Sunday, January 9, 2011

IPL auction

Will IPL affect Indian cricket? I certainly think so. Because of IPL, a larger pool of players will benefit both monetarily as well as get exposure with the top cricketers around the world. But it is also influencing it in a bad way. Players like Ishant and Irfan seem to have lost their interest in playing test cricket after their millions in IPL. Now, Robin Uthappa gets above 2 million dollars, while technically correct players like Dravid and Laxman get picked up for 25% of this amount. If this is due to the latter's age, then even young players like Vijay and Pujara get paid much lower than this because they can not score at a maniac rate. I believe that the current test series in South Africa was drawn because of two main players: Laxman and Sachin. These players came through the ranks when money in dollars was not the prime criteria for performance or working hard to perform well.

Good cricketers, like researchers, should be nurtured and are unlikely to perform if money is the only primary criteria and if the atmosphere is completely commercial. This is one of the reasons why the top private Indian universities do not attract the top Indian researchers despite the 3x salaries.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Autobiography of an unusual chemist

In an article titled, "Autobiography of an unusual chemist", K. S. Jayaraman reviews the book "Climbing the Limitless Ladder – A Life in Chemistry" by Prof. C.N.R. Rao.

CNR has nearly 1450 papers with over 40000 citations and h-index of 89. He has graduated over 100 Ph.Ds, written/edited 42 books and has 48 honorary doctorates. When ones meets him, ones gets infected by his enthusiasm and gets an overwhelming thrust to work. I first met him in 2006 and when I was introduced to him, he simply said "I have heard about you. Do not be afraid of publish."

Later during the same year, I had cited his 1958 paper on experimental growth of titania in my single author work on the theoretical mechanism of growth of a phase of titania. I then saw him when he was taking his morning walk and he was curious to know how I got hold of his old paper published 10 years before I was born, what other experimental data I had looked at and how good was the model to fit growth of other materials. I was surprised that he had actually read my paper so thoroughly when it was not even in his current area of research !

Some snippets

Among the various offers he got, CNR preferred to join the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bangalore because of "the extraordinary academic freedom" it provided.

I have worked seven days a week all through the years eating lunch at home only on Sundays.... the modest success that I may have had in research is mainly due to hard work. 
Science is not about getting awards or writing papers; it is a way of life. It involves the climbing the limitless ladder of excellence.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

(old) Pinned post for prospective faculty to IITs/IISc

This is a pinned post (i.e., this post will always appear at the top of this blog though newer posts appear below it) for prospective faculty to IITs/IISc. Please post all your questions and comments here and please read this site and the old post before you post your queries.

This has crossed 200 comments and a new pinned post has been created. 

Year end roundup

IISc opens its portals to undergraduate education by inviting applications from XII standard students. Today is the first day to apply online for the program. Being involved in various aspects of this program administratively (not academically), I am excited about the possible success of the program but also worried at the teething problems of infrastructure.

Anyway, my personal year round up for 2010. Days include Sat/Sun. Hours and days calculated from the time reporting gadget for google calendar.

Number of days outside Bangalore on official work :32
Number of days outside Bangalore on personal work : 14
Number of days in Bangalore on personal work : 7
Number of hours spent on committee work for IISc : 920
Number of hours spent teaching in IISc: 29 class hours
Number of hours spent on research work: ~2000
Number of journal papers published: 28
Number of citations obtained: 654

Number of journal papers reviewed: 93

Blog Stats:

Number of posts: 65
Number of visits: 101,778
Number (average) of comments per post: 14
Number of posts without comments:4