Sunday, July 27, 2008

The "Coolest" Fortnight

I had the coolest fortnight of my life from June 8 to 22. I literally mean it. And also might I add that this very same fortnight was the coolest yet in every other possible way that one might imagine.

Visualize the following... You are 2.4 kilometers up in the sky, you calculate the velocity of super-granules on the surface of the sun, you play with lasers, you listen to songs, you think about symmetric airfoils (Well's Turbine), you talk about parkour to (a) scientist(s), you have breakfast (lunch and dinner) with half a dozen scientists, you see the sun everyday,

You talk about strings, you think of neutrinos, you sun bathe and read a paper on Hans Bethe, you wear the same sweater for a week and a half, you freeze to death every night, you eat coelostats for breakfasts, spectrographs for lunch and heliographs for dinner, you yawn at 12 in the night with an ISRO scientist sitting near you and looking at your program (IDL), you sleep near a permanent GPS station, you sleep 2.4 kilometers up in the air, you look at a (most) beautiful sunrise, you stand on the edge of a cliff, you get a free ride everywhere you go, you walk 10 Km in a day, you are protected by an electric fence, you have bisons for company, your professor is chased by a bison one day, you think about particles, you think about light, you think about amplifiers, you think about (Dr.)Mr. Raman, you sleep when bored by photometry and wake up during the night ,..........

If all this is making your visual cortex go ga-ga, then think about poor me. I went through all this and more in one of the two best weeks of my life. I was at the Indian Institute of Astrophysics doing physics. I was a sad fellow when IUCAA rejected me and I was not satisfied with IIA's invitation. But nonetheless I went and I don't regret it. How many people get to meet the former Dean of IITM (not to mention how good a teacher he is), a professor from Cornell, a scientific advisor to the Govt. of India, a professor who was chased by a bison, a scientist from ISRO for the night, etc.

Jokes apart, whoever they were, they were (among) the best. I probably learnt more in those 2 weeks than a month at CEG. But the biggest question that remains is, am I ready for research? The future will tell.

The professor who was chased by the bison. He was proud of being chased and showed the video to us :)