SCI-ART LAB

Science, Art, Litt, Science based Art & Science Communication

                                                                          Interactive Science series

People ask me all sorts of questions related to science, research, science and religion, science and society etc.. I usually write on these topics and post them here after giving them convincing replies so that others too can read them(1,2). I have compiled a few brief ones and added here.

Q: Why is India a place where everyone needs magic not logic? Why are Babas more famous then scientists here?

My Reply: Ignorance, faulty education system and cultural conditioning of minds, pure and simple. Education here rarely encourages critical thinking. People depend on emotions and intuition most of the time. They lack independent thinking capabilities and cannot take their own decisions and consult pundits and Godmen who they 'fear'. Like somebody said, ignorance is the soil in which belief in miracle grows.

Q: Why are majority of scientists not Indians? Is there anything wrong with Indian psychology? Is dedication not enough? What is the reason?

MR: What?! I am not sure about this fact but I read somewhere that India has third largest scientific community in the world.

Even if it is not the third largest, we do have a very handsome number of scientists working in various fields. Only thing is they are not as prominent as the Western ones except in one or two areas of research. There are various reasons for it. The atmosphere, equipment, funding - all these and many more contribute to the problem. 

I wrote on this sometime back and you can read my article here: How to make  scientific research in India a success story

Q: How can one become an innovative person?
MR: You have to think differently, do things differently from the people around you to be innovative. First learn about everything in your field. Find the problems in your area. Try to connect different things ( application of your learned knowledge). Don't get influenced by others' ideas. Don't copy others. You have to invent your own to be innovative!
Let me tell you a secret. People who usually get bored with the ordinary things try to find extra-ordinary ways. They hate to follow others. They never follow trends, they have the ability to overcome peer-pressures, not afraid to get a stamp of 'crazy guy' or 'mad guy' and despite all the negative talk about them, they still go ahead and try to set their own trends and create new paths.
In the end the world has no other go but to accept this madness as 'innovative culture'.

Q: Do researchers/scientists find reading scientific papers exciting?
MR: To tell you the truth, I enjoy reading life science research papers because I can understand them very well. But papers in other fields of science than mine give me some trouble. I enjoy reading papers in quantum mechanics, Astrophysics and Bio-Chemistry. I depend on science communicators and writers and scientists' blogs to make things easier for me in some of the subjects that I find difficult to comprehend. But I go to original papers after reading these articles written by people who are not authors of research papers for authenticity. A badly written paper creates mind-blocks.
When even people from the field of science cannot understand research papers of other scientists of different subjects, imagine what men on the street think about them. Science communicators, we adore you for the job you are doing!

Q: Do PhD students procrastinate (e.g. spending hours on stupid things on the internet)? Are they sometimes totally unproductive?
MR: Sometimes people have to take their minds off a problem to give their simmering brains some rest. But then when you have to solve a problem in a limited time frame, your mind keeps coming back to the problem even while you are resting! Even when you are riding a mountain bike, you can't keep your mind away from the work you are doing for long. It will have you in its tight grip! It will not allow you to go far away from it. You feel as if you're chained to the problem and until you solve it, it won't let you go.
If you can break it easily, you are not really into it!
That is my personal experience.
Q: Why do great scientists refuse to meet ordinary people? How can we convey it to them if we have a better theory?
MR: Scientists give more importance to their time and work. They don't want to waste it. But meeting people is important too. So they occasionally give lectures and interviews.
If you want to convey some better theory, publish it! Scientists will definitely read it!

Q: Why do scientists research on eclipses when an ordinary Indian priest can tell the next 1000 year eclipse time?

MR: What the priests use to predict eclipses is a calendar that is based on the knowledge of previous observations too! Scientists use eclipses to gain more knowledge about the solar system.

Q: What is a scientist's view on Harvard's neurosurgeon's claim on the afterlife? ((Harvard Neurosurgeon Confirms The Afterlife Exists)

MR: Well, the brain chemistry of this scientist might have changed during the illness. And his view of the world and reality too have changed with it. There is nothing more to it.

Q: Why are science fiction authors more likely to predict the future than actual scientists?
MR: Because science fiction authors' imaginations can run wild as they need not work much on them. And scientists can smile and say, " Yes, why not?" and can make their imaginations come true!
It is just a chance anybody's predictions can come true. Out of millions of imaginations, if some come true, that is not 'predicting the future accurately'.
Math Explains Likely Long Shots, Miracles, predicting something beforehand and Winning the Lottery
One should not be surprised when long shots, miracles and other extraordinary events occur—even when the same six winning lottery numbers come up in two successive drawings.
What we think of as extremely unlikely events actually happen around us all the time. The mathematical law of truly large numbers as well as the law of combinations help to explain why.
With only 23 people in a room, the probability that two of them share the same birthday is 0.51—greater than 50 percent.
The Bulgarian lottery randomly selected the winning numbers 4, 15, 23, 24, 35, 42 on September 6, 2009. Four days later it selected the same numbers again. The North Carolina Cash 5 lottery produced the same winning numbers on July 9 and 11, 2007. Strange? Not according to probability.
Reflective thinkers are more likely to see the event as a statistical fluke, while intuitive thinkers feel it is magic!

Q: Why do mysterious lights appear every morning at Khailash- Mansarovar Lake? Where does science fit in here?

MR: Do they? 

The same is being said about Makarjyoti of Sabarimalai. People believe in whatever they want to believe. The rationalists say some people themselves do this (carry lights) to deceive the innocent.

Science doesn’t have a role in this belief. It doesn’t even subscribe to such miracles. Nothing can come out of nothing just like that according to science. There is no such thing as magic, supernatural miracle; only something that's still beyond logic of the observer. Miracles are just rare and poorly understood phenomena. A miracle is a miracle until science explains it. Just because science takes a lot of time to study and explain things, you cannot ridicule science, that it cannot understand certain things. Scientists have much more important things to do like saving lives before coming to less important things like explaining miracles. Meanwhile, people try to deceive you by telling stories. And keep taunting science.

When people saw lives with pains, tragedies and sorrows during pre-scientific era, they wanted some kind of theory which could explain all this. Therefore, they thought about explanations and theories which gradually led into beliefs. These beliefs, which were influenced by the times they lived in i.e., non-scientific reasoning, were products of constant fear of the unknown. Instead of taking on the fear head on and finding permanent solutions, they just escaped into the world of false beliefs that gave them temporary relief. In a world where people clutch at all kinds of straws to make some sense of the madness around them, truth can never be found. Instead of analyzing, examining and understanding why something happens and how it should be handled, they tried shortcuts by bringing unknown and untested factors to interpret things! These beliefs divided people because each person had a different set of experiences and those in turn influenced their explanations and the resultant beliefs based on their mental makeup and situations and not on one truth. That is how different beliefs - both religious and non-religious - originated.

I admire the creativity of this story-telling. And the lengths people go to ‘make people listen’.

But history tells us every miracle will meet its nemesis when science steps in. Wait till that time.

Q: What are the reasons for stories of Bermuda Triangle?

MR: What happens at BT are Just Natural Occurences! But people with ulterior motives give a shape of Chemera to them ! It is all a myth and nothing more and science has already debunked it. During the earlier times when people saw events and lives with pains, tragedies and sorrows, they wanted some kind of theory which could explain all this. Therefore, they thought about explanations and theories which gradually led into beliefs. These beliefs, which were influenced by the times they lived in i.e., non-scientific reasoning, were products of constant fear of the unknown. Instead of taking on the fear head on and finding permanent solutions, they just escaped into the world of false beliefs that gave them temporary relief. In a world where people clutch at all kinds of straws to make some sense of the madness around them, truth can never be found. Instead of analyzing, examining and understanding why something happens and how it should be handled, they tried shortcuts by bringing unknown and untested factors to interpret things! These beliefs divided people because each person had a different set of experiences and those in turn influenced their explanations and the resultant beliefs based on their mental makeup and situations and not on one truth. That is how different beliefs - both religious and non-religious - originated. The Bermuda triangle stories originated in the same way!

Explanation based on science and reasoning looks like this one in the video:

 

Q: Should we stop funding for physics since Albert Einstein said If [quantum theory] is correct, it signifies the end of physics as a science.?

MR: No, nobody, no matter how big he or she is, can predict anything like that in science. Research is an on going process and it will stay that way as long as human beings exist on this planet.

Q: Why is no one concerned about quality research in the field of life sciences in India?

MR: Some of the researchers in life sciences are concerned. But they are working in the dark too. Sometime back I wrote on the topic ... How to make scientific research in India a success story. You can read it here: How to make  scientific research in India a success story

Q: How does the Rotavac vaccine work?

MR: It works like any other vaccine . Read this article I wrote to know all about vaccines. 
Vaccine woes
Rotarix is an oral vaccine against rotavirus infection. It contains a live, weakened form of human rotavirus. Rotarix vaccine stimulates the immune system to produce antibodies against rotavirus. It can be given to young children to prevent gastroenteritis caused by infection with this virus.

Q: What are some traditional habits Indians follow and it's values are scientifically proved?

MR: There is a lot of pseudo-science going around these 'scientifically proven' customs and traditions. People say things. But has anybody tested them scientifically? Where did that 'science' come from? Your belief doesn't become science just because you want it to!

We have tested some of these myths and I wrote on these things. You can read my articles here: Love Science, not its impostors!

here: Be alert - Pseudo-Science and Anti-Science are on the Prowl!

and here: How to trust science stories: A guide for common man

Q: What life lessons did Ph.D experiences teach you?

MR: Get going, get going, get going, no matter what! You have to complete what you have started. You have to find a way. Walk on those deadly failures and reach your destination. Be realistic, neither optimistic nor pessimistic. Success is just a step away. Get going!

Read a poem I wrote on this here: If you are into research in science..

Q: Why should one do a PhD?

MR: I did mine, because I love science, to be a part of it, to enjoy the thrills of inventions and discoveries and to gain more deep knowledge about a subject and share it with the world.

Q: What's the hardest part of being a PhD student?
MR: The first six months! Because you are new to the work and if your guide tells you to do your work on your own, you feel as if you're alone in wilderness and has to find a way to your home!
Of course research is difficult and failure is your constant friend. But if you can overcome the first six months of difficulties, you gain confidence and will be able to complete your work successfully. That is my experience.


Q: How do scientists invent or discover something totally new?
MR: You read a lot and gain knowledge in several areas of science. It's never totally new in the sense that it combines earlier ideas and using your creativity, you try to solve your problem in a new way, but nonetheless that is how small and big advances happen. Keep searching based on your prior knowledge and creative imagination, you might discover something new.
Simple? No, extremely difficult but achievable with the training you get in research!

Q: How fast should a graduate student be able to read and understand 90% of an academic paper the first time around?
MR: If the graduate student is well versed with research methodology, jargon, topic, there shouldn't be any difficulty in understanding it even if the person is reading a paper the first time.
On the other hand even scientists with several years of research experience find it difficult to understand papers belonging to fields other than theirs.

Q: What do professors actually care about in selecting research students?
MR: Well, my professor and guide told me I was selected because of my top ranks in the university, ability to get a CSIR fellowship, independent, creative and critical thinking capabilities, determination to deliver goods in the limited time frame.

Q: What are some consequences of staying lonely for too long?
MR: That really depends on the personality of the lonely being. There are people who enjoy loneliness and make use of it in positive and creative ways and there are people who wail in self pity. I belong to the first category and have absolutely no complaints about my solitude. Who says loneliness is boring? It is fun and highly productive. I enjoy every moment of it. It strengthened my mind, made me very independent, highly confident and creative and is the reason why I succeeded so much in life (3).

Everything that had been said before about single individuals is wrong according to recent research... 

Unseen Singles: How Science Misrepresents the Unmarried

There are so many false beliefs out there about single people and single life. And those false beliefs are "sometimes presented as being based in research.

More economic opportunities for women and increased focus on forging individual paths to happiness means that there are more opportunities to stay single as a matter of choice. We have to make space for the possibility that for some people, single life is their best life.

This assertion seems to fly in the face of the bulk of the available psychology literature. Marriage, and long-term cohabitation, are associated with health benefits like survival after heart surgery and lower levels of stress and depression.

The problem is that studies that compare married and nonmarried people can't randomly assign people to get hitched or stay single; it's entirely possible that the sort of person who gets married is just different from the sort of person who doesn't.

Another problem, according to researchers, is that studies usually compare currently married people to currently single people. But those currently single people could have been previously married and divorced or widowed. Someone who is widowed might be very different from someone who is divorce, and both might be quite different from those who had never married. Nevertheless, the research lumps all these groups into the umbrella as "single."

A few studies that follow the same people over time find that when people go from unmarried to married or cohabitating, they see a slight uptick in happiness— but this honeymoon effect soon fades. These people may also get a health boost, possibly linked to marriage benefits like getting on a spouse's health care plan, a 2012 study found. That same study also found, however, that singles who get married lose contact with outside family and friends, an insularity effect seen in multiple studies. In contrast, single people keep up more diverse social ties.

It seems to be the single people who, in important ways, are holding us together," according to teh researchers. Singles also volunteer more, and single children are more likely than married children to take care of their aging parents (like I did).

Research suggests that there are some serious benefits to singlehood. For example, people who score high on the desire to spend time alone are less likely to be neurotic and more likely to be open-minded than are people who prefer to be surrounded with others. Single people also develop a diverse portfolio of skills (again like I did)— they can't depend on a partner to do the taxes or cook dinner — which may give them a sense of mastery over life.

We really need to do is find out much more about what's important to single people, what their lives are like, what they value — and that gives us a much fuller and fairer picture of the different ways of living a life.

"I do not think you can name many great inventions that have been made by married men." - Nikola Tesla

http://www.livescience.com/55671-science-of-being-single.html

So don't think only married people will be happy. Single people can be extremely happy too!

Q: What are some of the best ways to become extremely smart?
MR: It depends on the person actually. Not only gathering information, critically thinking about it in an unbiased way (detached and neutral processing in the world of science) is very important. Pursuit of truth without any fear, illusions, preconceived notions and beliefs is what smarter people do. Can you get disentangled from conditioning of mind? Can you be realistic, neither optimistic nor pessimistic? (Optimists can see a glass half filled with water, while pessimists can see the glass half empty, while the realists (most scientists) can see it fully filled - half with water and half with air!). That is the real smartness!

Q: Do all scientists like science fiction?
MR: Majority of my colleagues' said "No" (that is 75%). And my reply to your Q is a 'NO' too.
Because scientists find it 'unconvincing' and 'unrealistic' most of the time. May be their thought process is different from those of others who enjoy it.
They prefer reality loaded with facts and data.

Q: Where do atheists get their morality?
MR: Well, is religion the only area where you have principles and morals? Don't you trust scientists who are atheists? Because they can use reason and can critically think about anything and therefore can be good human beings?
Being a good human being is a matter of ceaselessly practicing good behavior. It matters little which path one took to get there.
There is no need to distrust people just because they are atheists and don't belong to your religious group. Atheists can be good human beings too. Any belief system that says or gives the idea that one should not trust people for choosing other alternate paths is not weighing things in a proper manner.
Unlike what several people think, I think science deals with moral ( derived from reasoning related to...empirical evidence) issues too and can be a good guide to life's journey through the checkerboard of blacks and whites!My guide 's science before and will be science in the future too!

Q: How far is it justified to say that science is for the scientists? Others should not be confused.
MR: Science is for everyone. When this universe and life themselves are based on scientific priciples, nobody can escape it. However, some people can live without knowing anything about anything around them. It is like a few visually handicapped persons trying to walk in a forest. Some might survive by mere chance, some get bruised or hurt, while some fall prey to the dangers lurking around.
The part science plays is very significant in the drama. It throws light, gives better equipment to tackle things easily and finally it increases the survival chances to the maximum possible levels.
I didn't understand what you mean by " others should not be confused". Does it mean as science is difficult to understand , people out of the field get confused by it if they try to understand it? I think people should develop a little bit of scientific knowledge along with learning a few terms of science to make things easier for them. They will definitely get benefited by it.
Q: Is it pretentious for a high school student to wear a lab coat while working in a laboratory?
MR: We wear lab coats as a protective measure. In Microbiology labs, as soon as we discard them while going out, we reduce the amount of microbes going out with our clothes. We also wear them to protect our clothes from getting holes while using acids. Anybody who face these risks can use them.

Q: Why do ISRO scientists  wear white coats during Satellite launches?

MR: According to ISRO scientists - these white coats are basically special coats to prevent built of any Electrostatic charge, which by the way can be very dangerous to sensitive electronics if suddenly discharged. These coats are not to be necessarily white, they have even blue ones at ISRO. 

 (If you rub a comb against your hair and then take it close to pieces of paper,  they get attracted to it. That is electrostatic  charge built up in comb).


Q: What percentage of scientists do not think anthropogenic global warming is a fact? And why?

MR: According to research reports I read about 3% and rest 97% trust that AGW is true.

"Scientific creativity" is what when you know one thing and you know  another one too, you try to connect things and try to imagine with this  information and predict things. This is not exaggeration. It is  'smartness' and learning from experiences.
Yes, I agree, the data is insufficient. And the models of climate science are  inconclusive and might not be correct. The things that effect the  climate are enormous and cannot be fit into provable models. But we have  some information. We have some proof. And we have enough knowledge to  tell that if we don't take action, we will be harmed. Isn't that enough  for any sensible person to take action? 
If we still wait and watch  despite that knowledge, what is the use of having it at all? Wait for  full knowledge and get doomed meanwhile?
That is what majority of scientists think. Yes, we have seen some data. We have reports of consequences of climate change from several parts of the world. Therefore, the trust on the climate scientists is based on "creative thinking of scientists" and some evidence. That is why majority of scientists agree with their colleagues in the field of climate science.
http://climate.nasa.gov/scientif...

 

Q: Does alien and 'UFO' really exist? Is there any scientific proof?

MR: Till now there is no proof. Only informed imagination (about aliens) and unreliable  stories (about UFOs). Even if ETs exist, they might not have developed to a stage where they can travel between galactic spaces easily. According to the Great Filter theory,  alien life does exist, but intelligent life is incapable of  technologically advancing enough for long-distance space communication  or travel. Although our modern spaceships, satellites, and radios may  make it seem like we’re getting closer, we’ll inevitably reach a barrier  or catastrophe that will either wipe us out or cause technology to  devolve.
Sometime back the CIA admitted that several of the UFO sightings that people reported were actually their own high flying spy planes!

‘It was us’, not UFOs, CIA claims in Best of 2014 tweet

 

Q: How many commercial pilots out there are convinced they've seen UFOs or alien spacecrafts while flying?

MR: Well, do you know countries are playing and spying around with people's fears by hiding things? In 2014 CIA admitted half of what people saw in the 50s and 60s were actaully their spy planes flying at very high altitudes. 
In the mid-1950s, most commercial airliners flew at altitudes between  10,000 and 20,000 feet (3,048 to 6,096 meters). But once U-2s started  flying at much higher altitudes — above 60,000 feet (18,288 m) — "air  traffic controllers began receiving increasing numbers of UFO reports" .
Airline pilots also wrote letters to the Air Force Unit at Wright Air  Development Command in Dayton, Ohio, a group charged with investigating  UFO phenomena.

You can find more on this here: CIA About UFOs of the 1950s and '60s: 'It Was Us'

Q: Scientists say that there is a scientific reason behind every Indian belief. What is the scientific reason behind Godavari Pushkaralu or Krishna Pushkaram, etc.?
MR: Yes, there is a "pseudo-scientific" reason behind most of Indian beliefs. You take conclusions first and then find 'scientific explanations' to them. If there are none, you' invent' them.
Pushkaralu denote cultural and traditional aspects. What science tells about them is the water gets so dirtied during pushkaralu that one should keep away from it!
Quite the opposite of what you think? Well that is the fact of science!
During earlier times, copper and alloys of copper coins were used and people threw them into the rivers thinking that copper kills germs! But you need lots and lots of them to get the desired result in a river. Just a few don't make any difference. But, yes, poor people collect them and use them.

Q: What are some natural phenomenons with some interesting theories behind them?

MR: I wrote on this. You can read my article here: http://kkartlab.in/group/some-science/forum/topics/why-some-interes...

Q: What will happen at the time of death?

MR: I wrote on this too: The link... http://kkartlab.in/group/some-science/forum/topics/how-science-expl...

Q: What is the ultimate truth of life?

MR: My poem Ultimate Truth tells all about it: http://kkartlab.in/group/theartofwritingpoems/forum/topics/ultimate...

Q: Why do people ridicule "anti-vaxxers" despite known serious side effects of vaccines, sometimes including permanent paralysis? I have a friend who is completely paralyzed the body down due to a side effect of a vaccine that caused serious inflammation of the spinal cord. He almost died because of it as he could not control his breathing. Now he cannot speak and only communicates through eyeball movements. I wish he could comment on this matter.

MR: Okay, show me the absolute proof that your friend's condition is because of vaccines. Just because you say something should we believe it? Are we dumb? Anti-vaxxers use all sorts of ridiculous excuses to degrade years of work by scientists. Most of their claims have been found to be untrue. 
I have taken all most all the vaccines that are available here. And didn't suffer a single side-effect. Of course that situation differs from person to person but I am a living proof that vaccines are safe. Please read the article I wrote on this topic that answers your Q here: Vaccine woes

MR: There are several geniuses without being insane espcially in the field  of science! 
Artistic creativity is more associated with mental illness.
Real-world creative achievement is influenced by many factors operating on a much longer timescale, including motivation, inspiration, drive, persistence, love, opportunity, social support, and resources.
When it comes to cultivating genius, several factors play a part. Read here what they are: The Complexity of Greatness: Beyond Talent or Practice
I think when the research takes place associating a genius with mental illnesses, "p-hacking" occurs most of the time.  A link between "madness" and "genius" is very old, dating back at least to the time of Aristotle. It is very difficult to break this line of thinking.
I have seen several people with great mental abilities, yet very sane, especially in my field.  Just because you can give a few examples doesn't mean all or majority of the geniuses are insane.

Q: Why do majority of scientists suffer from depression?

MR: This assumption itself is rubbish. Where did you get this news? Where is the data that supports it?

There are several geniuses without being insane especially in the field of science!
Artistic creativity is more associated with mental illness.

We enjoy life a lot in our own way and almost all my colleagues and friends in the field too never entered into a depressed zone. Moreover, depression becomes an obstacle in moving forward in science because it robs you of the critical thinking capabilities and a scientist needs to have these for successful research outcomes. Depression makes people more emotional or bad emotions make you depressed more. Most of the scientists will be told at the training stage itself to keep emotions at bay as soon as they enter their labs. And we follow it strictly.

Real-world creative achievement is influenced by many factors operating on a much longer timescale, including motivation, inspiration, drive, persistence, love, opportunity, field support, and resources.
When it comes to cultivating genius, several factors play a part. Read here what they are: The Complexity of Greatness: Beyond Talent or Practice
I think when the research takes place associating a genius with mental illnesses, "p-hacking" occurs most of the time. A link between "madness" and "genius" is very old, dating back at least to the time of Aristotle. It is very difficult to break this line of thinking.
I have seen several people with great mental abilities, yet very sane, especially in my field. Just because you can give a few examples doesn't mean all or majority of the geniuses are insane.

You might find one or two depressed scientists occasionally but these are rare.

Q: Why do physics and mathematics rank higher in the academic pecking order than chemistry and biology?
MR: I am a Microbiologist but while dealing with microscopes, I am dealing with Physics! I regularly deal with Chemistry and Bio-chemistry (while studying things, conducting experiments and coming to conclusions), and Statistics and Maths too while tackling the data! All the subjects are interlinked. It is just your perception that made you ask this question. While we are in the labs these type of questions never arise!


Q: How do you get your new ideas either in science or art/literature?
MR: Ideas flow so fast and constantly for me that I don't get time to follow them immediately. So I write them on paper or on my computer and work on them when ever I get time. I am a divergent (a thought process or method used to generate creative ideas by exploring many possible solutions ) thinker. My mind will be like an extremely busy street and works non-stop 24X7X30X12X365X100! There are problems all around us. You will notice them all your wakeful hours of the day. You have knowledge. You try to connect the knowledge you have with the problems you encounter. That is where and how creativity generates new ideas in science/art/ literature. And I work in all the three fields!
.
Q: Which would you pick: being world-class attractive, a genius or famous for doing something great?
MR: Immediate reply: A genius! Nothing else appeals to me.

Q: What is cutting edge interdisciplinary work? What is its relevance?
MR: Dealing with several fields at a time and creatively connecting them. I did/doing research in both science and art. In fact I deal with several fields - science, art, literature, designing, running a science communication network that uses art and literature as tools to communicate science and helps art through science. Does that come under 'cutting edge'? Decide for yourself!
There are a few people I know who too do some of the things I do. And they are members of my network. It is amazing to learn about their work and think about how the human minds can be stretched to their limits. Interdisciplinary work improves a person's creative talents.


Q: How is the lifestyle of a scientist?

MR: That differs from person to person. But here I give a general observation: Scientists get training for years to deal with jargon and scientific methods. They frequently do things that catch their curiosity, eat their brains like termites, help understand the world, try to creatively connect various things, give more importance to time discarding things that waste their time, refusing to do ordinary things in the way others do- i.e., without thinking much about them they do them- making silly mistakes in the process , reading journals that deal with their subjects, enjoy discussing things with their peers, writing and publishing papers, attending conferences. They do indulge in hobbies if they get time. Even if their work robs off their social and family life, they think, if you keep enjoying what you do, it really doesn't matter in the long run. And they do enjoy what they do!

Q: Can you tell me for a scientist being single or married is more comfortable?

MR: That again depends on the personality of a scientist. But what I can tell you is when they are dealing with complex problems scientists want to be left alone - they don't like any sort of disturbances that interrupt their creative thought processes.

Q: Are there any instances when brilliant scientists made silly errors?

MR: They do them most of the time. I created an art work based on this. You can view it here: http://kkartlab.in/photo/the-min...

Q: Can an extrovert turn introvert? If yes, how?
MR: Yes, it is possible! I know a person who was an extrovert before a tragedy struck her. She became an introvert after her personal tragedy - refusing to talk to anyone, staying in isolation, refusing to interact with her friends. We thought it was a temporary change but she remained like that even after five years of experiencing life changing situation. What do you call that?
When I asked her what the reason was, she told me before the tragedy struck her, she didn't realize the importance of life and took it easy and now that she realized what life was all about, she didn't want to waste it anymore with vanity chasing life style.
So....

Q: How should I help my mom with a phobia of diseases? Since, she got to know about swine flu, she keeps herself away from news , so that she doesn't encounter with anything related to it . She thinks about it and feels very week. Before few days she suffered from cold and cough , but due to her phobia she isn't well yet. Even doctor said that there is nothing to worry about. But I am not still able to convince her.

MR: Explain your mother in detail about swine flu ( you will find the details here on Sci-art lab ). ''Only full and correct knowledge can remove phobias.'' The way you put it always matters. If she keeps herself from the flu news , don't worry. Media portrays sensational news that might scare some people like your mother. It is better not to have a bad picture about diseases.

Q: What does a near death experience feel like?

MR: Some time back I wrote on this: How science explains near death experiences. You can read it here: http://kkartlab.in/group/some-sc...

Q: Is there any serious scientific research that discusses the potential harm of vaccines?
MR: Scientists do all types of research before bringing any vaccine into the public domain.

There's an enormous amount of research looking at vaccine adverse effects.  If you want some starting points for vaccines that have been withdrawn (or not released) due to safety issues, you can look into the first rotavirus vaccine that was withdrawn due to concern about intussusception (starting point: Withdrawal of Rotavirus Vaccine Recommendation) or into the 1960s experimental vaccine against RSV that exacerbated symptoms (RESPIRATORY SYNCYTIAL VIRUS DISEASE IN INFANTS DESPITE PRIOR ADMINI...).
A more interesting approach would be to look at the side-effects of smallpox vaccine (starting point: Side Effects of Smallpox Vaccination) - this is a useful start at asking risk/benefit questions, like at what level the risk of a vaccine should outweigh the severity of the disease.  Every vaccine has risks associated, and the benefits need to be quantified to make sure they balance.

Only if the positives outweigh negatives, then only they are introduced as good vaccines. For vaccines, the benefits of disease reduction far outweigh the small risks from the vaccine. So the consensus among the scientific community is vaccines are safe and effective.
I have been vaccinated for almost all the major diseases. And I didn't get any side effects from them. Need I say, I am a living proof of vaccine safety?

Q: Which Indian scientist, research scholar, grad student, Ph.D. student, post-doc fellow or professor do you respect the most and think has made a real contribution to his/her field and achieved great heights?

MR: My vote goes collectively to ISRO scientists. With little money and a very humble beginning, they achieved great heights and are competing with the best in the world now. Researchers in India who complain should learn lessons from them.

In defence of Mangalyaan: Why even developing countries like India ...

Q: Why are film actors and sports persons so highly paid whereas scientists are paid relatively quite little?
MR: I don't even want to get compared with actors and sports persons. Everybody is unique in his or her own respect and you can't always judge a person's contribution to the world with the amount of money he or she earns. The thrill and satisfaction I get when I do/find something new is incomparable.
Can an actor ever feel the same way Neil Armstrong felt when he first stepped on the moon? Or how Watson and Crick felt when they first discovered the double helix of DNA? Their experiences are mind blowing and no amount of money can buy you that thrill. Period.


Q: Does the possibility exist that religion will evolve at the same rate as science?

MR: The word evolution in case of religion in many cases is in reverse direction with regard to science because it is based on just belief ( evolution in reverse gear). Most of the stories we find in religion are ancient in origin and anybody who believes in them has to go back in time ( Spirituality is different from religion and can go forward). The opposite is true of science. The evolution in science moves forward (towards future ) and better understanding of our universe. Now decide for yourself how they can occur at the same rate!

Q: Why don't Indian theists attain spirituality when our whole religion is based on spirituality?

MR: The main Q is are we following the right path? People are being mislead by majority of the so called heads of the religions. Therefore, there is chaos all over the world. 
I wrote an article on  how one can attain spiritual satisfaction even by following a scientific way . You can read it here: http://kkartlab.in/group/some-sc...

Q: Is India poor because Indians have low IQ?

MR: What rubbish! Who says Indians have low IQ?
Anyway what has IQ got to do with being poor? Or for that matter anything worth doing or being? Read my article based on this here: http://kkartlab.in/forum/topics/...

Q: What can a conversation tell you about someone's intelligence?
MR: Some of the intelligent people - who are intelligent and analytical in specific subjects like science need not be good at talking. They are good at just thinking. It takes time for them to arrange their thoughts into good words. They are not quick witted. They need not be good at language skills too to arrange words attractively like in poetry. People might think they - especially majority of the scientists - because they are not good communicators- are dumb while they are talking.
Again introverts need not be good communicators like extroverts.
Just because some people are good at talking they need not be geniuses. They can be good at acting skills and in art subjects.
People might give some clues about their capabilities while they talk but they need not be full proof intelligence markers. Don't judge people just by listening to their conversation. Their work too should be taken into account.

Q: How can I understand a topic much better than I do?
MR: First read (or listen to) all the information about it. Then think, think, think and think about it. Deep analysis makes you understand anything better than simply reading/listening something based on somebody else's opinion/belief/emotions etc. Even if it is a science article based on facts, analysis makes you realize if it is really based on real facts or cooked up pseudo-science.

Q: Whose work was more integral for mankind's development: Tesla's or Edison's?
MR: Money or no money, patents or no patents, each and every bit of knowledge added to science is important in one way or other. Every drop contributes in the ocean formation. Comparing people and their work is not right as they depend on several factors.
A scientist is a scientist. I respect all their work without which the world would have been a darker place.

Q: Why do people ignore history, facts, and scientific evidence that contradict their pre-existing ideals?
MR: When I think about my own experience, I find it very surprising that after getting a Ph.D. in sciences, my entire view of the world has changed! Every belief, opinion, misconception I came across before that got a thorough analysis and almost all of them have been tossed out of the window!
But most of my colleagues still stick to their old beliefs.
Then what is the difference between the training I got and theirs? Even though some of them studied and did their research in the same university as I did, there is absolutely no change in them! The cultural, religious conditioning of their minds is absolute!
The difference, I think is 'my grandfather' who was a social reformer and his views have been fed to my father and from him, I got that radical analytical behaviour.
Your family, loved ones, culture, religion will definitely control and condition your mind. Scientific training gives courage up to some extent to overcome it. But if you are not strong enough to go against the tide and can ignore a tag of 'arrogant person', you will never change. Only a handful of people will have the courage to come out of the safety nets they are in to do this.

Q: What about being a science person could hurt friendships?
MR: Telling my friends and relatives that I just don't blindly follow their baseless beliefs is the most difficult thing for me to do. I try to avoid situations that lead to arguments but still explain things from my view anyway. Some try to understand, some don't. Some think I am arrogant because of my views based on rationality. Some of my friends' beliefs really shock me and make me think and understand their worlds too. I am a science communicator. It is extremely hard to balance things - sticking to my science at the same time understanding others' opinions to make them open their minds to scientific explanations. I think I 'win' most of the time because people fall silent very often unable to oppose my rational views properly. Whether they accept them or not is anybody's guess. But our friendships and relationships continue to flourish :)


Q: What are the scientific reasons behind Indian traditions?
MR: Lots of pseudo-science, very rarely science!


Q: What is your personal "holy grail" of science? And potentially world- changing?
MR: Fully understanding the process of death!

Q: I want to be an engineer as well as a scientist, but I don't have the innovative abilities or intuitive imagination required. What should I do to develop these abilities?

MR: Several people asked me this Q before and I gave replies to them too.

 Children say so many things when asked what they want to become when they grow up. But do they have real passion and dedication to follow their aspirations? If you have these, you need not worry  about other things. Because these two qualities try to gather other  things required, i.e., curiosity, trying to see the whole pictures of  everything, observing things keenly, reasoning, critical thinking,   creatively connecting things etc. ( The specific traits of a scientific mind ) and drive forward.
"Teaching somebody to become a scientist"  is not a good thing to do. Can any body learn things if s/he is not  really into them? If you have a strong desire to become a scientist, you  become automatically engaged with the subject of science. First, decide  whether or not you are hungry about the subject. Then which area of the  subject you really are interested in. Then cut off other distractions as  much as possible from your mind. Eat, sleep, breathe and think only  about it. Read/follow all the  available literature about it.
 Observe  the problems around you. Think how you can use the knowledge  you  acquired to solve them ( that leads you to creatively connect things and innovation). Ordinary intuition is not good for science and will not help you much. What scientists do is 'informed imagination' or 'educated guesswork'. Once you are deeply involved with your subject you naturally start doing it while trying to solve the problems you face.
And above all this Q is really important: Do you have the patience to pursue a subject for several years despite  numerous obstacles? The answer 'yes' is critically important to become a scientist!
 Hope this helps

Q: What are the qualities of the most intelligent and smartest people?

MR: I cannot talk about people from other fields but I wrote on "The Specific Traits of a Scientific mind". If you think people of science are smart, you can read my article here: 

The specific traits of a scientific mind

Q: How do you gauge a person's intellect?

Q: What makes someone an intellectual?

MR: You will find my article that tells you about it here : http://kkartlab.in/group/some-sc...

I think a person's critical thinking capabilities make him or her  an intellectual (Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action)Intellectual is not synonymous with intelligent. An intellectual is one who uses his head to lead him through life, rather than his heart. IQ is irrelevant to being an intellectual. An intellectual depends on facts to analyse things and not feelings. Because s/he realizes emotions cloud our perceptions of reality.

Usually people measure talking skills and think people who can talk well are intelligent. That is very far away from truth. Some of the intelligent people - who are intelligent and analytical  in specific subjects like science  need not be  good at talking. They are good at just thinking. It takes time for them to arrange their thoughts into good words. They are not quick witted. They need not be good at language skills too to arrange words attractively like in poetry. People might think they - especially majority of the scientists - because they are not good communicators- are dumb while they are talking.

Again introverts need not be good communicators like extroverts. 
Just because some people are good at talking they need not be geniuses. They can be good at acting skills and in art subjects.
People might give some clues about their capabilities while they talk but they need not be full proof intelligence markers. Don't judge people just by listening to their conversation.  Their work too should be taken into account. And don't believe ordinary people with good acting skills  when they give you lectures on topics related to science and attract you by using sense of humour and vivacious body language. 

 

Q: What is the difference between general cognitive ability and intelligence quotient?

MR: There is a vast difference.

Intelligence is defined by different people differently. One person's intelligence may not be intelligence to others. We use the word intelligent to describe people who are able to acquire useful knowledge, and who can solve consequential problems using some combination of logic, intuition, creativity, experience, and wisdom. These terms that are used to describe an intelligent person are themselves are vague. Therefore it is not always possible to give exact definition.

The value of IQ tests is determined more by what they correlate with than what they measure. A persons IQ has nothing to do with his/her ability to think critically. It's a persons ability to think critically that is the true display of his/her intelligence and cognitive ability not what one can recite from memory as in an IQ test! IQ tests are outdated and fail to measure many other factors regarding intelligence. Read this article to learn more: http://kkartlab.in/group/some-science/forum/topics/ungifted-intelli...

Q: Why do people adore celebrities but not intellectuals like scientists, researchers, etc.?
MR: Some people do adore scientists! That depends on the person who is interacting.
People say it is because they cannot relate to scientists in the way they can relate to actors and sports persons.! Scientists speak in a language they don't understand or try to understand because it is difficult. Scientists usually prefer to be left alone and cannot tolerate wastage of time by interacting with common people to become popular. Theya re bad at acting skills and cannot deliver emotion-filled atmospheres.
Several people of science are now coming forward sparing their precious time to communicate with ordinary people - making an effort to build bridges - not to become popular but to make people understand science more easily. To take well informed decisions and get benefited by science.
People might not adore scientists but they still adore cell phones, TVs, cars etc. - all these are fruits of science. They go to a doctor when they fall ill - to take the help of science. Isn't that enough for a scientist? :)
Q: Are scientists experts in multiple scientific fields?
MR: No. They are experts in only their field.
But some are! Like Marie Curie who is the only person to win Nobel Prize twice in multiple sciences - Physics and Chemistry. It depends on the person. If s/he is interested in other fields too, s/he can become expert in several areas of science. Having knowledge in several fields helps in creatively connecting things and become more successful.

Q: What do you think about Indian ancient science? Why do our scientists not speak out on this?

MR: There is a saying: "The biggest barrier to new knowledge is old knowledge". Ancient Indian Science  catered to the needs of people of ancient times. But each idea now should be thoroughly analyzed for its appropriateness to today's situations.

In India, pseudo-science is highly prevalent. We trust in science so much that we give a scientific twist to everything Indian. Some areas of   Ayurveda too are  misleading . For example some Ayurvedic medicines -those with Bhasmas -have high contents of lead and other toxic metals. Some contain steroids that are harmful when taken over a long periods. Ayurveda is an untested  field. Some of the Ayurvedic medicines are banned in the West because of this. 
I love my country and respect its ancient  culture and traditions. But that doesn't make me accept everything they say. As a person of science, I can differentiate between science and the pseudoscience embedded here. I wrote an article sometime back on this. You can read it here: http://kkartlab.in/group/some-sc...
You can read several of these on my network.
And why don't scientists here speak out? Scientists think they have better things to do than listening to politicians and react to all the silly things they say. But science communication is important too. 
Imagination without knowledge is like having only wings and no feet. What will your work or words stand on then? Absurdity! In one of my articles on science communication I wrote - it would be better if  people don't talk or write  about science if they don't know enough of it. And I asked them to just listen and read about what the experts have to say.http://kkartlab.in/group/some-sc...
But here everybody has an opinion about science. In science, only facts and data count. Your beliefs, opinions, emotions, and affiliations don't. If we keep reacting to all the silly things people keep saying based on the latter set of things, we don't get time to do our work. That is why scientists ignore these things. And science communicators will deal with them.

Q: Why is India not focused on eradicating poverty and instead spends money on space research and defence expansion?

Q: Why does India need a space program and spend crores?

MR: I wrote on this sometime back. You can read my article "In defense of Mangalyaan: Why even developing countries like India need space research programmes". You can read my article here:  http://kkartlab.in/group/some-sc...

Q: Why is it always science OR religion? Can they not go together? Or at least Science and a belief in God.

MR: Read this article 'science and spirituality' , you will understand why:
http://kkartlab.in/group/some-sc..

Q: Why do 15% of scientists still believe in God even though there is no proof of God?

MR: According to a recent survey, the percentage is much more than 15 - it is about 30. And the reason why the number has increased is because the recent ones took into consideration many Asian scientists and Asian scientists believe in God more than the Western ones (and some of my Western scientist friends tease me because of this)!

I wrote on 'science and spirituality' and why science asks us to do unattached reasoning. If  you are attached to a belief, it fogs your reasoning power out of  fear, hope, love or respect and affects your behaviour. A mind that is  agitated by belief can never be free and therefore never know truth. If a scientist doesn't follow this, that means  he didn't understand fully why science asks us to be detached and s/he is unable to overcome the religious and cultural conditioning of his/her mind!
You can read my article here: Science and Spirituality

However, some scientists who believe in God told me they can seperate their beliefs from their work and, therefore, find no difficulty in doing their work despite their beliefs ...but... refused to talk about 'evidence aspect of it'.

Q: What is so bad about "teaching the controversy" in science class? Like Evolution vs Creationism

MR: People who still live in the past will see these controversies. By keeping in touch with the latest news in science, you can come in contact with facts and evidence. And scientists are seeing evolution happening before their own eyes now! Read the articles I wrote on the evidence we got recently by clicking on these links:
http://kkartlab.in/group/some-sc...

http://kkartlab.in/group/some-sc...
Now it becomes easy to confront the creationists!
And if you find controversies because of the ongoing inconclusive work, place all the facts before people or students, tell them why majority of the scientists agree on a particular theory and let the people decide for themselves which ones to accept.

Q: Why is the climate change denier movement so passionate?

MR: Those who say the numbers don't add up or there isn't enough  evidence, really don't understand what scientific creativity is all  about. It is about connecting things. 
An example: You know gravity  and how it works. You want to save time and fuel of your spaceship. Then  you connect gravity to these two and   use your creativity to take the  help of the gravity of the planets to  accelerate space ships or change their course to send them to other  planets to save fuel and time - the mechanism is called "gravity assist  ". If you cannot use sling-shot mechanism, you cannot save fuel and time  and can forget about space travel.
If you cannot connect  various factors in ecology and climate science and predict things you  will have to face the dire consequences. Okay we didn't get it correct  the first time or the tenth time as we have inadequate data.We may get  it right the twentieth time. But are you prepared to lose your life or  livelihood till we get it right? Deniers answer yes or no.
If  the answer is yes, prepare to go to hell called over heated and poison  filled EARTH. If no is the answer take steps to correct your view. The  choice is definitely yours!
Science Abuse
Subverting scientific knowledge for short-term gain 
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/science-abuse/?page=1

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Republican_War_on_Science

You get these things all over the net, especially in the  scientific world people think there are two groups in the US with regard  to science. Scientists and Republicans. Science and anti- science. This  phenomenon has spread to the Europe too. 
Rest of the world is not as polarized as these two regions of the world.  So it is really difficult for us to come to grips with it. Most of us  find this shocking.
 Another one here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=...

My articles on these: http://kkartlab.in/group/some-science/forum/topics/how-can-people-c...

http://kkartlab.in/group/some-science/forum/topics/why-it-is-diffic...

Q: If science had never challenged religious belief what state might humanity be in now?

MR: Science has radically changed people's perception - well, atleast some people's perception of the world by bringing in new facts and data for people to consider. Before the advent of science, a human mind depended on wild imagination to explain things that happened around them. It's creativity new no bounds. People imagined things in the way their experiences and fears dictated. That is how so many creative stories arose regarding the creation of this universe and led to various religious beliefs. And the leaders of some of these religious groups fear they would lose their followers if science succeeds in changing the world view and therefore try to control them. And fight with all their might to put science at bay. That is why some religious followers still live in ancient states of mind despite tremendous scientific advances. But slowly people are realizing the truth and accepting that science is the way to follow. Even people who believe in God accept that religious stories have no real evidence to accept them as truths. That is why more and more people are abandoning religion ( according to recent surveys in the West) and are coming into the world of science. There is a saying here: Trying to cover truth is like trying to cover fire. It will burn all the things that is covering it and come out. And need I say, science is made of facts and more closer to truth than anything else?
So science's triumph is imminent. It might take some time, but definitely will happen!
This is my prophecy! :)

How about reading an article I wrote on this topic sometime back? 
http://kkartlab.in/group/some-sc...


Q: Is there a scientist greater than Einstein?
MR: Albert Einstein was over-celebrated by the non-academic people. Majority of Scientists don't think that way. Einstein indeed was one of the greatest, but there were many others who were/are equally great.
"Greatness" of a scientist is not a measurable quantity, so comparing two great scientists does not make sense.
Q: Why do some ordinary people feel themselves as geniuses like scientists and correct their friend's small spell mistakes? Why aren't they sick of doing it?

Q: Why do people try to correct others? Everybody is entitled to have his or or her opinion!

MR: It gives an average person a false sense of being in authority. People with low self-esteem usually do these type of things to compensate their inadequacies.

On the other hand experts are entitled to correct others if the latter’s ‘mistakes’ are harming the societies they live in. There is a difference!

Everybody is entitled to have his or her opinion but not to his or her facts!

The problem with “I’m entitled to my opinion” is that, all too often in science, it’s used to shelter disastrous beliefs that should have been abandoned long back. It becomes shorthand for “I can say or think whatever I like” – and by extension, continuing to argue is somehow disrespectful. And this attitude feeds, I suggest, into the false equivalence between experts and non-experts that is an increasingly pernicious feature of our public discourse. Perhaps that’s one reason why enthusiastic amateurs think they’re entitled to disagree with climate scientists and immunologists and have their views “respected.” And do you respect ignorance, misconceptions and superstitions in the same way as facts based on evidence and true knowledge? How silly that looks!

What you say your perception can just be your misconception not based on facts.

In democracies it is increasingly becoming difficult to stop anybody saying that vaccines cause autism, no matter how many times that claim has been disproven by medical science. And anti-vaccinationists keep saying it over and over again to mislead people. But if ‘entitled to an opinion’ means ‘entitled to have your views treated as serious candidates for the truth’ then it’s a serious condition in science. Democracy doesn't work like that in this domain. You are entitled to have your opinions only if they don't harm the society you are living in. If you try to tell and mislead people that vaccination is a Government's conspiracy to sterilize you like Taliban does in Pakistan or spread rumours like vaccination causes autism like people of religion does in the US, that right should be taken away from you! Because you are refusing to see the facts and causing the societies to collapse with your irresponsible behaviour.

Okay, we can educate people. But what if people refuse to get 'educated', refuse to even 'listen', refuse to even 'consider' what science says because the religious leaders told them to do that? How do you deal with such people? My scientist friends in the US and Pakistan say they are dealing with such people now! And they are struggling a lot! Should we, as learned people, allow things get away from our control? Why are courts intervening in the US to 'order' people take their children to doctors to get vaccinated?

Think about these things before you say you are entitled to have your opinions. Keep your opinions to yourself and cooperate with facts and science to keep our communities healthy.

Read my article based on this here: http://kkartlab.in/group/some-science/forum/topics/in-the-field-of-...


Q: This site looks great. We learn a lot by reading the articles you post here. They are unique dealing with several issues we face in day today life. I visit this site at least once in a week to read them. I am also recommending this site to others. I feel it is like a science magazine and you are the editor of this magazine. How does it feel like running this science-based magazine and being a founder-editor of it?
MR: Thanks for your compliment. I am glad you find this site useful. I am glad several people are visiting this site and finding what I write helpful. 'Word-of-mouth' is important for me as I don't advertise.
You have to get into editing to get to the top of your field! That is what I found after starting this science communication network. That's how you know what is going on in it. Science magazines and journals will have specific editors for specific subjects. But here in the group 'Science Simplified' I run everything. That improves my knowledge tremendously.  I deal with exciting science at a very high level. This gives me a thrill! One of the key responsibilities here is to select good topics that would prove to be useful to laymen. You have to be completely neutral. It makes you personally 'high grade' individual! Being that much at the forefront of science is definitely worth it! I am glad I chose to do this.

Research in your field makes you a specialist in your area of research. But becoming an 'editor' (Am I really one? I don't know!) and writing on several topics makes you a specialist in several areas of science!  Because you have to learn all those things to write on them. A great editor/ writer knows a lot about their field and something about the fields outside their own. This suits me well because I have tremendous thirst for knowledge and even if I learn about everything in this world, it will still not be satisfied. I want more and more of it ( I am a bit greedy in this aspect:). How can I satisfy my greedy soul? By learning more and more and sharing it with others.
I found my calling.
I want to continue this till the end of my life.
Q: I find this science site interesting because it is being run by a woman. We don't see many women doing this - at least in this part of the world. How does it feel doing something that belongs to a male bastion?
MR: I don't agree science is a male domain. I don't see any difference between a man and a woman when they are doing research in science or running a science network. The perception belongs to you and I think is culturally and environmentally conditioned. Anyway, I feel proud to prove you wrong!

Q: Are scientists superstitious?
MR: Most of them are not. But scientists are human beings too - if they lose their critical thinking capabilities, they might behave like any man on the street. So some can become superstitious if they are not confident about themselves and their work.

Superstition means a belief that is not based on reason or knowledge and usually based on ignorance or fear. When people are gripped in the fear of uncertainty or feel extremely helpless because they have no sense of control over events, they tend to rely on superstitions because these, they think, can give some sort of reassurance without realizing that it is a false one. Read more about it here: Science and superstitions : How rational thinking can make you work...

Q: How is creativity linked to intelligence (IQ)

MR: Intelligence and IQ cannot be equated in the first place. Read here why: Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined (Book)

And how is creativity linked to intelligence?

Unless you creatively connect various things in science you cannot solve problems in the subject! (Example: Taking the help of the gravity of the planets to accelerate space ships or change their course to send them to other planets to save fuel and time - the mechanism is called "gravity assist "). Knowing something is important but using it creatively demarcates your intelligence!

Q: Who is your favourite scientist?
MR: All of them! I cannot choose because I think each and every bit of knowledge added to this big ocean called science is important. All the people who contributed to this noble cause are worth admiring!
Q: Why is Phd mandatory for Professorship? Do phd's make better teachers? Knowledge base of Phd's is in general very selective, that too only towards their 5-6 years of a focused research topic. Any simple question in other topic of their stream easily troubles them.
MR: Agreed, Ph.D. does not determine teaching abilities. But without learning more and more about a subject, you cannot do research! A professor’s job is not only teaching but to do research and guide Ph.D. students. S/he cannot do this without getting proper training in research. A person with a Ph.D. degree is a trained scientist!
And I don’t agree that ‘Any simple question in other topic of their stream easily troubles them’. You become a specialist after passing through general subjects. A Masters degree covers all the general topics of the subject. We passed through generalization before entering specialization. Yes, now we are both specialists and generalists. This really helps in understanding the world from a new and special points of view and our world has become very broad.
And who says a specialist's world becomes narrow? Generalists tend to have a broad range of skills and experiences across a range of disciplines within their field, while specialists invest time and effort in becoming the go-to person in a certain niche. Usually, specific skills are valued more because they are more difficult to teach. Having a range of different experiences and skill sets can allow people to identify what their ideal role would be over time, and then look for specialist careers. Generalist skills are useful in becoming good leaders and trend setters because the skills help in dealing with different people efficiently. A generalist will be able to thrive in a wide variety of conditions and can make use of a variety of different resources. A generalist can know more and more about more and more of various things if s/he is really interested in learning things and acquiring knowledge. S/he becomes more stronger and stronger mentally. A specialist can learn as much as possible in the subject s/he is specializing in and become very confident. Both processes deal with gaining knowledge. Then one can bring the vast amount of knowledge one gathers to creatively connect things and bring benefit to various fields one is working in. And when the situation demands it, a specialist can use the large amount of knowledge gathered in a single subject for specific purposes to help the world. It all depends on how well one can manage and differentiate things depending on the needs of the world around you. Read my blog on this topic here:  Being both a specialist and a generalist helps!
Q: Why do people assume that PhDs know everything and are geniuses?
MR: I have a Ph.D. Do I know everything? NO! But I know a lot more than others about my field. That is why I am a specialist in my subject.
Am I a genius?
If you can call Sachin Tendulkar a genius just because he can hit a ball well, or Mohammad Ali a genius just because he can punch others well or Amitabh Bacchan a genius because he can act well, or Rajani Kanth a genius just because he can say a dialogue well, a script writer a genius because he can deliver punch dialogues, Millionairs geniuses just because they could earn lots of money,
maybe a Ph.D. is a genius too! Because s/he can use his/her brain creatively to solve some of the problems human kind faces. Any problem with that?

You will find more Qs and Replies on research here: http://kkartlab.in/group/some-science/forum/topics/how-to-do-resear...

References:
1. http://kkartlab.in/group/some-science/forum/topics/how-to-do-resear...

2. http://kkartlab.in/group/some-science/forum/topics/the-right-way-to...

3. http://kkartlab.in/group/some-science/forum/topics/my-creativity-ne...

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Why is PhD mandatory for Professorship?

Do phd's make better teachers?  Knowledge base of Phd's is in general very selective, that too only towards their 5-6 years of a focused research topic. Any simple question in other topic of their stream easily troubles them.

Agreed, Ph.D. does not determine teaching abilities. But without learning more and more about a subject, you cannot do research! A professor’s job is not only teaching but to do research and guide Ph.D. students. S/he cannot do this without getting proper training in research. A person with a Ph.D. degree is a trained scientist!

And I don’t agree that ‘Any simple question in other topic of their stream easily troubles them’. You become a specialist after passing through general subjects. A Masters degree covers all the general topics of the subject. We passed through generalization before entering specialization. Yes, now we are both specialists and generalists. This really helps in understanding the world from a new and special points of view and our world has become very broad. And who says a specialist's world becomes narrow?

Generalists tend to have a broad range of skills and experiences across a range of disciplines within their field, while specialists invest time and effort in becoming the go-to person in a certain niche. Usually, specific skills are valued more because they are more difficult to teach. Having a range of different experiences and skill sets can allow people to identify what their ideal role would be over time, and then look for specialist careers. Generalist skills are useful in becoming good leaders and trend setters because the skills help in dealing with different people efficiently. A generalistwill be able to thrive in a wide variety of conditions and can make use of a variety of different resources.

A generalist can know more and more about more and more of various things if s/he is really interested in learning things and acquiring knowledge. S/he becomes more stronger and stronger mentally. A specialist can learn as much as possible in the subject s/he is specializing in and become very confident. Both processes deal with gaining knowledge. Then one can bring the vast amount of knowledge one gathers to creatively connect things and bring benefit to various fields one is working in.

And when the situation demands it, a specialist can use the large amount of knowledge gathered in a single subject for specific purposes to help the world. It all depends on how well one can manage and differentiate things depending on the needs of the world around you.

Read my blog on this topic here: Being both a specialist and a generalist helps!

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A premature, horrible death - The Times of India

The article is about the recent shooting in UCLA.the shooter(indian) was pursuing a PhD in UCLA . The article suggests the pressures of PhD made him do this. And by 'worth' i mean my ability to produce 'useful' research during the PhD

Yes, research in Science is difficult. If your relationship with your guide is not good and if you completely depend on him, that complicates the issue more. One should go ahead only if one thinks one has the courage and patience for years of hard work. But before going ahead realize that you are about to embark on a grueling several years of journey that will test your intellect, creativity, endurance, independence, and fundamental will power.

There are thousands who took this test of physical and mental strength and came out with flying colours.

This person who killed his supervisor, wife and himself couldn’t resolve the issues successfully and took the wrong turn. Several forces combined in his life to push him to the extreme and he wasn’t able to cope with them. Life is not just a bed of roses, one has to deal with thorns too. How you manage both shows what type of person you are.

If you are intelligent enough you can do ‘useful research’. Let me tell you, a Ph.D. is worth doing . If you have the right mind set, nothing compares to the thrill you get when you reach the pinnacle of your education.

Read my article that discusses pros and cons of research here: How to do research and write research papers

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Which 5 scientists were the greatest geniuses of all time?

Media hype! That is what I felt when I read the lists given here. Life sciences, which is one of the most important field because it’s discoveries and inventions can have impact on life itself, was mostly ignored. Likewise female scientists were ignored. Yes, I am complaining:)

My list goes somewhat like this: Ten Historic Female Scientists You Should Know

The 50 Most Important Women in Science

Scientists: Life Sciences

Any objections?

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