Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Bioscience again

In theory, the future of bioscience in India, is rosy.
We have a Genome Valley in Hyderabad, which is a biotech cluster. We have R&D in pharma companies like Dr Reddys. We have contract research organisations, clinical research institutes.........
But our college that offers 4 BSc courses in bioscience stream, has very few students ,though compared to other colleges, we are much better off. Many colleges in Hyderabad have closed down their BSc bioscience courses. Our 2006 intake was 185 students and our 2010 intake was 35. Last year saw an upward trend again to 65. I hope this year we get 100 students admitted.
However, the quality of students is not what it was 10 or 15 years ago.
In the XII/ Intermediate, very few students take up biology. Here, it is still considered a choice for the not so bright person(can't do math type).
I don't know if the situation is similar in other places ( I think it is if you see the cut offs in DU), but there is not much hope of the best minds getting into biology or biotechnology.
Secondly, biology has become much more quantitative in recent years. So the logic " you can't do math, so take up bio" does not hold up anymore.
So where are you going to get the people to carry this great leap forward in Indian biosciences?
I hope the IISERs do the needful.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012


Future of Indian bioscience


A few days back the Math lecturer in my college was telling me about her experience in trying to show the larger picture during one of her math lectures. She gave some analogies, brought in other stuff. End of the year, a student told her "you just talk, you don't teach any math"

My experience with analogies is similar. During a lecture on adsorption, I mentioned that this was one way heterogenous catalysts work...a molecule fixed on a solid.....etc. an analogy just struck me and I said "If you go to pick your friend up at the railway station, he gets down from the train and starts looking for you--you reach the platform and wander around looking for him, it will be a looong time before you meet up. Instead, if he gets down and stands still, you just walk to the platform and find him in a few minutes."
The term exam question on adsorption got me answers all about railway stations. I swore NEVER to use analogies again.

Monday, 23 April 2012


We Indians lack self confidence...I don't meant he constant looking westward for endorsement of our lives, but on an individual level. It is this that makes us belligerent when someone puts forth a counter argument to our own precious views. .... I see myself doing it often and I see it in others very often. Arguments are always personal. Most of us cannot argue dispassionately.
Perhaps this is what makes it difficult for us to be world class in certain areas. Maybe a forceful person makes a good business leader, or a good army commander, but a person unable to appreciate contra views makes a poor thinker.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Why me?

I got this in my Inbox.
Why me? In what way is my qualification (how do they know what it is?) 'suitable' for me to receive this mail?
Do the analytics used by Yahoo tell them that my mail id shows that I am not averse to a bit of fraud here or a bit of con there?
Also why don't they employ someone to edit these and check the grammar?

Hello Hse_agt
You have a perfect qualification but there is no university diploma?
Interesting and highly paid job to approach the dream. We will confirm your professional status. You want the fast and effective decision, we will help you.
well, quickly and Cofidentiality assured! Bachelors, Masters, MBA and /or Doctorate (PhD) .
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Sunday, 8 April 2012

My mother's blog.

My mother could have been a concert-level musician if she had not been forced by circumstances to stop training. However, she knows a lot about Tamil Bhakti music... Devaaram and Divyaprabandham. So I tried to set up a blog for her. The problem is she doesn't live here and I need to download the Tamil font for her. Now I have roped in my brother (she lives with him) and hopefully it will get done soon.

Friday, 6 April 2012

A repost

I got this invite to be a research guide out of the blue.
I resigned my post doc in 1983 and have not done any research since. So how did they pick me to be a guide?
If I had accepted their offer, I may have been richer by a fairly good sum. Some student(s) would have got a PhD under my "guidance". Those students would all be getting their UGC scales.
Not just that, my college would have been proud of me and I would have been on our college honours list next Sept 5th. Another benefit would have been that this fact would have been good for a few points in the Self Study Report that we just submitted to the NAAC.

In view of so many benefits, I wonder why I did not reply to that email.

Monday, 2 April 2012


The rush to somehow beg, borrow or buy a PhD is something I have been lamenting about in my blog. This is a fallout of the requirement by the UGC for a PhD if one wants one's scale etc. This is the driver of this gold rush. An article , thanks to Vishwesha Guttal

Sunday, 1 April 2012

a talk

A talk to listen to for various reasons-
One point that I would like to quote here is that very often we don't understand dynamics of complex systems, but still confidently predict outcomes in such systems. He points this out with slum clearance and relocation but I this is what I mean to point out about Bt crops.

just thoughts..

There are many things that need to be improved in the Indian Army as in all other institutions. Many concessions given to make life in remote cantonments comfortable, can be misused. As in any other section of society, there are many bad elements...those who embezzle, who steal diesel, misuse facilities. There are those who overstep their brief when dealing with people in disturbed areas, acts of human rights violation....
But there are also many who work hard. Jawans who work non stop, for years. The amount of physical work they are capable of is amazing. They leave their families behind and sometimes,
do not get to see their new born babies till the baby is walking and talking . They cannot question orders. "theirs not to reason why, theirs but to do and die".
If you meet an infantryman, jawan or officer, after the 1 month exercise ( annual training session) in the Thar desert, you would mistake him for a person just out of some hospital.
In the Thar, they brave the heat, the ubiquitous dust, snakes and scorpions.
Then there is the posting in the high altitudes. The 4 months of snow when you see nothing but white stretches, living in those temporary accomodation. The cold--the altitude sickness....
They get pay and allowances which do not go very far. The other ranks, retire when they are 40 or 45 years old,when their children are not yet settled. Their pensions are smaller still.
While the Army should introspect and weed out the rogue elements, the rest of the armed forces, must be given a better deal.

When I was a child, festivals were fun. They were about good food, perhaps new clothes, some token praying (from the kids' point of vie...