Monday, 31 August 2015

Getting it right

Last month there was this news item that GVK Biosciences has been accused of faking some clinical trials. It is alleged that the exit ECG reports of some people undergoing the trials were not genuine.
Hyderabad is a Pharma hub with many companies undertaking contract research in clinical trials, drug development etc.
The people working in these would be those who have a BSc, MSc or BPharm, MPharm.
The problem is that all these degrees are awarded based on exams which give the highest marks to the one with exactly the "right" answer. They are all trained to get the right answer, not to do the experiment right. Such people cannot record a result that is not as per expectation. They would be compelled to alter it to fit the expected answer. That is the  culture of experimentation all around.

In fact, in the school I volunteer at, when I conducted the science fair, there was this girl, very keen on doing some experiment, but not really up to it. So I gave a simple task.I asked her to keep 2 slices of bread, one in a dry place and another in a damp corner inside the house. I asked her to observe changes for a week and report. On the day of the science fair, she came empty handed, saying her bread was eaten by rats. One of the teachers got a fresh slice of bread, moistened it and dotted it with green felt pen ink and asked her to exhibit that.
I was very annoyed to see the "exhibit" and made her put it away, and told her to just explain the procedure and describe what she saw till whenever the disaster occurred.

In my IIX days, I had this friend whose Prof told her class that her physical chem record was the best. We pulled her leg and asked her to show us this magnificent record. Her reaction kinetics experiment had burette readings taken at intervals of 0.5 sec! She said her result had not been what it should have been and she had altered the values on the x axis to obtain the straight line. The x axis was time and it turned out  that the best fit occurred if the readings were 0.5 sec apart and she did not stop to think how she could have filled a burette and titrated in 0.5 sec.
The point of these stories is, experimental manipulations are a matter of course. No one thinks it is not to be done. If you did not get the result you expected, of course you make it up. That is what is done.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Why is there is no such thing as the Indian Institute of Humanities? Why is there no university department on Indian studies?

Monday, 3 August 2015

a hoarding

This hoarding advertised a school in Hyderabad some years ago and I had written down the words at that time. I came across it just now-

This is a verbatim reproduction of a hoarding advertising Oakridge School. I saw this huge hoarding beside a flyover, a few days back, but waited till I could get the exact words. Today I passed by this place again and noted the exact words, believe me.

"16 Nobel Laureates now faculty to Oakridgers at Stanford."

Can you believe it?

I watch this TV show called Blue Bloods. It is about a family of New York Police Department officers. The show is fictional and makes all ...