Saturday, January 29, 2011

Off to Delhi for three weeks!

Finally its decided. I am going to Delhi to attend to XXVI SERC school on Theoretical High Energy Physics at Center for Theoretical Physics, Jamia (as an unofficial participant this time). It was very hard for me to decide whether to go there or do some work in the institute itself. As two of my papers were under review, I had couple of things to do for the last few months. But on 26th January, one of them got accepted in Physical Review D and brought tremendous relief. But just around that time the reviewers comments came for the other paper. One of those comments was a bit technical and I had to re-do some calculations and re-draw some of the plots. Thankfully I could finish them from my side yesterday and now completely ready to go to the SERC school with almost zero load on my head. My fellow friends might complain that I travel too much, as is obvious from my blog also. But truly speaking, I enjoy it although I have hard time in Indian Railways most of the time. Last time I went to Delhi on New Years eve, the train was 20 hours delayed (9 hours on the station +11 hours on the way). But this time I just called up Indian Railways information center and they said that my train is delayed by 1 minute. I felt great not because of the delay by just one minute but because of the fact that Indian Railways count up to the precision of 1 minute ;-) But the train this time is a chair car train (where it is easier to get reservation within 1 week of departure date), so it might be tiring to travel for 16 hours. But anyway I believe it will be better than a sleeper coach travel for 30 hours. Looking forward to a great school this time (unlike the not so great school in Panjab University, Chandigarh last year)....

Monday, January 24, 2011

Dhobi Ghaat

I went to watch the movie Dhobi Ghaat on the very first day of it's release. Although in Delhi, I used to go for movies on the very first day of it's release, in Bombay I do not do it very often. There are two reasons: the ticket prices are very high in Bombay (specially on the 1st day of release) and its hectic to go out of the institute campus for me. But somehow I managed to do it on Friday. I went with an open mind to watch the movie and I guess that was a good attitude. This movie is certainly not like Aamir Khan's earlier movies. In fact, this is not a one man leading movie, every character has got equal importance: Munna (the Dhobi), Shai (the NRI banker), The newly married woman (I forgot the name of her character) as well as Aamir Khan. The movie is not like a story which begins somewhere and ends somewhere. There is no beginning and there is no end I think. Its a 90 minutes snapshots of typical Bombay life. It shows how different people from very different backgrounds come to this city and how their lives affect each other. Let me not tell you how the story goes since that you can find anywhere now. But I found this movie very different from any bollywood movies I have seen so far. The background music (Mostly acoustic guitar) by Gustavo Santaolalla was cool as well and reminds me of movies like Brokeback Mountain, the Motorcycle Diaries etc. And when my friend asked me whether I liked it or not (just after the movie was over), I was not being able to give a very straightforward answer, I had to think for sometime to realize that yes, I liked it :) I know this movie won't be a big hit in India where people like unrealistic movies with too many songs and dancing, but it's good to see that some people at least are trying to make a difference without worrying too much about their earnings. Hope it continues...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


The XXVI SERC school in THEP will be in CTP, Jamia (New Delhi) from 31st January to 20th February'2011. The format this time is slightly different in the sense that instead of usual four courses in every main schools, this school will have three courses only: Black Hole Physics (9 lectures by Ashoke Sen), Inflation (9 lectures by Sreeramkumar) and New Physics at LHC (18 lectures by Sreerup and Gautam). I would have loved to attend the third course but I already disqualified myself by attending two main schools already. I am still thinking of attending this course unofficially, but there some issues with accommodation in Delhi and all. Although I am not in a mood of traveling yet the courses as well as the lecturers this time are so awesome that it's worth making an effort.

Monday, January 17, 2011


The SYMPHY 2011 was a great success. Keeping an eye on the fact that, it was the very first time that the physics department is organizing such an in-house symposium, the responses from the students as well as the faculties were quite good. Couple of undergraduates also turned up (we don't expect them to come to in-house symposium on a weekend as they hardly come to attend their classes on weekdays). The responses from the research scholars were awesome, most of them showed up sooner or later. Among the faculties, we probably had expected a bit more. Prof Yajnik, Prof P.P.Singh and Prof Varma were there with us from the very beginning till the end of the symposium (9 am to 6:30 pm) which was remarkable. Some other faculty members showed up later as well. The invited speakers' talks were also good, Deepak Dhar talked about pattern formation in biological systems and Sandip Trivedi gave a basic summary of CMBR, Dark Energy, Cosmological constant etc at an undergraduate level. My talk went alright although I did not have much audience at 9 30 am, but at least two-three people (including my guide) could follow the talk and asked questions at the end. During the condensed matter talks however, there were lots of discussions, comments from students as well as faculties (since majority of the research scholars as well as faculties in the department work in Cond-mat). It was good to see such active discussions specially among the students for the first time probably for me. I hope this will continue in future with many more active participants as well as speakers.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Physics Department, IIT Bombay is organizing the first ever in-house symposium SYMPHY 2011 on 15th January 2011. The idea is to have a formal communication among all the research scholars working in various fields in the department. Looking at the fact that there is very little interaction among the students in the department, hopefully this symposium will initiate such a process rather in a formal way. To make the event look more attractive, there will be two invited speakers Deepak Dhar and Sandip Trivedi (both from Tata Institute). The research scholars have the option to present their work either through poster or oral presentation (15+5 mins). Although initially there was a doubt that a one-day symposium won't be enough for a department which has around 50 research scholars or more. But from the submission of abstracts, it seems that one day is just perfect as we are not getting too many students willing to give talk. The list of participants as well as their talk titles have been put up in the website already. The organizers are also planning to prepare a e-booklet containing all the talk titles+abstracts which will be put in the website later. Hope SYMPHY 2011 will take off with a grand success!!

Calcutta 2011

As I have mentioned in my previous post, I was in Calcutta (now known as Kolkata) from 4th Jan to 9th Jan'2011 attending a workshop at Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics. The workshop was awesome both from academic point of view as well as the hospitality. Academic part I mentioned more or less in my previous post. Regarding the hospitality part, it was perhaps better than many conferences/workshops in Europe or in the US I believe. The food, the drinks, the banquet dinner were so amazing, I am having a hard time now in getting adjusted to the hostel food :( I would love to go there whenever I get an opportunity. Calcutta as a city I did not explore much, although I had one whole day free. But the public transport there is not so good although this is the only Indian city which has bus, metro and tram both. The problem is that metro and tram covers only a small portion of this huge city and 99% of the time you have to travel by bus only. And the roads (as far as I have seen) there are so small compared to other metro cities like Bombay and New Delhi, it takes too much time to travel by road. The first day I reached Calcutta, I took a cab from Howrah station to Salt Lake Sector 1 and it took more than one and a half hours although the distance was around 10-12 km. Apart from that Calcutta suffers from various political turmoils also. Political parties start rallies, protests anywhere on the street resulting in huge traffic jam. It happened during my stay there also after eight villagers were shot in Lalgarh area of West Bengal. The security of the guest house I stayed advised me not to take the risk of going out on that day. I believe there are many things to enjoy or explore in this city but the city has still to grow up to make it more tourist friendly for which better roads and better public transport is a must.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Dark Matter Workshop

The Dark Matter Workshop at SINP, Kolkata is going good so far. Today is the fourth day of the workshop and most of the areas related to dark matter theory, phenomenology and experiments have been covered so far by various invited speakers. There were talks related to model building using SUSY, GUT, Extra U(1) as well some string theory inspired models by speakers like Mambrini, Ibarra, Covi, X. Tata and many others. At the same time there were talks on experiments like DAMA (by F. Capella) , PAMELA, Fermi-LAT and other experiments as well as the possible collider signatures. It was indeed good to listen to talks covering such a wide varieties but of course crucial as far as dark matter is concerned. It seemed somehow to me that people are taking direct detection experiments and possible LHC signatures of Dark matter more seriously than indirect detection experiments like PAMELA, Fermi-LAT etc. It might be because of the existing astrophysical explanations of various cosmic ray anomalies. But as Ibarra pointed out, the Gamma ray line in the sky should be taken more seriously compared to positron excess, since it has got no astrophysical explanations. There was an interesting model where people put a chern-simons term mixing the photon with a hidden gauge boson. In that case dark matter annihilation(for relic density) and dark matter going to gamma rays involve the same vertex (rather than loop suppressed in case of neutralinos in MSSM) and hence can give rise to a TeV gamma ray line observed. Anyway it seems constraints from CDMS, XENON, signal from DAMA, Gamma ray line observed by Fermi and future collider signatures are going to play the key role in the business of dark matter!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Years Eve 2

Finally I could reach New Delhi before new years eve. The train was delayed by 20 hours without any surprise, thanks to Gujjars as well as Indian Railways. The new years eve party was awesome as before. This time we got more company with couple of cool guys joining us. One of them, Amlan was an amazing guiterist who kept playing GnR, Nirvana and many others throughout the party. The take off was around 11 pm and it lasted till around 7 am. Fortunately I was also alive till the end with others. The bollywood item numbers munni badnam, Shiela ki jawani added spice to our crazy dances throughout the party. Although I am not a big fan of such item numbers, I could realize how awesome they become when you have suitable occasions like we had last night. May the coming year bring more such occasions to have such parties. Even if it does not, 31st Dec 2011 is anyway there by default for a blast. Will keep looking for the next party in the capitol...Hope it comes soon...Amen..................