Chandrayaan 1, The countdown begins

India’s lunar explorer, Chandrayaan-1, will try to unravel the moon’s origins as it scouts for minerals and water there Chandrayaan, slated for an October 22 launch from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, would bolster international space cooperation by carrying 11 scientific devices — six of them from European and American organisations, while it orbits 100 km above the moon.

The final countdown for the mission has begun, its amazing how India’s first Moon mission is taking over India by storm. It is indeed a milestone not only in the newer technologies but an inspiration for the younger generation.

India’s lunar explorer, Chandrayaan-1, will try to unravel the moon’s origins as it scouts for minerals and water there Chandrayaan, slated for an October 22 launch from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, would bolster international space cooperation by carrying 11 scientific devices — six of them from European and American organisations, while it orbits 100 km above the moon.

1874 Transit of Venus Observations of Samanta Chandrasekhar

Samanta Chandrasekhar, of Orissa, is a poignant figure of a classical Siddhantic Astronomer of India, who survived into the 20th century (he died in 1904).

Samanta Chandrasekhar, of Orissa, is a poignant figure of a classical Siddhantic Astronomer of India, who survived into the 20th century (he died in 1904).

The year 2004 was a very appropriate year to remember his work and, in particular, to put together
his observations of the 1874 Transit of Venus. Not just observations –
predictions too, as he was a Siddhantic Astronomer, completely un-influenced by
the western schools of Astronomy, and to some extent – unaware of it, during
the early phases of his Astronomical efforts.

Samanta Chandrasekhar was born on the 13th of December 1835, at Khandapara,
in Orissa. His full name was Mahamahopadhaya Chandrasekhar Singh Harichandan
Mohapatra Samant, but he was better known as Pathani Samanta. His lifetime
Astronomy efforts were summarized by him in ‘Sidhanta Darpana’, which was
published in 1899, by Calcutta University. The original manuscript of 2500
Sanskrit shlokas was written in Oriya script, on palm leaves, by Samanta
Chandrasekhar.

Samanta Chandrasekhar did not have a formal University education and his interest and
efforts in Astronomy were completely self taught, from manuscripts of Siddhantic
Astronomical treatises, that he had access to. It is very evident that he had no
exposure to the revolutionary advances in Astronomy between the 17thand
19th centuries, until rather late in his Astronomical career, and
very little, even towards the end of that. He remained a complete Siddhantic
Astronomer in the classical mould, uninfluenced by more recent developments.

Continue reading “1874 Transit of Venus Observations of Samanta Chandrasekhar”

Chandrayaan-1… Part1

Chandrayaan1, India’s first space mission to moon would be launched by Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). ISRO has built this vehicle during the early 90’s. It is 45 m tall PSLV with a
lift-off mass of 295 tonne. It had its maiden success on had its maiden success on October 15, 1994. Considering the maturity of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) demonstrated through PSLV-C4/KALPANA-1 mission, PSLV is chosen for the first lunar mission. The upgraded version of PSLV viz., PSLV-XL will be used to launch a payload of 590Kg at a target lunar orbit of 100 Km.

History of Indian Institute of Science

It is time to remember the great minds that took part in the building of the institute. It all began with a dream for a centre of excellence seen by J N Tata. And relentlessly pursued by many scientists in the 100 years that followed. It is time to salute their efforts.

The Indian Institute of Science (IISc) is all geared up for its centenary celebrations beginning May 27, the day on which it was established in 1909.

Bangalore would have lost the prestigious Indian Institute of Science to Roorkee if it it had not been for the timely initiative of Mysore Maharani Vani Vilas Sannidhana back in 1901.

On behalf of her young son Krishna Raja Wodeyar Bahadur IV, the queen assigned 371 acres of land free of cost at Bangalore and an annual grant of Rs 18,000 a year towards expenses of establishing a research institute. That clinched the deal for Bangalore.

The fact-finding committee comprising Masson and Clibborn of Roorkee College had reported prevalence of enteric fever and plague in Bangalore. The climate was enervating in November, they added, and the power from the nearby hydel project (Sivasamudram) was hypothecated to KGF. Roorkee, they said, was more favourable for Tata’s Institute.

This was in reply to Prof William Ramsay who at J N Tata’s behest had toured India and found Bangalore the best place as it ‘does not present the same distractions as Bombay, Calcutta or Madras, but it is seat of a Geological Survey, of an agricultural section and of a government college and these would furnish a certain nucleus of scientific society which could not fail to be congenial both to staff and students of the new Institute.’

Interestingly, Ramsay had cited the hydel project with its ‘enormous potential for industrial development in which the new institute could play a vital role.’

He had found the climate temperate for nearly all the year; ‘it is not too hot for Europe nor too cold for natives’.
Bangalore was also favoured for a qualification it no longer holds! Ramsay was of the opinion that the place chosen ‘should not be in a very large centre of population, else social and administrative occupation from which it is so difficult to escape in a large city, would necessarily absorb the attention of the staff from their more immediate duties.’

Eventually Viceroy Lord Minto approved the establishment of the Institute, named Indian Institute of Science by Masson and Clifford, on 27th May 1909.

It is time to remember the great minds that took part in the building of the institute. It all began with a dream for a centre of excellence seen by J N Tata. And relentlessly pursued by many scientists in the 100 years that followed. It is time to salute their efforts.

Source : DECCAN HERALD

Lady Raman(Lokasundari Raman)

“Against all conventions of the time, Raman arranged his own marriage with Lokasundari, who was then 13 years old. The story is that on the first occasion he saw her, she was playing on the veena the ‘Thyagaraja Keerthana’, Rama Ni Samanam Evaro.

SOURCE : DECCAN HERALD

Sir Raman's wife

After reading a couple of articles on C V Raman in Deccan Herald, I thought it would be a good idea to remember his wife Lady Lokasundari Raman. As the well known saying goes, ‘Behind every great man there is a woman!’ He used to call her ‘Logum’ but always referred to her in public as ‘Lady Raman’.

Here I quote from the first Raman Memorial Lecture held in 1978 at the Indian Institute of Science. It was given by Prof S Ramaseshan.

“Against all conventions of the time, Raman arranged his own marriage with Lokasundari, who was then 13 years old. The story is that on the first occasion he saw her, she was playing on the veena the ‘Thyagaraja Keerthana’, Rama Ni Samanam Evaro. We shall never know whether it was by intent or by accident! Anyway, she insists that she still does not know if Raman married her for the extra Rs 150 the Finance Department gave to its married officers! He had joined the Finance Department as Assistant Accountant General, Calcutta. He was then 18 1/2 years old.”

What a hectic life it must have been for her to be married to a whirlwind personality like Raman! Young Lokasundari tells of the routine of her husband: At 5.30 am, he goes to the the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science, returns at 9.45 am, bathes, gulps down his food, leaves for the office by taxi so as not to be late. On his way back in the evening, he goes to the association to continue his scientific work and returns at 10 pm. Sundays were spent at the association.