Tuesday, October 27, 2009

New Books from Navakarnataka - Five Books released on 25-10-2009

Hands on by Aravind Gupta
Story of Astronomy by Uday Patil
Description of Solar System by Dr. B. S. Shailaja
Learning from Gandhi by Anu Bandhopadhyaya

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Book release function - INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF ASTRONOMY 25-10- 2009

Dear friends,

Please find attached an invitation for book release function on the eve of INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF ASTRONOMY - 2009.

Five books in KANNADA to be released are:

1) Agasada Alemarigalu by Dr. B.S. Shylaja

2) Khagola Vijnanada Kathe by Uday Patil

3) Aha! Eshtondu Chatuvatikegalu by Arvind Gupta

4) Madi Kali by Arvind Gupta

5)Bahuroopi Gandhi by Anu Bandyopadhyaya

Dr. C. V. Vishveshwara, Formerly Hon. Director, Jawaharlal Planetarium, Bangalore will preside over the function and release the books.

Authors - Dr. B.S. Shylaja & Sri Arvind Gupta and translators – Dr. P.R. Vishwanath, Sri V.S.S. Sastry &

Smt. H.N. Geetha will be present.

Venue : Nayana Auditorium

Kannada Bhavana, J.C. Road

Bangalore - 560 002

Date : 25th October 2009, Sunday

Time : 10.00 a.m.




Monday, October 12, 2009

How India missed Nobel Prizes earlier


How India missed another Nobel Prize

Last updated on: October 12, 2009 11:37 IST
Shivanand Kanavi reveals how Narinder Kapany, the Father of Fibre Optics, missed out on a Nobel Prize [ Images ] this year.

First, it was Jagadish Chandra Bose at the turn of the century, who was the first to demonstrate wireless signaling in 1895. Later, he even created a radio wave receiver called the 'coherer' from iron and mercury. Though he showed no interest in patenting it, Bose demonstrated his inventions in Kolkata [ Images ] and London [ Images ].

Sir Neville Mott, who won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1978, in fact commented that Bose had foreseen the 'n' and 'p' type semiconductors, and was 'sixty years ahead of his time.' However, the Nobel Prize in Physics for wireless communication was awarded to Guglielmo Marconi in 1909, 14 years after Bose had demonstrated the possibility.

Then came Satyendranath Bose, who sent a paper on the statistics of quanta of light–photons to Albert Einstein.

Einstein supported the paper and got it published in Zeitschrift der Physik in 1924, and that in turn gave birth to the now famous Bose-Einstein statistics and the term 'Bosons' for all those elementary particles that follow it.

Even though three Nobel Prizes have been awarded for works based on Bose statistics, the originator of the idea was never awarded one.

Moving on, G N Ramachandran deserved a Nobel for his work on bio-molecular structures in general and, more particularly, the triple helical structure of collagen. E C George Sudarshan produced pioneering contributions to Quantum Optics and coherence, but his work was ignored, and Roy Glauber was awarded the Physics Nobel in 2005 for the same work.

And so to this week: The press release issued by The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences on the Nobel Prize for Physics for 2009 says 'one half' of the prize has been awarded to Charles K Kao 'for groundbreaking achievements concerning the transmission of light in fibers for optical communication.'

What the Academy omitted to note was that Moga, Punjab-born Narinder Singh Kapany, widely considered the Father of Fibre Optics, and, in this capacity, featured in a 1999 Fortune magazine article on the 'Unsung Heroes of the 20th Century', had far the stronger claim.

Charles Kao in a 1996 paper put forward the idea of using glass fibres for communication using light; he tirelessly evangelised it and fully deserves a share of the Prize. However, the fact remains that it was Kapany who first demonstrated successfully that light can be transmitted through bent glass fibres during his doctoral work at the Imperial College of Science in London in the early fifties, and published the findings in a paper in Nature in 1954.

Since then, Kapany irelessly developed applications of fibre optics for endoscopy during the fifties and later coined the term Fibre Optics in an article in Scientific American in 1960. His body of work provided the basis for the developments of any and all applications in communications.

In a book published in 2003 by Rupa & Co titled Sand to Silicon: The Amazing Story of Digital Technology, I had written of the respective contributions of Kapany and Kao to the field of Fiber Optics. A relevant excerpt (pages: 154-159):

'Very few Indians know that an Indian, Narinder Singh Kapany, a pioneer in the field, coined the term (Fibre Optics) in 1960. We will come to his story later on, but before that let us look at what fibre optics is. It all started with queries like: Can we channel light through a curved path, even though we know that light travels in a straight line?'

'Why is that important? Well, suppose you want to examine an internal organ of the human body for diagnostic or surgical purposes. You would need a flexible pipe carrying light. Similarly, if you want to communicate by using light signals, you cannot send light through the air for long distances; you need a flexible cable carrying light over such distances.'

'The periscopes we made as class projects when we were in school, using cardboard tubes and pieces of mirror, are actually devices to bend light. Bending light at right angles as in a periscope was simple. Bending light along a smooth curve is not so easy. But it can be done, and that is what is done in optic fibre cables.'

'For centuries people have built canals or viaducts to direct water for irrigation or domestic use. These channels achieve maximum effect if the walls or embankments do not leak.'

'Similarly, if we have a pipe whose insides are coated with a reflecting material, then photons or waves can be directed along easily without getting absorbed by the wall material.'

'A light wave gets reflected millions of times inside such a pipe (the number depending on the length and diameter of the pipe and the narrowness of the light beam).'

'This creates the biggest problem for pipes carrying light. Even if we can get coatings with 99.99 per cent reflectivity, the tiny 'leakage' of 0.01 per cent on each reflection can result in a near-zero signal after 10,000 reflections.'

'Here a phenomenon called total internal reflection comes to the rescue. If we send a light beam from water into air, it behaves peculiarly as we increase the angle between the incident ray and the perpendicular.'

'We reach a point when any increase in the angle of incidence results in the light not leaving the water and, instead, getting reflected back entirely. This phenomenon is called total internal reflection.'

'Any surface, however finely polished, absorbs some light, and hence repeated reflections weaken a beam.'

'But total internal reflection is a hundred per cent, which means that if we make a piece of glass as non-absorbent as possible, and if we use total internal reflection, we can carry a beam of light over long distances inside a strand of glass.'

'This is the principle used in fibre optics.'

'The idea is not new. In the 1840s, Swiss physicist Daniel Collandon and French physicist Jacques Babinet showed that light could be guided along jets of water.'

'British physicist John Tyndall popularised the idea further through his public demonstrations in 1854, guiding light in a jet of water flowing from a tank.'

'Since then this method has been commonly used in water fountains. If we keep sources of light that change their colour periodically at the fountainhead, it appears as if differently coloured water is springing out of the fountain.'

'Later many scientists conceived of bent quartz rods carrying light, and even patented some of these inventions. But it took a long time for these ideas to be converted into commercially viable products. One of the main hurdles was the considerable absorption of light inside glass rods.'

'Narinder Singh Kapany recounted to the author, "When I was a high school student at Dehradun in the beautiful foothills of the Himalayas, it occurred to me that light need not travel in a straight line, that it could be bent. I carried the idea to college. Actually it was not an idea but the statement of a problem. When I worked in the ordnance factory in Dehradun after my graduation, I tried using right-angled prisms to bend light.'

'However, when I went to London to study at the Imperial College and started working on my thesis, my advisor, Dr Hopkins, suggested that I try glass cylinders instead of prisms. So I thought of a bundle of thin glass fibres, which could be bent easily. Initially my primary interest was to use them in medical instruments for looking inside the human body. The broad potential of optic fibres did not dawn on me till 1955. It was then that I coined the term fibre optics."'

'Kapany and others were trying to use a glass fibre as a light pipe or, technically speaking, a 'dielectric wave guide'. But drawing a fibre of optical quality, free from impurities, was not an easy job. Kapany went to the Pilkington Glass Company, which manufactured glass fibre for non-optical purposes. For the company, the optical quality of the glass was not important.'

'"I took some optical glass and requested them to draw fiber from that," says Kapany. "I also told them that I was going to use it to transmit light. They were perplexed, but humoured me."'

'A few months later Pilkington sent spools of fibre made of green glass, which is used to make beer bottles. "They had ignored the optical glass I had given them. I spent months making bundles of fibre from what they had supplied and trying to transmit light through them, but no light came out. That was because it was not optical glass. So I had to cut the bundle to short lengths and then use a bright carbon arc source."'

'Kapany was confronted with another problem. A naked glass fibre did not guide the light well. Due to surface defects, more light was leaking out than he had expected. To transmit a large image he would have needed a bundle of fibres containing several hundred strands; but contact between adjacent fibers led to loss of image resolution.'

'Several people then suggested the idea of cladding the fibre. Cladding, when made of glass of a lower refractive index than the core, reduced leakages and also prevented damage to the core. Finally, Kapany was successful; he and Hopkins published the results in 1954 in the British journal Nature.'

'Kapany then migrated to the US and worked further in fibre optics while teaching at Rochester and the Illinois Institute of Technology. In 1960, with the invention of lasers, a new chapter opened in applied physics. From 1955 to 1965 Kapany was the lead author of dozens of technical and popular papers on the subject. His writings spread the gospel of fibre optics, casting him as a pioneer in the field.'

'His popular article on fibre optics in Scientific American in 1960 finally established the new term (fibre optics); the article constitutes a reference point for the subject even today. In November 1999, Fortune magazine published profiles of seven people who have greatly influenced life in the twentieth century but are unsung heroes. Kapany was one of them.'

'If we go back into the history of modern communications involving electrical impulses, we find that Alexander Graham Bell patented an optical telephone system in 1880. He called this a 'photophone'. Bell converted speech into electrical impulses, which he converted into light flashes.'

'A photosensitive receiver converted the signals back into electrical impulses, which were then converted into speech. But the atmosphere does not transmit light as reliably as wires do; there is heavy atmospheric absorption, which can get worse with fog, rain and other impediments.'

'As there were no strong and directional light sources like lasers at that time, optical communications went into hibernation. Bell's earlier invention, the telephone, proved far more practical. If Bell yearned to send signals through the air, far ahead of his time, we cannot blame him; after all, it's such a pain digging and laying cables.'

'In the 1950s, as telephone networks spread, telecommunications engineers sought more transmission bandwidth. Light, as a carrying medium, promised the maximum bandwidth. Naturally, optic fibres attracted attention. But the loss of intensity of the signal was as high as a decibel per metre.'

'This was fine for looking inside the body, but communications operated over much longer distances and could not tolerate losses of more than ten to twenty decibels per kilometre. Now what do decibels have to do with it? Why is signal loss per kilometre measured in decibels?'

'The human ear is sensitive to sound on a logarithmic scale; that is why the decibel scale came into being in audio engineering, in the first place.'

'If a signal gets reduced to half its strength over one kilometre because of absorption, after two kilometres it will become a fourth of its original strength. That is why communication engineers use the decibel scale to describe signal attenuation in cables.'

'In the early 1969s signal loss in glass fiber was one decibel per metre, which meant that after traversing ten metres of the fiber the signal was reduced to a tenth of its original strength.'

'After twenty metres the signal was a mere hundredth its original strength. As you can imagine, after traversing a kilometre no perceptible signal was left.'

'A small team at the Standard Telecommunications Laboratories in the UK was not put off by this drawback. This group was headed by Antoni Karbowiak, and later by a young Shanghai-born engineer, Charles Kao.'

'Kao studied the problem carefully and worked out a proposal for long-distance communications through glass fibres. He presented a paper at a London meeting of the Institution of Electrical Engineers in 1966, pointing out that the optic fibre of those days had an information-carrying capacity of one GHz, or an equivalent of 200 TV channels, or more than 200,000 telephone channels.'

'Although the best available low-loss material then showed a loss of about 1,000 decibels/kilometre (dB/km), he claimed that materials with losses of just 10 to 20 dB/km would eventually be developed.'

'With Kao almost evangelistically promoting the prospects of fibre communications, and the British Post Office (the forerunner to British Telecom) showing interest in developing such a network, laboratories around the world tried to make low-loss fibre. It took four years to reach Kao's goal of 20dB/km.'

'At the Corning Glass Works (now Corning Inc), Robert Maurer, Donald Keck and Peter Schultz used fused silica to achieve the feat. The Corning breakthrough opened the door to fibre-optic communications. In the same year, Bell Labs and a team at the Ioffe Physical Institute in Leningrad (now St Petersburg [ Images ]) made the first semiconductor lasers, able to emit a continuous wave at room temperature.'

'Over the next several years, fibre losses dropped dramatically, aided by improved fabrication methods and by the shift to longer wavelengths where fibers have inherently lower attenuation.'

'Today's fibres are so transparent that if the Pacific Ocean, which is several kilometres deep, were to be made of this glass we could see the ocean bed!'

'Note one point here. The absorption of light in glass depends not only on the chemical composition of the glass but also on the wavelength of light that is transmitted through it. It has been found that there are three windows with very low attenuation: One is around 900 nanometres, the next at 1,300 nm and the last one at 1,550 nm.'

'Once engineers could develop lasers with those wavelengths, they were in business. This happened in the 1970s and 1980s, thanks to Herbert Kroemer's hetero-structures and many hard-working experimentalists.'

The excerpt ends here. While working on this book and particularly this chapter, I had thought that with the world now firmly ensconced in the era of communications, it wouldn't be long before Narinder Kapany's pioneering work in the field was recognised with the Nobel Prize.

Now, two years later, I find that the name of the pioneer of fibre optics has been added to a very long list of Indians who, though richly deserving of the ultimate accolade, the Nobel Prize, have been mysteriously passed over by the august members of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

Images: Top: Dr Narinder Kapany today. Photograph: Palashranjan Bhaumick/Business India. Bottom: Dr Kapany at work in his lab in the 1950s.

Shivanand Kanavi in New Delhi

Nobel Prize for Economics 2009

Nobel Prize for Economics 2009

Nobel Prize® medal - registered trademark of the Nobel Foundation

The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2009


Press Release

12 October 2009

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel for 2009 to

Elinor Ostrom
Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, USA,

"for her analysis of economic governance, especially the commons"


Oliver E. Williamson
University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA,

"for his analysis of economic governance, especially the boundaries of the firm"

Economic governance: the organization of cooperation

Elinor Ostrom has demonstrated how common property can be successfully managed by user associations. Oliver Williamson has developed a theory where business firms serve as structures for conflict resolution. Over the last three decades these seminal contributions have advanced economic governance research from the fringe to the forefront of scientific attention.

Economic transactions take place not only in markets, but also within firms, associations, households, and agencies. Whereas economic theory has comprehensively illuminated the virtues and limitations of markets, it has traditionally paid less attention to other institutional arrangements. The research of Elinor Ostrom and Oliver Williamson demonstrates that economic analysis can shed light on most forms of social organization.

Elinor Ostrom has challenged the conventional wisdom that common property is poorly managed and should be either regulated by central authorities or privatized. Based on numerous studies of user-managed fish stocks, pastures, woods, lakes, and groundwater basins, Ostrom concludes that the outcomes are, more often than not, better than predicted by standard theories. She observes that resource users frequently develop sophisticated mechanisms for decision-making and rule enforcement to handle conflicts of interest, and she characterizes the rules that promote successful outcomes.

Oliver Williamson has argued that markets and hierarchical organizations, such as firms, represent alternative governance structures which differ in their approaches to resolving conflicts of interest. The drawback of markets is that they often entail haggling and disagreement. The drawback of firms is that authority, which mitigates contention, can be abused. Competitive markets work relatively well because buyers and sellers can turn to other trading partners in case of dissent. But when market competition is limited, firms are better suited for conflict resolution than markets. A key prediction of Williamson's theory, which has also been supported empirically, is therefore that the propensity of economic agents to conduct their transactions inside the boundaries of a firm increases along with the relationship-specific features of their assets.

Read more about this year's prize

Information for the Public (pdf)
Scientific Background (pdf)
In order to read the text you need Acrobat Reader.
Links and Further Reading

Elinor Ostrom, US citizen. Born in 1933 in Los Angeles, CA, USA. Ph.D. in Political Science in 1965 from the University of California, Los Angeles, USA. Arthur F. Bentley Professor of Political Science and Professor at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, both at Indiana University, Bloomington, USA. Founding Director of the Center for the Study of Institutional Diversity, Arizona State University, Tempe, USA.

Oliver E. Williamson, US citizen. Born in 1932 in Superior, WI, USA. Ph.D. in Economics in 1963 from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, USA. Edgar F. Kaiser Professor Emeritus of Business, Economics and Law and Professor of the Graduate School, both at the University of California, Berkeley, USA.

The Prize amount: SEK 10 million, to be shared equally between the Laureates.

Contact: Erik Huss, Press Officer and Editor, phone +46 8 673 95 44, +46 70 673 96 50, erik.huss@kva.se

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, founded in 1739, is an independent organization whose overall objective is to promote the sciences and strengthen their influence in society. The Academy takes special responsibility for the natural sciences and mathematics, but endeavours to promote the exchange of ideas between various disciplines.

Information for the Public

Information for the Public »

Scientific Background

Scientific Background

Links to other sites

On Elinor Ostrom from Indiana University

Links to other sites

On Oliver E. Williamson from University of California, Berkeley

Friday, October 9, 2009

Nobel Peace Prize 2009

Nobel Peace Prize 2009

Nobel Peace Prize 2009

The Nobel Peace Prize for 2009

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 is to be awarded to President Barack Obama for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. The Committee has attached special importance to Obama's vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.

Obama has as President created a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play. Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts. The vision of a world free from nuclear arms has powerfully stimulated disarmament and arms control negotiations. Thanks to Obama's initiative, the USA is now playing a more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges the world is confronting. Democracy and human rights are to be strengthened.

Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future. His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world's population.

For 108 years, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has sought to stimulate precisely that international policy and those attitudes for which Obama is now the world's leading spokesman. The Committee endorses Obama's appeal that "Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges."

Oslo, October 9, 2009



Barack H. Obama is the 44th President of the United States.

His story is the American story — values from the heartland, a middle-class upbringing in a strong family, hard work and education as the means of getting ahead, and the conviction that a life so blessed should be lived in service to others.

With a father from Kenya and a mother from Kansas, President Obama was born in Hawaii on August 4, 1961. He was raised with help from his grandfather, who served in Patton's army, and his grandmother, who worked her way up from the secretarial pool to middle management at a bank.

After working his way through college with the help of scholarships and student loans, President Obama moved to Chicago, where he worked with a group of churches to help rebuild communities devastated by the closure of local steel plants.

He went on to attend law school, where he became the first African—American president of the Harvard Law Review. Upon graduation, he returned to Chicago to help lead a voter registration drive, teach constitutional law at the University of Chicago, and remain active in his community.

President Obama's years of public service are based around his unwavering belief in the ability to unite people around a politics of purpose. In the Illinois State Senate, he passed the first major ethics reform in 25 years, cut taxes for working families, and expanded health care for children and their parents. As a United States Senator, he reached across the aisle to pass groundbreaking lobbying reform, lock up the world's most dangerous weapons, and bring transparency to government by putting federal spending online.

He was elected the 44th President of the United States on November 4, 2008, and sworn in on January 20, 2009. He and his wife, Michelle, are the proud parents of two daughters, Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7.


Profile: Barack Obama

Mr Obama on a visit to a school, 19/01
Barack Obama's stirring oratory and easy charm have won him many supporters

Barack Obama made history on 4 November 2008 when he easily defeated Republican rival John McCain to become the first black president of the United States.

He had already broken new ground in his White House campaign, as the first black candidate to become the presidential choice of either major US party.

His stirring oratory, combined with an easy charm, won him supporters in the US and admirers across the globe.

Born 4 Aug 1961 in Hawaii
Studied law at Harvard
Worked as a civil rights lawyer in Chicago
Served in Illinois state senate 1996-2004
Elected to the US Senate in 2004

Critics, however, have started to question whether there is much substance behind his well-crafted statements of good intent.

Domestically, his first year in office has thus far been dominated by his attempts to reform US healthcare amid fierce opposition.

Internationally, much of his focus has been on attempts to achieve new agreements on nuclear disarmament and climate change, with his efforts in these areas yet to bear fruit.

And while there has been some progress on disengagement from Iraq, with US troops withdrawing to their bases as the Iraqi army grows in strength, the military headache of Afghanistan has been growing.

International upbringing

Mr Obama first came to national prominence when he electrified the 2004 Democratic National Convention in a speech about self-reliance and high aspiration.

The son of a Kenyan man and a white woman from Kansas, he emphasised his personal history in a speech reflecting traditional American ideals.

"Through hard work and perseverance my father got a scholarship to study in a magical place - America, which stood as a beacon of freedom and opportunity to so many who had come before," he said.

After his landslide US Senate election victory in Illinois a few months later, he became a media darling and one of the most visible figures in Washington, with two best-selling books to his name.

Mr Obama is named after his father, who grew up in Kenya herding goats but gained a scholarship to study in Hawaii.

There the Kenyan met and married Mr Obama's mother, Ann, who was living in Honolulu with her parents.

When Mr Obama was a toddler, his father got a chance to study at Harvard but there was no money for the family to go with him. He later returned to Kenya alone, where he worked as a government economist, and the couple divorced.

Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, hold hands with their two daughters, Malia (second right) and Sasha
Mr Obama has two young daughters with his wife, Michelle

When Mr Obama was six, his mother married an Indonesian man and the family moved to Jakarta.

Although his father and step-father were Muslim, Mr Obama is a Christian and attended secular and Catholic schools during the four years he lived in Indonesia, a largely Muslim country.

He then moved back to Hawaii to live with his grandparents and attend school.

Mr Obama went on to study political science at Columbia University in New York, and then moved to Chicago where he spent three years as a community organiser.

In 1988 he left to attend Harvard Law School, where he became the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review.

During the summer vacations from Harvard, Mr Obama returned to Chicago and served internships with law firms.

It was during one such internship that he met the then Michelle Robinson, whom he went on to marry in 1992. The couple have two young daughters, Malia and Sasha.

After Harvard, Mr Obama returned to Chicago to practise civil rights law, representing victims of housing and employment discrimination.

He served in the Illinois state senate from 1996 to 2004, before winning a seat in the US Senate.

On Capitol Hill, Mr Obama established a firmly liberal voting record, but also worked with Republican colleagues on issues such as HIV/Aids-education and prevention.

An early critic of the Iraq war, he spoke out against the prospect of war several months before the March 2003 invasion.


The senator attended the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago for almost two decades but broke away from it in May 2008 after controversial sermons by Trinity preachers hit the headlines.

An Obama supporter in Pennsylvania, 27 Oct 2008
Mr Obama generated a buzz not often seen in US politics

To many people, Mr Obama seemed to come from nowhere in his bid for the presidency. Although he had served in the Illinois state senate for eight years, it was only in 2004 that he shot to national prominence, with the speech that stirred the Democratic National Convention.

And it was only in the two years leading up to the election that his name, face and story became known beyond America.

The senator clinched the Democratic nomination after a long and gruelling battle against former first lady Hillary Clinton.

In the course of campaigning, Senator Obama broke all records for fundraising, by harnessing the internet to collect huge numbers of small donations, as well as larger sums from corporate donors.

He also demonstrated the ability to gather crowds of 100,000 people or more to his rallies, and to generate a buzz seldom seen in US politics.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Nobel Prize for Literature 2009


The Nobel Prize in Literature 2009



Biobibliographical notes

Herta Müller was born on August 17, 1953 in the German-speaking town Nitzkydorf in Banat, Romania. Her parents were members of the German-speaking minority in Romania. Her father had served in the Waffen SS during World War II. Many German Romanians were deported to the Soviet Union in 1945, including Müller's mother who spent five years in a work camp in present-day Ukraine. Many years later, in Atemschaukel (2009), Müller was to depict the exile of the German Romanians in the Soviet Union. From 1973 to 1976, Müller studied German and Romanian literature at the university in Timişoara (Temeswar). During this period, she was associated with Aktionsgruppe Banat, a circle of young German-speaking authors who, in opposition to Ceauşescu’s dictatorship, sought freedom of speech. After completing her studies, she worked as a translator at a machine factory from 1977 to 1979. She was dismissed when she refused to be an informant for the secret police. After her dismissal, she was harassed by Securitate.

Müller made her debut with the collection of short stories Niederungen (1982), which was censored in Romania. Two years later, she published the uncensored version in Germany and, in the same year, Drückender Tango in Romania. In these two works, Müller depicts life in a small, German-speaking village and the corruption, intolerance and repression to be found there. The Romanian national press was very critical of these works while, outside of Romania, the German press received them very positively. Because Müller had publicly criticized the dictatorship in Romania, she was prohibited from publishing in her own country. In 1987, Müller emigrated together with her husband, author Richard Wagner.

The novels Der Fuchs war damals schon der Jäger (1992), Herztier (1994; The Land of Green Plums, 1996) and Heute wär ich mir lieber nicht begegnet (1997; The Appointment, 2001) give, with chiselled details, a portrait of daily life in a stagnated dictatorship. Müller has given guest lectures at universities, colleges and other venues in Paderborn, Warwick, Hamburg, Swansea, Gainsville (Florida), Kassel, Göttingen, Tübingen and Zürich among other places. She lives in Berlin. Since 1995 she has served as a member of Deutsche Akademie für Sprache und Dichtung, in Darmstadt.

Works in German

Niederungen. – Bukarest : Kriterion-Verlag, 1982 ; Berlin : Rotbuch-Verlag, 1984
Drückender Tango : Erzählungen. – Bukarest : Kriterion-Verlag, 1984 ; Reinbek bei Hamburg : Rowohlt, 1996
Der Mensch ist ein groβer Fasan auf der Welt : Roman. – Berlin : Rotbuch-Verlag, 1986
Barfüβiger Februar : Prosa. – Berlin : Rotbuch-Verlag, 1987
Reisende auf einem Bein. – Berlin : Rotbuch-Verlag, 1989
Der Teufel sitzt im Spiegel. – Berlin : Rotbuch-Verlag, 1991
Der Fuchs war damals schon der Jäger : Roman. – Reinbek bei Hamburg : Rowohlt, 1992
Eine warme Kartoffel ist ein warmes Bett. – Hamburg : Europäische Verlagsanstalt, 1992
Der Wächter nimmt seinen Kamm : vom Weggehen und Ausscheren. – Reinbek bei Hamburg : Rowohlt, 1993
Herztier : Roman. – Reinbek bei Hamburg : Rowohlt, 1994
Hunger und Seide : Essays. – Reinbek bei Hamburg : Rowohlt, 1995
In der Falle. – Göttingen : Wallstein-Verlag, 1996
Heute wär ich mir lieber nicht begegnet. – Reinbek bei Hamburg : Rowohlt, 1997
Der fremde Blick oder Das Leben ist ein Furz in der Laterne. – Göttingen : Wallstein-Verlag, 1999
Im Haarknoten wohnt eine Dame. – Reinbek bei Hamburg : Rowohlt, 2000
Heimat ist das, was gesprochen wird. – Blieskastel : Gollenstein, 2001
Der König verneigt sich und tötet. – München : Hanser, 2003
Die blassen Herren mit den Mokkatassen. – München : Hanser, 2005
Atemschaukel : Roman. – München : Hanser, 2009

Works in English

The Passport / translated by Martin Chalmers. – London : Serpent's Tail, 1989. – Translation of Der Mensch ist ein großer Fasan auf der Welt
The Land of Green Plums / translated by Michael Hofmann. – New York : Metropolitan Books, 1996. – Translation of Herztier
Traveling on One Leg / translated from the German by Valentina Glajar and André Lefevere. – Evanston, Ill. : Northwestern University Press, 1998. – Translation of Reisende auf einem Bein
The Appointment / translated by Michael Hulse and Philip Boehm. – New York : Metropolitan Books, 2001. – Translation of Heute wär ich mir lieber nicht begegnet

Works in French

L'homme est un grand faisan sur terre / traduit de l'allemand par Nicole Bary. – Paris : Maren Sell, 1988. – Traduction de: Der Mensch ist ein groβer Fasan auf der Welt
Le renard était déjà le chasseur / traduit de l'allemand par Claire de Oliveira. – Paris : Seuil, 1997. – Traduction de: Der Fuchs war damals schon der Jäger
La convocation / traduit de l'allemand par Claire de Oliveira. – Paris : Métailié, 2001. – Traduction de: Heute wär ich mir lieber nicht begegnet

Works in Spanish

En tierras bajas / traducción del alemán de Juan José del Solar. – Madrid : Siruela, 1990. – Traducción de: Niederungen
El hombre es un gran faisán en el mundo / traducción del alemán de Juan José del Solar. – Madrid : Siruela, 1992. – Traducción de: Der Mensch ist ein groβer Fasan auf der Welt
La piel del zorro / traducción de Juan José del Solar. – Barcelona : Plaza & Janés, 1996. – Traducción de: Der Fuchs war damals schon der Jäger
La bestia del corazón / traducción de Bettina Blanch Tyroller. – Barcelona : Mondadori, 1997. – Traducción de: Herztier

Works in Swedish

Flackland / översättning av Susanne Widén-Swartz. – Stockholm : Alba, 1985. – Originaltitel: Niederungen
Människan är en stor fasan på jorden : en berättelse / översättning av Karin Löfdahl. – Stockholm : Alba, 1987. – Originaltitel: Der Mensch ist ein groβer Fasan auf der Welt
Barfota februari : berättelser / översättning av Karin Löfdahl. – Stockholm : Alba, 1989. – Originaltitel: Barfüβiger Februar
Resande på ett ben / översättning av Karin Löfdahl. – Stockholm : Alba, 1991. – Originaltitel: Reisende auf einem Bein
Redan då var räven jägare / översättning av Karin Löfdahl. – Stockholm : Bonnier Alba, 1994. – Originaltitel: Der Fuchs war damals schon der Jäger
Hjärtdjur / översättning av Karin Löfdahl. – Stockholm : Bonnier Alba, 1996. – Originaltitel: Herztier
Kungen bugar och dödar / översättning: Karin Löfdahl. – Stockholm : Wahlström & Widstrand, 2005 – Originaltitel: Der König verneigt sich und tötet
Idag hade jag helst inte velat träffa mig själv / översättning: Karin Löfdahl. – Stockholm : Wahlström & Widstrand, 2007 – Originaltitel: Heute wär ich mir lieber nicht begegnet

Selected Criticism

Die erfundene Wahrnehmung : Annäherung an Herta Müller / Norbert Otto Eke (Hg.). – Paderborn : Igel, 1991
Der Druck der Erfahrung treibt die Sprache in die Dichtung : Bildlichkeit in Texten Herta Müllers / Ralph Köhnen (Hrsg.). – Frankfurt am Main : Lang, 1997
Herta Müller / edited by Brigid Haines. – Cardiff : University of Wales, 1998
Predoiu, Grazziella, Faszination und Provokation bei Herta Müller : eine thematische und motivische Auseinandersetzung. – Frankfurt am Main : Lang, 2000
Dascalu, Bogdan Mihai, Held und Welt in Herta Müllers Erzählungen. – Hamburg : Kovac, 2004
Bozzi, Paola, Der fremde Blick : zum Werk Herta Müllers. – Würzburg : Königshausen & Neumann, 2005
Patrut, Iulia-Karin, Schwarze Schwester - Teufelsjunge : Ethnizität und Geschlecht bei Paul Celan und Herta Müller. – Köln : Böhlau, 2006

The Swedish Academy

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Nobel Prize for Chemistry 2009

Nobel Prize for Chemistry 2009

Congratulations Venkataraman Ramakrishnan
for making our Nation Proud.

Nobel Prize for Chemistry 2009

If you want to listen to the Interview with Sri Venkataraman Ramakrishnan please do click the following link

Website of the Nobel winner


Venkatraman Ramakrishnan: A profile

For a brief sketch of Ventakaraman Ramakrishnan
Please click on the following site

Venkatraman Ramakrishnan

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Venkatraman Ramakrishnan

Born 1952
Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu, India
Residence United Kingdom
Citizenship United States
Nationality American
Ethnicity Indian
Fields Biochemistry and Biophysics and Computational Biology
Institutions MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, England, Trinity College, Cambridge
Known for Bio-crystallography
Notable awards Nobel Prize in Chemistry (2009).

Venkatraman "Venki" Ramakrishnan (Tamil: வெங்கட்ராமன் ராமகிருஷ்ணன்; born 1952) is a structural biologist at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology of the Medical Research Council located in Cambridge, England.[1] He is a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge.[2][3] He was awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, along with Thomas A. Steitz and Ada Yonath.[4]



Early life and education

Venkatraman Ramakrishnan was born in 1952 in Chidambaram in Tamil Nadu, India,[5] where he completed his pre-university studies at Annamalai University.[6] Later, he obtained his B.Sc. in Physics from Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, India, in 1971 and then his Ph.D. in Physics from Ohio University in 1976.[7][8][9] He then spent a year taking classes in biology at the University of California, San Diego while transitioning from theoretical physics to biology.[10]

Background and research work

Venkatraman Ramakrishnan has published more than 95 research papers, the earliest being in 1977.[11] In 2000, Venkatraman Ramakrishnan's laboratory determined the structure of the 30S subunit of the ribosome and its complexes with several antibiotics.[12] He also published three papers about his ribosome research in the August 26, 1999, and September 21, 2000, issues of the journal Nature.[7] This was followed by studies that provided structural insights into the mechanism that ensures the fidelity of protein biosynthesis. More recently, his laboratory has determined the atomic structure of the whole ribosome in complex with its tRNA and mRNA ligands. Ramakrishnan is also known for his past work on histone and chromatin structure.

Ramakrishnan is known for his work on the determination of the three-dimensional structure of the small ribosomal subunit and its complexes with substrates and antibiotics, which has shed light on the mechanism that ensures the fidelity of protein synthesis, and for his work on the structures of chromatin-related proteins.[13]


Ramakrishnan was awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry along with Thomas A. Steitz and Ada Yonath.[14] Ramakrishnan will be awarded the Nobel Prize along with one-third of the total prize money of 10 million Swedish kronor ($1.4 million), in a ceremony in Stockholm on December 10.[15] Thus, he became the seventh Indian or person of Indian origin to win the Nobel Prize.[7] Official Nobel Foundation website telephone interview audio with him is available here. [16] He is a Fellow of the Royal Society, and a member of EMBO and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.


  1. ^ "Venki Ramakrishnan". Laboratory of Molecular Biology. 2004. http://www.mrc-lmb.cam.ac.uk/ramak/. Retrieved 2009-10-07.
  2. ^ "New Trinity Fellows". The Fountain, Trinity College Newsletter. https://alumni.trin.cam.ac.uk/design/pdfs/Fountainspring09.pdf. Retrieved 2009-10-07.
  3. ^ "Dr. Venki Ramakrishnan". Trinity College, Cambridge. 2008. http://www.trin.cam.ac.uk/index.php?pageid=176&conid=350. Retrieved 2009-10-07.
  4. ^ Abadjiev, Stanislav P. (7 October 2009). "The Nobel Prize in chemistry is going to Ramakrishnan, Steitz, Yonath". Science Centric. http://www.sciencecentric.com/news/article.php?q=09100741-the-nobel-prize-chemistry-is-going-ramakrishnan-steitz-yonath. Retrieved 2009-10-07.
  5. ^ 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Nobel Foundation.
  6. ^ Press Trust of India (PTI) (7 October 2009). "Venkatraman's teacher happy over ward's Nobel". Times of India. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/Venkatramans-teacher-happy-over-wards-Nobel/articleshow/5098759.cms. Retrieved 2009-10-07.
  7. ^ a b c Press Trust of India (PTI) (7 October 2009). "Venkatraman Ramakrishnan: A profile". Times of India. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Venkatraman-Ramakrishnan-A-profile/articleshow/5098151.cms. Retrieved 2009-10-07.
  8. ^ "FACTBOX: Nobel chemistry prize - Who are the winners?". http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSTRE5962EE20091007. Retrieved 2009-10-07.
  9. ^ Sonwalkar, Prasun (October 8, 2009). "Venkatraman Ramakrishnan wins Nobel for Chemistry". Press Trust of India (PTI). http://www.ptinews.com/news/318589_Venkatraman-Ramakrishnan-wins-Nobel-for-Chemistry. Retrieved 2009-10-07.
  10. ^ Associated Press (7 October 2009). "Profile: Dr Venkatraman Ramakrishnan". Indian Express. http://www.indianexpress.com/news/profile-dr-venkatraman-ramakrishnan/526251/. Retrieved 2009-10-07.
  11. ^ "Publications (Venki Ramakrishnan)". Laboratory of Molecular Biology. http://www.mrc-lmb.cam.ac.uk/ribo/homepage/ramak/ramak_publications.html. Retrieved 2009-10-07.
  12. ^ "Welcome to the Ramakrishnan Lab web page". Laboratory of Molecular Biology. 2004. http://www.mrc-lmb.cam.ac.uk/ribo/. Retrieved 2009-10-07.
  13. ^ "About the PNAS Member Editor". PNAS. http://nrc88.nas.edu/pnas_search/memberDetails.aspx?ctID=20004810. Retrieved 2009-10-07.
  14. ^ "All Nobel Laureates in Chemistry". Nobel Foundation. http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/chemistry/laureates/index.html. Retrieved 2009-10-07.
  15. ^ Overbye, Dennis (October 7, 2009). "Three Win Nobel for Ribosome Research". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/08/science/08nobel.html?em. Retrieved 2009-10-07.
  16. ^ "Venkatraman Ramakrishnan Audio Interview". Nobel Website. http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/chemistry/laureates/2009/ramakrishnan-interview.html. Retrieved 2009-10-07.

External links