“It’s not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: what are we busy about?” ~Henry David Thoreau

Recent events have convinced me that I am incapable of maintaining any sort of relationship. Maybe is it because of my fear of commitments (I don’t like people invading my Eigenspace). But whatever the reason, this thought can be somewhat depressing at first but gradually when you realize the unlimited the freedom this gives you, you are empowered to change your life in so many amazing ways!  I thought, “Hell,if I am going to live the remainder of my life (rather, remainder of my twenties) as a nerd, I might as well become the King!

To become a King, one needs a few superpowers. I tried to do a bit soul-searching to figure out what is it that clicks for me! Initially, I thought of reviving my reading habits and interest in English LIterature. I used to be a voracious reader once and used to read at least three books a week. But I found out that I was not really enjoying myself. I constantly kept asking myself if I could be doing something that would actually help me! I did not know what I meant by ‘help’. Next item on the list was ‘Philosophy’. But that did not work out, I don’t have a knack for things what seemed like opinions spun out of thin air! May be I am not mature enough but I have done my share of reading Sartre and Camus and I don’t see any room for debate there. After that, I though of becoming a digital painter but that did not materialize either because I can’t draw. :P This soul searching was beginning to yield a very frightening result : the rumors may be true after the all, the Devil has my soul.

I think I should add that the #1 priority in my life is still Physics (and the relevant Mathematics). I was trying to decide the #2 and #3 spots to compensate for the lack of a social life and utter failure in romantic relationships. Anyway, taking the wise advice given here, I began to think about the things I love. The immediate thought was ‘coding’. Through out my school life, Computer Science was one of the subjects I aced at for eight years straight with almost no effort. I never pursued the subject because I preferred the challenge that Physics had to offer. But recently, Computational Physics is increasingly being identified as the third pillar of Physics, the bridge between the theoretical and the experimental. This is the happy area where Coding meets Physics. It was decided then, this is what I shall do! But it is easier said than done, the thing is, its damn hard to decide on which language you should learn if your are trying to explore areas outside your curriculum. My university follows C, in which I have sufficient competency. I was vaguely familiarly with MATLAB and MATHEMATICA. But the fact that these were proprietary softwares always bugged me. The world will soon be an open place and so I decided to leave these two out.  I briefly thought about SciLab. And since my computer runs Fedora Scientific, I had a huge (huggggeeee) collection of stuff to play with. I kept tinkering with Octave, Maxima and even ROOT. But then I stumbled into Python. Someone once said, “Dude, you better learn Py, America runs on it!” I always though of it as just another programming language but I few things on the Internet convinced me that this is the thing to learn : this is, literally, the next big thing! These two articles fairly illustrate why I got into it : Link 1, Link 2.

Next, I needed a hobby. This was fairly easy to decide. I needed something that would keep my mind sharp and something that I would enjoy! The answer was obvious : Chess. Now, I am a casual chess player. I think of the moves as I play the game and hardly bother to think two or three steps ahead. But the vast literature that is dedicated to this game convinced me that there is more to this game. And I must admit, the whole Carlsen-Anand thing caught my attention too. I thought of becoming better at it and right now I am working my way through ‘Play Winning Chess‘ and ‘Mastering Chess: A Course in 21 Lessons‘.

Given my procrastinating tendencies and overwhelming syllabus (fcuk you, Calcutta University), I may not be able make substantial progress with these two obsessions but I think if will be good way to take ones mind off things which tend to eat us up from inside!So, wish me luck! :D :D

P.S.: I personally think that social networking sites like Facebook are a threat to people who are trying to move on and reshape their lives. Facebook usually becomes a virtual bar where you tend to share your sad stories with random bartenders who don’t give a damn! This is perhaps the umpteenth time I am trying to prevent myself from accessing my Facebook account and I don’t know how long I will be able to keep myself away, but lets keep our finger’s crossed. By the way, if your interested in knowing how I put on the social networking straitjacket, its like this : Usually on Windows I use a few softwares (but I have found several ways to bypass them) and in Linux you can modify the hosts file or use iptables coupled with a few browser add on-s with random passwords (and I meant so random that you don’t remember it). But it’s even simpler to bypass them if your are a superuser. The best way is to ask a family member or a close friend to change your password and primary email (but you can work your way around them if your are lucky). I think the whole thing is about self control (which I have very little, by the way!).

To new Obsessions!

To new Obsessions!

The proverbial (not Schrodinger’s) cat is out of the bag: the Nobel Prize in Physics 2013 has been declared. This year,The Swedish Academy has chosen to honour “Francois Englert and Peter W. Higgs for the theoretical discovery of a mechanism that contributes to our understanding of the origin of mass of subatomic particles, and which recently was confirmed through the discovery of the predicted fundamental particle, by the ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider. But every one is not happy.

As the scientific community celebrates, as small section of the Indian population continues to crib. These self-appointed custodians of India’s scientific heritage are aghast at the treatment that is being shown to the memory of Dr. S. N. Bose who, they claim is the key figure behind the Higgs Boson. The amount of misinformation goes much deeper and this self-righteous anger is having grave negative impacts. Recently, a reputed newspaper carried an article highlighting the fact that India should rejoice because several Indian institutions played crucial role in the ATLAS and CMS experiments at the Large Hadron Collider which was responsible for detecting the “Higgs Boson”. However, the reaction to this article was rather disheartening. The author was admonished for ignoring Dr. Bose and Indians were accused of basking in undeserved glory.

 

In this is short article we shall try to dispel the myth surrounding the formulation of the Higgs mechanism and Dr. Satyen Bose’s role in it and we shall also highlight the contributions of some of the research laboratories associated with discovery, i.e., the actual Indian Connection.
While everyone is correct in guessing that the term Boson is named after Dr. Bose yet that is not sufficient to attach his name to the discovery. Why? It is because of the simple reason that Dr. Bose had almost no role in formulating the Higgs Mechanism. Honestly speaking, one does not need to be aware of the latest development in theoretical or mathematical physics to realize that.

 

The Englert-Brout-Higgs-Guralnik-Hagen-Kibble mechanism (which for brevity is originally referred to as the Higgs Mechanism) is the theory in question. It had effectively removed a major obstacle to constructing a unified theory of weak and electromagnetic interactions and involves a mathematical formalism known as ‘spontaneous symmetry breaking’, an analogy drawn from the BCS Theory of superconductivity.
The mechanism is essentially a relativistic version of one that operates in a superconductor. Now as they were trying to unify weak interactions with electromagnetic interactions they faced a problem. Since the weak interactions are of short range and very weak at low energies, it was clear that if they were mediated by an intermediate vector boson W, it must have a large mass – an apparent problem, since gauge bosons were believed to be by nature massless, like the photon. Some mechanism was required to give mass to the W while leaving the photon massless. The proposed mechanism was the “Higgs mechanism” which required a spin 0 boson: the famous goddamned particle or the Higgs Boson.
Keep in mind that, a vector boson is a boson with the spin quantum number equal to 1. The vector bosons regarded as elementary particles in the Standard Model are the gauge bosons, which are the force carriers of fundamental interactions: the photon of electromagnetism, the W and Z bosons of the weak interaction, and the gluons of the strong interaction. This will prove crucial later on in the discussion.


The ‘Higgs Mechanism’ was developed independently by three groups within a matter of weeks in 1964. First up were (late) Robert Brout and François Englert in Belgium, followed by Peter Higgs in Scotland, and finally Tom Kibble, along with Gerald Guralnik and Carl R. Hagen in London. However, the entire history of the mechanism includes many other names whose name we shall omit for the brevity of space (See the bibliography for links to a much more detailed discussion on the history of the mechanism).
So where and when does Prof. Satyendranath Bose come into the picture? He comes much earlier.Circa 1924, while Dr. Bose was presenting a lecture at the University of Dhaka, (now Bangladesh) on the theory of radiation and the ultraviolet catastrophe, he chose to focus on how the contemporary theories, were inadequate in explaining the spectrum of a blackbody. During this lecture, in which he had intended to show his students that theory predicted results not in accordance with experimental results, Dr. Bose made an embarrassing statistical error which gave a prediction that agreed with observations, a contradiction. We shall briefly highlight the main conclusion drawn from the lecture by using an analogy of flipping coins.

What are the possibilities of flipping two coins? Two heads/Two tails/One of each. But aren’t the coins distinct? Since the coins are distinct, there are two outcomes which produce a head and a tail. The probability of two heads is one-fourth, not one-third. The arguments given by Dr. Bose on the topic were similar to arguing that flipping two fair coins will produce two heads one-third of the time. The error was a simple mistake that would appear obviously wrong to anyone with a basic understanding of statistics. However, it produced correct results, and Dr. Bose realized it might not be a mistake at all.

 

The reason Dr. Bose produced accurate results was that since photons are indistinguishable from each other; one cannot treat any two photons having equal energy as being two distinct identifiable photons. By analogy, if in an alternate universe coins were to behave like photons and other bosons, the probability of producing two heads would indeed be one-third , and so is the probability of getting a head and a tail which equals one-half for the conventional (classical, distinguishable) coins. Dr. Bose’s “error” led to what is now called Bose–Einstein statistics.

 

Initially his paper, titled, “Planck’s Law and the Hypothesis of Light Quanta“, was rejected by the Philosophical Magazine. It was their contention that he had presented to them a simple mistake, and Bose’s findings were ignored. He wrote to Albert Einstein, who immediately agreed with him and loved the idea. Prof. Bose and Prof. Saha had earlier translated Einstein’s paper on General Relativity from German to English and on Dr. Bose’s request, Einstein himself translated Dr. Bose’s seminal paper and ensure that it was published in Zeitschrift für Physik.

 

Einstein adopted the idea and extended it to atoms. This led to the prediction of the existence of phenomena which became known as Bose–Einstein condensate, a dense collection of bosons (which are particles with integer spin, named after Bose), which was demonstrated to exist by experiment in 1995.

This was the basis for the Bose Einstein statistics. Now, the Bose–Einstein statistics apply only to those particles not limited to single occupancy of the same state—that is, particles that do not obey the Pauli’s Exclusion Principle restrictions. Such particles have integer values of spin and are named bosons, after the statistics that correctly describe their behaviour.

Now how does the two add up? You may recall that the vector boson W has spin 1 and the Higgs boson had spin 0, i.e.,integral spin and hence is  called a boson. While Higgs et all put forward their mechanism, Satyendra Nath Bose was continuing into retirement and was occupying a chair in the University of Dhaka. (He finally died in 1974). Thus the works of Bose and Higgs and his colleagues were all  on different topics at different point in time, beautifully connected by the rules of mathematics.

 

So, we have a whole class of particles named after an Indian scientist. Every school children know about a boson; no, not the Higgs but the Photon. One does not hear people grumbling that the Photon is not called something like the Photo Boson or the fact that Tata Photon dongles do not acknowledge S. N. Bose’s “great contribution”. But, I digress.
Well, this is perhaps just a reflection of our post-colonial mentality. Indians may feel that Dr Bose do not get sufficient attention in the international arena but it is not so.The Nobel Prize in Physics 2001 was awarded jointly to Eric A. Cornell, Wolfgang Ketterle and Carl E. Wieman “for the achievement of Bose-Einstein condensation in dilute gases of alkali atoms, and for early fundamental studies of the properties of the condensates”. In the Nobel Lectures/Speeches, Bose was fully acknowledged.

 

It is also interesting to note that it was one of the Gods of the quantum pantheon, Paul Dirac who named the particles Boson (and not something like “Einsteinion” or so). Though it is an entirely different issue as to why Bose was not given a Nobel during his lifetime but attaching a great name to one of the biggest discovery in particle physics just out of sentimental reasons should not be encouraged. The media should also be reprimanded for sensationalizing news items.
SINP (Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics) at night!

SINP (Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics) at night!

We, as Indians, should take more pride in the fact that Bose had made contribution in one of the most fundamental areas of Physics, having a whole class of particles named after him. Scientists themselves do not seek credit and we are pretty sure they would not like their names to attach to the wrong place! But our cause for celebration does not end here. We, as Indian, did have a role in the ‘discovery of the Higgs Boson.’ The physicists working at various research laboratories across the country had worked in the design of the detectors and also in analysing the data.

 

Scientists at Kolkata’s Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics (SINP) and Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre (VECC) played a big role in the successful CERN experiment than we have been given to understand. They had a contribution in setting up two major detectors at the LHC tunnel – the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) and the ALICE.

 

A chip that played a vital role in providing clues about the immediate aftermath of the simulated Big Bang therby helping the experimentalists detect the boson was designed at Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics.

A MANAS chip-set! Image courtesy: http://www.saha.ac.in/ehp/www/manas.html

A MANAS chip-set! Image courtesy: http://www.saha.ac.in/ehp/www/manas.html

 

In the LHC, within microseconds of the high-energy proton beams striking each other, the MANAS chips or the Multiplex Analog Signal Processor recorded the exact time, location and duration of each collision. It measured the charge generated at each collision point and converted them into voltage to measure the charge. MANAS records the time, positional coordinates of the collisions and the quantum of energy produced. This information aided the experiment and was stored in the chip. Scientists later accessed the data and analysed them to arrive at conclusions. The MANAS chips were conceived and created by Swapan Sen and Sandeep Sarkar of SINP. Each of the 80,000 chips used were mounted on muon detectors – that have been designed at SINP as well. The two-member team has been working on the chip for 11 years, the first prototype of which was developed in 1997.

 

Also part of this grand experiment was Hyderabad-based public sector undertaking, Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL). For the Large Hadrons Collider (LHC), CERN, Geneva, ECIL supplied 70 nos. of Breaker Control Modules, 5500 nos. of Quench Heater Power supplies and 1450 nos. of Quench discharge Local Protection Units. These systems play an important role in LHC operation like Energy Extraction in Quench protection (with a breaking capacity of 13 kA) and quenches the superconducting magnets in case of magnet malfunction. ECIL also contributed in terms of Installation & Commissioning these systems through supply of Human resources. (Source, The Times of India)
The Times of India article goes on to state that: “While India did not contribute money, it provided expertise and also manpower that was said to have been valued at 34 million Swiss Francs, according to the Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology (RRCAT), Indore which was designated as the main laboratory for the purpose of coordinating with CERN. The Indian contribution was supply of equipment, components and devices which were designed and developed by Indian laboratories and agencies, according to RRCAT.

 

The major contributions to the LHC include 50,000 litres Liquid Nitrogen tanks,superconducting corrector magnets including Sextpole (MCS) and Decapole and Octupole (MCDO), Precision Magnet Positioning System (PMPS) Jacks, Quench Heater Protection Systems (QHPS), Integration of QHPS units into racks, Control electronics for circuit breakers of energy extraction system, Local Protection Units (LPU), SC Dipole magnet tests/measurements, expert support, LHC Hardware commissioning of cryogenics, power converters, protection systems, controls,Data management software upgrade, data analysis software/documentation projects, development of JMT-II software, Software development – slow control of industrial systems of LHC, design and calculations for vacuum system for beam dump line and analysis of cryo-liner jumper and magnet connections.”
But it does not end here. We quote a portion of an article that appeared in journal of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Resonance, by Prof Gagan B Mohanty, TIFR: The most eye-catching contribution here has been the precision magnet positioning stands. All together 7080 of them, they precisely hold the LHC magnets leading to the phrase “The LHC sits on the Indian shoulders”. On the experimental front, eight Indian groups, led by TIFR, Mumbai, have taken – and continue to do so – an important role within the Collaboration. Starting from the detector building, reconstruction softwares to physics data analysis, the India-CMS consortium has made its presence felt in a significant way within a 3000+ strong international collaboration. 

 

The TIFR group along with Punjab University,Chandigarh has made a substantial contribution in the design and construction of the hadron calorimeter (a detector component that helps in identifying the Higgs decay channels characterized by hadronic jets or missing neutrinos). A joint effort of BARC and Delhi University together with the Bharat Electronics Limited, Bangalore has led to the development of silicon milli-strip detectors (preshower) that are placed in front of the electromagnetic calorimeter. The primary goal for these detectors is to help in discriminating single photons (e.g , the ones coming from the Higgs decay) from two overlapping photons of a pi 0 decay. TIFR is also hosting a large data storage and computing centre – one of the 50 such centres operating worldwide. Looking to the future,the Indian groups are pulling their resources together to actively take part in the planned upgrades of the CMS detector.
In conclusion, the truth of the whole incident is much more than what meets the eye. As Indians, we should take pride in knowing that it was Dr. Satyendranath Bose who gave a theory that control half of the members of the sub –atomic parlour and at the same time we should rejoice that Indian scientists continue to be in the forefront of cutting-edge science. We do have a reason to celebrate but let us just ensure that we do so for the right reasons.

Bibliography and Suggested Reading

  • Discovery of a Boson at CERN and Indian Connections, Gagan B. Mohanty,TIFR: http://bit.ly/GNAp8A
  • India has reason to celebrate with Higgs and Englert winning Nobel prize for physics; The Times of India: http://bit.ly/15kSEuw
  • Kolkata role in CERN test not highlighted enough: Scientists, The Times of India: http://bit.ly/19Al5Ch
  • A working (mathematical) understanding of the Higgs Mechanism can be found in this link. It has been explained using semi classical arguments mimicking the basic field theory concepts, assuming the validity of a symmetry principle in the expression of the energy of particles in a classical field: http://bit.ly/Mh4U1t
  • On The Higgs Mechanism (for laymen): http://bit.ly/WZWaY
  • On the Electroweak Unification and The Higgs (for laymen): http://bit.ly/1an55FQ
  • More about vector bosons: http://bit.ly/5Gs6S1
  • Even more about the W Boson: http://bit.ly/1g0g67o
  • Technical Article on Englert-Brout-Higgs-Guralnik-Hagen-Kibble mechanism (history): http://bit.ly/ximVIb
  • Technical article on Englert-Brout-Higgs-Guralnik-Hagen-Kibble mechanism: http://bit.ly/fOkhw2
  • Rants of people and Phys.org, it couldn’t have been better than this: http://bit.ly/Mea26H
  • An article on Dr Satyendranath Bose and his statistics from Dr Lubos Molts’ blog: http://bit.ly/GNBrl4
  • Related Wikipedia Articles on:
  1. Vector Boson: http://bit.ly/GH06qO
  2. Bose–Einstein statistics: http://bit.ly/qhKKmW
  3. W and Z bosons: http://bit.ly/7dTern
  4. Spin Statistics Theorems: http://bit.ly/cJRGlZ

Is no one inspired by our present picture of the universe? This value of science remains unsung by singers, you are reduced to hearing not a song or poem, but an evening lecture about it. This is not yet a scientific age.

-Dr. Richard Feynman

The grass has withered and now rust covers the soil.
The sun glows with the might of ‘a thousand suns’ :
Yet, no one is around to witness his fiery majesty
For the human race had perished not long ago:
Along with what remained of nature’s bounty!

The Earth has bore humanity’s stupor long enough
And peace is finally upon her; only the roaches live
Burrowed deep inside her womb and shall remain so
Till the end, witnessing her fiery demise as she plummets
Into the sun and is erased from the cosmic tapestry.

But such a fate is not for Gaia alone, the Gods too fell:
As Apollo raged, Mercury’s luck ran out and Venus too
Bore the burnt ; Zeus and Poseidon too shall fall!
Prometheus’s gift of fire, it seems, shall consume
The last traces of man’s great empire!

The cynic can’t help but say that mankind could have
Averted his end were he not busy with tasks trivial.
He argued over which Gods to worship and played
With bits of paper that now stands devalued .
He raped his mother but condemning the act.
The hypocrites choked Science and killed Progress
And turned a dead ear when the wise spoke!

Had we been more wise! Had we listened to the tale-tell signs
Perhaps, a new age of Enlightenment would have dawned!
We could have conquered distant galaxies and solar systems
Not unlike the great Alexander or Timurlane of our bygone past!

But it is too late to contemplate now for we are no longer here!
Our proud legacy now lies in ruins, just like Ozymandias’ empire.
And Apollo is here to purge the universe of our vile trace.
We can only hope that if life has flourised elsewhere,
They do not repeat our failures and mistakes.
Our gift of existence has been squandered and we are only to blame

1235538_434202520029840_960096745_n

Keeping my tasteless free verse poetry aside, if what I have written makes no sense what so ever to you and feel that the title has no relation with the poem then, CONGRATULATIONS, YOU ARE EVERYTHING THAT IS WRONG WITH THE WORLD. You lack basic scientific awareness and you should probably

read this

http://www.universetoday.com/12648/will-earth-survive-when-the-sun-becomes-a-red-giant/

and this

http://www.space.com/7084-life-earth-escape-swelling-sun.html

It’s that time again when I am going force some written lines which I like to call poetry upon you. But before that let me  warn inform you that : Most of friends have labelled me to be a failure when it comes to poetry.Okay I accept that my poems seldom rhyme. But I feel that if one forces to make one line rhyme with another then the actual beauty of the piece gets spoiled and  there is no law that says poems should rhyme , that against artistic freedom I think! So, I prefer to write in free verse; just to preserve the spontaneity. The following piece is one of my oldest compositions, I wrote it two years back one a cold December night. A very unfortunate incident which are an unfortunate part of growing up( read: heartache and headache) made me write this.
It may seem immature at parts but please bear with it. Thank you!  

Why, Love, do you lie so low,
Beneath the shade of some forlorn
Withering tree? I see you lying
Motionless, numb to the world of the living;
Your soft white flesh, besmeared
With blood-still fresh and scarlet!
You are in pain and I am able to comprehend
Your agony. You are dying-
A slow agonizing death. As twilight’s
Mellow light falls on your countenance,
It shines with a deadly white pallor; a hue
Contrasted by the crimson blood flowing
From your numerous unhealed scars.
You have been raped: raped of your
Innocence. You lie, twisting in pain yet,
For all these turmoil, only you can be blamed!
Your wings are brutally maimed and your face is
Mutilated. Blood soaked white feathers flutter about!
Your scars confirm your unfortunate end.
Indeed, you were tossed and turned and turned around,
And brutally hurled back to the ground.

As I come closer, I realize that the warmth
Which I earlier felt in your presence has disappeared.
Instead an icy chill has taken has taken its place.
As I see my own reflection in your blood’s
Scarlet pool, I find my face, too, is scared-just like yours is.
My hands are also soaked in blood and I realize that I’m bleeding.
Perplexed, I look at your carrion figure.

And, as if only to answer my confusion, you raise your
Feeble head. Though scared and bloody, your grotesque face
Still has the remnants of your past charm and radiance. But,
Pain overwhelms you and contorts your beauty.
You part your lips, overcoming your agony. I see that you
Try to speak but your throat is choked with pain.
But, I hear a feeble whisper, carried by the idle wind.
I hear you whisper,” After all, Pain is Love without
Her wings.”

Dark_Angel_Wallpapers_65 (darkwallz.blogspot.com)

Tried to write something after quite sometime but guess what, I am still not an ounce good. But you know how it is with poets and poetry : self expression and appreciation is what helps to keep the sanity intact..

The impostor syndrome, sometimes called impostor phenomenon or fraud syndrome, is a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments. Despite external evidence of their competence, those with the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be.

                                                                             -Wikipedia.

I have tried to abandon the world that I
Thought did not believe in me.
Tired of their mocking, I tried to seek out
A place to hide ; I hid inside my head.
Discarding the joys as senseless poetry,
I built my house using the “hard hammer of prose”.
But alas! A failed workman I am; For I built
A castle among the clouds standing upon
Pillars of sand on a turbulent sea shore!
Soon enough, the tides came in,
And the neutral water ate in the foundations of
My world like vitriol,
And my castle fell , I was without a home!

I now live in a world that is make believe,

A world that refuses to exist, for it is losing its meaning.
The world that I had abandoned not long back has closed its
Doors for me but allows me to observe happenings through
A glass window, tempting me to break in!
But it is not worth the effort, for I fear I am no longer wanted.
No hands reach out to me anymore for
I had rebuked their earlier overtures.
So, for now, I fear that I am an outcast;
Who must serve the whims of this cruel fantasy.
Till my back snaps and I fall under the weight of my regrets,
I must smile for these are  really trivial things.
Nothing more than empty musing,
These banal thoughts can wait as
Poetry never cures anything.
-Forever and Always
Subhodeep (Noir) Sarkar
Oct 26th, 2012
59842_518771491484172_583478373_n

I am generally described as sly, selfish and fiercely competitive. But that is a misconception. I am not trying to out do anyone except myself. I don’t keep my books in secret nor do I hide the fact that I dabble in mathematics that is “not required”. I have never pulled anyone down neither by coercion nor by misleading them. In fact, I remember sharing my entire ebook collection (a whooping 5.6 Gigs of Physics books with anyone who is interested.)

Why am I saying this on such a lovely day? Well, my friends will say I am frustrated. Yes I am, I am tired of impressing people with “gyan” only to disappoint them with my answer to their question ” Ekhon porcho kothaye?” (Where are you studying currently).
Sometimes I feel people think I am wasting my life studying Physics when I could have topped some random engineering college and earned a fat pay cheque. Others feel I am wasting my life in a college where students kill each other over CPM-TMC.

You know, I have always been driven by a desire to prove people wrong. Yes, I love being right, I love being outspoken. If anything, I will make something out myself just to prove that something can come out of  what they consider to be a ‘crap’ college.

I will prove each and every motherfucker wrong.

 

Stewie-stewie-griffin-684195_1024_768

This article/write up was initially published in my old blog which can be found here.

This is one of earliest article and has hardly any original content and hence my apologies are due.

CMB-R

The Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMB), conclusive proof of the Big Bang, was termed by some scientist as “The Face of God”, perhaps taking a cue from Einstein’s famous “mind of God” phrase. Some scientists actually cried after seeing this “beautiful” image ( that comes from Michio Kaku).

During the first few days of the Universe, the Universe was in full thermal equilibrium, with photons being continually emitted and absorbed, giving the radiation a blackbody spectrum. As the Universe expanded, it cooled to a temperature at which photons could no longer be created or destroyed. The temperature was still high enough for electrons and nuclei to remain unbound, however, and photons were constantly “reflected” from these free electrons through a process called Thomson scattering. Because of this repeated scattering, the early Universe was opaque to light.

When the temperature fell to a few thousand Kelvin, electrons and nuclei began to combine to form atoms, a process known as recombination. Since photons scatter infrequently from neutral atoms, radiation decoupled from matter when nearly all the electrons had recombined, at the epoch of last scattering, 379,000 years after the Big Bang. These photons make up the CMB that is observed today, and the observed pattern of fluctuations in the CMB is a direct picture of the Universe at this early epoch.

-Wikipedia
But they story about it’s discovery is rather entertaining and also leaves many people disillusioned.

Here is an excerpt from A Short history of Nearly Everything (an extremely delightful book!)

There is of course a great deal we don’t know, and much of what we think we know we haven’t known, or thought we’ve known, for long. Even the notion of the Big Bang is quite a recent one. The idea had been kicking around since the 1920s, when Georges Lemaître, a
Belgian priest-scholar, first tentatively proposed it, but it didn’t really become an active notion in cosmology until the mid-1960s when two young radio astronomers made an extraordinary and inadvertent discovery.

Their names were Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson. In 1965, they were trying to make use of a large communications antenna owned by Bell Laboratories at Holmdel, New Jersey, but they were troubled by a persistent background noise—a steady, steamy hiss that made any
experimental work impossible. The noise was unrelenting and unfocused. It came from every point in the sky, day and night, through every season. For a year the young astronomers did
everything they could think of to track down and eliminate the noise. They tested every electrical system. They rebuilt instruments, checked circuits, wiggled wires, dusted plugs.

They climbed into the dish and placed duct tape over every seam and rivet. They climbed back into the dish with brooms and scrubbing brushes and carefully swept it clean of what they referred to in a later paper as “white dielectric material,” or what is known more
commonly as bird shit. Nothing they tried worked.

Unknown to them, just thirty miles away at Princeton University, a team of scientists led by Robert Dicke was working on how to find the very thing they were trying so diligently to get rid of. The Princeton researchers were pursuing an idea that had been suggested in the 1940s by the Russian-born astrophysicist George Gamow that if you looked deep enough into space you should find some cosmic background radiation left over from the Big Bang. Gamow
calculated that by the time it crossed the vastness of the cosmos, the radiation would reach Earth in the form of microwaves In a more recent paper he had even suggested an instrument that might do the job: the Bell antenna at Holmdel. Unfortunately, neither Penzias and
Wilson, nor any of the Princeton team, had read Gamow’s paper.

The noise that Penzias and Wilson were hearing was, of course, the noise that Gamow had postulated. They had found the edge of the universe, or at least the visible part of it, 90 billion trillion miles away. They were “seeing” the first photons—the most ancient light in the
universe—though time and distance had converted them to microwaves, just as Gamow had predicted.

Still unaware of what caused the noise, Wilson and Penzias phoned Dicke at Princeton and described their problem to him in the hope that he might suggest a solution. Dicke realized at once what the two young men had found. “Well, boys, we’ve just been scooped,” he told his colleagues as he hung up the phone.

Soon afterward the Astrophysical Journal published two articles: one by Penzias and Wilson describing their experience with the hiss, the other by Dicke’s team explaining its nature.

Although Penzias and Wilson had not been looking for cosmic background radiation, didn’t know what it was when they had found it, and hadn’t described or interpreted its character in any paper, they received the 1978 Nobel Prize in physics.

The Princeton researchers got only sympathy. According to Dennis Overbye in Lonely Hearts of the Cosmos , neither Penzias nor Wilson altogether understood the significance of what they had found
until they read about it in the New York Times .

This is most probably one of my most favorite anecdotes of all time and it really makes me wonder about the relative value that one should attach to fame, recognition and satisfaction. I feel bad for Prof Dickie.

You can read a more hilarious and cynical attitude about this at Cracked.com ( see #4. Two Guys Win the Nobel Prize in Physics for an Accident)

The Wikipedia article can be found here

 

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