You mean to say you want me to explain to you why I was failed at UAB?
Actually, I don’t know the actual reason. So, all this explanation is, really speaking, only an “explanation.”
If you want to have an answer, you will have to go and ask that bustard who was the most directly responsible for that bad decision: Mr. Raymond Thompson May be, this white Southern Baptist Christian will be able to tell you why happened what did. In any case, to ask the question to “Pat” (Prof. Burton R. Patterson), my guide, isn’t going to be terribly productive. As far as I know, Pat didn’t want me to fail, but didn’t fight it out on my behalf either.
But far more interesting is “Ray.”
This guy was so “competent,” he couldn’t derive an ordinary static equilibrium equation for the surface tensions acting at along three surfaces coming together at 120 degrees angle at a junction of soap-film bubbles. (Materials folks study soap bubbles because it’s a good starting model for grain boundaries in metals). I mean it might appear humorous, but it’s a fact that this guy could not model in the class the tension along the dihedral angles right, because he was too dumb to work out cos(2 theta) because he was too dumb to recall the formula for cos( A + B).
He based his entire course on research articles, and expected me to memorize every small detail of sulpher seggregation. He expected me to reproduce those empirically found graphs and data that are best relegated to handbooks.
The course he taught (and I have forgotten the title by now, but it probably was something like) “Surfaces, Interfaces and Grain Boundaries in Materials.” It, decidedly, was not a core course. But in UAB’s quaint qualifying examination system, I had to clear 8 courses individually. Since this guy was on my committee (and was also a Director of UAB’s Materials Science program back then), I had to include his course in those 8 courses. (Out of which, 3 or 4 were core and the rest were like applications or off-shoots. Like, the above course).
The first time I was failed in the qualifiers, this guy was the only one to fail me. I, then, did a “mistake” (given the sort of morals he practises and his compatriots love him for doing so): Despite being an Indian student, I went into his cabin and demanded to know what kind of answers he expected for the essay type of questions he had posed. (The level of detail for the experimental data that an ordinary student could commit to memory and recall at the time of examination within 45 minutes was unacceptable to his the then arbitrary whims.) He smiled indulgently (and I believe this was because he had made up his mind in advance the outcome of my second attempt at qualifiers too, no matter what I wrote.) He then told me that if as a graduate student I didn’t know how to answer questions like that, … And he let it go at that—I mean, he stopped explaining. Altogether.
A few months later, the “tamaashaa” of the qualifiers was repeated. This time round, Pat and Greg (i.e. Prof. Gregg Janowskii) had altered their questions. But this bustard repeated exactly the same question paper. I, too, repeated exactly the same set of answers (probably to 10 % less detail—out of exasperation.) He again failed me. Looking at his resolve, Pat too failed me in *his* own section. I had lost the enthusiasm the second time, and had not done too well on Greg’s section, though, had he wanted, he could have let me go. But, I guess, looking at the other two, Gregg too failed me. (Both were senior to him; he was on tenure-track back then.)
The system still had an interview left. In that interview, this bustard Ray simply bullied me, though he did it with a smoothness that was extraordinary given his personality. Sadly, Pat simply witnessed the tamaashaa that was going on.
Now, since I am not easy to bully (and you could’ve guessed it, couldn’t you? … Am I not a non-Brahmin, a 96-Kuli Maratha, a warrior and whatnot?), you might be curious (i.e. if you are not as dumb as Americans are) to know what technique might the bustard Ray have used. He did this:
He, first, asked me questions in, what else, sulpher seggregation. (What else could he have talked about, anyway?) Looking Pat’s discomfort at whether reproduction of concrete details is what interview could be about, Ray went into thermodynamics. In particular, chemical potential.
Now I no longer remember very much what precisely were the steps that Ray led me through, but he did manage to get to the idea of diffusion rates and chemical potential.
Now, this was easy stuff. The Late Dr. Chapekar had taught us in SE (i.e. second year undergraduate) so well, and I had perfectly understood that point right then—in SE. In short, the point is: you never mistake thermodynamics with kinetics. Thermo. deals with the hypothetical equilibrium situations; kinetics with the rapidity at which reactions proceed, their rates. But just because some reaction is thermodynamically favorable doesn’t mean it’s going to occur with a faster rate. Simple and clear. (Indeed, if the energy hump is big enough, it may not even “spontaneously” occur at all.) All of this is elementary stuff. (Some of it was taught to us in Std. XII.) There was no way I—*I*—could have made a mistake about it.
But, this bustard Ray made it appear as if I had made one. That, in a nutshell, was his skill. The particular technique that he used was to tear a remark I had made out of context, and used it to put words in my mouth. By that time, I guess, Pat and Greg too must have had decided that anyway this guy (namely me) is a better fit in a “stress analysis” sort of (i.e. mechanics-related) program. So, they, too, didn’t object to Ray bustard’s tearing things out of context.
Ok. What was the statement I made? I did make it clear to them what I said above. That free energy won’t tell you about reaction rates. But then, once Ray asked me fourth or the fifth time (and I am not exaggerating the number of times he asked me), and since he had kept his face straight throughout, I mistakenly thought that he was asking for a more speculative or “creative” sort of answer from me as to what could happen if an attempt were to be made to relate the two together in a basic way. (As to keeping the face straight: Many Americans, esp. white ones, are esp. adept at this particular skill, I have later on found out via my job experience as well—the bustards are masters of talking the talk, walking the walk, and keeping the two separate in a politically correct way.)
So, with an emphasis on the word “hypothetical,” I proceeded to give him an answer. This answer of mine was based on a certain type of thinking that had already become a part of my own thought process even back then. With my recent publications in the current PhD research, I may rightly say that this was an original way of looking at things. However, I did not had had enough of time thinking about it that I could explain it any time with Pat (during our research meetings or even otherwise, dropping in his cabin.) According to this particular thought process, a potential, indeed, could be built out of a diffusion process. (And by now, if you are familiar with my research, you should be able to tell how this comes about.) Now, of course, this result was already known to, say, random walk researchers. But I had not known about that thing. I had worked it out on my own. Since my thoughts were new, I was assuming too many things as known to the audience, and rapidly going through my answer. While doing that, I made a remark which seemed, to bustard Ray, as if it meant I was saying that greater the free energy difference (or chemical potential) faster the reaction. (To know the sort of lines on which my actual answer was based, refer, for example, to the groundwater seepage problem I have set in the very recent End-Sem Examination on FEM at COEP in Spring 2009 semester.)
But then, sharing this line of thought had produced precisely the sort of atmosphere of hand-waving and all (primarily because none of them knew this line of thought) that it gave bustard Ray his chance to make the killing. He moved in swiftly.
A few minutes later, even Pat was found nodding his head as to how I could make a statement that thermodynamics could predict reaction rates.
Now bustard Ray finished it off. Since I did not show mastery of even simple fundamentals such as thermo vs. kinetics, he said, I couldn’t possibly be allowed to pursue the doctoral program any further in his opinion. Pat agreed.
That’s how my timely PhD, greencard, even US citizenship and the earned benefits that these would get me, were summarily denied me. Not in an open challenge, but via a skillful use of politics, pressurizing, and, by way of the basic epistemological essence, context-dropping.
– – – –
Of course, it doesn’t at all surprise me that this bustard should have been given ASM’s fellowship precisely during the Republican regime—a party that is basically religion-based these days, a few Tea Parties here and there notwithstanding. (Indeed, regimes, the periodic rules have by now become in the USA. An objective rule of the law is no longer the de facto condition in the USA these days—and by “these days” I mean a time scale of years and decades, i.e., as compared to the 18th and 19th centuries.) It is not a matter of surprise at all. But what I am really curious about is: whether the republican bustards had asked our Indian bustards to delay my PhD admission here until the time that all business had been taken care of, in the USA. After all, notice the coincidence. I started trying for my PhD admissions in 2002 (first trip to IIT Bombay in March or May—I don’t recall now). I published my first paper in 2003 (sent Sept., published Dec.). My guide accepted me in August 2004. This bustard got inducted into ASM fellowship in Nov. 2004. And only then did Pune university ratify my admission, in Dec. 2004. (An otherwise just a formality—-After all, how many engineering experts does Pune University keep on its own pay roll anyway?) So, this is entirely possible that before I could utter anything about him, he was made into a respectable one. Even if this was not actually done, the point is, today’s power-lusting American bustards can so easily do it.
They do consider Indians in that poor a light. Many of them do anyway.
As usual, since something has been said about my professional losses, the way I have been made to suffer by the Powers That Be, (so that even in your possibly pathetically short attention span you are kept sufficiently reminded), it’s time to talk a bit about something I like.
This is an easy one—what I am writing about. I had sent in an email about it to ARI, but it’s the first time I am talking publicly about it.
Assume, for this question (and without being like the bustard Ray Thompson) that reincarnation has been proved. Consider the Aristotelian position (also accepted by Ayn Rand) that at birth, man’s mind is a “tabula rasa”. But the reincarnation type of cases necessarily indicate the evidence for having a certain mental content—memories of the previous birth—right at the time of the birth.
Two questions: (i) How can the two be reconciled? (ii) Is this an instance that a finding in a special science is negating a philosophic principle?
As I said, I’ve already cracked this one. (I mean both the above two sub-questions). Also sent my prelim. thoughts about it to the ARI, who, as expected, did nothing by way of appreciation of it at all. But I know that my reply stands as a truth. The point now is: Do you know how to crack it? (But no prizes for this one. First thing, American and Indian bustards, as you know by now, trap each and every one of my emails. Secondly, even otherwise, I guess, I might have included the newspaper media in the cc field—just in case it helps clear up someone’s confusion.) So, no prizes, but see if you can crack it. It’s an interesting one. … Something—one among (too) many—that bustard Ray couldn’t have cracked at all. … Give it a try…
Oh yes. “Chemical potential” reminds me of what I am about to write about.
I think Ayurveda is boring. And not at all deserving of what Mr. Raghunath Mashelkar, FRS, thinks of it…
I mean, Homeopathy is in a different league altogether. There, finding out a mechanism to explain its workings is a good challenge. (And I believe that it does work some times.)
But, in contrast, Ayurveda is almost fully based on the normal and “materialistic” view of medicines. I mean there are chemical molecules present in those herbal remedies, right? Indeed, its Hindu packaging apart, Ayurveda, come to think of it, is actually nothing but a preliminary, vaguer, cruder, less refined version of the usual Western medicine as the latter practised today. This does not mean Western medicine is a proper superset of Ayurveda. Some plants, medicines, methods of preparation (or of introducing changes) might be known to Ayurveda, say through trial and error, but these might be new to the Western medicine. Yet, both their approach is one and the same (at least when it comes to medical materials or drugs being administered).
And in a way, both are boring, just the way boring is most of chemistry once you leave the QM effects.
The reason I mention this all is because (i) Mr. Raghunath Mashelkar, FRS, sits on Tata board even if Ramadorai or Sherlekar don’t give me a job (but they all give jobs to Hindu Brahmins esp. if from IITs); and (ii) in view of my yesterday’s posting, rather than approach the Tatas to urge them to give me a good and well-paying job that is in line with my interests and competences, our Indian bustards have gone ahead and arranged for a 12th Oct. born Ayurvedic doctor to get matrimonially in touch with me. Note, my thesis happened to have got submitted on 12th Oct. 2007 to the Uni. of Pune. (Now you know one more reason why I call these Indians as bustards, don’t you?) And, I will give you one more reason. She is an OBC category girl. I am not going to hold this against her—it doesn’t happen that way when it’s me—I don’t or rather can’t even think on those twisted or “convoluted” lines. But I must note that Brahmin bitches, if they are good-looking and well-educated, never do get in touch with me on their own for matrimonial purposes. Indeed, Brahmin and CKP bitches don’t even respond me. Ever. (I have experience of running my matrimonial profiles since 1998—roughly the same time that American and Indian bustards and bitches have been oppressing me with their power games, including psychic.) Anyway, Indian bustards are what they are. Bustards. Let’s leave them here…
Mr. Raghunath Mashelkar, FRS, it would behoove you to let Ayurveda alone (despite any Hindu, Hindu, Hindu, thoughts of yours or those of your colleagues in Tatas) and instead focus on science and engineering. Also giving the right people good jobs. (And asking a question or two as to why their PhD defences get indefinitely prolonged…) Or, is this, too, too much to expect of you? Especially, by someone like me?
I will “revise” this post, too, later on… (I have learnt to be shameless in matters like these. … So, I could even delete this post if I later on find it to be inconvenient to me, my career, etc.)