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  • Akarsh Simha 10:07 pm on July 22, 2009 Permalink  

    A terribly disappointing TSE2009 

    This trip to Dibrugarh was the most miseventful and depressing trip so far in my life, IMO. Never have I felt so disappointed before. Dibrugarh neither turned out to have a good lot of scenic travel options around, nor did we get to see the eclipse of the century – the 3.5 minute totality predicted at Dibrugarh. All we got to see was the Brahmaputra, and the darkening of the cloudy, overcast skies during the totality (and the random behaviour of birds).

    The only “perks” of the trip were insignificantly few – that of having a brief look at Kolkata, some good photographs involving dragon flies, the Brahmaputra, spiders and tea plantations, and some time spent away from the computer, with friends. Not enough and not worth it – just like several of those recent Hosahalli trips under overcast skies.

    Besides, I hate travelling without good company – sitting doing nothing in the flight, for example. All I can do is to crib and compose this post, so that I can vent out some frustration of an untriumphant waste of a journey at the least, and ease myself a bit.

    Over all, it was really disappointing to go all the way for absolutely nothing. This was much worse than that pathetic, most pointless visit to Kavalur that happened last year around the same time (which I did not blog about), which was much better in that I did not miss any significant event. These are the times when you start becoming agnostic… Wish I were in Varanasi with Amar and Vivek instead.

    I amn’t alone – all of us were really disappointed. Particularly the two Pavans who calculatedly (and I say their arguments were logical!) changed the venue from Varanasi, which we had initially planned, to Dibrugarh. I don’t blame them for anything, because their reasons to favour Dibrugarh were absolutely sensible. Many folks pointed out that Dibrugarh was at a cloud-cover maximum as per predictions, but then Patna, which was at a predicted=cloud-cover minimum, had only overcast skies. It’s just our bad lack… really bad luck.

    I guess I will be making a lot of trips to Argentina just to compensate… at the least I will end up visiting and exploring a foreign country instead of a boring, hot, and monotonously Indian town.

    I’m currently at an enthusiasm minimum, so don’t expect any trip photos in the near future.

    • Ashwin 10:25 am on July 26, 2009 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      This is Ashwin. I happened to read some posts of yours like this one, tifr and laptop at iitm. i am a freshie joining iitm this year. I like your blog a lot, though there is no particular reason as to why i should tell all that for this post. Even i viewed the solar eclipse.. just that i viewed it on youtube. 😛

    • Akarsh 1:23 am on August 1, 2009 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Hi Ashwin

      Glad you enjoyed my blog. Hope to meet you some time at IITM.

  • Akarsh Simha 7:27 am on July 18, 2009 Permalink  

    Simulate Eddington’s Experiment! 

    KStars now gives you an option to correct for General Relativistic effects near the sun!

    According to Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, light rays bend around the sun because of the sun’s gravity, and this correction is predicted to be about 0.0005 of a degree for light rays that just graze the sun’s surface. During the Solar Eclipse of 29th May 1919, Arthur Eddington verified this theory experimentally.

    KStars now lets you simulate this experiment, which essentially measured the apparent positions of stars near the edge of the sun and showed that General Relativity accounted for the difference in the observed and expected positions of the stars.

    Fire up KStars, hit ‘0’ to center the sun, and zoom in quite a bit to see the stars at the edge of the sun. Now hit ‘r’ to toggle the relativistic corrections!

    • Med 8:39 am on July 18, 2009 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I think it is a great idea Akarsh. 😉

      For those who want to test, it is available in trunk, so it will be released with KDE 4.4 early 2010.

    • Chris 10:33 am on July 18, 2009 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Ahh, so that’s why it didn’t seem to work with 4.3RC2. Either that or Einstein was wrong all along.. 😉

    • JJ 11:32 am on July 18, 2009 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Obviously, Einstein was wrong, he just changed the universe to fit his theories.
      btw, does the correction only work for the sun or other stars (or former stars) too?

    • hm 4:19 pm on July 18, 2009 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      it bends around everything!

    • JohnFlux 5:43 am on July 19, 2009 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Just incase anyone cares…

      You can type this into google:

      (4 * G * mass of the sun) / ((c^2) * radius of the sun) in degrees

      gives: = 0.000486611674 degrees

    • David Mills 2:43 pm on July 19, 2009 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      You’ve got to love open source. Where else would you get an option allow stargazing during a solar eclipse 🙂

  • Akarsh Simha 1:17 pm on July 16, 2009 Permalink  

    A summer at TIFR 

    As you all know if you’ve been reading my blog, I spent my summer at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) at Mumbai, as a visiting student under their Visiting Students’ Research Programme (VSRP).

    I’m now back to Bangalore, with lots of time to spend blogging the proceedings of the last one month.

    I somehow felt I didn’t do much work during the last one month. I computed the Jacobian of the operator that I talked about in my earlier post, and it turned out to be unity for all that hard work :(. But well, it was a good thing it was unity because it didn’t complicate the equations all the more! So we were able to write down the kernel for the Navier-Stokes equation. Then came the task of converting symmetries into constraints on the two-point correlation functions of the velocity field. I wrote down Ward identities, but I couldn’t solve them. Prof. Spenta gave me an ansatz to try and I didn’t have much luck with it. That apart, we ran into some interesting issues regarding anamolous scaling dimensions, which still need resolution.

    But here I’m, back in Bangalore, hardly spending time on Physics. It’s just that I’m lazy to start…

    Overall, I must rate VSRP as a good experience. My sleep requirement seems to have reduced drastically 😛 and I sleep deeper these days, thanks to the fact that we were baccommodated off-campus at Wadala (1 hour away from TIFR / Colaba) – which was, according to me, one of the major downsides of VSRP. The other downside, IMO, is that TIFR is a research institute, and professors don’t know what to expect from undergrad students. However, in my case, Prof. Spenta very quickly adapted to my ignorance and I patiently taught me fundamental concepts! But then, it is good exposure to the scientific community.

    Life in TIFR is really comfortable. The west canteen’s awesome food is pretty well-known. Plus, work timings are very free. There are colloquia every now and then and it is really interesting to see biologists attending Physics seminars and vice versa – promoting interdisciplinary exchange of ideas. I think TIFR is the place to be in India for research, and VSRP is an ideal summer internship programme.

    • Aditya shanker raghuwanshi 1:36 am on October 26, 2009 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      hey i m physics student of BITS-Pilani.i want to do internship in TIFR, so tell me how to apply and to whom i should apply. can u give me some contact?

    • Aditya shanker raghuwanshi 1:58 am on October 26, 2009 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      please answer about my query asap as i need to apply now on shiningadityasr@gmail.com.

    • Jaiswar Hemant H. 8:29 pm on November 14, 2009 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I am a MSc.-I Physics student. I want to know about summer proiject of tifr and how can i go for it. Tell me about Jobs in tifr after completion of MSc.

    • Puja Dutta 6:43 pm on December 30, 2009 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I am a student of 1st year Msc Physics in IIT ,Bombay. I want to do summer project at TIFR.Plz reply me how I apply for this?

    • Akarsh Simha 10:51 pm on December 30, 2009 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Hello everyone

      VSRP is a really nice programme — definitely worthwhile experience for anyone interested in pursuing the sciences.

      The website http://www.tifr.res.in/~vsrp/ has all details you need. There’s a “How To Apply” section on the left side, which you can read.

      The application deadline is fast approaching, ensure your application reaches before the deadline.

      You will need two referee reports (Recommendation Letters), and from what I hear, they are important — so start the process right away so that your professors have enough time to write.

    • kalimuthu 3:55 pm on December 26, 2010 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I am a student of 1st year Msc Physics in gandhigram rural institute. I want to do summer project at TIFR.Plz reply me how I apply for this?

    • Shubham Shukla 7:32 pm on January 13, 2011 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      can u pls mail me all d details regarding how to apply for this…..

  • Akarsh Simha 5:26 pm on July 9, 2009 Permalink  

    I’m a fresher joining IITM – Should I bring a laptop? 

    This blog post might have some use for freshers who have the aforementioned question in mind – to bring or not to bring a laptop in the first semester. This was a reply that I sent to a student’s parent, and thought it might be useful to others. This post will expose the pros and cons of having a laptop, but will leave the ultimate decision to you. As a side note, in my case, I took my desktop in the first semester because I was (and still am trying not to be) a computer “addict” (thankfully, in a better sense than a game addict). This post might have a bias towards physics department students once in a way. So here goes.

    Pros of bringing a laptop / buying a desktop:

    All students will do a course on Computational Methods in their first or second semester. The Engineering Physics students will probably do it in the second semester, whereas the dual degree MS in Physics students will do this in the first semester. A laptop is useful for this, as you might have assignments where you will need to write and submit a program.

    Although there are places to access a shared computer (which I will outline later), you will not enjoy the comfort of your room while studying / working. So it’s a good idea to have a computer in your room.

    Much of the teaching in the first few semesters is done via computer-based presentations (commonly dubbed “power-point”) rather than on blackboard, so a personal laptop / desktop computer will be useful to study for the examinations.

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