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  • Aravind 1:47 pm on January 9, 2018 Permalink | Reply  

    Should I do a PhD ? 

    Disclaimer : You might not get an answer to the above question or you might ! 

    Cliched question but a variety of possible answers, usually a superposition of the two possible ones, “Yes” or “No”.  From the moment you started your journey at IISER amidst animals and cohabiting humans, you might have seen your seniors at the fag end of their sojourn frantically hitting their computer keyboards for a novel statement of purpose, running around to get a good recommendation or two or some lucky ones content with their Skype interviews, ready to fly off ! These regular occurrences at IISER Kolkata make your answer to the question even more difficult and lopsided.

    A dilapidated placement cell ensuring minimal employability, our students look towards the one thing that most before them have, “Academics”. Yes, the occasional rebel manages to bell the CAT or start a business or for that matter even become a highly payed bureaucrat. This is not to say that going into academics is a bad thing ! Quite the contrary, the motivation of setting up IISERs a decade ago was indeed to lure more bright individuals to research in pure sciences. We see that this endeavor has been successful in way, albeit at the cost of usually closing other avenues of employment.

    Having said all that, a certain section of the crowd would have made this decision despite the availability of such avenues and this post is most definitely not aimed at them. Neither is this pointed towards individuals who know what other paths they want to pursue. This is for people who have some qualms regarding diving deep into academics before having a thorough introspection if they really want to be there or not. A basic assumption that I make here is the association of PhD with academics. There have been scientists and academicians like Prof. Freeman Dyson who have rebelled to not do a PhD. On the other hand we also have people doing a PhD to still go into industry, with the latter being much more common. However for the purpose of restricting it to things that my intellect can comprehend, let me only consider the faction of the people who are confused about whether or not to go into academics, ergo do a PhD or not.

    The following questions might help you start thinking about academics ( or not ! )

    1. Are you ready to be shown on a consistent basis that you didn’t know things you used to think you know ?
    2. Do you like being at the receiving end of tasks that have a deadline ?  A deadline that probably you can’t meet using the internet !
    3. Are you ready to wait patiently before you can have a steady climb along the academic totem pole ?
    4.  Do you care for a luxurious lifestyle right after IISER days ? Can you turn a blind eye to the social media posts about your friends buying cars and houses and as Indian parents call it, “settling down” ?
    5. Would you be comfortable doing something only a handful of people would know or care about ?
    6. Do you like being “mentally challenged” ? Can you come to terms with it ?

    Okay not so much the last question though XD ! If you answered yes to most of the questions you can now think about what matters. Infact in my opinion, the only important thing to think about is if what you do helps you wake up motivated or not ! No one can always be motivated something but statistically are you motivated enough with something ? That’s the only question you need to bother yourself with. The rest of PhD is just accentuating and catering to that motivation.

     

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  • Gaurav 6:54 pm on November 23, 2014 Permalink  

    Little Words! 

    The world could have been black and white,

    emotions would have been put aside,

    Across the white sun, you could stare endlessly

    belongings of trust would have died peacefully.

    Your burning disease I smoked in the ashtray,

    And I can still curl and think alright,

    bitter words will be washed away

    and then my emotions will step aside.

    Little words bring justice to your world. No matter how much you try, there will always be something you can never achieve. I prosper when things look bleak, while smoking a cigarette and burning the trees. Thoughts would wander and take you to this land, where fairies and gods will give you their hand. Disagreements and perturbations will shimmer your beliefs; but you can hold fast to the rope and be silently relieved. No wonder, the earth rotates and if only it had been black and white;  then I might cower at the sight of you, as my emotions will  step aside! 

     
  • Debapriyo 5:26 pm on July 22, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    Rest 

    Let me rest, for I am weary
    For a brief moment, let me dream
    Of all things dear, as I sleep holding your finger
    Through the remaining hours of dawn
    Just once more, before I’m gone.

     
  • dipanjan 11:59 pm on July 19, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    http://www.amitavghosh.com/aghashahidali.html

     
  • dipanjan 6:23 pm on July 19, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    And then she said to me,
    “It doesn’t matter how hard you try.
    In the end,
    All that counts
    Is when you choose not to ask ‘why’? ”

     
  • Debapriyo 12:19 pm on July 17, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    We can’t define anything precisely. If we attempt to, we get into that paralysis of thought that comes to philosophers… one saying to the other: “You don’t know what you are talking about!”. The second one says: “What do you mean by talking? What do you mean by you? What do you mean by know?”

    Richard Feynman
     
  • Debapriyo 9:58 am on July 17, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , ,   

    Youtube Treasures 

    I felt like sharing some of the great channels I’ve found on Youtube over the last few years. Many of you might already know all/few of these. Do check them out if you don’t. If you have anything to add to the list, please write them down in comments.

    • Vsauce: The guy here offers a mixture of scientific facts and fun about everyday curiosities. Moreover, he often refers you to other cool online places. Great presentation skills. There are similar channels (namely Vsauce2, Vsauce3) which you might also like.
    • minutephysics and AsapSCIENCE: Two great channels for popular science. The videos are extremely short and entertaining.
    • vlogbrothers: If you have heard of the online community called ‘Nerdfighters’, you’ve heard of the vlogbrothers. It’s a channel run by two brothers (John Green and Hank Green). John is a writer and Hank is a scientist(?)/musician. They became famous after one of Hank’s songs (about Harry Potter) went viral. John’s books (e.g. The Fault in Our Stars) are quite good. This channel will also introduce you to the youtube vlogging community consisting of many other interesting individuals.
    • khanacademy and YaleCourses: Video lectures. The former might save your ass on the last day. The latter will help you if you have time on your hands.
    • Vihart: A  ‘mathemusician’ from khanacademy. Her channel is made of pure awesome, and will make you love math.
    • CGPGrey: A really fun channel ‘explaining complex things’, as the description goes.
    • collegehumor: Internet comedy.
    • thechesswebsite: For those who are really into chess, or want to learn the professional ways of the game. If you thought chess was only a battle of intelligence, this channel will prove you wrong.
    • BBQTurkman and ZeroEmpires: It’s sad that there are no Age of Empires fans in our college. But in case you have a passing interest, you might want to discover the true beauty of the game. These channels will cover the major aspects.
    • comicbookgirl19: For Game of Thrones histories and other stuff.
    • gigguk and podtaku: For anime fans.
     
    • Alice Vega 4:15 pm on July 17, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Yay fellow youtube fan! :) I would also suggest tuning into YOMYOMF’s reality webseries called Internet Icon. There’s a lot of undiscovered youtube talent there as well.

  • tuhinspeaks 12:20 pm on July 16, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Debate   

    On Meaningful Debate 

    The following is what I realised while debating with a friend over some topic. We were locked in a stalemate. I was very sure of my standpoint and was feeling uncomfortable because I failed to convince the other guy to change his opinion. So I thought. And I realised that persuasion and a meaningful debate are two very different things.

    We debate, whenever we do, over a statement, an idea. Let’s suppose that you and I have a conflict of opinions. I support that a certain statement “A” is true and you oppose. When we are at it, we ask the other party “why” they think the way they do. We also defend our stand by providing reasons “why” we think the way we do. There is the crux. You give me one reason, say “B”, in support of your claim. I will again ask you : why B? There is no end to “why” questions. In Science, and in Mathematics, we find a way out by ‘defining’ a lowest rung in the ladder : we POSTULATE certain statements or ideas to hold. Given the postulates as the basis, we then go on to build a self-consistent theory with all its theorems and corollaries. So in life. And these postulates of life – we call them principles. Now, if you and I have a certain set of postulates in common, and we come up with different conclusions based on the same, then we really need to debate. That sort of a debate will always be fruitful — one of us will find a flaw in the line of his/her argument (because no SELF-CONSISTENT set of postulates will ever lead to two different conclusions). Real trouble comes when we have differences in the very root – বাংলায় যাকে বলে বিসমিল্লায় গলৎ – differences in the postulates. What do we do then? Do we debate?

    Now a certain lunatic may claim that his principle of life is to kill in the name of his religion. But STATISTICALLY, almost all of the human population will have principles opposite to that. All of us, more or less, will agree that to love is a sort of a good thing and to lie is bad. So, we may dismiss certain ideas or ideologies, based on statistical agreement, to be vile and hence ‘untrue’ and we may agree on the truth of some other ideas which are statistically obvious. But there are many notions which will divide the human mass not so disproportionately. We may debate on these too, but that sort of an argument will be meaningful only if we show enough maturity. These debates will make us revise our ideas, and more often than not, the other party’s arguments will present us with a point of view that we never thought existed. This revision is very crucial — it may further strengthen your belief on your postulates, or it may expose the loopholes in your foundations, so that you may rebuild them.

    But in the end, if you and I still disagree, let’s at least agree to leave it at that.

     
    • Riju 4:30 pm on July 16, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      This is very true. The postulates are very necessary, and if we let the debates go beyond those basic assumptions, the only point we’ll reach is the futility of the bigger picture.

      However, statistics, I think, should not play a major role because sometimes several factors affect it. Take a good German in Nazi Germany for example. It was only a country, but it could’ve been the entire world. Similarly, on a less serious note, even if a majority of my friends claim that Dabang is better than the flickering old movies I tend to watch, I won’t go with the statistical agreement.

      • tuhinspeaks 9:03 pm on July 16, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Yes that is absolutely true. And often, epoch-making ideas are born against general opinion. What I mean when I say that statistics is a yardstick for good and bad is that there are certain things on which most of us agree. I can never sharply define which particular ideas may be accepted based on statistical bias. But there are some ideas. I cannot generally tell you this this and that are the set of principles I am talking about; but I can tell you on a case by case basis. You give me one, I will tell you whether it belongs to that set or not. We may have disagreements on that front too. But I am pretty sure some particular notions are very very common and will rarely be disagreed upon. This is a very tangled up concept — statistically agreeing on whether to depend on statistical bias.

    • dipanjan 6:16 pm on July 19, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Arguments on how to argue! Nicely put .

      Regarding the discussion above, what I personally believe is that apart from everything else, there is a notion of a ‘greater good’ which should be respected and accounted for when we decide on the postulates. This may not necessarily be the statistically biased. But again beyond a certain level it all boils down to personal judgement and discretion. That is pretty much why the postulates that we choose, define us.

  • tuhinspeaks 4:24 pm on July 12, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    উপসংহার 

    এইবার জীবনের জন্য আমি হবো সূর্যালোক
    আকাশ ধোওয়ানো গঙ্গা হ’য়ে যাবো, হবো সন্ধ্যাতারা
    সেইসব গবাদিকে সায়াহ্নে গোষ্ঠে ফেরাবো
    ঘর পুড়ে গেছে ভেবে বহুদিন ঘরে যায়নি যারা ।

    এখানে মেঘের প্রান্তে ঘরবাড়ি বানাবো যতনে ;
    আকাশের পরে মেঘ, মেঘেদের উপরে আকাশ –
    ভুলের মাশুল আমি দিয়ে দেবো ভুল সংশোধনে
    এই মর্মে লিখে দিই আমার যা কিছু শব্দ, শ্বাস ।

    সকল অতীতবৃত্তে জতুগৃহ জ্বালো রাত্রদিন ;
    সকল প্রেমের পাত্রে ভ’রে দাও অচঞ্চল আলো ;
    মধুবাতা ঋতায়তে, মধুনক্ত, মধু পিতৃঋণ –
    তারপর অনিন্দ্য কবি মধু দিয়ে কবিতা বানালো ।

    কবিতা জীবন হবে, কবিতাই হবে সূর্যালোক
    এমন স্বপ্নের বীজ ছুঁড়ে দিয়ে বাতাসে বাতাসে
    চলো হে গবাদি-গোষ্ঠী, চলো আজ ঘরে ফেরা হোক
    আকাশের পরে মেঘ – মেঘেদের উপরে আকাশে ।

     
  • tuhinspeaks 6:26 pm on July 3, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    মেঘদূত 

    এখন প্রবাসে আমি, আকাশে মেঘের উত্তরীয়
    সময় সুযোগ হলে আমার চিঠির উত্তর দিও ।
    বিকেলে পশ্চিমী হাওয়া, মাঠ ভ’রে গিয়েছে ফসলে
    মহাপ্রস্থানের পথে আমাদের কৃতকর্ম চলে ।
    আমি তার চ’লে যাওয়া লিখে দিচ্ছি তোমাকে খাতায়
    তুমিও শোকের শব্দ মুছে নিও গাছের পাতায় ।
    তারপর গুছিয়ে বলো বর্ষণের শব্দ-সমারোহ —
    এর’ম শীতল চিঠি আর কবে লিখেছে কি কেহ ?

     
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