Thursday, August 27, 2009

Science Article & Random Thoughts (June, July, August 2009)

An Article in Science on Iridescent Beetles

In a career of a scientist, a publication in Science represents an important pedestal. In my case, a long and fruitful journey, a friendship and comradeship with my friend Matija, a celebration of methods of my advisor Mohan, and a long career as student finally led to a paper that has launched me onto that pedestal. I can take additional pride in the fact that I might be among a very few people in the world who have published both in Science as scientist and in Poetry as a writer. (I had a letter published in Poetry, as my first publication in a print journal, but elusive poem in that journal remains an yet unfulfilled dream).

"Structural origin of circularly polarized iridescence in Jeweled Beetles,” V. Sharma, M. Crne, J. O. Park and M. Srinivasarao, Science, 329, 445 (2009)                  

(Press coverage in BBC News, NSF website, Science Daily, Physics World, US News, NBC News, Mumbai Mirror, Yahoo News, Chemical & Engineering New (C&EN) among many others. The NSF website has a nice video file explaining the key ideas and importance of the work.)


George Orwell

"All writers are vain, selfish, and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives there lies a mystery. Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand." George Orwell, "Why I write", in A Collection of Essays.

The essays by Orwell are at least as interesting as his novels. Be it piece about Gandhiji or Dickens or about Tolstoy's despise for Shakespeare (Yes! Leo Tolstoy thought Shakespeare was an average writer), Shooting an Elephant as a parable of what imperialism did to people, or politics and literature, his essays present ideas worth reading about and thinking about.


Main tainu phir milangi 

One of the last poems by Amrita Pritam (recited by Gulzar). I get goosebumps every time I hear it. Her verses have that extra edge to them, where a reader or listener are forced into an extreme rapture or sadness: The translation for Amrita Pritam's poem (and several other verses) exists at but original has the edge, untranslatable edge. Dard!

VS Naipaul

To prize Naipaul is to prize the ruthless ambition and honesty he brings to English Literature. To read his books is to uncover the truths & ugliness that we could have left alone. To know about him as a man, requires a judgment, that is brutal &...forgiving at the same time. Also read "House for Mr. Biswas" & "Letters between a Father and Son." & Gasp!


Dushyant Kumar

"kaise aakash mein soorakh nahin ho sakta/ ek pathar to tabiyat se uchhaalo yaaro" - Dushyant Kumar (Transliteration: Who says the sky cannot be pierced/ with conviction throw one stone, o friends)

The sher or couplet is from a collection of Ghazals by Dushyant Kumar, from his last collection of poems called Saaye Mein Dhoop.  These are some of the best poems I have ever read in my life so far, and I think I have explored a reasonably large number of poems.


Personal News

On personal front, my sister's wedding in June was another important milestone. I am all set to be married in February next year. The publication of my book of poems is a little delayed, but it is in the works. Meanwhile I have entered the  fourth decade of my life, (I guess it sounds better if you say that you have entered your thirties). A new set of experiences and challenges await me again, and I have begun trekking towards another mountain, in search of another scenic journey.

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