This issue includes many important articles and special reports.
The highlight of this issue is the interview with internationally acclaimed scientist, Prof. Kevin Warwick, Professor of Cybernetics, University of Reading, UK. He is also the guest of honour at our Technex festival.
The issue contains special reports 59th IPC at our Pharmaceutics dept., Kashi Yatra, various alumni reunions and official announcement for Technex. It also contains important news about our institute setting up a TBI (Technology Business Incubator).
We are pleased to state that Rajiv Hukku (Electronics 1983) has joined our chronicle team. He lives in Ottawa, Canada.
We need more news. Please send us news, events, articles, information, etc, at: chronicle [AT] itbhuglobal.org. Please indicate your branch/year and college (if other than IT-BHU).
For specific information, contact Yogesh Upadhyaya at: Yogesh@optonline.net
Or Anshuman Singh at: Singh.Anshuman@gmail.com
The Chronicle Team
We are sad to inform you that Dr. Surendra Kumar, Reader, Department of Chemical Engineering and Technology, expired on 31st December 2007. He was 58 years old. He was born at Khairabad, District Sitapur (U.P.). May his soul rest in peace.
A condolence resolution was passed by the faculty, staff and students of IT-BHU on January 1, 2008 as follows:
Dr. P K Mishra visited Trivandrum on 30th Jan, 2008 to discuss the setting up of a Technology Business Incubator (TBI) at IT-BHU specializing the field of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Bio Technology.
Please find his presentation attached here.
The presentation was very well received and the Institute would be getting the relevant grant for the TBI soon.
In the National Advisory Committee meet of NSTEDB (The National Science & Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board), DST (Department of Science & Technology) at Trivandrum, our proposal regarding establishment of Technology Business Incubator at the Institute was accepted.
According to Dr. Mishra, we will be establishing a center of Industrial Relations, Entrepreneurship and Technology Incubation in the near future.
The thrust areas are Information and Communication tech. and Biotech.
If our alumni working in different field can send a letter/email to Dr. Mishra that they are ready to mentor our activities that will be a great help.
These letters from prominent personalities will be part of presentation to stress the need of such facility at our Institute.
Dr P K Mishra is Reader is Chemical Engineering Dept. and also in-charge of IIPC (Industry-Institute Partnership Cell). He can be reached at: email@example.com.
- Additional Links
- NSTEDB website
An Opulent Weekend!
(Reported by Ankit Khanna, Integrated M. Tech. Applied Physics 2010)
Opulence 2008, the annual management festival of IT BHU was held from the 18th to 20th January 2008. This three day long extravaganza saw a spectrum of competitive events, focused workshops, seminars and talks enthrall IT BHU.
Stalwarts in the field of advertisement have adorned Opulence since its inception. The list of ad makers to have graced Opulence already had the names of heavyweights like Bharat Dabholkar, Kiran Khalap and Prahlad Kakkar and Opulence 2008 had something special in store! Mr. Abhijeet Avasthi, our alumnus returned to his alma mater to set the stage sparkling with an aura of creativity through showcasing and analyzing some of the finest ads the Indian television has witnessed in the past decade. Mr. Avasthi (Executive Creative Director, Ogilvy and Mather, South Asia), the brain behind Mentos, Cadbury, Asian Paints, Bajaj Pulsar, Hutch and many more successful ad campaigns, inspired one and all during his workshop. The decibel level of applause in the jam packed Swatantrata Bhawan was deafening during his workshop.
Prof. Debashish Chatterjee culminated the ‘Break Free’ series of leadership workshops meant especially for IITians at IT-BHU with an awe inspiring and motivating exhibit. An out of the box thinking and a radical approach to all aspects of life, is what he professed. Leadership, he said, was not just about striving to achieve the unconquered but also about being able to best utilize that latent part of us which goes unexploited. He concluded on aphoristic note saying that “…fire shall be discovered for a second time in the history of human civilization, only this time the spark shall come from within.” He acknowledged the response of the students here as the best he witnessed in all the IITs.
TIME Education Varanasi presented students with an insight into what it takes to crack the CAT, arguably the most difficult exam in India. A panel discussion which hosted Mr. Anupam Raghuwanshi, the director of TIME Varanasi (a man with years of experience in international projects for the United Nations), and some of the successful candidates of our college, made a great impact on the plans and methodologies of the hundreds of aspirants in attendance.
The competitive events at Opulence were a spectacle like none other. The finalists for Brand-Aid- the Marketing Game- were made to roam around Lanka, looking for ways to promote fictitious products. The new event, Man Handle-the HR Game- was very well received and got more than 150 participants. Tactitude- the Strategy Forecasting Event-and the returning favorite from last year, rose to new heights with more than 500 students participating in the preliminary round. The finalists of Tactitude will forever remember the intense grilling they got at the hands of the judge, Mr. Aditya Sinha from Siksha Training and Consultancy. Evalueserve Manthan tested the analytical abilities of the students with 2 case studies related to intellectual property. As always some innovative B-Plans and some perspicacious business papers were presented in Ventura (business plan contest) and Cognoscenti (business paper presentation) respectively. Opulence also received great outstation participation from many of India’s top B-Schools, like IIM L, XLRI, MDI Gurgaon and IIFT.
Aditya Goel, a student of Metallurgy Part-4, had a particularly good time at Opulence bagging first place in Man-Handle, Manthan, Tactitude and Czar of the War taking home prizes worth more than Rs. 80,000!
During the Inaugural
Dr. P. K. Mishra, Chairperson of Opulence
Prof. Pankaj Chandra during his talk
Student Convener Ankit Khanna during the vote of thanks
For more photos, please click here
BHU soon to have ISRO centre for green studies
Express news service
Varanasi, January 17 The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has selected Banaras Hindu University (BHU) for studying links between environmental pollution and abrupt climatic changes.
A four-member team from the Institute of Technology’s Chemical Engineering department will monitor the phenomenon.
The team includes Institute Director S N Upadhyaya, B N Rai, M K Mondal and R S Singh.
BHU will be 23rd such centre in the country under the Inter-Government Panel project of ISRO coordinated by Vikram Sarabhai Space Research Centre, Thiruvananthapuram.
Among the 22 other similar centres, two are located at IIT-Kanpur and IIT-Kharagpur.
The team will primarily collect data on air pollutants in east UP and Bihar, including black carbon emissions from thermal power plants in Sonebhadra district and levels of soot, dust, acid droplets, fog and mist, team member Rai told The Indian Express on Thursday.
The collected data will then be analysed and modelled for meteorologists to forecast weather changes.
A sum of Rs 48 lakh has been granted for the project, which was cleared on December 14.
“Work will begin as soon as the necessary infrastructure is put in place,” added Rai.
59th IPC in the city of temples and pharmacists
Like every year, the recently held Indian Pharmaceutical Congress 2007 also successfully brought professionals, experts and students of the pharma industry under one banner. However this time, the ambience of the venue added its own dimension, as many pharma professionals took a walk down the memory lane of their alma mater. Sushmi Dey finds out what was the buzz all about…
It has been 75 years since Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya and Professor M L Schroff took the initiative to establish India's first institution for pharmacy education in Banaras Hindu University (BHU) in 1932. For BHU, situated in Varanasi, a city characterised as the oldest surviving city of the world, there could not have been a better way to celebrate its platinum jubilee. The historic university welcomed the pharmaceutical industry from not just all over India but also from abroad to organise the 59th Indian Pharmaceutical Congress (IPC) on its campus.
The 59th IPC show was inaugurated on 20th of December and spanned three days. As in the past, the event was predominantly targeted at students who are going to shape the future of the industry. However, the show also attracted large numbers of middle and senior management and pharmacy professionals. The event's success was well evident from the crowd it attracted. According to Atul Nasa, Joint Secretary, Indian Pharmaceutical Congress Association (IPCA) and President of the Indian Pharmacy Graduates Association (IPGA), more than 500 people visited the exhibition each day. Besides, 3000 plus delegates attended seminars and conferences organised during the event. BHU had booked 2350 square meters of area for IPC 2007, where 140 exhibitors showcaseed their latest products and technologies. "The budget for IPC was around Rs 2.5 crores for 5000 delegates," informed Nasa.
The opening ceremony was witnessed by more than 5000 delegates and visitors. H P Tipnis, President, IPC presided over the inaugural functions. Beside other delegates from reputed pharma companies like Pfizer, Ranbaxy, Wockhardt and Bilcare, delegates from several ministries also attended the show. Addressing the show, Maharashtra Food and Health Minister, Harshwardhan Patil invited pharma companies to invest more in his state. He also informed the audience about the new biotechnology zone being set up in Maharashtra.
In addition, many scientific presentations on topical issues were organised during the show. A host of topics starting from Pharma Vision 2020 laid by former President of India, APJ Abdul Kalam, to opportunities and challenges in preclinical development and multinational clinical trials in India, were discussed in detail during the show. Experts from India and several other countries like US, Nepal, Bangladesh and Indonesia also delivered their views on issues like regulatory affairs, pharmacopoeias of the future, recent advances in natural products in India and drug discovery and development in the country.
Besides celebrating the profession of pharmacy, this IPC was also special for many pharma professionals who got a chance to revisit their alma mater, BHU during IPC. On the other hand, it was also a home coming for the two associations of IPCA—the Association of Pharmaceutical Teachers of India (APTI) and the Indian Pharmaceutical Association (IPA).
IPCA also felicitated many stalwarts of the Indian pharma industry who have made a significant difference and elevated the industry to a global level. Habil Khorakiwala, Chairman of Wockhardt was felicitated with the K C Chatterjee award. Likewise, Mohan Bhandari, Chairman and Managing Director of Bilcare received the Life-time Achievement Award. John L LaMattina, Senior Vice-President Pfizer and President Pfizer Global Research and Development presented the award to Bhandari. "I am delighted that finally the industry is recognising our endeavour in research and packaging and other critical areas of services. With this kind of recognition, we shall move ahead to make novel innovations which would benefit the healthcare industry," said Bhandari as he received this honour. Other awards like the G P Srivastava and M L Khorana awards were also given during the conference.
"This year IPC has been a very successful show but we always try to learn from each year's experience and improvise on that," said Nasa. IPC will be 60 years old in 2008 and will be celebrating its golden jubilee in New Delhi, the capital of India. "IPC 2008 is undoubtedly going to be a special event. We are expecting minimum of 8000 delegates. It is going to be a grand success next year," predicts Nasa. The organisers plan to implement some changes in the event to make the next show more systematic and organised.
"Although, IPC 2007 has been an excellent show, we have taken note of certain things which need improvement. For instance, the inaugural function this year took more than three hours. We feel it should be more compact, systematic and up to the mark. The scientific sessions also need a bit of improvement as far as organising is concerned," Nasa pointed out. IPCA also plans to increase the budget by 10 to 15 percent next year subject to increase in charges of venue, accommodation and other facilities in the capital.
This US-based nanotech expert started off by making friends with learning in a small town in Kerala.
Ashok R. Chandran
He is an Indian scientist who has hit global headlines repeatedly. In 2006, Pulickel Madhavapanicker Ajayan entered the Guinness Book for creating the world’s tiniest brush, its bristles thousand times finer than human hair. A few months later, Scientific American included him in its list of top-50 visionaries in research, policy and business. And last year, he was in the spotlight for developing a battery that can be rolled, pri nted like paper, and powered by sweat. The 45-year-old Professor of Materials Science at Rice University in Houston (US) is one of the world’s leading experts in nanotechnology.
Ajayan’s story begins in Kodungallur town in Kerala. Born to a telephone technician and a Hindi teacher, Ajayan initially attended classes at a local government school. At the age of 12, he moved to Thiruvananthapuram to join Loyola School. “If I think about the influences that changed my life, I would say Loyola comes first. It made me realise that learning is the most exciting thing one can befriend,” says Ajayan.
And what a friend it has been! It took Ajayan to a gold-medal winning B.Tech from the Institute of Technology at Banaras Hindu University, and to Northwestern in the US for a PhD. In 1991, when Sumio Iijima’s group discovered carbon nanotubes at the NEC labs in Japan, Ajayan was a post-doctoral fellow there. “I have been lucky. I have been at the right places at the right time in my career,” he says about the discovery that renewed worldwide interest in nanotechnology.
For Ajayan, carbon nanotubes thus became the field of research. The spirit of learning now took him to Europe. For a few years, Ajayan worked at the Universite Paris-sud at Orsay (France) and the Max Planck Institute in Stuttgart (Germany). In 1997, he crossed the Atlantic and settled in the US.
“Each place has its characteristics, strengths and weaknesses. Japan is very good in terms of work ethics and resources but the system is quite hierarchical and you could lose motivation. Europe has a long history of sciences and it has outstanding places. But I think the US provides the best opportunity for foreign students/personnel with very little discrimination. The only problem with the US is that the pressure to perform is very high. The competition is extremely high.”
But Ajayan has thrived in that country. By gathering people from different backgrounds — physics, chemistry, materials science — he spurs creativity in his research team. “To be creative, it is important to make connections. This can happen when people with different backgrounds talk,” he says.
In the discussions with students and post-doctoral researchers, unexpected ideas spring up. “Discovering or creating new stuff is not normally sudden. It happens after a lot of thinking, discussions, collaboration and refinement,” he says. In other words, you won’t catch Ajayan running from a bathtub.
His wife Poornima and daughters Anakha and Ahi think otherwise.
They feel that he is always working — even while eating at home or driving. Ajayan laughs and says, “I am always thinking about some interesting problem, or an experiment that could be done. There is no escape from this.”
Long days and nights in the lab? “Physically I am not there so much in the lab; the students and post-docs do most of the work,” says Ajayan, whose time is spent on the computer: writing grants, papers, looking at data, or preparing teaching notes. “This is what professors do these days. Whenever I get a chance I go to the lab, but I don’t get to do experiments myself; not anymore,” he says.
One of the most cited authors in nanotechnology, Ajayan is among the influential scientists of his generation. A nanotech evangelist (on National Public Radio, YouTube, he is everywhere), he believes that India should exploit nanotech opportunities in alternative energy and healthcare.
“Countries should invest in areas that are important to them, their national security and the wellbeing of their population,” says Ajayan. “I think nanotech can do wonders in areas like solar energy and hydrogen energy. Nanotechnology could also have a huge impact on medicine, for example in cancer treatments and drug delivery,” he explains.
But, for the boy who befriended learning, education is top priority. “We need to build the educational infrastructure so that young people will be motivated to take up higher studies. Not just in the IT sector, but in all areas of science and technology.”
(Chronicle note: Prof. Ajayan is currently Professor in Engineering, Materials Science and Nanotechnology at Rice University, Houston, Texas. Email: Ajayan@rice.edu)
Paper: Houston Chronicle
Date: Mon 01/14/2008
Edition: 3 STAR
A dark discovery - no, really, this stuff is dark
By ERIC BERGER
In the iconic movie 'This is Spinal Tap,' lead guitarist Nigel Tufnel said of his band's black album cover, "It's like, how much more black could this be? And the answer is none. None more black."
He was wrong.
A scientist at Rice University has created the darkest material known to man, a carpet of carbon nanotubes that reflects only 0.045 percent of all light shined upon it. That's four times darker than the previously darkest known substance, and more than 100 times darker than the paint on a black Corvette.
"The final numbers, when we measured how dark this material was, were more dramatic than we thought," said Pulickel M. Ajayan, a professor of engineering at Rice University who led the team that developed the substance.
The work was published last week in the journal Nano Letters.
Pure carbon is one of nature's darkest materials, as is clear to anyone who has seen charred organic materials such as wood.
But to further darken their material the scientists had to make the surface even rougher, to enhance the scattering of light. They struck upon a carpet-like arrangement of nanotubes standing on their ends.
The nanotubes, so named because they are tiny, are made solely of carbon atoms. Hollow cylinders with thin walls, the nanotubes used by Ajayan measure about one-hundredth of an inch long. They are very narrow, however, as their length is about 300,000 times their width.
It took more than a year of careful experimentation to determine that such a small fraction of light is reflected by this carpet-like forest of nanotubes, Ajayan said.
The previous record-holder was an alloy of nickel and phosphorus pitted with tiny craters developed in 2003 by researchers at the National Physical Laboratory in London. The material reflected about 0.16 percent of light shined upon it.
A dark spot in history
Ajayan said his team has applied to 'Guiness World Records.' Developing a dark material is an easier way to gain admittance to the book than, say, eating 36 cockroaches in a minute, which Ken Edwards of England did in the year 2001.
"For me, yes," Ajayan said. "But I can't speak for every person."
The new material has some potential applications.
As it absorbs nearly all light, Ajayan said it could be useful in the collection and storage of solar energy.
Also, as it minimizes the scatter of stray light, it could improve optical instruments such as telescopes.
But for Ajayan, the aim is purely one of scientific discovery.
"There's a fundamental joy in such a fascinating study," he said.
|(Chronicle note: Dr, Bishum Pandey graduated in 1980 from the Applied Mathematics department of Institute of Technology, under the supervision of Professor Rishi Ram Sharma. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
MARION - The Ohio State University at Marion is pleased to announce that Bishun Pandey will serve as the campus?226-130?s new associate dean beginning winter quarter 2008.
Pandey, who has taught mathematics courses at The Ohio State University at Marion since 1986, fills the position of Chris Friesen, who will return to teaching mathematics full time on campus.
The position of associate dean acts as a primary liaison to campus faculty. In his new role, Pandey will also be tasked with a multitude of duties, including but not limited to: supervising auxiliary faculty and select administrative professional and classified civil service staff positions; faculty evaluations; organizing faculty searches; engaging in facility issues, to include construction related to academic space; working with students/parents, faculty, staff, and others to resolve issues or complaints; assisting with faculty travel budgets; communicating faculty course loads to the assistant dean; managing academic misconduct cases; and chairing the academic standards committee.
According to Ohio State Marion Dean/Director, Gregory S. Rose, Pandey has served Ohio State Marion in many roles over the years, which will give him a strong background for his new responsibilities.
"He has been an ombudsperson, where many have benefited from his caring and calming manner," Rose said. "His students regard his teaching highly, and his record of scholarship brought him promotion to full professor."
Pandey was educated at Allahabad University, India, where he earned both his bachelor?226-130?s and master?226-130?s degrees. He later earned a Ph.D. from Banaras Hindu University Institute of Technology, India.
Locally, Pandey was a member of the performance-based education study committee and the science curriculum committee for Marion City Schools. He served on an advisory board and the board of directors for Sun Home Health, Inc. He also was part of the interfaith organization on the Marion campus and continues to serve on the Interfaith Association of Central Ohio. He served on the board of trustees for the Private Industry Council, Marion, Ohio. He has also participated as a judge for the North Central Ohio District Science Fair since 1987.
A current resident of Lewis Center, Ohio, and former Marion, Ohio, resident for 18 years, Pandey and his wife Kamla have three grown children who were educated locally. Their son, Aditya, is now a neurosurgeon residing in Philadelphia. Daughter Anajana is in management at Robin Hood Foundation, New York, and daughter Richa is a computer engineer working for Price Waterhouse, New York.
(Chronicle note: Shirish Sathaye is perhaps the first among our alumni to feature in Forbes list. Email:Shirish@matrixpartners.com)
The Midas List
#82 Shirish Sathaye
01.24.08, 6:00 PM ET
2007 Rank: NA Your browser may not support display of this image.
Engineered switches at FORE Systems, Internet routers at Digital Equipment Corporation before landing gig as VP of engineering at Alteon Websystems. Switched to venture capital in 2001, joining Matrix Partners. Financed Aruba Networks. Pursuing new investments in Rohati Systems (data centers) and Solidcore Systems (software change control).
(Chronicle note: The article pays tributes to our legendary alumni who pioneered the concept of engineering consultancy in India. Dr. M N Dastur established m n Dastur and Company. He died in 2004. Dr. Sadhan C Dutt started Development Consultants Pvt. Ltd. He died this year)
| Barun Roy: A pioneer`s tale
Barun Roy / New Delhi January 17, 2008
|One went into designing plants to make steel to build machines and factories that India badly needed. The other went, principally, into designing plants to produce electricity to run those machines and factories. Together they helped prepare the ground for India’s technological independence at a time when the country needed it most to build up its sinews. Was Kolkata also a coincidence? Hardly. At the time Dutt appeared on the scene, five years ahead of Dastur, Bengal Engineering College, now Bengal Engineering and Science University, was India’s best-known source of top-quality engineers, and its very first institute of technology had just been established at Kharagpur. Besides, there was a culture of industry about Kolkata, left over from the British, that couldn’t be ignored. All the British firms that introduced India to modern industry and corporate organisation were based there. Dutt was only 29 when he returned from the US in 1950 to represent Kuljian Corporation, a reputable Philadelphia-based engineering consultancy firm whose founder he had happened to meet while still at GE. Harry Asdour Kuljian was so impressed with the young Indian engineer that when Dutt offered to be his Indian arm, he readily agreed.|
It was a lucky break for both. India, only three years into its independence, seemed full of promise. A new industrial strategy was evolving under Nehru, focused on building a strong manufacturing capacity in heavy machinery, heavy electrical equipment and machine tools. The country needed steel and it needed power. Harry Kuljian, who was already involved with the designing of independent India’s first major thermal power station at Bokaro, a model for all other thermal power plants that followed, had read the future well.
The rest is now history. From Bokaro to Bandel to Durgapur, opportunities began to unfold. Kuljian India became Kuljian Corporation (India) with Dutt and his associates holding a 51 per cent interest, and transformed, inevitably, into Development Consultants (DC) in 1970, when Harry Kuljian turned over his remaining 49 per cent. It was an open acknowledgment that Indian engineers had come of age. DC became synonymous with power, and Dutt became a magnet that drew the best brains coming out of India’s engineering colleges.
Today, his trail blazes through 150 fossil-fuel power plants across the country, almost all India’s nuclear power plants, and nearly 1,500 other projects over a large spectrum of basic industries. Always one step ahead, he introduced India to many new technologies, such as combined-cycle power generation. His flag now flies in some 50 countries, held aloft by his pathbreaking acquisition of Kuljian USA itself, long before India Inc came to discover foreign takeovers as a business strategy. It was this move that eventually turned Kuljian-DC into the huge service supermarket it is today.
Dutt, like Dastur, emerged on the scene at a crucial moment in India’s economic evolution. Others have followed in his footsteps, many having first passed through his doors. He helped in a very big way to make consulting the mainstream business it is today.
What makes his story even more remarkable is that it unfolded at a time when Asia, outside Japan, was a technology desert. China was withdrawing behind a bamboo curtain, Korea was embroiled in a war, Malaysia was Malaya lotos-eating on tin and rubber, Singapore hadn’t been born, and Thailand had yet to discover industry as a job-creating supplement to agriculture. The benefits of that tremendous Indian head start are there for the world to see.
(Chronicle note: Mr. Jagdish C Agarwal is 81 years old and still working at CRA international, a large economics consulting company. He graduated from BHU, College of Technology in 1945 with B.Sc. ( Ind .Chem.) degree.. That was as close to chemical engineering as was given at that time.)
issue Date: January 16-31, 2008, Posted On: 1/25/2008
Concord resident donates $250k to area Hospital
By ADAM SMITH
|CONCORD, Mass. — Jagdish C. Agarwal isn’t quite ready to attribute his acts of kindness to having met Mahatma Gandhi while a student in India during the 1930s and 1940s. But those encounters couldn’t have hurt.
Agarwal, 82, recently donated a quarter million dollars to Emerson Hospital for the creation of its new Elizabeth Smith Agarwal Diabetes Center, which is named after Agarwal’s late wife.
His wife was a diabetic patient at Emerson, the hospital that served the couple since they moved to Concord in 1969.
“They took good care of her," Agarwal said of the hospital. “I decided to donate some money to Emerson — they needed a diabetic learning center. So it was my choice to give a quarter of a million to start that.”
Sign for the future Diabetes Center.
|"We wanted independence from Great Britain, so we could fight the war for ourselves," he said. “If the war was to be fought for the sake of saving humanity against German fascism and Japanese imperialism, then it had to be fought by everybody.”
After attending university in the United States, he met Elizabeth Smith, who was the secretary of the graduate school at the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn.
“She was taking care of all the foreign students who were coming into graduate school for postgraduate study,” he recalled of his future wife. A year later the two married, and he became a citizen in 1954.
At the time, few Indians lived in the United States, which was still deeply segregated.
“When I came to the U.S. in 1946, there were hardly any Indian professionals,” Agarwal said. Still, he said he never faced discrimination.
“I was determined not to face any discrimination…. In the late 1940s, early 1950s and 1960s, people from India were sort of a curiosity. So I didn’t have any problem what-so-ever.”
After earning his masters and Ph.D, Agarwal went on to work at Fleischman Laboratories in New York, later moved to Pittsburgh for a job at United States Steel in the 1950s, became vice president of technology for Amax in Connecticut 15 years later and moved to Concord in 1969, where’s he stayed ever since. He currently consults for CRA International in Boston.
Agarwal is an avid sports fan — who follows both the Red Sox and the Patriots — and travels the world for his work in chemical engineering and natural resources development. He owns 32 patents related to the production of metals and is active in many professional organizations, such as the American Institute of Engineers.
An octogenarian grandfather, he still plays tennis and golf and follows politics closely.
Some of his political and world views, he said, were shaped by the writings of Ghandi, whom he met while at Banaras Hindu University after starting his studies there when he was 14.
|A Lesson in Humility |
by Shalabh Goyal (2007), Ph.D.
There I was, plunging into my seat after a grueling day at a conference that I'd attended in Kolkata, India, in December of 2005. The seat was not quite commodious, but I was satisfied because my flight was on time.
As I was trying to recapture one of the research papers that were presented in the conference, I was stunned when the old man asked me what I was reading. I was astonished by his interest in the conference as much as I was by his use of extensive vocabulary. I was quick to realize that I was having company quite different from what I initially thought. Within no time, a question related to my educational background took our conversation to Banaras Hindu University (BHU). I could see a delightful smile emerging on his face when I told him that I studied metallurgy at the prestigious Institute of Technology - BHU for a year. In stark contrast, the smile on my face almost vanished as he told me that he had served as head of department and vice chancellor of that university.
Half an hour past the clouds, I asked his name. I could remember seeing his name, Dr. T. R. Anantharaman, written at the top of a list of professors in the department of metallurgy at IT-BHU. I knew that he pioneered metallurgical research in India and is a world renowned professor of physical metallurgy and material science. He had served as a visiting professor of metallurgy in more than 10 countries including Germany, U.K. and the U.S., and received numerous international awards. However, I had never actually seen him, and this was my chance.
The next hour was one of the most inspirational of my life. To my surprise, he did not talk about metallurgy. Rather, he delved into more complex things, ranging from spirituality to the meaning of life. He asked me to look beyond career goals to unearth the purpose of life. I was amazed to learn that he had opened a yoga ashram, Atmadeep. During our flight he told me a lot of things that I could not fully comprehend; maybe I was too much in awe. However, I was happy that I grabbed a few pointers towards leading a better life, and I can still feel the reverberations of that one hour in my life from time to time.
The flight was on time, and this time I was not very delighted about it. As he was departing, I could not help but stand there and let my eyes follow his trail. Only now, I could realize how lucky I was to have the company of such a great person. As is said, 'Life is a long lesson in humility.'
Shalabh Goyal (2007), Ph.D. works in DCS Test Development with National Semiconductor in Santa Clara, California. He is an alumnus of IT-BHU and the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Principal Member of Technical Staff, Product Development, Model N
Arun Bhat has eight years experience with Azerity and was responsible for the architecture of the Azerity Developer's Kit (ADK) and key business modules such as Pricing,
|Opportunities/Registrations, Commissions, Forecasting, and Asset Management. He is currently responsible for the delivery of the new Azerity 7.5 Deal Analytics module and for upcoming Model N Performance initiatives. Previously, Arun worked at Wipro before Azerity as an engineer on their web based network management product. He holds a BS in computer science and engineering from IT-BHU, India|
Varanasi, January 18 The grassroot innovators are poised to steal the show at the annual management festival of Institute of Technology (IT-BHU) — Opulence 2008—that kicked off here with a gun salute from a remote-controlled machine gun designed by none other than a school drop-out.
Twenty-two-year old Shyam Chowrasia had to bid adieu to his studies when he was in the eight standard, but today he rubbed shoulders with the top brains and academicians as he showcased his multi-barrel machine gun that can be operated through a remote control.
The gun can fire both missiles and 155 bullets at one go up to 500 metres through a remote control device operated from a maximum of 50 metres, Shyam told The Indian Express on Friday.
However, Shyam’s journey so far has not been smooth. He lost his poet father when he was just 15. Though it was difficult for him to meet ends, it did not deter him from having his own creation- a missile gun-and fulfil his dream of presenting it to former president of India, Dr AP J Abdul Kalam.
After failing to meet Dr Kalam in 2005, a dejected Shyam dismantled his own creation in a fit of rage. But soon he got support from Dr PK Mishra, regional coordinator of Techno Entrepreneur Promotion Programme (TEPP) of Department of Science and Technology (DST). In spite of the TEPP rejecting Shyam’s plea for financial aid for his creation, as he did not fulfil the minimum academic eligibility criteria, Dr Mishra helped him in joining the Aryan International School as a teacher of robotics.
He is not the lone grassroot innovator catching the attention of visitors here. Teenage Chandan Verma’s Rs 25,000 two-seater car and 18-year-old Vimlesh Kumar Gupta’s ‘Automatic Crossing Barrier’ aimed at reducing rail accidents are the other star attractions here.
Vimlesh has developed the automatic barrier, which as the name suggests will ensure that the unmanned railway crossing gates close and open automatically.
“Both Chandan’s car and Vimlesh’s technology are certainly interesting and must be modified further to become commercially applicable. We are sending both the proposals for financial assistance under DST’s TEPP project,” Mishra said.
19 Jan, 2008, 2018 hrs IST, PTI
VARANASI: Move over Nano. Here comes "Fame" for just Rs 25,000 assembled together by a 16-year-old.
The car, equipped with a 150 cc four-stroke scooter engine and weighing around 160 kg, was among several products on display today during the 'Young Innovators' exhibition at Swatantra Bhavan of Banaras Hindu University.
Its inventor class XII student Chandan Kumar drove all the way here from Azamgarh, about 150 km away, in the green coloured open air, two-seater mini car.
He calls it "Fame" and claims "it is small, reliable and the biggest advantage is its price - Rs 25,000".
Chandan said it has four gears and claims it gives an average of 45-50 km per litre and top speed of 80 km per hour.
He said he had been working in his father's garage in Azamgarh for the past three years and assembled the car one piece at a time.
"My father is a mechanic and I was always interested in cars, so decided to make one. The car is especially for the narrow alleys of Varanasi. I have not kept track of how much it really cost me as I used old spare parts," he said.
The boy, who has no formal training in the field, said he did not get any outside funding for making the vehicle but is hoping that BHU finances a project to upgrade the model.
When his invention was compared to the Rs 1 lakh car unveiled by Tata Motors, he said, "I actually finished my car two years ago but took time to improve the body and comfort levels. I wish to make it even better than the Nano".
In Braille’s memory, a BHU gift for visually impaired
Varanasi, January 3: On Friday, as the world observes the 198th birth anniversary of Louis Braille, the father of braille language, the Vice-Chancellor of Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Panjab Singh, will gift 71 audio CDs to 10 visually impaired students of the varsity. While the CDs promise to make learning easy for these students, what’s interesting is the fact that 12 BHU students of Bachelor of Arts (II and III year), led by Sujit Kumar Singh, have conceptualised the project.
“The CDs contain audio of 27 papers in History, Political Science, English, Sanskrit, Hindi, Sociology and Geography,” incharge of library’s Internet section Pravin Kumar Singh said.
“My classmate Santosh Gupta faced a lot of problem studying braille-based text matter, as one normal book is equivalent to 10 books in the braille language,” said Sujit.
“Sujit came to me and asked if we could convert the entire course material in audio CDs, which could be used by the visually impaired students. The idea was promptly referred to the officials of the library, including Professor Incharge R S Dubey, who cleared the project with the consent of BHU administration. These 12 students worked hard on the project for two months,” Pravin added.
“We have put in seven hours daily at the library for two months to realise our dream,” added Sujit.
The CDs will be given to students of BA — Rakesh Verma, Shiv Shankar Tiwari, Santosh Gupta, Ganesh Keshari, Rakesh Vishwakarma, Rajesh Pandey, Manoj Pandey, Ravi Mishra and Premjeet Singh — at a function in varsity’s Central Library.
While the VC will unveil perhaps the first of its kind course material for the visually impaired on Friday, the beneficiaries are all praises for their 12 friends. “It will reduce our burden substantially. We never dreamt of such a thing, but our friends have made it possible. Preparing for exams will not be a cumbersome job anymore,” said Santosh Gupta, a BA (III year) student.
The VC will also honour the 12 students who have worked on the CD. Besides, Sujit, others include Ajit, Satyajeet, Vivek, Nishant, Darshan, Vivekanand, Shashi Bhushan and Vikas.
(Forwarded by Puneet Bindlish, Mining 2002)
Our IT-BHU alumni association is inviting nominations for the 2nd annual award this year. Last date for forwarding nomination is 25th Feb 2008.
The award program was restarted last year after a gap of many years. Each year, awards are given to 3 finalists. The selection is done by outside jury. Last year's event was reported in chronicle:
The details are posted on itbhuglobal.org website:
2nd IT-BHU Alumni Award of Excellence
07.01.2008 Download Appeal
Banaras Hindu University was the first university in the country to offer integrated engineering courses, since the turn of the last century, through its colleges, viz., Banaras Engineering College (BENCO), College of Technology (TECHNO) and College Mining and Metallurgy (MIN-MET), which were combined together in 1968 as Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University. For almost a hundred years now, BHU has been producing graduates in various engineering disciplines, and its graduates have contributed to the building up of technical & social infrastructure in the country post independence.
As a means to the recognise the contributions of these alumni, our association has decided to honour “Significant Contributor” every year from amongst the engineering alumni of Banaras Hindu University, on the occasion of its Annual General Body Meeting. The selection of the Significant Contributor would be through an eminent jury, chaired by Mr. AK Sah (ex Chairman NTPC) and comprising our own alumni in part and a group of eminent, independent personalities, like Mr K N Memani (former Chairman, Ernst & Young, India), from the industry.
To make this a meaningful and well recognised affair, we need your help in identifying the alumni who you feel could be deserving candidates for this prestigious award which would be conferred in the presence of a very senior public figure on the occasion of our AGM on 24.05.2008 at the India Habitat Centre. We therefore request you to please help us by nominating possible candidates in the format given below. Once we get your nominations, the names along with contact details would be passed onto the Jury who would, in turn, send the nomination forms designed to gather relevant information.
- Name of Nominee(s)
- Organisation (present/Past)
- Contact Phone
- E-mail ID
It is requested to please send in your nominations – along with the nominees contact details (batch, e-mail, Phone etc.) in the attached format by 25.02.2008, so that further processing can be initiated. Email: info[AT]itbhualumni[DOT]org
Rajeev Gupta Secretary
Association of IT BHU Alumni
ASSOCIATION OF IT BHU ALUMNI
34, Netaji Subhash Marg, Darya Ganj, New Delhi 110002
Registered under the Societies Registration Act XXI of 1860, Registration No S44440
(By: Yogesh K Upadhyaya)
|Omkar Prasad Nayyar was born on 16 January, 1926 at Lahore (now in Pakistan). He died on 28 January, 2007 at Bombay at the age of 81. On his first death anniversary, let us go through the life and accomplishment of this legendary music director Bollywood has ever seen.
O P Nayyar had provided his memorable music to over 70 Hindi films, mostly in 1950s and 1960s era. His music was a superb mix of Punjabi folk music and western tunes. OP said proudly that it was he who bought the sarangi; an instrument traditionally associated with the mujrewalis and kothas, into mainstream film music and gave it respectability. His specialty was the profound use of western instruments and split-second rhythm. Who can forget the use of tabla in song “Bahaut shukria, badi meherbani”, clarinet in “mein pyarka rahi hoon” and guitar in “Jaaiye aap kahan jaayenge”?
In 1955, after displacing Naushad as the most sought after music director, OP has not looked back. There was magic and romance in his songs. Producers used to write the story around his music, and audience will wait for his movies to come out. Although there were great composers like Sankar-Jaikishan, S D Burman, Madan Mohan, etc. at that time, but no one could come near the compositions by OP. On being asked why he used to have song based on tanga (horse-cart), he laughed and said, “At that time, travel by horse-cart was a luxury.” Almost all of his songs were super hit. Many tried to copy his style, but failed. His romantic songs made actors like Joy Mukherjee, Bishwajit, Asha Parekh, Sadhna, etc. look most magical.
He was earlier employed in All India Radio, Jullundur. Nayyar scored very popular music for many 1950's films like Baaz, Aar Paar, Mr and Mrs '55 and Kishore Kumar films like P.L.Santoshi's Cham Chama Cham and Kardar's Baap Re Baap.
He dropped out of college to compose music. Not long afterwards HMV, the recording company, released his compositions “Pritam aan milo” and “Kaun nagar tera door thikanaâ”.
His family shifted from Lahore to Amritsar after partition. In 1949, Nayyar came to Bombay and met the producer-director Krishan Kewal who was making Kaneez. Thus his career started with scoring the background music for Kaneez.
In the late 50s, his films include Tumsa Nahin Dekha, Presley Image, and Howrah Bridge with the most famous song, Mera naam Chin Chin Choo. He also scored the Shammi Kapoor's hit film, Kashmir Ki Kali.
In the 1960s he did one film a year and crafted exquisite scores for Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon (1963), Kashmir Ki Kali (1964) and Mere Sanam (1965). His limited musical education did not come in the way of embellishing his melodies with well-chosen instruments like the sarangi which he popularised or the piano which ripples through Aapke haseen rukh pe from Baharein Phir Bhi Aayegi.
Guru Dutt and Nayyar reunited for Baharein Phir Bhi Aayegi (1966), but Asha was singing instead of Geeta in a Guru Dutt film. Nayyar's luck had begun to run out when it came to the box-office. Despite composing some truly timeless melodies like Dil ki awaz bhi sun for Joy Mukherji's Humsaaya (1968), the film didn't do well.
In the late 1960s, Nayyar fell out with his favourite Mohammad Rafi but managed to conjure memorable songs even with Mukesh (Chal akela), Mahendra Kapoor (Lakhon hai yahan dilwale) and Kishore Kumar (sabereka suraj tumhare liye hein).
It was amazing to see highs and lows of octaves and scales in each of his composition. The songs were highly romantic and melodious. Please note that song recording was very different, unlike of today. They used to have over 100 musicians, with one mike, and the recording has to be completed in 2 or 3 settings. He used to charge Rs. 100,000 per film in 1950s, which was a princely sum at that time, considering that the price of a typical suburban flat in Bombay was only Rs. 10,000 at that time.
O P Nayyar used to say that good music is the one that pleases our ears. He also claimed that he was romantic in nature. Although he worked with many singers and song-writers, the trio of O P, singer Asha Bhosle and song-writer S H Bihari produced the most memorable songs. He was romantically involved with Asha till they parted their ways in 1974 in utter bitterness. Asha then found her love in music director R D Burman.
In the early 1990s, Nayyar made a surprise comeback with Zid and the Salman Khan-Karisma Kapoor starrer Nischay, with his unmistakable tunes. However, the younger generations did not like his old fashioned music.
Over the last few years, OP Nayyar had quit music completely. He said during an interview: “The people with whom I stay as a paying guest (at Thane, near Bombay) heed my request that the moment my song comes on TV, they must switch the set off if I am around! Music is medicine for the soul. But now I am giving medicines for the body. It is equally fulfilling! Music and medicine go together.’
He was very stubborn in his personal life. He lost films around 1970 due to his non-negotiable extreme price for composing the music. Moreover, with the entry of Amitabh Bachhan’s action films, the demand for romantic music died down. He had spoiled the relations with his family and passed last few years working on homeopathy practice in his native Punjab. He died in the state of loneliness in Bombay, and no family member was present during his cremation.
You may listen to his wonderful songs on YouTube:
- Additional Links
- O P Nayyar in Wikipedia
- Rare video of Rafi-Asha-O P Nayyar and song-writer Kamal Jalalabadi
- List of Movies of O P Nayyar
- Brief Biography of O P Nayyar
- The stubborn note of O P Nayyar
- O P Nayyar-Hit man of golden era
|Prof. Kevin Warwick is a pioneer and leading authority on the subject of cyborg, a fusion of computer/automation and biological living things. Prof. Kevin Warwick is Professor of Cybernetics at the University of Reading, England; where he carries out research in artificial intelligence, control, robotics and cyborgs. Prof. Kevin has been awarded higher doctorates both by Imperial College and the Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague.|
We are pleased to announce that Prof. Warwick will be the guest of honour at our Technex festival during 15-17 February, 2008. We also appreciate his consent to grant us an interview.
For chronicle, Yogesh K. Upadhyaya discusses with Prof. Kevin Warwick about his research career and about cyborg.
To view his biography, click here
Q-1: Welcome, Sir. Please tell us about yourself.
I think that I must have been an extremely annoying child at school, particularly in science classes. I just wouldn’t accept anything I was being taught until I felt sure about it myself. In science we were often given an equation and told that that was how things were and we just had to accept it. I would not accept it.
As a teenager I enjoyed some science fiction stories – not fantasy, but the sort of science fiction that is based on science – I particularly enjoyed H.G.Wells and the early Michael Crichton. I liked a Crichton story called “The Terminal Man” about a man having electrodes pushed into his brain. I read it more as a science story and felt why not. Later on it was fantastic to actually carry out some of the experimentation that Crichton had written about – to make science fiction become science fact.
My current position is Professor of Cybernetics at the University of Reading. In my job I really enjoy my research – which involves implant technology, partly to try to help people with disabilities such as spinal injuries or Parkinson’s Disease, and partly to investigate the possibility of enhancing human abilities. The University campus is though extremely beautiful – very green – so it’s a nice place to work. It’s also handy for London, only 25 minutes by train.
Q-2: What is cybernetics and cyborg?
Cybernetics involves looking at things from a systems viewpoint. Feedback is critical. If you carry out an action there will be consequences, considering the likely consequences should directly affect the action you take. A strict definition of the subject is “communication and control in man and machine”, but I believe it is much more than that.
A Cyborg is a cybernetic organism – a systems creature – possibly part biological part technological. Some people claim that riding a bicycle makes you a cyborg – this is silly! I feel that for a human to become a cyborg, the technology must be integral and must enhance the individual – but this is just my view – this is just the type of cyborg that I am interested in.
As far as I am aware I am, thus far, the only researcher who has actually, practically investigated a range of enhancements through my implant studies. A number of groups, e.g. Philip Kennedy in Atlanta and John Donoghue in Rhode Island, have also carried out human implant studies, but these have been with patients who have severe problems, e.g. they have had a stroke, and the research has been more concerned with therapy rather than enhancement. We can all learn a lot from such studies.
Q-3: Please explain your experiment to become one with the computer by implanting chip in your body. How the research will help the disabled persons?
The implant that I received consisted of 100 spiked electrodes in the form of an array. These were fired into the nervous system in my left arm during a 2 hour pioneering neuro-surgical operation. I did not need to have this surgery for medical reasons, it was purely as a part of a scientific experiment. For 3 months the implant was in place and during this time we were able to either directly plug my nervous system into a computer (and thence on to the internet) or we connected my nervous sytem to the computer by means of a raio transmitter/receiver unit.
Partly we were assessing the technology to see, for example, if the same implant could be used by an individual who is paralysed to control lights, doors, technology just by thinking about it. So we were using only my neural signals to control all sorts of devices – including a robot hand. In fact I travelled to Columbia University in New York, where we put my nervous system live on the internet. From there, via the internet, I was able to control a robot hand in Reading in the UK. I could also “feel” how much force the hand was applying to objects by means of feedback (again across the internet) from the robot hand fingertips.
Surely this will be used for medical applications within a few years time.
Q-4: How a human-robot machine can be useful for a prolonged space travel?
With the implant experiment I carried out, I travelled to New York, to Columbia University, and there we put my nervous system live onto the internet. With this in place I was able to control a robot hand in the UK (in Reading University) via the internet. To all intents, my nervous system was extended 3,500 miles across the internet – my body was 3,500 miles long. Not only could I move the hand’s fingers directly with my neural/brain signals, but signals were fed back from fingertips in the robot hand, to stimulate my brain with pulses of electric current.
For space travel humans have something of a problem because of our bodies and the limited performance capabilities. It is amazing to realise that merely a handful of humans have travelled to the moon and as yet no one has even travelled to Mars or Mercury.
But cyborg technology offers a solution in that as a cyborg you have a biological part combined with a technological part. It is quite possible for your technological part to travel wherever – to other planets – even to other galaxies if you can stay alive long enough. So whilst your human part body remains on earth, your technical part body can travel to distant planets, only powering up when in the gravitational pull of the planet (easily arranged). Your brain can then directly manipulate objects on the planet – by thought alone – and you will be able to sense the planet in a variety of ways – possibly including the infra red spectrum and via ultrasonic signals as well as vision and sound – your choice really.
There will of course be something of a time delay – but this is nothing new. Our brains can deal with this sort of thing. Even now, in human form, when you touch an object it can take several hundred milliseconds for the signal to reach your brain. So when you sense something on Mars it may take a little longer – you’ll just have to deal with it. In fact you may be helped by predictive AI.
Q-5: What message you would like to give to young scientists and engineers interested in cybernetics?
Cybernetics is a tremendously exciting field that we are only just starting to learn about. The potential applications for humans are enormous both in terms of therapy, to help those with a disability, and for the possible enhancement of humans. Why not have more senses or communicate much more effectively?
I think that anyone going into the field will find it enormously rewarding. But they will have to be prepared to work hard and take a few risks. It’s not like a science where the rules have been set down and it’s easy to see what must be done next – in this case it’s up to you to decide what should be done next.
So if you want a steady future where no one will notice you, then this is not the subject to go into. However if you want to actually make a difference, to change the world – then here’s just the thing for you.
Q-6: Thank you, Sir. It was pleasure to discuss with you about the interesting field of cyborg.
One important point is that the cyborg field may have been described in science fiction for a number of years, but it is an exciting new field for science. It is like a new continent that has just been discovered. A few researchers, such as myself, have merely found out a few minor facts about this continent. But we have only just scraped the surface, there is an enormous amount just waiting to be discovered – and just like the wild west, there are few rules and the field is both incredibly exciting and extremely dangerous at the same time.
This means that there is much to be unearthed, a lot of which will shock and surprise us. It is an open field for new researchers – any one, from anywhere in the world can get involved if they are really keen. But a person must be brave, must be prepared to take risks and must not be afraid to venture into territory where no one has been before. In scientific terms, fortunes are there to be made and heroes will arise.
The world of cyborgs awaits.
Prof. Kevin Warwick can be contacted at: email@example.com
(ALL INDIA TECHNICAL FESTIVAL 2007-08)
INSTITUE OF TECHOLOGY
BANARAS HINDU UNIVERSITY
TECHNEX (TECHnical EXcellence) is a yearly inter-college technical competition dating back from 1939. It consists of various challenging events such as Bytes the Bits, Modex, Papyrus, Panchtantrika, e-motions, Robotrix, X-treme Engineering, Bal Vigyan, Nano mania, etc. There are also some relief events such as, Knowsarium, Chillology, Pro-nights, etc.
The details of the event can be viewed on our institute’s website: http://www.itbhu.ac.in/technex/
- For the first time in IT BHU, we have initiated some activities in the ASTRONOMY, PHOTOGRAPHY clubs of IT GYMKHANA with release of events named ASTROBOUT and SPECTRUM. We have invited Prof D C V Malik, an eminent professor from Indian Institute of Astrophysics to interact with the students and give a guest lecture there by enlightening the students with mysterious world of astronomy.
- We have invited Mr. IQBAL AHMED, the master of miniature machines to introduce the students with the futuristic world of miniaturization. He has many awards including a place in Guinness Book of World records to his credit. He would be demonstrating and giving a brief about the design and working of world’s smallest steam engine, a nail sized lathe machine to name a few.
- We are distributing a whopping prize money worth of Rs 4.5 Lakhs, ever announced in the history of TECHNEX depicting the exponential rise of this TECHnical EXtravaganza of our institute.
- TECHNEX-08 is also going to witness an international celebrity in the world of electronics naming “Prof Kevin Warwick". He is the world’s first CYBORG. He will be demonstrating and lecturing his innovative designs and concepts visualizing a completely automated world. He has his name registered in Limca Book of World Records and Guinness Book of World Records.
- Apart from the record participation and celebrities, TECHNEX 08 is hosting LASER SHOW and PYRO CRACKERS show to chill the strained nerves of the participants and organizers
This year a new event (perhaps first time in the country) called SPACE PRO-AM is planned and a leading personality from the space technology field is expected to grace the moment as a chief guest. The event will be an exclusive five-round competition based on space technology. We are also processing a separate event on air borne design and also have plans to conduct workshops on rocketry.
|Prof. V.P. Singh||Dr. P. Ghosh||A. Rakesh||Aditya Kandoi|
|President IT-Gymkhana||Chairman CCA Wing||Gen Sec. CCA||Jt. Gen Sec. CCA|
- Additional Links
- Prof. D C V Malik as a guest speaker for Technex-08
We are pleased to announce that Prof. D C V Malik will be the guest speaker of our Technex-08 event. He will deliver a lecture on “mysterious world of astronomy”.
Prof. Malik is a Visiting Professor at Indian Institute of Astrophysics and Chairman of the institute’s Public Outreach Committee.
- Science kits for studying the sun
- Mr. Iqbal Ahmed-Master of miniature machines
- Prof. Kevin Warwick-Pioneer of Cyborg
Department of Pharmaceutics
Banaras Hindu University
59th Indian Pharma Congress and Platinum Jubilee celebration of Department of Pharmaceutics- A report
(Report forwarded by Chandrakant Trivedi, B Pharm 1975. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
(Inauguration of 59th IPC Congress).
Pharmaceutical Education in India at the University level was started in BHU in July 1932 by Prof. M. L. Schroff. The Department has so far produced about 2000 B. Pharm, 1000 M. Pharm and 80 scholars. This Department is the birthplace of national level professional bodies like IPA (Indian Pharmaceutical Association-1940); APTI (The Association of Pharmaceutical Teachers of India-1966) and IJP (Indian Journal of Pharmacy-1939).
With the efforts of senior BHU alumni like Dr Dinesh Jaiswal, Dr Ashok Rakhit, Dushyant Desai, Kanti Vadsola, Vinod Shah and Prof Krishna Kumar, we were able to convince Prof. B. Suresh –President of IPCA – (Indian Pharmaceutical Congress Association) to celebrate 59th IPC at BHU and thus we celebrated our Platinum Jubilee as A Mega Event in Banaras during 20th –23rd December of 2007.
More than 6000 participants took part in this event. There were about 2765 student delegates, 1800 – Teachers/scientists/industrial representatives, 500 volunteers, 66 speakers in scientific sessions. Pharma Exhibition was organized by FICCI-New Delhi having about 140 stalls (organizations).
We owe a debt of gratitude and a special vote of thanks to our Honorable Vice Chancellor -Prof. Punjab Singh. Without Dr Singh’s personal involvement, absolute commitment, complete cooperation and tireless efforts, this event would not have been possible nor the excellent success it achieved. A special recognition and thanks are in order for Prof. Radheshyam Srivastava and Dr. Tulsi Chakrabarty.
We were able to get commitment of about $ 120,000/- from our BHU alumni and alumni of other collages in India-to support our Department.
The photos of the 59th IPC Congress and platinum Jubilee celebration of Department of Pharmaceutics can be viewed here:
The never ending yatra of Kashi-Yatra, the annual fest of IT-BHU, brought mixed bag of emotions, albeit can be argued that KY-08 was far more successful than KY-07.
KY-08 kicked off on 24th Jan with a rough start but caught up pace in the subsequent days with more junta thronging to Swatantra Bhavan.
First day was poised to start off with a bang as it was the day of rocks. The rock pros.(Hobos & The Works) really managed well and got the junta to head bang.
Second day was one of my favourite nights and I hope the same for the rest of the junta as it was the DJ night. Everybody danced their heart out for nearly two hours. For some it was shear joy and ecstasy while for others it was a good way to chill out and shed their frustration. In the end DJ made everybody euphoric because one could swing every limb of his/her body to the tunes of the music in any fashion he/she desired.
Third day was the day of laughter as one could relax his mind happily sitting at one place. It was the day of Kavi-Sammelan when all the kavis unleashed their repertoire of humour and jokes one after the other non stop for 2 ½ hours. Unlike the laughter challenge show where it is only laughter, here it was laughter served to the audience blended with philosophy of life. Six kavis with six different genres showcased the amount of humour that can be generated by subtle usage of words. While everybody was superb, Dr. Surendra Sharma proved what a vintage player can do. It was a wonderful experience and junta really had a blast.
On 28th, the last day of KY, everybody was waiting for Shibani Kashyap. Even after facing some initial hiccups, the team worked together and pulled it over in the end. The Shibani sang to beats of IT-BHU and made up the last day of the Kashi-Yatra. The day ended with a long night with DJ.
Apart from these events there were many events like dances, informals, toolika, plays etc. While the dances and plays were entertaining, informals kept the bored crowd busy. I don’t have much idea about photographs and paintings but from the feedback it was obvious that it was enticing for the esoteric people. The toolika featured prize winning photographs at National and International level, and paintings by FOVA (Faculty of Visual Arts) students, but the IT Student’s gave none the less.
Overall KY -08 ended well and the four nights of complete entertainment marked the melting potpourri of talents. Being in fourth year and my last KY, I will really miss this grand festival which is engraved indelibly in my heart.
[By Amaresh Pradhan (Metallurgy 2008) and Sai Santosh (Chemical 2008)]
The following announcement has been posted on BESU website:
(Chronicle note: The College is the first among 5 colleges to be declared as IIEST. This is because Bengal Engineering College has just completed its 150th anniversary celebrations. Other colleges shall be declared as IIESTs as soon as they agree and comply with all the formalities.)
Dated: 27th/28th December, 2007
Shri Amit Kiran Deb,
Government of West Bengal.
Subject: Upgradation of Bengal Engineering & Science University (BESU) , Shibpur into Indian Institute of Engineering Science & Technology (IIEST)
I am to inform that the Government of India has decided in principle to upgrade the Bengal Engineering & Science University, (BESU), Shibpur into Indian Institute of Engineering Science & Technology (IIEST) with the status of "Institute of National Importance".
2. The IIEST will be incorporated in the National Institutes of Technology Act, 2007 (No. 29 of 2007) by inserting a separate schedule (i.e. other than the one where the names of various NITs have been mentioned) annexes with the NIT Act, 2007. The IIEST, Shibpur would be a fully funded Central Government Institution and subject to the approval by the Cabinet, the upgradation will be from the academic session 2008-09. For the proposed upgradation, adequate financial resources will be provided for from the financial year 2007-08 onwards.
3. Admissions to the Institute will be through All Indian Engineering Entrance Examination (AIEEE) and the admission policy would be similar to that of the National Institute of Technology (NITs), i.e, 50% of the students to be admitted from the State of West Bengal and the remaining 50% admitted from outside of the State. As regards governance structure, this will be as provided for under the NIT Act 2007, which also provides for participation of the State Government's nominee in the Governing Body of the Institute. The State Government will have to forego its control over the Institute. In this regards attention is invited to Shri R. P. Agrawal, Secretary (HE)'s D.O. letters No. F.11-5/2006- TS.I dated 5th April, 2007 and 4th July, 2007 and your reply vide letter NO. 227-CS/2007 dated 16.07.2007.
4. The Government of India will soon initiate the process of introducing suitable amendments in the NIT Act, 2007.
Joint Secretary to the Government of India
Dr. N. R. Banerjea, Vice Chancellor
Chronicle note: We have learnt from informed sources within our university that the issue of IIEST is still under consideration. Particular sticky point is the removal of all 4-yr B. Tech programs, once our institute becomes an IIEST.
New VC backs Cusat upgrade
Says everyone stands to gain with an IIEST
Says character of an institution need not change by a change in its name
“Cusat’s target should be excellence”
KOCHI: Gangan Prathap, new Vice-Chancellor of Cochin University of Science and Technology (Cusat), said here on Monday that “everyone stands to gain” from the proposed upgrade of the university into an Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology (IIEST).
Mr. Prathap, formerly scientist in-charge of the Centre for Mathematical Modelling and Computer Simulation of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research in Bangalore, said the Anandakrishnan committee’s (which short-listed the IIESTs) proposed allocation of Rs. 80 crore to Rs. 100 crore would be greatly beneficial to Cusat.
A renowned scientist with an excellent academic and research track-record, Mr. Prathap said the character of an institution need not change just by a change in its name.
“I believe Cusat has a special character,” he said.
Pointing out that the best research came from the science departments even in Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), Mr. Prathap said Cusat’s target should be excellence.
“Cusat has to take a decision whether it wants excellence or relevance,” he said referring to the ongoing debate on whether the institution should be upgraded.
“The policy (regarding the upgrade) is made by the political process. We are only the executives,” he said.
Noting that the IITs had benefited from the huge funding they received every year, Mr. Prathap said the annual budget of an IIT was in the range of Rs. 100 crore to Rs. 150 crore.
“On the other hand, the budget of a National Institute of Technology was between Rs. 20 crore and 30 crore. Cusat’s fund is only Rs. 22 crore,” he said.
Saying that the best students here would not go to the IITs, if Cusat got that kind of budget, Mr. Prathap said the institution was already one of the best to be brought into the higher level.
Step up research
Highlighting the need to step up research on the campus, Mr. Prathap said, “If you want to be a centre of excellence, it should need more research.”
He said the engineering faculty in most of the foreign universities did a lot of research, while here “it is more teaching.” “Teaching is being driven by good research. That is what IITs do,” he said.
Elaborating on the rapid educational progress being made by countries such as South Korea, Mr. Prathap said it had invested a lot in education.
“Seventy per cent of students there get a chance to go to a university, while it is only seven per cent in India,” he said. Mr. Prathap said that Finland, which had a population of five million, had 20 universities. “Going by that rate, Kerala should have 120 universities,” he said.
A researcher who bagged the S.S. Bhatnagar Prize in Science and Technology (1990), Mr. Prathap said the State did not have a tradition where industry was linked to universities. “It is not an easy issue to resolve. Most of the technology that we use here is absorbed from abroad,” he said.
A native of Kollam, Mr. Prathap had served as scientist at the National Aerospace Laboratories at Bangalore (1980-2000) before joining the CSIR centre.
The IT guest house, officially known as Gandhi Technology Alumni Centre, is the closest place available for accommodation near to the Institute of Technology. The centre was inaugurated in April 2006 by our Vice Chancellor, Prof. Panjab Singh. The centre was constructed at a cost of Rs. 4 crores by Gandhi Remembered Foundation. The trust was established by our alumni Shri Ramesh C Mody (class of 1955), who lives in USA. The same trust has also constructed Gandhi Smriti Girls Hostel, located across IT guest house.
The guest house has 22 double-seated rooms at present. The upper floor is under construction, which will add another 20 rooms and a meeting hall. The guest house has a dining hall facility, 24 hour hot and cold water, TV, two separate beds, heating and air-conditioning for the room, geyser, etc. The front desk is manned 24 hrs. There is also provision for calling a local taxi-cab company. Good quality lunch/dinner/breakfast is available in the mess.
The room charges vary depending upon the status of the guest, whether he is on official business, semi-official or personal (alumni meet, etc.). The rates for personal visit are Rs. 300 per night for a single person and Rs. 400 per night for two persons. Reduced rates apply for official or semi-official business (attending a seminar, guest of IT, etc.). Please verify the rates before booking. The payment is to be made in cash only, at the time of leaving, to the front desk.
The guest house is located on a quiet street near Limbdi corner. To reach there, drive on the Hostel Road from BHU gate, make right turn at Limbdi corner, proceed about 500 meters, and the guest house is on your left. For booking and more information, please contact:
Dr. P K. Mishra (Reader in Chemical dept.) at email@example.com.
The contact info for guest house is:
Gandhi Technology Alumni Centre, IT
Banaras Hindu University
Ph: (0542) 2307077; (0542) 2575389
The inauguration event with photos was covered in May 2006 issue of chronicle:
Inauguration Plaque near the entrance
Front view of the guest house
Front view as seen from the guest house
Staff of IT guest house
Inside view of guest room
(Forwarded by Puneet Bindlish-Mining 2002)
|The old speeches of Malaviyaji can be heard in English and Hindi:
(Note: Each file is about 6-7 MB and in MP3 format)
Jan 29, 2008 02:50
Taking a cue from MIT's Open Courseware initiative, India's most reputed education institutions--the Indian Institutes of Technology--are planning to offer their course material online.
Over 20 video courses in science and engineering of the IITs have been on free trial runs on YouTube since last month. As per this report, 110 video courses, spanning 40 hours, will be ready for online viewing in March this year.
This initiative is part of the National Project on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL), a joint venture between the seven IITs and IISc, funded by the Ministry of Human Resource Development.
Phase I of the project is complete, costing about US$5 million (Rs20.5 crore) to develop 240 courses in five streams of engineering viz-a-viz civil, computer science, electronics and communication, electrical and mechanical engineering.
NPTEL will also allow colleges to use the course material for in-house students, to help students without Internet access.
While it will be free for government-aided institutions, private institutions will be charged a one-time fee of Rs1 lakh.
Initiatives like this are a way of countering a shortage of faculties and providing a standard for academic content. The main objective of this program is to enhance the quality of engineering education in the country by developing curriculum-based video and Web courses, and making it available to everyone.
India's booming service and manufacturing economy is being challenged by a growing skills gap. Private-sector companies are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit quality talent due to a lack of high-quality college education in India. An estimated 1,500 engineering colleges produced nearly 400,000 engineers last year. But a study commissioned by the National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom) found only one in four engineering graduates to be employable.
The NPTEL program is a step in the right direction and it will hopefully help to alleviate the quality education problem.
(The text and photos forwarded by M S Nagar. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
REUNION '57 FRESHMAN BATCH
Venue: BHU VARANASI Dates: 14th -16th Nov, 2007
(Class of 1961 with families at Dhanrajgiri Hostel)
The November 2007 Golden Reunion Meet, which we had at BHU, was of the batch which joined the erstwhile college of Mining and Metallurgy, now IT BHU, in the year 1957 and passed out in 1961. The batches were supposed to be at least 40 each in the two Disciplines and another 10 in Fuel Technology. Out of the 64 who could be networked, 24 could finally make it to the meet, mostly with their spouses/family.
The objectives of the reunion were to meet with each other with families, visit the alma mater to pay our respects to the founding fathers of the great University, recapitulate the memories of the years spent together fifty years back, meet the present day faculty and students to share our career and life experiences.
Ever since the reunion meet was contemplated, the batch received unstinted support right from the Vice Chancellor, Chairman and other office bearers of Alumni Cell, The Director IT, Heads of the two Departments of Mining and Metallurgy, Wardens of the Hostel Dhanrajgiri (which used to be solely for the Minmetians during our time), and all the faculty members and students with whom we interacted. Head of the Department of Publications and Publicity ensured good coverage of the event in the local press and T.V. Network. All in all, the reunion activities, spread over three days, were highly nostalgic and satisfying in every respect.
The reunion meet started in the Dhanrajgiri Hostel Premises, with all the batch mates wearing navy blue Tees (specially made for the occasion with our MinMet logo), singing welcome songs, reviving past memories, exchanging anecdotes, making speeches and remembrances . The Hostel Wardens not only made all arrangements for the get together, but also treated us for a sumptuous Lunch, the cooks of the good old Messes taking so much interest in serving the best of dishes. The same evening, we had a leisurely Boat Ride on the Ganges and witnessed the spectacular Ganga Arti.
The second day morning was devoted for worship right from Rudrabhishek at dawn in Birla Mandir inside the campus, till mid-day Poojas in the sacred Kashi Vishwanath Temple, not forgetting all time favourite Sankatmochan, who always had come to our good stead during every examination.
In the afternoon, the batch had a memorable interactive meeting and evening tea with the Proctor, Director I.T. Faculty from the two Depts. and a few final year students. All the batch mates and their families together with the faculty and students paid their respects to Mahamana through floral tributes.
On the last day, the team visited Sarnath and had gala event at Hotel Taj Ganges.
The parting wish on every one's lips and mind was God willing; we will meet again in 2011 to celebrate the 50th year of our graduation.
For full report of the meet, please click here
The class of 1961 has a very unique and informative website, where one can see old and new photos, biography, memoirs, quotes, family details, etc.
The photos of the reunion of the class of 1961 can be viewed here:
(Text and photos forwarded by Yogesh Upadhyaya (Chemical 1977).
(Class of 1977 with our Director, Prof. S N Upadhyay)
The 30-year reunion of class of 1977 was organized during 1-6 January 2008 at our campus. Twelve alumni (11 chemical + 1 electrical and some with families) attended the reunion. The attendance was small because the class only recently started networking among themselves.
The group met Prof. S. N. Upadhyay, Director and Dr. Pradeep Kumar Mishra (Chemical Engineering). A reception was held for the group in Chemical Engineering dept. The group then toured the campus and met faculty/students. It also visited Morvi Hostel and New Tech 1 hostel.
The group also enjoyed the stay at newly constructed IT Guest house. The class of 1977 also visited Assi Ghat, Pehelwan’s shop near Lanka and lalita Restaurant in the city. It then visited Sarnath on the way to airport.
The photos of the reunion of the class of 1977 can be viewed here.
Another report about the reunion can be viewed on (articles dated 31st Dec-2nd Jan)
The blog is run by Rajat Tibrewal, (son of Devendra Tibrewal-chemical 1977) who also visited our campus with his parents. :
(Text and photos forwarded by Nihal Ansari (Mechanical 1982).
(Class of 1982 at Morvi Hostel)
The silver jubilee reunion of class of 1982 was organized during 24-27 December 2007 at our campus. About 110 alumni (200 including family members) attended the reunion, the largest group for reunion so far.
Prof. S. N. Upadhyay, Director, IT gave his whole hearted support and assigned Dr. Pradeep Kumar Mishra (Chemical Engineering) and Mr. Vikalp Agarwal (final year student of Civil Engineering) to organize things at IT-BHU. Through them, we got valuable support for booking university/IT guest house rooms, IT orchestra, hostel visits, lunch at hostel, alumni Milan function at Gopal Tripathi Auditorium, formal invitation to all HoDs (Heads of Departments) and all 1982 era professors. Hostel wardens were informed for access to rooms and few of the hostel Maharaj pitched in for serving us the authentic hostel food to reminisce hostel days. HoDs/Professors were invited for the Gala dinner for which transport was arranged. The lunch at Morvi hostel was arranged and 200 final year students joined us.
The batch also decided to raise funds for upgrading hostels and lecture halls.
The meeting was planned for last two years. It was organized by Debashish Bhattacharyya (Mechanical), Nihal Ansari (Mechanical), KVS Manian (Electrical) and other batch-mates.
For full report (including introduction to the batch) of the meet, please click here
The photos of the reunion of the class of 1982 can be viewed here:
The reunion event was also reported in local press. Please click on the following documents:
(Forwarded by Siddharth Gupta, Electronics 2005. Email: email@example.com)
The Silicon Valley Alumni Chapter is organizing the 4th IT-BHU Silicon Valley Alumni Meet on 5th April, 2008 in Stanford University Campus after a span of almost two years since the last alumni meet. More details will follow over the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned at http://itbhuglobal.org/chapters/geo/siliconvalley/ and the February issue of IT-BHU Chronicle for more details regarding the event. All IT-BHU alumni and their families residing-in-or-around/visiting the Bay Area are cordially invited to the event. After the success of last couple of alumni events, a huge turnover is expected given the considerable number of alumni present in the Bay Area.
Apart from a social and professional networking platform, this event will also aim at channelizing alumni feedback and concerns about our much beloved alma mater and contributing to global alumni efforts in helping the institute. To give a touch of professionalism to the event, the organizers plan to have keynote speeches from renowned Venture Capitalists and Entrepreneurs in the Valley. The event will also showcase success of past alumni contributions to the institute and the plans of alumni volunteers over the next couple of years. Last but not the least, the event promises to make you feel nostalgic by reminiscing the good old days of college!
The organizers sincerely welcome all ‘IT-junta’ and their families in the Bay Area to take part in this ‘potpourri’ event, which has V.T/D.G./Limbdi Corner Chai-Samosa, a lunch better than ‘Mochu’s dukaan (for those who will start searching Google Map..it’s at Hyderabad Gate)’ and some ‘Kesav-esque paan’ as some of its other deliverables other than the (in)formal BaatCheet! Please feel free to contact any of the following organizers to know more about the event, air your concerns and suggestions or to act as a volunteer for the event (which does not really take a lot of effort).
The detailed schedule of the event will be available at the aforementioned webpage in a couple of weeks. Mails to available alumni databases will be also sent out shortly. For all others who are not residing in Silicon Valley but have your tech-father/tech-son/anyone-from-the-tech-ancestry in Silicon Valley, please pass on the information. With the blessings of Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviyaji, we hope that this event can be more successful than all prior events in the Valley (and may be on global scale too). We sincerely seek the presence and active participation of our fellow IT junta and their families.
Thanks and regards,
Anirudh Dhurka (ECE 2005) (Phone: 650-644-7381)
Siddharth Gupta (ECE 2005) (Phone: 650-521-2162)
Sudeep Tandon (ECE 2006) (Phone: 650-644-7352)
Jayank Srivastava (Mining 2006) (Phone: 571-594-2998)
Anshul Jaiswal (Meta 1996) (Phone: 510-449-8154)
Ratnanabha Sain (Mining 2005) (Phone: 650-796-8541)
On behalf of Silicon Valley Alumni Chapter
(Chronicle note: Devesh Kapur is chemical 1983 graduate of IT-BHU. Professor Devesh Kapur was appointed Director of the Center for the Advanced Study of India in 2006. He is associate professor of political science at Penn, and holds the Madan Lal Sobti Professorship for the Study of Contemporary India. http://casi.ssc.upenn.edu/about/devesh.html).
Between a love fest and a bureaucratic wall
Posted online: Wednesday, January 09, 2008 at 0000 hrs
At the end of another Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, worries remain. The lack of autonomy of educational institutions continues to be one of the biggest impediments in attracting diasporic philanthropy for higher education
|As the annual ritual of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) concludes, the Indian government’s approach to cultivating overseas Indians needs critical scrutiny. The fact that governments in India — both at the national and state levels — have been making much greater efforts to cultivate overseas Indians is not in doubt. Examples range from a dedicated ministry of overseas Indian affairs (MOIA) to address issues specific to the country’s large diaspora to policy initiatives like the Overseas Citizen of India, insurance schemes for workers going overseas (the Pravasi Bharatiya Bima Yojana), and efforts to address the predicament of deserted Indian women. Not to mention the scores of trips made by chief ministers to engage the diaspora from their states.|
The most obvious channel to tap overseas Indians is alumni contributions to their alma mater. There have been some contributions, notably in the case of IITs. However, even as this effort was gathering pace, the Indian government’s human resource development ministry formed the Bharat Shiksha Kosh in 2003. By centralising all overseas donations for education to the fund, the move effectively denied would-be donors any say in the purposes for which the money was used. Unsurprisingly, individual contributions to IITs dropped dramatically. While the current government reversed the decision, its populist stance on reservations at IITs and IIMs has meant that this government has simply moved from the frying pan to the fire.
In principle, India should have done much better in getting those who got a virtually free education to plough back money into their alma mater. Despite the hype, NRI contributions are modest compared to what the same alumni are giving overseas. Why? In part, we still do not have a well-established philanthropic culture. But more, as long as bureaucrats and ministers have a greater role in the governance of these institutions, alumni will simply stay away.
The lack of autonomy of educational institutions has been one of the biggest impediments in attracting diasporic philanthropy for higher education. Alumni who are prepared to give substantial resources also want to have a say in its use and an institutionalised mechanism to have their voice heard. However, the governance structures of most higher education institutions are so poor that such mechanisms are non-existent. Nearly half of the alumni of AIIMS are overseas but they have balked at contributing since they have little say in the governance of that organisation. The recent intrusiveness of the health ministry in that institution’s governance, exceptional even by Indian standards, has all but put paid to any possibility of alumni contributing to the institution.
A second way to tap overseas Indian talent for improving higher education in India is to leverage them for faculty, a strategy used by Korea and Taiwan earlier and aggressively pursued by China today. However, as per the revised Citizenship Act, “an overseas citizen of India shall not be entitled to the rights conferred on a citizen of India... for appointment to public services and posts in connection with the affairs of the Union or of any state except for appointment in such services and posts as the central government may by special order in that behalf specify.” Given faculty vacancy rates of between a quarter and a third in elite institutions and rampant mediocrity in most other Indian higher education institutions, one might have thought that the strategy would be more welcoming. But that would presume that there is a strategy.
Higher education could also help strengthen links between the second (and later) generations of the Indian diaspora. Many leading universities around the world are creating programmes encouraging their students to spend a semester/year overseas. Many of them, especially undergraduates, want to come to India. But where? Apart from limitations in facilities, most of our worthwhile higher education institutions are exceedingly narrow in their scope, making them much less attractive to overseas students. And as for the others, what are the options? Do we think that overseas Indians of Bengali origin are yearning to spend a year at Calcutta University or of Punjabi origin in Punjab University?
The Indian government has attempted to address these challenges in three ways. One, try and create a ‘PIO/NRI’ university. Two, launch a programme called ‘Collaborative Projects with Scientists & Technologists of Indian Origin Abroad.’ And three, create an India Development Fund (IDF) to channel contributions from NRIs towards philanthropic activities in India in a wide-range of activities. All three initiatives have good intentions. Sadly, they will achieve little.
The ‘PIO/NRI’ university will de facto be a ghetto with little possibility of interaction between the students there and India-based peers. It is unclear if the proposed university would face the all too familiar pressures to conform to the dictates of intrusive regulatory structures of Indian higher education on admissions, fee, salaries and pedagogy. If so, why would anyone come other than those who cannot get admission elsewhere? And if not, why not allow anyone to set up higher education institutions of excellence, which could then attract children of NRIs/PIOs and from India as well?
With regard to the ‘Collaborative Projects with Scientists & Technologists of Indian Origin Abroad’, there have been dozens of similar programmes around the world. All have a very poor record. Collaborative projects are successful when done through professional networks, not with the state as an intermediary to substitute for poor quality. The only meaningful way would be to develop better research universities whose faculty and facilities are good enough to attract collaborators from around the world — but that has been stymied by deeply politicising this critical sector.
According to MOIA Minister Vayalar Ravi, the IDF will ostensibly tap into the yearnings of NRIs “to contribute to improving conditions in their home state... Reputed NGOs will be engaged, and international accounting standards will be applied to the funds.” While overseas Indians do want to contribute to their country of origin, going through the state is about the last option most would consider. With good reason. How many Indians in India would like to contribute to an equivalent fund? Indians, especially the middle-class and economic elites, are deeply distrustful of centralised institutions in general and the state in particular. Even civil society organisations like the American India Foundation and the National Foundation of India have had only modest success despite very good intentions and considerable effort. Diaspora philanthropy has suffered because of the onerous requirements of the FCRA, which makes life difficult for genuine organisations while the less salubrious ones find ways to get around them. And the biggest impediment there is the ministry of home affairs.
The aforementioned initiatives of the MOIA in the realm of philanthropy and Indian higher education underline a harsh reality. The ministry is small and weak. Most major issues — be it education, totalisation agreements (to reduce the social security tax burden on Indians working temporarily abroad), labour exports, diaspora financial flows — are embedded in wider national and international policies of the Indian government. Addressing them requires the engagement of key ministries (external affairs, finance, commerce, home and HRD), which are more powerful compared to the very modest resources of the MOIA. But even more, it requires a strategic vision from the government, one that does not mistake the trees for the forest. Until then we are left with the ‘feel-good’ PBDs.
The writer is director, Centre for the Advanced Study of India, University of Pennsylvania firstname.lastname@example.org
CHINA AND INDIA
Why cooperation matters
By Tarun Khanna
Published: January 15, 2008
There are some telling signs of economic rapprochement between China and India.
During wintry mornings in the Indian city of Gurgaon, home to call centers, offshore software companies and luxury high-rises near New Delhi, dozens of busy Chinese 20- and 30-somethings rush off to work in software companies and manufacturing facilities.
This is extraordinary. There were no Chinese in Gurgaon just a few years ago. As I grew up in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, the only Chinese I met were those who ran (excellent) restaurants. Indians did not use polite terms while referring to the few Chinese in their midst, and Chinese elsewhere reciprocated with disdain. Now Gurgaon's Chinese are part of the local fabric.
A similar scenario is unfolding in China. Scarcely any Chinese treat Indians as unusual in Hangzhou, the center for India's software companies in China. My Indian passport used to provoke a second look by Chinese immigration officials; now it barely registers.
But this is not the first time that Hangzhou, a couple of hours drive from Shanghai, has linked China and India. Sixteen hundred years ago, a monk from India built the Lingyin Si Buddhist temple here. On the walls of the temple today, I recognized a rock inscription of the "Om" symbol, an invocation in many Indian prayers.
These examples of religious and technological exchange, separated by many centuries, illustrate a sometimes forgotten history of Chinese-Indian cooperation. More than 1,500 years ago, a sizeable Buddhist translation bureau was set up in Luoyang in western Henan Province, at the mouth of the Silk Road by the Emperor Yang.
"The mechanics of translation were not easy," says Tansen Sen, a Sinologist in New York. "Translation often involved up to four people. One reciting the Sanskrit texts, one translating, one scribe and then the fourth proofreading. It was very ritualistic, involving big entourages of monks that were housed in monasteries, and survived on patronage, both from merchants and monarchs."
As business patronized the translation bureaus needed to bring Buddhist texts to China, Buddhism lubricated the wheels of commerce. The Chinese-Indian symbiosis was so successful that the Peking University philosopher Professor Hu Shih, speaking at Harvard University's Tercentennary celebrations in 1937, chose as his subject the "Indianization" of China, calling it as massive a case of cultural borrowing, by the Chinese from Indians as the Christianization of Europe.
The Indian prime ministers, P. V. Narasimha Rao and Atal Behari Vajpayee, searching for economic links to China, started their tours in 1993 and 2003 respectively in Luoyang, where Buddhism first arrived from India to China. The Chinese prime minister, Wen Jiabao, and President Hu Jintao, in subsequent visits to India, alluded to centuries of Buddhist interaction then and to software now. So did the governor of Henan Province and the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh. And at the annual conference of India's software industry association next month in Mumbai, numerous Chinese delegations are signed up to be present.
The Chinese in India and the Indians in China represent the beginning of an economic rapprochement that might well offset decades of animus. Admittedly, there is still ample suspicion. And it is true that each country will continue to flex its military muscle as it seeks to protect its borders and indulges in newfound economic confidence - China's blue water navies, India's nuclear weapons. But the main story is the growing entrepreneurship in both countries, and the recognition in both countries that they can help each other develop economically.
Buddhism is, of course, symbolism. But symbols are powerful. It is part of the common language that will continue to improve Chinese-Indian relations. Why else would astute politicians tap into this common vein?
Sino-Indian relations are now based on corporate rather than religious ties. China's telecom equipment giant Huawei, a thorn in Cisco's side, taps into hundreds of software engineers in southern India, and India's Mahindra and Mahindra combines design expertise from Nasik in western India with efficient manufacturing in a plant in Nanchang in China, to ship tractors from Phoenix to Houston to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. India's NIIT runs dozens of software training programs across the length and breadth of China. In the ultimate irony, the state-owned oil and gas enterprises of both countries are learning to cooperate in their search for energy resources around the world, shifting the focus of historically warring countries to economic cooperation.
|The belief that China and India will hurriedly borrow from the West as they accumulate power and influence is erroneous. Much of their borrowing will be from each other, as it was centuries ago. Appreciating this mutual learning is crucial to understanding how these resurgent nations will exert their newfound influence.|
Tarun Khanna is the Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor at Harvard Business School and author of "Billions of Entrepreneurs: How China and India are Reshaping their Futures and Yours."
Preserving a Fundamental Sense: Balance
Published: January 8, 2008
Scott McCredie is a Seattle-based health and science writer who says he “discovered” what he calls “the lost sense” of balance after he watched in horror as his 67-year-old father tumbled off a boulder and disappeared from sight during a hike in the Cascades.
Though his father hurt little more than his pride, Mr. McCredie became intrigued by what might have caused this experienced hiker, an athletic and graceful man, to lose his balance suddenly. His resulting science-and-history-based exploration led to a book, “Balance: In Search of the Lost Sense,” published last June by Little, Brown.
Noting that each year one in three Americans 65 and older falls, and that falls and their sometimes disastrous medical consequences are becoming more common as the population ages, Mr. McCredie wonders why balance is not talked about in fitness circles as often as strength training, aerobics and stretching. He learned that the sense of balance begins to degrade in one’s 20s and that it is downhill — literally and figuratively — from there unless steps are taken to preserve or restore this delicate and critically important ability to maintain equilibrium.
Vertigo, which can be caused by inner ear infections, low blood pressure, brain injuries, certain medications and some chronic diseases, is loss of balance in the extreme. Anyone who has experienced it — even if just from twirling in a circle — knows how disorienting and dangerous it can be. Really, without a sense of balance, just about everything else in life can become an insurmountable obstacle.
One normal consequence of aging is a steady decline in the three main sensory contributors to good balance — vision, proprioceptors on the bottoms of the feet that communicate position information to the brain, and the tiny hairs in the semicircular canals of the inner ear that relay gravity and motion information to the brain. Add to that the loss of muscle strength and flexibility that typically accompany aging and you have a fall waiting to happen.
But while certain declines with age are unavoidable, physical therapists, physiatrists and fitness experts have repeatedly proved that much of the sense of balance can be preserved and even restored through exercises that require no special equipment or training. These exercises are as simple as standing on one foot while brushing your teeth or walking heel-to-toe with one foot directly in front of the other.
Testing for Equilibrium
Marilyn Moffat and Carole B. Lewis, physical therapists in New York and Washington, respectively, agree with Mr. McCredie that “balance is an area of physical fitness that is often overlooked,” but they seek to correct that in their recent book “Age-Defying Fitness” (Peachtree Publishers). They define balance as “the ability of your body to maintain equilibrium when you stand, walk or perform any other daily activity” like putting on pants, walking on uneven ground or reaching for something on a shelf.
Leon N. Cooper, John Bardeen and J. Robert Schrieffer in 1972.
By KENNETH CHANG
Published: January 8, 2008
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Superconductivity, the flow of electricity without resistance, was once as confounding to physicists as it is to everyone else.
|For almost 50 years, the heavyweights of physics brooded over the puzzle. Then, 50 years ago last month, the answer appeared in the journal Physical Review. It was titled, simply, “Theory of Superconductivity.”
“It’s certainly one of the greatest achievements in physics in the second half of the 20th century,” said Malcolm R. Beasley, a professor of applied physics at Stanford.
Superconductivity was discovered in 1911 by a Dutch physicist, Heike Kamerlingh Onnes. He observed that when mercury was cooled to below minus-452 degrees Fahrenheit, about 7 degrees above absolute zero, electrical resistance suddenly disappeared, and mercury was a superconductor.
For physicists, that was astounding, almost like happening upon a real-world perpetual motion machine. Indeed, an electrical current running around a ring of mercury at 7 degrees above absolute zero would, in principle, run forever.
If the phenomenon defied intuition, it also defied explanation.
After wrapping up special and general relativity, Albert Einstein tried, and failed, to devise a theory of superconductivity. Werner Heisenberg, the physicist who came up with the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, struggled with the problem, as did other pioneers of quantum mechanics like Niels Bohr and Wolfgang Pauli. Felix Bloch, another thwarted theorist, jokingly concluded: Every theory of superconductivity can be disproved.
This long list of failure was unknown to Leon N. Cooper. In 1955 he had just received his Ph.D. and was working in a different area of theoretical physics at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton when he met John Bardeen, a physicist who had already won fame for the invention of the transistor.
Bardeen, who had left his transistor research at Bell Labs for the University of Illinois, wanted to recruit Dr. Cooper for his latest grand research endeavor: solving superconductivity.
“I talked to John for a while,” Dr. Cooper recalled at a conference in October, “and he said, ‘You know, it’s a very interesting problem.’ I said, ‘I don’t know much about it.’ He said, ‘I’ll teach you.’
“He omitted to mention,” Dr. Cooper said, “that practically every famous physicist of the 20th century had worked on the problem and failed.”
Bardeen himself had already made two unsuccessful assaults. Dr. Cooper said the omission was fortunate, because “I might have hesitated.”
Dr. Cooper arrived at the University of Illinois in September 1955. In less than two years, he, Bardeen and J. Robert Schrieffer, a graduate student, solved the intractable puzzle. Their answer is now known as B.C.S. theory after the initials of their last names.
Bardeen died in 1991, but Dr. Cooper and Dr. Schrieffer returned to the University of Illinois in October to commemorate the publication of their superconductivity paper.
Their Herculean achievement was honored with the 1972 Nobel Prize in physics, and it deeply influenced theorists who were putting together theories explaining the to and fro of fundamental particles. The theory has also been applied in subjects as far flung as the dynamics of neutron stars.
B.C.S. theory, however, never achieved recognition in popular culture like relativity and quantum mechanics. That may be understandable given the theory’s complexities, applying quantum mechanics to the collective behavior of millions and millions of electrons. “They were very, very difficult calculations,” Dr. Cooper recalled. “They were superdifficult.”
Even for physicists, the 1957 paper was a difficult one to read.
On the first day of the October conference, Vinay Ambegaokar of Cornell held up a small notebook from 1958. The notebook, Dr. Ambegaokar said, “shows I read it, but I did not understand it.” He said that he continued to prefer approaches “with less constant intellectual effort.” (Soviet physicists had come up with a so-called phenomenological theory — equations that described the behavior of superconductors but did not explain what created that behavior.)
Electrical resistance arises because the electrons that carry current bounce off the nuclei of the atoms, like balls in a diminutive pinball machine. The nuclei recoil and vibrate, sapping energy from the electrons.
In a superconductor, electrons seem more like ghosts than particles, passing the nuclei as if they were not there.
Tiny Specks of Misery, Both Vile and Useful
By NATALIE ANGIER
Published: January 8, 2008
I spent New Year’s Eve with friends and family. A couple of days later, my pathologically healthy mother called to say she’d gotten very sick after the party, like nothing she’d experienced before. She thought it had been a stomach bug. Hey, it’s just like in “The Devil Wears Prada,” I said lightly, the perfect way to jump-start your new diet!
Hardy har. By that afternoon, my husband and I had been drafted into the same violent weight-loss program, and for the next 18 hours would treat the mucosal lining of our stomachs like so much pulp in a pumpkin, while our poor daughter ran around scrubbing her hands and every surface in sight as she sought to stay healthy. I am relieved to report that she succeeded, and that her parents lost 10 pounds between them.
The agent of our misery was a virus, very likely a type of norovirus. Named for Norwalk, Ohio, the site of a severe outbreak of vomiting, nausea and diarrhea among schoolchildren in the late 1960s, the norovirus is a small, spherical, highly contagious virus that targets the digestive system. Its sour suite of symptoms is often referred to as “stomach flu,” but norovirus infection is distinct from the flu, which is caused by the influenza virus and targets not the gut but the lungs.
Well, not that distinct. Noroviruses, flu viruses, the rhino and corona viruses that cause the common cold, the herpes virus that causes the cold sore, all are active players in the wheezing ambient pleurisy of January.
As viruses, all of them are, by definition, infectious parasitic agents tiny enough to pass through a microfilter that would trap bacteria and other microbes, tiny enough to fit millions on board a single fleck of spit. All viruses have at their core compact genetic instructions for making more viruses, some of the booklets written in DNA, others in the related nucleic language of RNA. Our cells have the means to read either code, whether they ought to or not. Encasing the terse viral genomes are capsids, protective coats constructed of interlocking protein modules and decorated with some sort of docking device, a pleat of just the right shape to infiltrate a particular cell. Rhinoviruses dock onto receptors projecting from the cells of our nasal passages, while hepatitis viruses are shaped to exploit portholes on liver cells.
Their ergonomic specificity stems from the competition for a niche in a virus-packed world. Viruses very likely arose along with or possibly just before the appearance of the first living cells, nearly four billion years ago, and they have been jimmying cellular locks ever since. “Viruses are found everywhere, in every tree of life,” said Phillip A. Sharp of the Center for Cancer Research at M.I.T., “and every virus has to have a scheme.”
It’s easy to hate viruses for those freeloading schemes: nice trick, forcing me to throw up just so you can get out and mingle. How about if I name an entire class of computer problems after you? Yet viruses can seem almost tragic. Many strains, it turns out, are surprisingly delicate.
“Microbes like the anthrax bacterium can remain dormant in the soil for years” and still retain their power to kill, said Marlene Zuk, author of “Riddled With Life” and a professor of biology at the University of California, Riverside. “But viruses are really fragile, and they can’t survive outside their host for very long.” A few hours, maybe a couple of days left unclaimed on a cup or keyboard, and the average viral spore falls apart.
And they are so nakedly needy. They depend on our cells to manufacture every detail of their offspring, to print up new copies of the core instruction booklets, to fabricate the capsid jackets and to deliver those geometrically tidy newborn virions to fresh host shores. Through us, viruses can transcend mere chemistry and lay claim to biology. Many scientists view viruses, with their lack of autonomous means of metabolism or reproduction, as straddling the border between life and nonlife. But if there is ever a case to be made for the liveliness of viruses, it is when they are replicating and mutating and evolving inside us.
Yet viruses have not only taken; they have also repaid us in ways we are just beginning to tally. “Viral elements are a large part of the genetic material of almost all organisms,” said Dr. Sharp, who won a Nobel Prize for elucidating details of our genetic code. Base for nucleic base, he said, “we humans are well over 50 percent viral.”
Scientists initially dismissed the viral elements in our chromosomes as so much tagalong “junk DNA.” But more recently some researchers have proposed that higher organisms have in fact co-opted viral genes and reworked them into the source code for major biological innovations, according to Luis P. Villarreal, director of the Center for Virus Research at the University of California, Irvine.
Some genes involved in the growth of the mammalian placenta, for example, have a distinctly viral character, as do genes underlying the recombinant powers of our adaptive immune system — precisely the part that helps us fight off viruses.
In fact, it may well have been through taking genomic tips from our viral tormentors that we became so adept at keeping them at bay.
“Our bodies spontaneously recover from viruses more so than overwhelming bacterial infections,” said Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “Viral infections have shaped the nature of the human immune system, and we have adapted to mount a very effective response against most of the viruses that we confront.” Vaccines accentuate this facility, he added, which is why vaccination programs have been most successful in preventing viral diseases.
Should prevention elude you, well, you may at least lose some weight.
November 25, 2007
Integrated Patterns of Civilization
Facts and data are the fundamental building blocks of intelligent thought and action, but in themselves, have little value until first, they are vertically integrated into patterns of useful information, and then second, these patterns of information are further vertically integrated into useful knowledge. Value rises exponentially with each degree of integration, and sometimes -- when accompanied by a bit of experience and intelligence -- a bit of wisdom can result.
Unfortunately, partial integration of limited facts data and information can sometimes be misleading and fail to identify the full significance of a number of important issues. Several issues of great importance currently exist, and integration of the relevant facts involved in each can result in exceedingly positive consequences.
For example, the recent integration of fragmented data from diverse paleontological and archaeological sources has revealed a remarkable interrelationship between reoccurring periods of global warming (none of human origin), and the periodic emergence, and then demise, of many rudimentary forms of civilization. About every 100,000 years, great ice-age ending periods of global warming have made the Earth temporarily more habitable for life. The Earth currently is involved in the most recent of these 100,000-year periods.
However, sedimentation data from the Sargasso Sea now reveal that a subsequent set of shorter term periods of global warming (also not of human origin), have occurred for the first time ever, during just the last 5,000-year era. This is a remarkable phenomenon, which is apparently unique in the earth's history. The result has been that an advanced civilization has finally been allowed to progressively evolve past a rudimentary agrarian stage, to the point where a possibility now exists that the current technology-based culture might even be sustainable through the next ice age, and allow the continued evolution of the human species. It would seem important that this unique civilization not be allowed again to disappear.
However, perpetuation of civilization and the continued evolution of the human species, even through a next ice age, will be dependent upon the elimination of our current capability for massive self destruction. The dangers of weapons-of-mass-destruction are multiplied by the fact that they are readily available to rogue segments of the 80 percent of world populations who live in politically unstable under-developed countries. The accelerated economic development of those countries could be critical for survival of civilization. Fortunately, remarkably successful independent strategies for coping with control of WMDs and for acceleration of economic development are available, and their mutual integration into a coherent strategy for survival, also is feasible.
Global Warming Patterns:
Global warming has recently emerged as a critical societal issue, although it has been periodically recurring for many hundreds of thousands of years. The integration of recently developed data and information from mutually supportive, but very diverse sources in the scientific literature, has unexpectedly resulted in the realization that this phenomenon is perhaps of much greater significance than currently realized. (1) See also here.)
The reason is that an adventitious confluence of circumstances over the last 5,000 years has, for the first time, allowed an advanced form of civilization to emerge on Planet Earth. This might have happened a million years ago (but did not). Integration of data sampled from ice cores in the Antarctic Ice Cap and the Sargasso Sea, from stalagmites, from ocean up-wellings and from the shells of crustaceans, now reveal the unique set of circumstances needed for an advanced civilization to have developed.
Evolution is a fitful process. It has been intermittently accelerated by periodic 100,000-year great ice age-ending warming periods, each of which has also been coincident with enormous surges of carbon dioxide and methane (2) from the ocean waters. (3) These surges, lasting about 15,000 to 25,000 years, are massively greater than those currently generated from fossil fuels. Each of these ice-ending phenomena have temporarily made Earth's life more habitable, allowing rudimentary hunting and gathering civilizations to repetitively appear and disappear.
Currently, the Earth is involved in the latest of these 100,000-year warming periods. But uniquely, over just the last 5,000 years, it also has been involved in a number of shorter 200 to 300-year periods of warming, (also not of human origin). Of even greater importance is the fact that each of these shorter warming periods has been coincident with the rise and decline of a major civilization. Fortuitously, the spacing between these sequential warming periods is of inestimable importance, since advances made in one civilization have not been lost to the next. This set of conditions apparently has never occurred before.
Nano - People's car
10 Jan 2008, 1244 hrs IST
Tata Group chairman, Ratan Tata, poses in the company's new Nano car during its launch at the 9th Auto Expo in New Delhi. The car, a hatchback with a 624cc engine, is priced at about 100,000 rupees ($2,500), half that of the current cheapest car in the market. (Reuters Photo)
When great men meet
11 Jan 2008, 1243 hrs IST
Sir Edmund Hillary with the Dalai Lama at the Auckland City Council. Hillary died at the age of 88 today. (AFP File Photo)
11 Jan 2008, 0937 hrs IST
Sir Edmund Hillary (right) and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay during their first interview after their legendary ascent of the Mount Everest in 1953 in Nepal. Hillary died at the age of 88 today. (Reuters File Photo)
Mt Everest conqueror Sir Edmund Hillary dead
14 Jan 2008, 0032 hrs IST
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao at a meeting in Beijing. (PTI Photo)
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