reservations or money sometimes.

I was quite happy to do metallurgy at BHU because I liked the idea of working with metals and the excitement involved in such a study. At the end of the first year at IT-BHU, I again had an opportunity to change my branch as I had high scores in the first year, but I decided to stick to metallurgy. I think I am happy that I decided to remain a metallurgist.

I had a very eventful five years at BHU. I took part in several activities – music and sports, mainly. I was quite popular in BHU as a whole as a drummer and I remember having performed all over the campus and also in the city several times. We had a faculty in our Department who used to play very good music (Professor N. Prasad) and it was a great experience playing music with all the people in BHU. We had a western music group which had Paul Anthony Mohan Sundaram (now Professor at University of Peurto Rico in San Juan) as the lead singer (Paul, what a voice!), Sriram as the rhythm guitarist (who I heard is now in Chicago), Arun Mani on the bass (now in Madras and who needs all over love and support because of the personal difficulties he is going through now), me on the drums (all from the same year and batch of Metallurgy 1984). We had many music shows and we really enjoyed playing in several festivals around India. I clearly remember playing to a packed audience at IIT Kanpur Culfest (that was the name of the cultural festival at IIT Kanpur during those days and now it has been changed to Antaragni) in 1979-80 session and at IIT Madras during their festive Mardi Gras in a later year.

I also was very active in ITCA (Institute of Technology Cultural Association) and served as Music Secretary under Murali Mohan. Later in my final year, I was the General Secretary of Kashi Yatra held in 1984. We had a fairly good show and a large number of teams took part in it. It was tough organizing the event as I had practically no ways to rope in the money required and it was all the hard work of our entire team (in fact the entire student body at that time) that we raised a good amount of money to run the show. It was then that I decided that management was not my cup of tea and it was academics that I loved doing the most and that is what I will do all my life. No management – no controlling – no bossing around – no hassles!

Coming back to music, I started playing the guitar during my stay in BHU (my first guitar chords C-F-G7 was taught by Pintu – Kankan Bhattacharya) and continued it seriously during my PhD days at RPI. I remember being one of the three winners of the Student Talent Competition at RPI for two years for playing my classical guitar. I was active in music even at RPI and we even had a Indian music group (called RPI Melodies) that traveled to other universities to give full length concerts. We had a large gang and in fact a wide range of orchestral instruments.

Q-8: Please tell us about your personal life.

I am married to Gaitri Saini, a PhD in particle physics from IIT Kanpur. She has devoted her time to look after the house and to bring up our two children, Gowri (13 years and in class IX studying in Kendriya Vidyalaya of IIT Kanpur) and Gargi (8 years and in class IV studying in Campus School in IIT Kanpur).

My mother is staying now in Salem. I have two brothers, both younger to me. The first one is in a senior position with Satyam Computers in Hyderabad and the second is a Professor (and Associate Dean) at a famous and reputed US university. Both are very good at their work and are famous in their fields for their major achievements.

Q-9: Thank you very much, Sir. It was nice talking to you.

You may contact Prof. R. Balasubramaniam at:

Exhibition in New York for Outsourcing World
Chronicle Editor @ Nov 11, 2007

Live from the trenches: Marketing report from a recent trade show.

(About the author – Saurabh Chandra is the Co-Founder/CEO of Neev Information Technologies Pvt Ltd, a software services company focused on cutting edge web applications development. He graduated as a mechanical engineer from IT-BHU in 2001. Saurabh also writes a blog on bootstrapping. He can be contacted at


Saurabh Chandra: Our Booth

As a young software company we are learning marketing on the job. Recently, we learnt that trade shows are an important place to meet prospects and get business. Friends told us of anecdotes of how they landed a customer at CeBIT (one of the largest IT trade show) and marketing experts told us that attendees at events are increasing every year.
Many people do want to meet vendors face to face even in this virtual age.

The way we chose our event is not a model to repeat! We simply decided we wanted to participate in New York. There is only one respectable convention center in NY which is the Javits Center. So from the Javits Center website we ran through the list of shows and picked outsource world because it sounded like the right trade show for us.

The show was not what we expected (a place where buyers will come to evaluate multiple vendors in one place). It was poorly advertized and had low turnout from actual clients. Most of the visitors were people trying to sell us services (like lawyers, marketing consultants) or service providers gauging the market. However, I will not write off the event in three lines. Most of what made the show useful was what we did not expect.


China Pavilion

First thing you realize after coming here is how global the competition is. There were companies from China, Latin America and Eastern Europe apart from the ones from India. It really opens your eyes and resets your benchmarks. Secondly, it was a good networking opportunity with fellow exhibitors and a chance to exchange notes.
One thing we learnt is that it is better to attend events focused on an industry such as: an HR event, Mobile technology event etc.

Finally, they say a visit to the show is successful if you end up with even one additional client. Luckily, we did. One of the local service providers wants to tie up with us for offshore development. Not the business we went looking for, but we are not complaining.

IIEST Update: BESU, CUSAT rejects setting up of IIESTs using NIT Act
Chronicle Editor @ Nov 11, 2007


The Bengal Engineering and Science University (Besu) is approaching the end of its 150th anniversary but the mood on the campus is downbeat over the delay in its proposed upgrade.
The closure ceremony of the year-long celebration, scheduled for November 23, has been deferred till December 21. “We are in no mood to celebrate. We were expecting a declaration from the Centre on the proposed upgrade that would befit this 150-year-old institution,” said N.R. Bandopadhyaya, a senior teacher of the institute.
The upgrade is now tied in a legal knot. The Centre has principally agreed to upgrade Besu to an Indian Institute of Engineering, Science and Technology (IIEST), but the state’s demand that half the seats be reserved for students from Bengal seems to have prompted it into bringing the Shibpur campus within the ambit of an amended NIT Act.
The Centre wants to include four other institutes within the act, which allows for 50 per cent reservation for students from the respective states.
But teachers at Besu, backed by the state higher education department, do not want to be clubbed with the NITs, which are primarily undergraduate technical institutes. They want a separate central act for the upgrade.
“The Centre-appointed Anandakrishnan Committee, which had recommended the upgrade of Besu to an IIEST, has suggested a separate act of Parliament for institutes like ours that will focus on postgraduate education and research,” said Bandopadhyay.
State higher education minister Sudarshan Ray Choudhuri on November 6 had shot off a letter to Union human resources minister Arjun Singh, asking for a separate act for the IIESTs. Ray Choudhuri said Kerala education minister M.A. Baby, too, had written to the Centre, asking for a separate act for the Cochin University of Science and Technology that is up for upgrade.
At Besu, the sesquicentenary celebrations will come to an end on December 21. C.N.R. Rao, the scientific adviser to the Prime Minister, will be conferred with an honorary D.Sc degree by the university.

IIEST Update:IIT extension centers allowed
Chronicle Editor @ Nov 11, 2007

Ministry not for satellite IIT campuses

Special Correspondent

Not opposed to small extension of existing IITs
Ministry makes reference to requests from Kerala and Gujarat

NEW DELHI: The Human Resource Development Ministry is not in favour of setting up satellite campuses of any of the seven Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) as this would be tantamount to setting up full-fledged institutes.
The government’s contention is that the establishment of such campuses with regular Bachelor and Master programmes amounts to setting up new IITs, and should, therefore, be avoided.
However, it is not opposed to the setting up of small extension centres of existing Indian Institutes of Technology outside their main campuses devoted to continuing education, diploma courses, finishing schools and incubation programmes.
This information was provided to the Rajya Sabha on Monday by the Ministry in response to a question by N.P. Durga (All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) on whether the government was planning to set up extension centres of the existing IITs outside their main campuses.
The Ministry made a reference to requests from the governments of Kerala and Gujarat to set up satellite campuses of IIT (Madras) and IIT (Bombay) respectively in their States.

Student's Corner: Leading online IT-BHU groups for discussion
Chronicle Editor @ Nov 11, 2007


We shall discuss here some of the leading discussion groups related to IT-BHU community. People can learn a lot by joining these groups. They can know more about news and activities related to our college; about students, alumni and faculty; and develop contacts with other members for enhancement of their careers.

The oldest and biggest of the groups is IT-BHU Yahoo group. The group was started about 9 years ago, when the internet concept was just started. Then there is BHU_USA Yahoo group to cater to specific demand of overseas alumni. A volunteer group was started last year to bring all volunteers under one group to exchange the ideas about volunteering.

Recently, an IT-BHU group is established in LinkedIn.

  1. yahoo_group.jpgThe group was founded in September 1998. There are over 1,500 members in the group. The group discusses any
    subject related to IT-BHU and its community. This is the largest and common group for discussion about our college and its activities. The group is a closed one. On an average, about 40-50 messages are posted each month.

    The group moderators are:

    • Pradeep Sanyal (Electrical 1995)
    • Saurabh Gaur (Mechanical 2001)
    • Kumar Gangwani (Mechanical 1995)
    • Kumar Gangwani (Mechanical 1995)
    • Sandeep Gupta (Chemical 2002)
    • Alok Chauhan (Ceramic 2002)
    • Sanjeev Kumar Roy (Electrical 1987)

    Anyone related to IT-BHU (students/alumni/faculty/administration) can join this group. To join the group, please send your request to:

    According to Pradeep Sanyal,

    “The group was started in Sept 1998. Along the way some more people have kindly volunteered to moderate the list. Getting people to join the list was a challenge in the early days - people didn't have emails and many did not know what an e-group was!”

  2. yahoo_group.jpgThe group was founded in October 2002. There are over 300 members in the group. The group discusses any subject related to IT-BHU and its community.
    The group members are mostly from USA or those who are visiting USA temporarily (for study, job assignment, etc.). The group is a closed one. On an average, about 10 messages are posted each month.The group moderators are:
    • Vaibhav Gupta (Mechanical 2002). Email:
    • Gopi Krishna (Civil 2002)
    • Sharad Oberoi (Civil 2005)

    According to Vaibhav Gupta

    “BHU_USA is a moderated group and there is no membership criterion except that the person has to be associated with IT-BHU in some direct capacity such as a student or faculty etc. We do ask that those whoever wants to join this group send us an email and give some information such as branch and year of graduation, and roll number if possible. This is purely to make sure that we approve genuine people only. In general, BHU_USA is a fairly low volume list intended to facilitate professional and social networking within ITBHU community in the US.”

  3. ITBHU Volunteers Group
    The group was founded in 2006. It has most of the people volunteering for alumni activities on it. The senior most person is from the 1963 batch while the youngest is from 2007. The group discusses about volunteer services related to IT BHU and its community. On average, about 5 messages are posted each month. Anyone (student / alumni / faculty) interested in volunteering can join this group.

    The alumni volunteers are a group of self driven and highly motivated people working together to ensure that the IT BHU community can come together and work for the benefit of the Institute and the community. If the existing volunteers come across any alumni who has been involved in any activity related to the IT BHU community, they just go ahead and invite them to join this common forum for the volunteers. Many people have joined directly by volunteering their services via the online form

    They can also do so by sending a mail directly to the moderator.

    The Group Moderator is: Anshuman Singh (Electrical1998)

  4. ITBHU group on Linked In Recently, Annamalai Lakshmanan (Metallurgy 1996) has taken the lead to establish an IT-BHU group in LinkedIn. The group was established in September 2007.
    It was covered in chronicleTo join the group, click on:

    There are around 900+ people on LinkedIn from IT BHU and around 300 have joined IT-BHU group. It would be an interesting exercise to get all them into the IT-BHU Alumni Group on LinkedIn.

    Annamalai can be contacted at:

Internet Search for Alumni/Friends in US
Chronicle Editor @ Nov 11, 2007

Following are some of the popular web search engines which can help you locate your friends, relatives or batch-mates. Some of the sites may ask for a small fee to search address or phone number, which should be avoided. The sites also call themselves as Yellow Directory (for business search), White Directory (for person search) or Digital Directory. With just the name of the person and state, you can find his complete address and phone number

  1. Switchboard
  2. Anywho
    This site is a good site and it is owned by AT & T.
  3. 411
    The 411 refers to the directory assistance number. The site is among the best sites for personal search.

Student's Corner: Listening to music on internet
Chronicle Editor @ Nov 11, 2007
music_india_online.jpgThe site has hundreds of filmi and non-filmi songs, and in different regional languages. To listen to Hindi songs, click under regional songs, and then pick Hindi. The songs can be played on RealPlayer or Windows Media Player. You can search for song by the film, music director, singer, actor, etc.
EBC_radio.jpgEBC Radio is based in Central New Jersey and broadcast Indian songs on 1170 AM. The station provides Hindi and regional songs, live discussions, news about local events, etc. It is the most popular radio for South Asians on East Coast of USA, and some of its DJs have become celebrity. The station also provides the same program online in various countries between 6 AM to 9 PM, EST, seven days a week.
Raaga.jpgThis site also provides music in different languages. The songs can be filmi, classical or devotional and can be sorted according to title, film, singer, music director, etc.
YoutubeNeedless to say, the site contains thousands of Bollywood songs, both old and recent ones. You can search a song by singer, music director, song title, movie, actors, etc. You can also watch videos of some of the rare old hit songs.

Alumni News: Alumni Meet
Chronicle Editor @ Nov 11, 2007

A Mid-west chapter for IT-BHU alumni association at Chicago, USA is formed by Naresh Jain (Electrical 1974) and others. The chapter was formed in October 2007. It is officially called 'Midwest BHU Alumni CHAPTER Chicago'. It covers Chicago and nearby area (states of Illinois, Indianapolis, Wisconsin, Minnesota, etc.)
Within a span of one month, the chapter has over 70 members, with batches ranging from 1963 to 2007. The chapter includes members from the nearby area and also graduates from other faculties of Banaras Hindu University.

If you live in the Midwest area and plan to join the group, send your email request at:
The website of the group is:
The office bearers of the group are:
Naresh Jain (Electrical 1974); Email:
Lakhwinder Singh (Civil 2006); Email:
Ravi Sinha (Cearamic 2007); Email:
The Midwest chapter arranged its first get-together at Ashyana Restaurant in Woodbridge, Chicago on Nov. 11, 2007 morning. There were about25 people gather for the meeting. Below please find the photo of the meet. Naresh Jain is standing in right corner.

Reader's Feedback
Chronicle Editor @ Nov 11, 2007

Chronicle Note: Please send your feedback to or

This is such a wonderful piece of work that you and your team are executing. I thank and congratulate you for this awesome job.


Alok Gupta (Chemical 1997)


Dated: Nov. 14, 2007

Thank you, it gives very interesting news and articles.

Vijaya Keshari (PhD Chemistry 1983, Science Faculty)


Dated: Nov. 15, 2007

List of world’s top 200 universities announced
Chronicle Editor @ Nov 10, 2007

India falls off the league table of top universities
Hasan Suroor

LONDON: For the first time, no Indian university figures in Britain’s most authoritative league table of the world’s top 200 universities while China is in with six universities revealing a wide gap in higher educational standards between the two competing Asian giants.

Other Asian countries with world-class universities are Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea.

The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), which figured regularly in all the previous rankings, since The Times Higher – Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings which began three years ago, have fallen off the map this year partly because of a change in evaluation norms.

For this year’s survey, individual IITs were assessed, and not the “IIT system as a whole.” And none of the seven IITs was considered good enough to find a place among the top-ranking world universities.


By way of consolation, however, IIT Delhi and IIT Mumbai find mention among the world’s top 50 technology institutions, with the former at 37 and latter at 33 — both way behind China’s Tsinghua University, placed at 16.

The six Chinese universities included among the world’s Top 200 are Peking University, Tsinghua University (also listed among the 50 best technology institutions), Fudan University, Nanjing University, the University of Science and Technology of China and Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

The survey, which covers 28 countries, confirms the English-speaking world’s dominance in higher education with America and Britain leading the pack. Harvard University tops the league table followed by Cambridge and Oxford at second and third positions respectively. The top 10 universities are all either in U.S. or Britain.

    Additional Links

Interview with R N Dravid of Kanoria Chemicals & Industries
Chronicle Editor @ Nov 10, 2007

'There is a trick to retaining people'

10 Nov, 2007, 0407 hrs IST,Urmi Goswami, TNN

Excerpts from the interview:

The talent crunch is affecting almost every industry. Recruiting and retaining talent is particularly difficult for industries such as heavy chemicals, which may not be the most attractive businesses. But companies like Kanoria Chemicals are trying different ways to ensure that they remain in the reckoning for young graduates. R N Dravid, president HR, Kanoria Chemicals & Industries discusses the talent issue.

Do you find the best student in a graduating engineering class specialising in area of chemical, which is your area of interest? If not why?

As a rule, the best student in a graduating class has specialised in computer science or electrical engineering & instrumentation. Chemicals is perhaps number three in the order of preference. As it happens, mechanical and civil specialisation are even further down on the list.

When it comes to jobs, you need to understand that in the heavy chemicals industry, the young graduates will be serving in plants located in remote areas. Add to that they start off at an average salary of Rs 15,000-20,000 a month. Both these factors push chemical engineering down the preference list.

Having said that, it would be wrong to say that the best are not interested or that we don’t see exceptional graduates.

Your company is an old player. Do you find it difficult to hire from the best institutions?

Remember I said chemical engineering is not the first choice but for those who have opted for it, our company is a good option. We have the reputation of being an ethical company, which also has a history. We normally hire graduates from IIT Roorkee, Institute of Technology Benaras Hindu University, IIT Kanpur and HBTI Kanpur. We have a hit rate of 50% on our offers. At IIT Roorkee, we are placed at fourth or fifth slot.

What are the future areas of opportunity in the chemicals industry?

The growth areas are fine and specialty chemicals, basically in life sciences segment. That is where most of the chemical engineers want to go. Heavy chemicals, which is largely our area of interest, is again not the first draw. But things are changing. With the paper and aluminium industries experiencing growth, demand for heavy chemicals is also on the rise.

    Additional Links

Worldwide shortage of petroleum engineers
Chronicle Editor @ Nov 10, 2007,8599,1686084,00.html
New Oil Crisis: An Engineer Shortage

Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2007 By DAVID VON DREHLE


An employee works at the Yanlian Oil Refinery, China.

Andrew Wong / Getty

You've heard the reasons for high oil prices: instability in the Middle East, booming demand in China and India, the sagging dollar. Now add another one to the list: Engineers.

The world doesn't have enough of them. From Alberta to Azerbaijan, the fervent hunt for new reserves of oil and natural gas is running up against a shortage of experienced oil patch professionals. "We anticipate a 10 to 15% shortfall" in the number of veteran engineers and project managers needed to lead the search for new energy supplies, says Candida Scott, director of cost research at Cambridge Energy Research Associates.

This comes as no surprise to people inside the industry. Membership in the Society of Petroleum Engineers has been graying for most of the past decade. Two-thirds of the membership is over 40. More than half of all oil-field professionals will reach retirement age during the next decade, according to CERA's calculations. Meanwhile, the low oil prices of the 1990s turned many petroleum engineering schools into near ghost towns.

With prices at near record highs, projects to extract hard-to-reach oil and gas are suddenly viable. But only if there are engineers and scientists to design the deep-water platforms, conduct the advanced seismology, route the new pipelines and so on. Complex projects take longer to build and put a premium on experience — at precisely the time that veteran managers and engineers are passing from the ranks.

American companies are responding to the shortage by opening design shops in Southeast Asia, where engineering graduates are more plentiful (though often inexperienced). Still, according to CERA's calculations, the supply of oil-and-gas professionals is stretched to the limit and can't keep pace with the long list of ambitious new projects planned for the next five years.

The brainpower shortage means these projects will cost more and take longer to complete, thus contributing to the high price of energy — great news if you happen to be an aspiring engineer. By graduation day last spring at the Colorado School of Mines, every student completing a petroleum engineering degree had already found a job — and most had their pick of competing offers. Starting salaries for undergraduate degree-holders range from $70,000 to $85,000, according to several sources, while engineers with graduate degrees command six figures. The average salary and benefits package for experienced oil professionals in the U.S. is over $160,000, a survey of SPE members recently found. Last year alone, average salaries rose more than 8%.

"Starting salaries for recent petroleum engineering graduates are the highest of any engineering profession," says Mark Rubin, executive director of the SPE, which has programs to encourage students as young as grade school to set their sights on the energy business. "In addition to the high pay," Rubin continued, "the work is exciting and high-tech — the oil and gas industry uses more computing power and data than any other industry except the military. An engineer sitting in a control room in Houston can steer a drill bit from a platform off the coast of Africa into an area the size of an average bedroom."

The University of Wyoming, which shut down its undergraduate program in petroleum engineering in 1997 due to lack of interest, revived the program last year. And colleges are clamoring for teaching staff: the Colorado School of Mines website, for example, is advertising for petroleum engineering professors at every level, from first-year assistants to candidates for endowed chairs.

But a shortage years in the making will not be cured overnight. Scott estimates that a young engineer needs eight years of experience to prepare for a lead role on a major project — even more to master deep-sea drilling. New mentoring programs are being developed to try to speed up the seasoning process, but that won't solve a problem that is right here, right now. Says Scott, "A problem the industry has known about for years is coming home to roost."

Surface of the matter: Surface Chemistry
Chronicle Editor @ Nov 10, 2007
Surface of the matter
Excerpts from the article:

This year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry goes to the German scientist Gerhard Ertl for his work on surface chemistry.

“YOU should never give up. You should always try to solve the problem as far as possible. And you must be patient. You must be patient. That’s very important.” Indeed, it is this intense focus on a given problem and his dedication, perseverance and, above all, patience that brought this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry to the German chemist Gerhard Ertl. An Emeritus Professor at the Fritz-Haber Institute of Berlin’s Max-Planck Society for the Advancement of Science and its former director, Ertl won the award for his path-breaking and thorough investigations in surface chemistry that have enabled a detailed description of chemical reactions on solid surfaces. The award came as a birthday gift to Ertl on October 10 when he turned 71.

Surface chemistry, as the term implies, is essentially chemistry in two dimensions. Unlike the chemical reactions in bulk, with substances in test tubes, beakers and glass jars that one normally associates a chemistry laboratory with, surface chemistry has to do with the chemical processes that occur in the few atomic layers that constitute the interface between two phases, such as solid-liquid, solid-gas, solid-vacuum and liquid-gas interfaces. And two dimensions are better suited to probing reactions in greater detail at the atomic level than those in three-dimensional solutions because they are confined to the surface, but it is neither straightforward nor cheap to study how atoms and molecules react on solid surfaces. It involves painstaking and high-precision work, with advanced equipment such as high-vacuum systems, electron microscopes and spectroscopes, and clean rooms. And Ertl put these to innovative use in the past three decades and more. His work has chiefly been concerned with gas-solid interfaces. As Mark Peplow, the editor of Chemistry World, said, “he gave us the tools to understand why [oxygen] atoms do not bounce off [iron surfaces] but rather stick to them and turn into iron oxide”.

The science of surface chemistry has important industrial applications, such as in the manufacture of artificial fertilizers, and the science is also key to understanding such diverse phenomena as the rusting of iron; the working of catalytic converters, which make automobile exhaust less polluting; the functioning of fuel cells; and the depletion of atmospheric ozone, which is owing to reactions on the surface of minute ice crystals in clouds.

In fact, the next long-standing problem that Ertl studied was the molecular mechanism in the catalytic reaction in the Haber-Bosch process, which captures nitrogen from air and is a basic step in the industrial production of nitrogenous fertilizers. The only natural processes that are known to bind or “fix” nitrogen in the soil in a form that can be taken up by plants – an important ingredient for crop productivity – include the work of certain bacteria at the roots of leguminous plants and atmospheric electricity such as lightning strikes. For the invention of the Haber-Bosch process, Fritz Haber – after whom, incidentally, the institute where Ertl works has been named – won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1918.

In the Haber-Bosch process, nitrogen reacts with hydrogen to form ammonia (N{-2} + 3H{-2} <—> 2NH{-3}) at high pressure in the presence of a catalyst. The commonly used catalyst is finely dispersed iron particles with added potassium hydroxide on a substrate of alumina and silica. Nitrogen and hydrogen attach themselves to the surface of the iron grains, which enables the nitrogen-hydrogen bonding to take place more easily. Ertl’s work provided a detailed description of how the process works. When he took up the problem in the mid-1970s, it had already received the attention of numerous investigators given its enormous economic importance, but the underlying mechanism remained unclear. These investigations, which mainly looked at the problem from the perspective of kinetics, failed to throw light even on the form – atomic or molecular – in which the gases reacted.


GERHARD ERTL IN his laboratory in Berlin.

A fundamental question that Ertl addressed was which step in the reaction was the slowest. He argued that to improve the process as a whole the slowest step needed to be speeded up. To investigate, Ertl used a clean, smooth iron surface in a vacuum chamber into which he could introduce different gases in a controlled manner. When a nitrogen molecule (containing two atoms) lands on a surface, it attaches itself as a molecule because the bond between two nitrogen atoms is one of the strongest in chemistry. However, in the presence of iron, the molecule prefers to break up, and the atoms bind to iron rather than to each other after some time. Hydrogen, on the other hand, was already known to dissociate immediately and attach in atomic form to the surface. Ertl basically wanted to determine whether nitrogen reacted with hydrogen in molecular or atomic form to form ammonia.

List of world’s fastest supercomputers announced
Chronicle Editor @ Nov 10, 2007


Germany's JUGENE is the fastest civilian supercomputer in the world.Forschungszentrum Jülich

A computer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in California has once again been hailed as the world’s fastest computer. But five of the top ten spots in the TOP500 — a coveted list of the world's fastest supercomputers — were claimed by new systems.

The LLNL supercomputer, which uses an improved version of IBM's BlueGene/L system, now computes at 478.2 teraflops per second (1 teraflop is 1 trillion calculations), nearly three times as fast the second-place finisher, a supercomputer at the Jülich Research Centre in Germany that clocks in at 167.3 teraflops and won’t officially be open for business until early next year.

The large number of newcomers is unusual, says Jack Dongarra of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, who is one of the four experts who compile the biannual list. "This list had more changes at the top than most previous lists," he says.

On the rise

The LLNL supercomputer is owned by the US government and used for nuclear-weapons research. But more and more scientists not involved in defence-related research are seeing the potential benefits of “supercomputer time”, says Dongarra. “There is enormous desire from scientists,” he says. He adds that that he thinks increasing numbers of supercomputers will be built for non-defence research.

Number two on the list, which uses IBM’s new BlueGene/P technology and is dubbed JUGENE — will be rented out to scientists in all disciplines.

The list also highlights the expanding use of supercomputers by industry. Some 57% of the TOP500 supercomputers are owned by business, and that percentage will probably continue to edge higher, Dongarra says. “The trend is more and more into business and this trend will certainly continue,” he says. But, he adds, “supercomputers are important to defence and that is not going to go away.”

The fourth fastest computer is owned by Computational Research Laboratories, a subsidiary of Tata Sons in Pune, India. This supercomputer, a Hewlett-Packard Cluster Platform 3000 BL460c system, computes at 117.9 teraflops per second.

Dongarra says that he had expected a supercomputer developed by Sun Microsystems in Santa Clara, California, and installed at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) at the University of Texas at Austin, to take the top spot on the list, released on 12 November. But that computer is not yet up and running. Dongarra now expects that it will be on the next list, due out in June. Beyond that, he says that an IBM computer under development at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico is expected to break the petaflot barrier (one thousand teraflops). “That probably will happen in 2009,” he says.

    Additional Links
  1. India hosts world's fourth fastest supercomputer
  2. List of world’s top 500 supercomputers

Website tracks world's worst polluting power plants
Chronicle Editor @ Nov 10, 2007

Website tracks world's worst polluting power plants



The village of Gusdorf, west of Cologne, Germany, is pictured in front of the lignite-fired power plant Frimmersdorf of German RWE AG energy company in this Dec. 3, 2006, file photo.

Top 10 polluting power plants
The world's most polluting power plants, with annual emissions in millions of tons of CO{-2}. Ontario Power Generation's Nanticoke generating station on Lake Erie is 65th, with 17.6 million tons.
1. Taichung, Taiwan (41.3)
2. Poryong, South Korea (37)
3. Castle Peak, Hong Kong (35)
4. Reftinskaya SDPP, Russia (33)
5. Mailiao FP, Taiwan (32.4)
6. Tuoketuo-1, China (32.4)
7. Vindhyachail, India (29)
8. Hekinan, Japan (28.9)
9. Kendal, South Africa (28.6)
10. Janschwalde, Germany (27.4)

Nov 15, 2007 04:30 AM
Peter Gorrie
How dirty is your electricity?
The information is on a new website, and its creators hope the public disclosure will inspire a global cleanup of polluting power plants.
Around the world, 50,000 plants generate electricity: Every year, the thousands that burn coal and other fossil fuels spew 10 billion tons of carbon dioxide, making a major contribution to climate change, according to the Carbon Monitoring for Action (CARMA) site.
The problem stands to get worse, with hundreds more coal-fired plants set to be built during the next decade, says David Wheeler of the Centre for Global Development, which compiled the database.
Political rhetoric increasingly stresses the need to cut emissions, "but the reality on the ground is going in the other direction," Wheeler said in an interview yesterday.
"Information leads to action ... If you can get a coherent database to the public, you can have quite a substantial impact."
About 60 per cent of the world's electricity is generated by burning fossil fuels, and those power plants create one-quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions, CARMA says.
The countries with, by far, the most dirty plants are the United States and China: Together, they produce more than half the global power plant emissions.
Canada is well back in 15th place. Thanks to its many sources of hydro and nuclear power, Canada also produces relatively few greenhouse gases in proportion to the electricity generated.
Among individual plants, the biggest emitters are in China, Taiwan, South Korea, Russia and the U.S.
Ontario Power Generation's Nanticoke plant on Lake Erie is 65th on the list, at about 17.6 million tons of greenhouse gases a year.
It operates only intermittently to generate electricity at times of peak demand. If it ran as often as most large plants it would be a "world scale" polluter, Wheeler said.
While 4,000 companies run power plants, only 100 produce 57 per cent of the emissions, Wheeler noted. "One hundred CEOs are accountable for that much."
Research for the site – – confirmed "the dismaying persistence" of coal as a fuel, despite its well-known contribution to climate change, he said.
Along with hundreds of coal-fired plants being built in Asia, the U.S. plans 83 and Western Europe, 38.
The work also undermined the argument, often made in international negotiations, that climate change is caused by wealthy industrialized nations and, therefore, the developing world merits a pass while it attempts to rise out of poverty. This year, for the first time, greenhouse emissions from power plants in developing nations will exceed those in the developed world.
The view that the "South" can wait is outmoded, Wheeler said.
It's "moving into crisis territory on its own now, even if there was no more carbon dioxide from the `North.'"
The solution, Wheeler said, must be "some grand bargain" among all 203 nations included in the database to regulate emissions and reduce them through new technology, renewable sources, conservation and efficiency.
Public disclosure is already credited with reducing air and water emissions of toxic substances in Canada, the U.S. and even in China, Wheeler said.
It can lead to public pressure on polluters. As well, he said, banks are sometimes unwilling to back companies that might face pollution lawsuits or appear to be wasteful. And corporate executives occasionally want to improve their image. Disclosure can, "set off soul-searching in corporate suites."
    Additional Links
  2. Learn More About CARMA | Our Partners|FAQs

A Russian sings Hindi songs
Chronicle Editor @ Nov 09, 2007

From Russia, with love for Hindi songs

Excerpts from the interview:

Russian artiste Elmar Rajsur, 31, is very delighted to be in India, the land of Hindi. He earns his living in Russia by singing Hindi songs.

Rajsur is touring with the Russian circus, which is currently in India, on an invitation from the circus organiser.

He sings Hindi songs during circus performances on public demand. He speaks in Hindi with security personnel, obviously enjoying every bit of it.

However, he hates it when he is referred to as a circus artiste. That is because, he says, he is a singer and not a circus artiste.

Elmar talked about his love for Hindi, Hindi songs and Raj Kapoor with Senior Correspondent Vijay Singh.

When did you start learning Hindi songs?

I started learning Hindi songs when I was in class 9. 'Main shayar to nahi..', from the film Bobby, was the first Hindi song I learnt.

Videos of some selected Hindi songs sung by Elmar:

  1. Elmar sings at Kwaja Nasiruddin Restaurant during our Prime Minister’s visit to Moscow.
    Title song from Shah Rukh Khan starrer film ‘Dard-E-Disco’
  2. Elmar sings Yeh Mera Dil from the film ‘Don’
  3. Elmar sings Mein Shaayar to Nahin from the film ‘Bobby’

Demolition video of a Las Vegas Hotel
Chronicle Editor @ Nov 09, 2007

Explosive farewell for Las Vegas’ New Frontier

Friday, November 16, 2007

The New Frontier hotel has been farewelled with an electrifying display of firework explosives to make way for a new resort development.

Originally known as the Last Frontier, the 65 year old building was one of the first hotels on the Las Vegas strip and was demolished by 450 kg of explosives as part of the transformation of the precinct.

Since its doors were first opened in 1942, the hotel has played host to famous entertainers like Wayne Newton, Siegfried Roy and Elvis Presley. Towards the end, the hotel was notorious for its bikini bull riding shows and cheap rooms.

The demolishment will make way for a US$8 billion resort development that will display the Plaza brand and feature a 3,500 room hotel, private residence, shopping complex and casino.

New Frontier Hotel Implosion Las Vegas

Nature's Light and Colour Stage Show
Chronicle Editor @ Nov 05, 2007
rudrapur_farms_upstate.jpg 24-DEC-2005

Rudrapur farms UP state india_2321.jpg

This web page has 149 breath taking photographs of the nature, collected from different parts of India and in different seasons.

Canon EOS 350D 1/160s f/10.0 at 44.0mm iso400 full exif

Copyiright Utsav Arora

Chenab Bridge (Railways) in J & K
Chronicle Editor @ Nov 05, 2007

(Forwarded by Dr. Virindra Kumar Raina, Civil 1961)
The Chenab Bridge (shown above) is part of the Jammu-Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla railway route and will have the highest surface-deck clearance at 359m above the Chenab River.

To learn more about this bridge, please click here

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