Sunday, April 12, 2015

This blog might be back

It has been two and a half years since I joined IISER Pune, and in all that time, I did not manage to complete a single research paper. However this finally happened last week and the result is here. I don't expect it will change the world (but see below), still it has been a pleasure to get back to research mode. I'm sure it was also a pleasure for my very bright student Sagar, for whom it's his first paper. I also think (and hope) it will get easier to produce more papers from now on. Entanglement entropy is a rather new field for me, with connections to multiple branches of physics. In recent years it has come to interface closely with gravitation and string theory, indeed the most striking development in this area during the last decade has come from this direction.

About changing the world, I recall my very first paper. It was a tedious and difficult calculation suggested by my advisor that I carried out on my own and completed in May 1979. When I showed him the draft he said, in his usual acerbic way, "It's fine, though it probably won't bring down the government". Of course he was wrong: the Janata government fell just a couple of months later.
But back to IISER: it's fascinating to reflect that my lack of output was not literally due to a lack of time (although between chairing a Department, being Dean of Student Activities and teaching a course of 200 students the time does tend to all get used up). Rather, it was a question of my head not being "in the right place". The drying up of this blog was further assisted by my going on Facebook regularly -- that is a low-investment, high-return option but certainly doesn't encourage creative writing.

In the next posting (soon after this) I want to comment on a recent article in Nature: "Leadership: Ten Tips for Choosing an Academic Chair". It touches on issues of what is/is not good science leadership that have concerned me a lot in recent years. I find it instructive to think about it within the Indian context. So, do stay tuned.


Gautam Menon said...

Good to have you back - you've been missed and I look forward to the next post!

Unknown said...

One of the irksome mysteries of cyberlife has been the long-and-growing-longer gaps between posts on this blog. Thanks for the explanation - and it's great that you're back!