Saturday, April 30, 2011

Habit of God

When we do not value a blessing of Allah then after some time He takes it away. And Exalted is He.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Three Jokes

Humour is allowed in Islam. In a limited quantity. Drawing living things is not. What about cartoons? In all probability it will fall into unclear matters. In science drawing is integral part. What if some want to use humour by way of cartoons to get a scientific point across? This should fall into allowed.

Puzzled? Alright. If you have any scientific bend of mind then you shall enjoy following three cartoon strips. Make sure to look an enough number of them so that you can get hooked. If the first cartoon is illustrating a point completely unfamiliar to you the you might get a feeling of not getting connected.

So here they are:
(a) Abtruse Goose
(b) PhD Comics
(c) xkcd

Spot an Alig

We had given a link earlier to the latest version of the Spot an Alig manual. Here is the link again. We'll add one more sign. If a person uses the phrase I am totally agree with you then in all probability the person is an Alig.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The New Bubble

We are living in bubbling times. Times of bubbles. Bubbles that burst. The new bubble is the education bubble. Ready to burst. People are investing too much in formal degrees. Do not believe? Well it comes from Peter Thiel of PayPal and facebook fame via The Reference Frame.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Generations

The first generation has up and down (u and d).
The second generation has charm and strange (c and s).
The third generation has top and bottom (t and b).

Not following? Well we are talking of elementary particles. Those are the names given to some of them. Their collective name is quark. If you have heard of proton-and we believe that you have, then a proton has three quarks. Two of u-type, that is, up quarks and one of d-type, that is, down quark. Thus proton is uud. Simple isn't it? And neutron is udd, one up and two down. Simple again, isn't it?

In fact there is a well known blog called Three Quarks Daily. We do not read that much and we shall not give their link. Find them out yourself if you want to indulge in zalamtu nafsi (sinning against yourself).

The long and short of the post is that a research group called D0 (dee--zero) has reported some evidence for a forth generation of quarks. The names for the new generation quarks are even more preliminary. One of them is called a top-prime. Here is paper and here is the first blog report.

No this one is not a rumour.

Update 1: Forgot to mention that evidences many times come and go. Take the present post as an item in a days work.

Life As Usual

There is commotion in the corridor. It is full of youth. All talking in suppressed voices but the combined effect is absolutely perceptible. The students have arrived for their grand viva. Grand via is an idiosyncrasy imposed by UGC for final year graduation students. A country with three hundred universities with full autonomy can be reduced to be very ineffective by a few if they sit in UGC. But it is very heart warming to see the youth bustling outside the viva room. This is a pleasant contrast from those who start nosing around financial matters of the university rather than focusing on their studies-the prime object of their being in the university. When internet discussion groups keep giving one painful rumour after another, the rumours that mostly turn out to be true, then this scene of youth in action is straight out of Jannah. May Lord save this scene from evil glances.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Next Bump

There has been some more exciting news in the Large Hadron Collider section of the world.

Anyway the expectation will always focus on whether they have discovered (a) the Higgs or (b) Supersymmetry.

The current whisperings are about the former, that is, whether Higgs has been discovered. Mostly the discussion in the relevant part of the blog-sphere is more on social aspect then the experimental evidence.

This is good for us. Let alone AMU even in the country as a whole we do not have much culture of discussing scientific things. May be scientists are to be blamed for that but that is neither here  nor their. No doubt science is not the easiest thing to talk about but some rudimentary culture will certainly be of some solace.

Anyway we intend to increase the amount of science in the posts.

Coming back to the new bump. Suppose you have got some result and then your friend who is doing similar things but is not a part of your group takes your results and starts talking to others, like talking to the press. This is the type of situation that has occurred in last few days. So here are various links for this case.

(1) Peter Woit of the blog Not Even Wrong has a graphic title This Week's Rumour (no the Americans, we mean the people of US of A, have not learned to spell rumor as rumour).
(2) Jester of Resonaaces is sought by people and he obliges  under title Hiigs at ATLAS, May Be.
(3) Lubos Motl at summarizes here.
(4) For all practical purposes the morality might be the most relevant thing in this context and Gordon Watts takes it up here. Nice entry point to familiarize oneself with the scientific culture.

This time onwards, like other bloggers, we too shall keep updating this post rather than writing a new one for each development in this context of the new bump.

On Focus

Once upon a time Islamic civilization was the leader of scientific advancement. Not now. Whatever be the reason. This is the situation that Sir Syed Ahmed Khan tried to change. There is no doubt that he faced opposition from the religious scholars. This aspect is used to paint the religious intelligentsia in very unfavourable terms. This far from truth. If one tries to have a broad look at Aligarh Movement at present moment then the focus on Science and Technology as an instrument for changing the lot of Muslims is conspicuous by its absence. There is any number of experts on Sir Syed and Aligarh Movement who have practically nothing to do with Science and Technology. You do not have to be a scientist or an engineer to be part of Aligarh Movement but to remove the focus from these two disciplines is plain wrong.

You Must Know This Man

Here is the article with above title.

The author is talking about beloved Prophet (PBUH). This is no way to introduce him. Religion (the deen) has to be presented directly, without frills. One might ask that what is wrong if modern flamboyant style is used for introducing Islam and its teachings. There is one possible problem. Suppose medium becomes the message. (Please, please there is no attempt here to subscribe to the modern proverb medium is the message, or to reject it.) Now if medium becomes the message then you'll end up in modern flamboyance and no Islam. If you are not convinced then just have a closer look at the result of propagation of Islam by the very same people.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Palestine by September

Urdu Roznama  Rashtriya Sahara columnist Hasan Kamal has been saying for some time that the state of Palestine will come into existence by September 2011. He sites various circumstances which are not getting much attention in English media. But today we have this from UN via BBC.

How Much Nuclear Waste?

How much nuclear waste is generated by world? This article at Symmetry Breaking magazine has a clue.
According to the Nuclear Energy Institute, U.S. nuclear power plants have produced roughly 70,000 tons of radioactive waste over the last four decades. By 2025, scientists expect the amount of waste to be roughly 100,000 tons.
Do the rest of the calculations yourself. Roughly divide above numbers by the number of reactors in USA and multiply by the number of reactors in the world. If you have any idea about the nature of nuclear radiation and hence nuclear waste then the numbers will only leave a churning feeling in your stomach.

Charter of Eastern Rights

West is a very conscientious civilization. (Apologies to M.K.Gandhi who thought that western civilization is a good idea.) The west has given us human rights. It has given us woman's rights. What about giving us eastern rights. The gist of eastern rights declaration will be that west will not impose its values on east.

Sobering Beginning

Beginning of everyday is sobering one.
That is, if you begin your day with a perusal of the daily newspaper.
Elders tell us to read the newspaper to get admonition. Too many of those who read newspapers go through it like a person who thinks that the stories with admonition are not for me.
Roznama Rashtriya Sahara of Urdu has one chilling story from the same area in Noida where a few years back human skeletons were found. This is the story of two sisters locking themselves in a house for seven months. Their father was an army officer who expired in 1992. The second trauma came when their mother too expired soon after. Third one came when the only brother married and decided to live separately.

The west had killed the institution of family some time back. We are following them. It is unlikely that the results can be much different for us.

We seek Allah's refuge from the effects of our bad deeds. May Lord Most High make is easy for us, our near and dear ones, our neighbours and our society in general.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Like Chernobyl

In this media savvy era it should have been easy to get a grip on truth. Nothing far from the truth. Media management is the art of manipulating the media to your ends. Soon after the Fukushima accident the proponents of nuclear energy had declared that the disaster there has been contained. Today we get the news that the disaster in fact is on the same level as Chernobyl. See here for live updates.

May Lord Protect Him From Evil Glances

Aziz Burney is one Alig for whom one should be constantly praying for protection from evil glances. He completed a hundred part series of articles last year or so and then started a new one. In this one he had a set back but has resumed to some extent.

Calamity of Sarkozian Measures

France has implemented its law. On Muslim women. All things taken into account Muslim women are not French property. French know what they are doing. They must be feeling very strong. That might be true. Lord Most High distributes strength and power too and He does not differentiate in bestowing his blessings in this world whether the recipient is obeying His commands or not. For Lord this world in not worth the wing of a mosquito. So the French have the power, at least in their home. Not so long back they had power outside too. Just like their brothers ( and rivals) in Great Britain. That external power is gone for both of them. Power of a similar nature, that of US of A, is slowly and surely slipping out. Right in front of us. French should have been wise. When things start going horribly wrong they would not know what went wrong. As such the things are not so good in west. The materialistic prosperity is crumbling in front of our eyes. Those who find the last statement difficult to believe should note the fact that the west is severely cutting its science funding. You do not cut the funding of the hidden power engine of your economy, Science and Technology, unless there is something horribly wrong. And finally the west is already in deep crisis on the social front, having demolished the institution of family, slowly but definitively. They do not admit it because they do not understand it. We do not talk about it because we still do not have the confidence. What is worse is that we insist on copying them.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Aligarians Dot Com

A You Tube video of Dr Nawaz Deobandi Sahab has the legend on it. This has been posted by a user called Muhib. Here is the link.

The couplet to note is:

Gungunata ja raha tha ek faqeer,
Dhoop rehti hai na saya der tak.

(An ascetic was going and he hummed,
Neither ease nor pain stays for long)

AMU Problems About to be Solved

One of the oven hot things under discussion at AMU related forums is the teacher evaluation system. One person has even revealed that this is the thing behind India legging behind other countries in spite of its talent.

Great going.

Except few reality checks. Those who have an open eye for international science funding will tell you following three things.
(1) Science funding in USA is being cut.
(2) Science funding in Europe is being cut.
(3) Science funding in India is increasing.
As a result one can now a days see that, during conferences, the Europeans' attitude towards Indian scientists has changed for better.

Now how does that square with above discussion?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Zahidah Khatoon Sherwani (1898-1922)

ZKS was daughter of Nawab Sir Muzammilullah Khan Sherwani, LLD, KCIE, OBE. Died young. ZKS was a poetess. She was planning to support the Gandhian Swadeshi Movement and just then

Gin ke rakh diye toone meri auqat ke din
(You limited my days of sustenance).
(Abdul Ahad Saaz)

Gail Minault, Professor of History and Asian Studies at University of Texas at Austin tells more here. Of course like most of our western friends this writer too gravitates to the caged Muslim woman theory.

What Muslim poetess do? See this couplet by Shabeena Adeeb:
(She requests to think of Iraq and Afghanistan before this couplet.)

Chali woh aandhi ke tinka-tinka bikhar gaya aashiyan ka lekin,
Jo tod de mere hoslon ko, abhi woh toofan utha nahin hai.

The winds were such that every straw of my nest was scattered,
That can break my determination such a storm does not exist.

Listen to the Urdu recitation at this link.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Bye, Bye, Ta, Ta

If you see a group of students, some of them girls, less than ten in number, hesitatingly trying to enter a teachers room, smiling sheepishly all the time then you can with near one probability say that they have come to invite their teacher to a fresher's welcome party or seniors' farewell party. Or may be Iftar party.

Bump Explained Again

Why again? Can't this thing die a natural death?

Relax. The new explanation is not so different from the earlier explanation if one thinks of squeezing the balloon analogy. So here is that other explanation from Cosmic Variance and here from Tommaso Dorigo. If you want to see squeezing the balloon in action then here is one place.

The present excitement has made several things very clear. Some old and some new. So, for example, memorize the following sentence:
Three sigma signals come and go.
 This statement has been made at several blog so no attribution is being given.

Now what is one, two three, four, five, ... sigma? Alright, we'll get to it at our sweet convenience. For the time being the sweet convenience of others is the one that is dictating the game. We, for the time being can not resist the temptation to tell that many of the bloggers took the pain of explaining the various backgrounds contributing to the observed event. That was really nice.

The Boy on Motorcycle

The south-west corner of Sir Syed Hall (South), the one closest to Old Boys' Lodge and Proctor Office is not a very busy spot. But curiously one can mostly find some destitute woman sitting their, different women at different times. A boy on motorcycle stops, brings out his purse, takes out a coin and gives it to the woman sitting their at that moment. Then he starts is motorcycle and leaves.

This boy has won, Lord willing, on the Day of Judgment.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Bump Explained

The bump that we have talked about in many posts was of course explained yesterday. Only one blogger is talking about it. The reason might be that the explanation is of Fly on the Moon type. The explanation says that the people analyzing the data has shifted their data by one bin from some energy onwards and hence you get a bump at another energy. It is like squeezing a balloon at one place gives you a bump at another place. The explanation is here, now in the beginning of that post. The blogger got his hint from a commenter. The basic observation is already there in the post here. To quote:
Note also that the W+jets background totally dominates. Note further that there is a mismodeling of the data in the region above 120 GeV: it seems like all data points are displaced by one bin toward the right with respect to background predictions.
He was just very close to the explanation. At least he had the right observation. There is a possibility that it might leave some red faces for the explanation is rather obvious.

Fly on the Moon

A local vernacular magazine carried a cartoon. A scientist is looking through his telescope at the moon. In the drawing there is a fly sitting on the objective lens of the telescope. Readers can see that. The rub is that the scientist is declaring that there is a fly on the moon.

Ha, ha. Or may be not. Students of Physics, high school onwards, will tell you that if a fly is sitting on the objective lens of a big telescope focused on the moon then you shall not see the fly at all. The only effect of the fly will be that the image of the moon will have less overall brightness.

But the cartoon is a rather effective one. If you can not be a scientist then you can at least make fun of them. Who is loosing here? Everybody, scientists and common people included.

Back to Bump

Particle Physics is a topic which many people would like to touch only with a barge pole.

But, then, science is by the people and for the people. Common people do have an interest in such exotic things. And in the era of consumer and civil rights many people have started taking it as their right to know as tax payers as to what is being done with their money. We kid you not.

So we had done a series of posts on a recent experimental observation at Tevatron. A group called CDF observed a bump in some of their data. This is an unexpected bump and thus it has created some excitement in Particle Physics and news circles. Our posts in that context are:
(1) How Much is 1 TeV of Energy? 
(2)  Why is it Called High Energy?
(3)  Higgs or No Higgs?
(4) The (Non-) Higgs Stampede

Since we missed some links their let us include them here.

 Famous Physics blog Quantum Diaries has a (belated) entry here.

The results were already present in a thesis publicly available. Here is that thesis.

There was already a paper that tried to explain the new findings. Paper was submitted on March 30, 2011. Here is that.

On the blogosphere physicist Gordon Watts perhaps had the earliest entry called Jumping the Gun on April 4, 2011. He and few other were very cautious that they should not divulge the results before an official public presentation. Understandable but funny because the thesis was already in public domain.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Not in Praise of UGC

What do the bureaucrats do?

Among other things they increase the bureaucratic hurdles. Text books tell us that bureaucracy is the steel frame of democracy. That is half truth. One can trace many problems of democracy to bureaucracy.

But why talk of bureaucracy in the academic context?

Well the academic structure of the country is supervised by UGC. On the face of it this is an institution, the UGC, run and overseen by academicians. In reality many times the people at the helm of the affairs are those who have reached their, not because of their academic aptitude but their aptness in managing the bureaucracy. In name these people are academicians, they have the degrees and the required years of teaching and research but in reality they have managed these qualifications by, well, managerial means.

Now these people do one thing. They take decisions.

The next question to ask is whether their decisions can be of academic value? Can their decisions be useful for academics? Will these people fortify the academic structure of the country.

No. These people are singularly incapable of any such thing. If they had any knack of academics then they would have been doing that. They had the knack of climbing the ladder and climb they did. And then you have the knife in monkey's hand.

Two specific examples come to mind regarding their helpful decisions. One is the introduction of Refresher Courses for university teachers and the other is the recently introduced Course Work for Ph.D. students. Why are both of these ideas bad is something that we shall take up later on.

The (Non-) Higgs Stampede

Half a day is an eon in the world of High Energy Physics, that is, Particle Physics.

Around twelve hours ago we had reported in the post called Higgs or No Higgs, about a bump seen the the CDF collaboration of Tevatron, Fermi Lab, Chicago, USA. In that post we had two or three links related to this possible finding. By now there are nearly twenty links relevant to this news, every one saying his or her bit. One might get the feeling that alright just give me a summary. Well nearly everybody starts his post by giving a summary. Let us try our luck.

(1) Peter W. Higgs is from University of Edinburg. (Wikipedia, His Home Page)
(2) He proposed a mechanism that gives mass to some elementary particles called gauge bosons. It is called Higgs mechanism.
(3) For this mechanism one requires a new particle that has been named the Higgs particle.
(4) Similar mechanism gives mass to other particles also. Thus people say that Higgs is the source of all mass.
(5) There are many people who had the same or similar ideas at around the same time. And they wrote papers also. Because of this the same mechanism is also called Brout–Englert–Higgs mechanism or Englert-Brout-Higgs-Guralnik-Hagen-Kibble mechanism, or Anderson–Higgs mechanism.
(6) Predicting the mass of a particle is big thing in High Energy Physics. If you can do that most people will start saying that you deserve a Nobel Prize. (This is paraphrasing late Professor KVL Sarma of TIFR, Mumbai.)
(7) Higgs discovery has the same status. It is amongst the last piece of the beautiful edifice of High Energy Physics called the Standard Model. It should fetch Peter Higgs the Nobel Prize.
(8) Hence the excitement in the cosmos (we mean the universe, that is, the world) about a bump  found at Tevatron.
(9) We got the hint that there might be something new at Tevatron as found by the research group CDF from this post at UH/LHC Blogs.
(10) And the rest, as they say, is the history.
(11) This was the paper, still a preprint, that started it all.
(12) We like the discussion at the Collider Blog so here is the relevant link.
(13) If you are fond of getting your dose of news from Google then here it is. Courtesy Lubos Motl.
(14) Here is the take by the last mentioned. Nobody ignores his opinion though he is not a paper publishing physicist for some time.
(15) What is our (Alig's) stake in the excitement? We already told you.
(16) Tommaso Dorigo is a blogger whom every body approaches for the insider news.
(17)  Sean Carroll gives his perspective at that powerful blog.
(18) A person with a pseudonym Jestor usually gives very entertaining and perceptive summary of the most relevant things. He obliges here.
(19) We already have mentioned the blog Not Even Wrong. It has a perspective (not technical ) summary here.
(20) The first paper explaining the results came after 21 minutes of the release of data.
(21) It turns out that the excitement in fact was about a new particle called Z-prime, not Higgs. The latest is that it is not so. In other words there is no signal for a new particle.
(22) So there is no show, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you. Come back later.

Return of Don Quixote

Q: Who is Don Quixote?
A: The main character in a novel of the same name by Spanish author Cervantes. According to Wikipedia:

As a founding work of modern Western literature, and one of the earliest canonical novels, it regularly appears high on lists of the greatest works of fiction ever published.
Q: What is a quixotic task?

A: It is foolishly impractical pursuit of ideals, typically marked with rash and lofty romantic ideals, according to

Q: Why is it being used here?
A: Because we have suggested a quixotic idea earlier, see here and  here, and we are suggesting similar things in this post. Now have a look at the paragraph below from here:

Today more than 30,000 particle accelerators are at work in hospitals, factories, shipping ports and laboratories around the world. Historically, breakthroughs in accelerator science come from basic science, leading to applications for diagnosing and treating disease, cleaning up polluted air and water and greener industrial processes. Next-generation technology like the EMMA accelerator will help pave the path for even more applications. STFC issued this press release about EMMA on April 1:
So let us explore the possibility of replicating those stories here at AMU.

We intend to return to the uses of accelerators in later posts.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Higgs or No Higgs?

Is seems that we are not done with the subject matter of the post before the previous one. Among the chief aims of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland is to find the missing particle of Standard Model of particle physics called the Higgs. The Aligarh group participating at LHC is not part of that experiment. They are part of another experiment that shall explore the formation of something called Quark-Gluon Plasma or QGP. This post is not about that. It is about Higgs. The Tevatron machine at Fermi-Lab in USA is among the last colliders to have tried its hands on this particle. The latest result mentioned two posts ago is Tevatron's take on the question of Higgs. We'll soon know whether Tevatron got a hint of Higgs or not, after the paper analysed by Filip Tanedo gets more scrutiny.

Why are we belabouring the point? Well AMU has a stake their also. Dr Syed Afsar Abbas, Visiting Professor at the Physics Department of AMU say that Higgs will not be seen. Here is the paper. And here is some discussion on it at a controversial blog Not Even Wrong.

Why is it Called High Energy?

In the post immediately before the present one we have talked about a TeV of energy. This is the unit of energy used in particle physics whose another name is High Energy Physics. 1 TeV of energy is roughly the energy of a flying mosquito. A common person may now ask as to why the energy of a flying mosquito is termed high. Any guesses?

How Much is 1 TeV of Energy?

TeV stands for terra electron volt. We have encountered these type of names earlier. Like a calorie TeV is also a unit of energy useful in modern particle physics. So how much is a TeV of energy? Filip Tanedo says:
A TeV is roughly the kinetic energy of a flying mosquito.
He quotes this page. Now since these energies are relevant for the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, Geneva and the Physics Department of AMU has a group participating in LHC experiments therefore it is nice place to get linked with what is happening in that exotic field. Tanedo has tried the impossible-to explain the title, and the content, of a oven hot paper from Tevatron at another particle physics laboratory called the Fermilab in USA.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Coming Out of Cocoon

For far too long Muslims have abstained from speaking for themselves. Longer still for Islam. But the things are changing now. Slowly but surely. A decade ago no mainstream journalist, jurist or a civil servant will utter the phrase reservation for Muslims. Last year M.J.Akbar did precisely did that, that is, advocate reservation for Muslims. He did that in Kennedy Auditorium-during Sir Syed Memorial Lecture. Some time before that Justics A.M.Ahmadi had done the same in public function-as reported in Urdu Roznama Rashtriya Sahara. Now even politicians, tribe of statesmen belongs to the class of dodo and dinosaur, are opening their lips. But there still is a class that is unable to see the writing on the wall. May be in immediate past they rationalized their silence too strongly. A journalist has given the name Muslibs, acronym for Muslim Liberals, to these people. Coming back to those who have put their finger on the real crux, it is heart warming to see the pieces by Muhammad Tariq Ghazi. We have used one here and another one is there.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Out of Syllabus

Somethings you shall never get in your syllabus. For example how was Urdu compromised-beginning with the British. The Alig groups are reading following article in this context: Anjuman Taraqqi-i-Urdu

Sunday, April 3, 2011

For Anniversaries

In case you have missed it the earlier post Ice Cream Sundae was against anniversaries. The present one is for Anniversaries. And there is no dichotomy. We are forbidden to add new things to Religion (deen). In science there is a room for that. In fact that is the game.

So what are the current important anniversaries?
(1) Discovery of Superconductivity (100th Anniversary)
(2) Expanding Universe (30th Anniversary)
(3) Beginning of Unification, Maxwell's Equation (150th Anniversary)

(Source : P&P)
But the main purpose was to point out a failed anniversary. In 2008 it was thought that it was the hundredth anniversary of the Physics Department and should be celebrated. Miyan (Late Dr Syed Muhammed Ahmed, former Assistant PRO of AMU and on whom many posts have appeared at AAA) was contacted. He did not confirm it. Consequence? No anniversary. Chemistry department has been more enterprising. They celebrated their 100th anniversary. One can hazard that by the same argument even Physics Department can celebrate its anniversary. But the sad thing is that we are not expert in keeping our archives in order and as a result one can not make the preferred fourth entry in above list.;)

Decidedly Wrong Track

One of the atrocities of the modern so called liberated intelligentsia is  they they have tried and succeeded to a very large extent to put man and woman in, not a co-operative, but competitive mode. When most of the world is fed up with the bad consequences of materialism there are still some people who are just discovering it and falling into the ditch head long. Look at this piece in Hindu. To quote:
With the burden of domestic work on their shoulders, women spend more time doing unpaid work than men around the world…
 So remember when your mommy was breast feeding you she was doing unpaid work. When your dad brought you candies did you pay him buster? Gosh! You subjected your father to unpaid work.

Let us try to get cooled a bit. Take an Aligarian example. The graduate student was running high fever. The paper was two days later. Course was delayed and thus the notes of quantum mechanics were not complete. Teacher came to know of the situation. He got down to brass tacks. In a day and the subsequent  night the missing notes were completed and delivered to the student. Of course this will happen for a good student only. Not for any T, D or H. Now was this teacher doing unpaid work or not? Let us muster all the nice people against this student who exploited his teacher and take out a procession, dharna, memorendum, hum se jo takrayega ....

The teacher was Professor Muhammed Zillur Rehman Khan Sahab who had already served as the Head (not the Chairman) of Physics Department, Dean Faculty of Science and later the Officiating Vice Chancellor. He also had the honour of refusing the Vice Chancellorship. He is the one who made the memorable statement in the context of this refusal:
The best honour a physicist can have is to be a professor of physics and I had that, I do not want to be a Vice Chancellor.
 The quotation is verbal. People with a flair for verbatim records have to find their fodder some where else.

When will we get out of the western web of deception?


Transition from one paradigm to another via revolution is the usual developmental pattern of mature science. This is the profound observation of Thomas Kuhn, whom we passingly mentioned earlier. The observation that made him famous, if not his raison d'être.

He is not the presiding deity in the philosophy of science, accept for a minority. But people still use the terminology of revolution in the context of science. As we have mentioned that when one talks of science then physics is taken as the prototype. Last century saw the most exhilarating roller coaster ride of developments in physics. This contained at least two revolutions. One is special relativity and another is quantum mechanics. General relativity is no less a revolution but if we include that then we have to include a few more names.

The main point of the post is that both of above revolutions took place firmly in twentieth century. The century in which Aligarh Movement was in its full swing including the Aligarh College, later AMU. Some of the significant developments, even if only a small part, should have come in our share. It was not to be the case.

To be fare some consideration can be made for the fact that European and American explosion of twentieth century science benefited from earlier continuous developments of two hundred and fifty years. That is the time when our ancestors were slowly succumbing to and were,  later on, firmly under the grip of colonialism.

What did come in our share? We can only think of this article on The Theory of Valency : Developments and Problems. It is by Rudolf Samuel. That it is from a borrowed intellectual is not the only rub. Valency is an extremely important concept, particularly in chemistry, but it is not among those concepts that can be counted among the revolutions of science. Samuel was a man of spectroscopy and he did what he could do best. One can hazard that if he had turned his attention inward, towards the nucleus or in a marginally different direction, the condensed matter physics then may be more significant things could have come in our share. But this is rather unfair to him. This is not the job of a man of spectroscopy. And one should not ignore his contributions to that field.

The story of India at large is not much different from ours. But we shall leave that out to more competent and more interested people.

Of Kings and Queens

Why is there no talk of Kings and Queens at An Alig's Armchair?

Let us talk about a King.

Mufti Taqi Usmani Sahab (DB) has narrated the story of the demise of a Shaikh. The Shaikh left a will that his Funeral Prayer can be lead by only that person who has maintained the sequence. It means that a person who never missed a Prayer ever since he became an adult. At the time of Funeral Prayer this announcement was made at it was requested that Man of Sequence (Sahib-e-Tarteeb) should come to lead the Prayer. Nobody came forward after two announcements. After the third announcement the King himself came forward. It was Tipu Sultan, later to achieve martyrdom. Allah knows better.

There is a similar story of passing away of Khwaja Bakhtiaruddin Kaki (RA) whose Funeral Prayer was ultimately lead by King Altmash (RA).

 So we'll talk of Kings and Queens if these are Sayyidina Dawood (AS) or Sayyidina Sulaiman (AS) or Hazrat Ibraheem bin Adham Quddisallahu Sirrahu.

Then there are the governors, ambassadors, kings and queens who got their fifteen minutes of fame. Them we shall have little to talk about.

AMU is not International Islamic Caliphate of Islam. It is an academic institution and it is the main manifestation of Aligarh Movement. So the focus at An Alig's Armchair will be academics with a bias towards science.

And that is why we do not talk much of Kings and Queens.

Ice Cream Sundae

Google has, for sometime, been celebrating various occasions by designing suitable modifications of its standard logo. Sometimes these new logos are global but many times they are for local audiences. Here is the official collection of these logos. To give some colour to the blog we flick first twenty of them. Since not all of them are global you might be seeing many of them for the first time.

 (2) Mar 25, 2011, 400th Birthday of Evliya Çelebi - (Turkey)
(3) Mar 24, 2011, 137th Birthday of Harry Houdini - (Global)
 (4) Mar 21, 2011, Persian New Year - (Selected Countries)
 (5) Mar 20, 2011, Holi Festival - (India)
 (6) Mar 17, 2011, Sayed Darwish's Birthday - (Egypt)
 (7) Mar 17, 2011, 150th Anniversary of the Italian Unification - (Italy)
 (8) Mar 17, 2011, St. Patrick's Day - (Selected Countries)
 (9) Mar 15, 2011, Hungarian National Day - (Hungary)
 (10) Mar 14, 2011, Alam Ara's 80th Anniversary - (India)
 (11) Mar 13, 2011, National Thai Elephant Day - (Thailand) 
(12) Mar 12, 2011, Chinese Arbor Day - (China)
 (13) Mar 09, 2011, Doodle 4 Google: Ireland Winner - (Ireland)
 (14) Mar 08, 2011, Women's Day - (Selected Countries)
 (15) Mar 08, 2011, Carnival - (Brazil)
 (16) Mar 07, 2011, Sendung mit der Maus 40th Anniversary - (Germany)
 (17) Mar 06, 2011, Will Eisner's 94th Birthday - (US, Selected Countries)
 (18) Mar 06, 2011, Ghana's Independence Day - (Ghana)
 (19) Mar 03, 2011, Girl's Day - (Japan)
 (20) Mar 01, 2011, Martisor (Spring Day) - (Romania, Moldova, Bulgaria)
And to top all, err bottom it all, here is today's logo:
It is the celebration of 119th anniversary of first recorded ice cream sundae. Two decorated scoops of ice cream serving as the double o of Google.
Now the purpose of life is to prepare for the hereafter. In this scheme the place of many of the anniversaries is not there. An additional observation can be made about today's choice. Most of the economics courses begin with the statement that as time passes man achieves higher and higher levels of satisfaction. Now this is not true but nearly most of us believe it to be true. Isn't it coming from the western economists who know better?
As a result of these compounded fallacies man has been thrown into indulgence with this world. 120 years ago man was less satisfied but more satisfied 119 years ago because ice cream sundae had arrived. And you shall be even more satisfied if you discover more things to cater to your palate.
In case it looks like a betrayal of a well begun theme then rest assured that you can still eat your ice cream sundae provided you take it as a blessing of your Lord and thank Him for that.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Who Should Call the Shots?

In an authentic tradition beloved Prophet (PBUH) said that if your affairs are run by your women then it is better for you to be below the ground. Clearly if you leave your affairs to your children then the Prophetic (PBUH) injunction may not be very different.