Saturday, October 23, 2010

Scientific Peer Review sucks!

My experience with Scientific Peer Review have been really bitter so far. I feel cheated most of the times by the referees. After the first review they ask you to correct something as well as include something. After you really include all of them and correct the earlier mistakes, if any and resubmit the manuscript, they come up with something else which they did not mention at all in the first review. And it keeps going like this. There are two disadvantages of it: your paper remain unpublished for a long time and you have to give lots of time after the corrections, modifications which you could have devoted for another work you are doing. Of course, you learn a lot as well in the process of constructive criticism. I think the referees should mention all the defects, shortcomings in the paper in the first review itself. From second review onwards they should limit themselves to their comments in first review and the author's response to them. Asking a complete different question (which sometimes looks more philosophical and have no connection to the subject matter of the paper) in the second review is cheating to me. It shows that the referee in fact does not really want the paper to be published in the journal, but somehow pretending to be diplomatic by not rejecting the paper at the first go. I would really appreciate if they directly reject the paper at the first go, without wasting my time in going through N number of revisions. Then at least I can move on from that specific journal to another one (may be with lower impact factor) and get it published within shorter time. I wish there were a better way to get our works recognized rather than going through the tedious process of peer review.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Aakrosh and Knock Out back to back!

Last night I watched the two recently released Bollywood movies Aakrosh and Knock Out back to back. As I was not feeling like doing anything after coming back from home, naturally watching any types of movies was the best idea to kill time. Fortunately these two movies did not disappoint me like typical Bollywood hit movies like Dabangg etc. These two movies are based on two very serious issues Indians must pay attention to in recent times: first the increasing honor killing incidents across the country (specially northern India) and the corruption in each and every department of our system. Aakrosh has shown the picture of rural India in a very realistic way. Killing each other in the name of caste, how the dalits have been suffering in those areas for a long time are shown in the movie. Ajay Devagan and Akshay Khanna have done a great job in the movie. Paresh Rawal, who is playing the role of a villain here, has also done appreciable job. I do not know the newspaper ratings for this movie, and I hardly care about ratings nowadays. They always give good ratings to crappy movies like Dabangg and almost overlook many good movies like Aakrosh. I will give this movie 4 star out of five. Talking about Knock Out, it tries to create an awareness among the Indians how a huge amount of public fund money is going every year to Swiss Bank accounts of various corrupted politicians as well as bureaucrats. Irrfan Khan and Snjay Dutt are in the leading role here. Both looked decent in their roles. However the plot of the movie is a direct copy of the Collin Farrel starer Phone Booth. Nevertheless, this movie deserves 3 star out of 5.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Back from an awesome home trip!

I have come back to my institute yesterday after an awesome trip to my home. This was one of my best home trip in the last nine years. Durga Puja as well as my birthday came together within the 9 days stay at home. The birthday was as special as the date 10.10.10 was, I missed the bumps although which I would have got in hostel. Although I was in Assam during previous Durga puja as well, this time it was much better in terms of crowd as well as the weather. The weather was really cool. The days were sunny and the nights were rainy, keeping the temperature around 25 degree Celsius. There was no need of using fan in the night. The rain was a bit too much on the day of Mahanabami in Guwahati, but in my place (which is 170 km east of Guwahati) was much better with very little rain in the morning. I went to couple of places nearby my hometown to enjoy the Puja crowd. Assam was looking much better in Autumn than in Spring, which might be because of less rain in Autumn. During spring, it rains so much that there is hardly anything to enjoy. But now as the rainfall has decreased (not stopped although), you can enjoy the green and yellow paddy fields, the blue hills with little white clouds hanging over them. At the end of my stay I was hardly feeling like coming back unlike in most of my previous visits. Usually I get bored and feel like coming back to Bombay, but this time it was really different. I am really missing the days I spent with my family. I feel like going back again. I might need 2-3 more days to come back to normal hostel life, presently I am feeling complete blank :-(

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Jai Ho

After lots of uncertainties, fears and doubts, finally the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi is all set to take off today with a record-breaking number of participants. Things got changed drastically within one week in an unbelievable way. Just two weeks before, I really started doubting whether CWG will really happen or not. The Games village was not ready, many top athletes were withdrawing from the even due to security reasons or so, there were lots of allegations against the organizing committee of corruptions etc etc. But now there is nothing like this. All the participating countries are happy with the arrangements, Games villages seems to be ready as well and most importantly the security in the Delhi seems to be amazing with 1 lakh (0.1 million) security personnel on the streets of Delhi. Anyway, it surprises me whether things can change in a city like Delhi at such a rapid way or may be the media was exaggerating the things too much for their own benefit. I think that's surely the case. Before two weeks I have not seen any good sayings by the media about the games. All they published was about where ceiling collapsed, where bridge collapsed, how much money has been misused, which country is not participating etc etc. But as soon as the media got a much bigger issue to talk about, I mean the Ram Janmabhoomi issue, they have probably stopped attacking the CWG. Although I initially thought the Ram Janmabhoomi verdict came at a wrong time (thinking that it might produce some unrest in the country which can indirectly affect the games also), now it seems that it had one good side. The shifting media attention from CWG to the verdict perhaps made a better image of the games in the country. Now everybody seems to be supporting the even from the core of their hearts. Things were not as bad as media showed us probably, there were couple of good things also about the games preparations which were overlooked. Otherwise things can't change in such a way. Anyway, leaving aside the media exaggeration, the organizing committee as well as the government should also justify the amount of money being spent (where and how much). We can't let a huge amount of money to go into the pockets of some corrupted leaders which could have been used for the millions of starving poor people in the country.

I wish a grand success of this grand event and hope everything goes alright till the end of this mega event. Jai ho!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

CP violation

The discrete symmetries known as Charge conjugation (C) and parity (P) plays a very important role in Particle physics. C interchanges a particle with its antiparticle whereas P changes the handedness by reversing the space-coordinates x --> -x. The Standard model of particle physics which describes the observed fundamental particles and their interactions very successfully, violates both of these two discrete symmetries maximally. It violates C in the sense that the particle spectra has left handed neutrino but not the left handed anti-neutrino. P is violated in the sense that only left handed fermions have charged weak interactions and not the right handed ones. The combined operation of these two discrete symmetries CP is also violated in the Standard Model due to the presence of a CP violating phase in the quark mixing matrix (CKM matrix). C and CP violations are two of the four necessary criteria (Shakarov's conditions) required to produce the matter-antimatter asymmetry in the Universe. But the amount of CP violation in the quark sector of the Standard Model is too tiny to produce the large matter-antimatter asymmetry. This is one of the motivations to go beyond the Standard Model. This motivation got multiplied many times recently by the observed CP violation in Tevatron, Fermilab. One of it's detectors called DO has claimed to observe like-sign dimuon asymmetry in B meson decay which is 3.2 sigma away from the Standard Model predictions. Although this claim is yet to be confirmed, it has been taken very seriously across the world. I have already seen around ten papers which has explained this asymmetry by incorporating various new physics beyond the standard model. I am not sure whether this amount of CP violation (if confirmed to be correct) will be enough to produce the matter-antimatter asymmetry. If this suffices, then it will basically imply matter-antimatter asymmetry is generated at the TeV scale only. Since Tevatron is supposed to run till 2014 according to a recent proposal, we still have hope that it will verify this claim with much larger precision.