Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Who's this person? - 1

If you are an Indian reading this: Seen him in any newspaper? No? Thought so. That's the pity.

With our media obsessed with politics, celebrities and the like, why would they profile or publicize someone who's been NOMINATED FOR THE PHYSICS NOBEL PRIZE SIX TIMES!

His name is Ennakal Chandy George Sudarshan - better simply known as George Sudarshan. He's a philosopher. And also a physicist. Stands for the quintessential Indian knowledge-man - simple, quiet, unassuming and wise like crazy.

He is best known for his formulation of 'Tachyons' - particles which travel faster than the speed of light, thus directly contradicting Einstein's theory of relativity. The theory was accepted by the international community only after much hesitation.

Many say he should have won the Nobel prize last year. There was even a petition last year sent to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences to award him a joint Nobel prize. The physics nobel prize last year went to three scientists. One of the awardees was Roy Glauber who won it for his work on quantum optics. Best part is that this work was done by Prof. Sudarshan and was critized by Glauber when it came out! Prof. Sudarshan then wrote a paper expressing his ideas and sent a pre-print to Glauber. Then, guess what? Glauber asks Prof. Sudarshan to acknowledge him in the paper saying he also got the same results!

The blokes at the Swedish Academy only responded to the petition by saying they can't comment and the decision making process is secret! Prof. Feynman's (one of the best known personalities in Physics) views on committees comes to mind.

For a more technical acount read this. Of course, this was not the first time that Prof. Sudarshan has had the misfortune of not getting the due credit or even as a student having 'the strange experience of listening helplessly to distinguished scientists puzzling over a problem that i had already solved!' Read about that here. It's something he's used to. He quotes a malayalam proverb which says that you can wake up a man who's really sleeping but never a man who's pretending to sleep!

Finally, Prof. George Sudarshan is also well known for his lectures on Vedanta (this is the real secularism!). Read one of his talks here on the philosophy of causality and unpredictablity.

From 1991 onwards, Prof. Sudarshan is an American citizen. i wonder how many Indian kids back home will learn about him in our pathetic textbooks.

9 comments:

sandeep said...

No comments! i have given up!!

Sharan Sharma said...

:) Given up on what?

sandeep said...

on the way we indians work. (refer my blog on why i hate my country)

Crizzie Criz! said...

me too, i have given up too. On life in India- its too crazy, on the shitty red tapism- it is for keeps, for the hollow sense of righteousness- it didnt exist anyway.
A pity all the same, i wouldnt have liked to be in his shows. Mind if i forward the link to my friends?

Sharan Sharma said...

Hey guys - don't give up on India! After all it is only hope that we've been surviving all along :)

@CC - please feel free to share the link.

sandeep said...

Someone coined the term, "Ummeed pe dunia kayam hai". But 50+ years of this ‘Ummeed’ is too long.

You please don't come back. Maybe after 18-20 years, I would require your help to settle her in the US. :-)

shubha said...

Hey, methinks we're the world's greatest survivors... Dunno if you're aware of the recent Reader's Digest study, Sharan, where they found Bombay to top the list of the world's rudest cities --- ever since, there's been a non-stop campaign in the local press on how Bombayites are NOT all that rude, etc, etc --- all the same, there's one guy who made an interesting comment: not all yardsticks of courtesy are common to cultures... What do you think?

Anonymous said...

Dr. Sudarshan was also a consultant for "The Tao of Physics" by Fritjof Capra - a classic and a must read for anyone interested in physics.

Sharan Sharma said...

Hi Anon. above,
Thanks for visiting..and for informing me about Dr. Sudarshan being a consultant for Tao of Physics...i didn't know that at all!.

i read T-O-P a long time ago and i believe that book started a whole new genre of east-west-meets kind of thinking...bad imitations though!