Tag Archives: reading

For a PhD student

This is from the book, “My life as a Quant” by Emanuel Derman.

” I spent seven biblically-lean years in the physics department.
One friend spent ten.We both got out alive.
Some didn’t. It wasn’t long before we had all heard the legend about
the graduate student who had shot his PhD advisor. Several years ago I
read a New York Times article about two graduate students who committed
suicide while studying in the Harvard laboratory of Nobel Prizewinner
Professor E. J. Corey. In a subsequent letter to the Sunday New
York Times magazine of December 20, 1998, Linda Logdberg of Upper
Nyack, New York, wrote in to comment on life as graduate student:

. . . Perhaps even more now than then, graduate education is an
extended adolescence during which highly intelligent young
people see their world shrink to fit the dimensions of their advisor’s laboratory. . . . With their identities bound to the outcome
of the thesis project, graduate students are socialized to view
other options (teaching, industry, even changing to another type
of work altogether) with contempt.Wanting a decent wage and
meaningful work that occupies, say, only 50 hours per week are
considered signs of selling out.

From, ‘My Life as a Quant’ by Emanuel Derman, PhD (Physics, Columbia) who headed
Goldman Sachs’ Quantitative Strategies group.

At IISc, I met a few of ppl who reacted almost violently to the idea of going on to do a mgmt degree and to
the idea of wanting to make more money. I thought I knew what they were thinking and this describes what I thought I saw perfectly.


Top 10 reasons for brain damage.

This is a follow-up to the last article…taken off a forward on the school Yahoo group.

10 Biggest Brain Damaging Habits

1. No Breakfast (I have breakfast every single morning…I swear)
People who do not take breakfast are going to have a lower blood sugar level. This leads to an insufficient supply of nutrients to the brain causing brain degeneration

2. Overeating (Hardly a problem with me)
It causes hardening of the brain arteries, leading to a decrease in mental power.

3. Smoking (NO CHANCE!!)
It causes multiple brain shrinkage and may lead to Alzheimer disease.

4. High sugar consumption (I doubt it)
Too much sugar will interrupt the absorption of proteins and nutrients causing malnutrition and may interfere with brain development .

5. Air pollution (IISc is about as green as it should be)
The brain is the largest oxygen consumer in our body. Inhaling polluted air decreases the supply of oxygen to the brain, bringing about a decrease in brain efficiency

6. Sleep deprivation (8 hrs of sleep on average)
Sleep allows our brain to rest. Long term deprivation from sleep will accelerate the death of brain cells.

7. Head covered while sleeping (I am guilty of this)
Sleeping with the head covered increases the concentration of carbon dioxide and decrease concentration of oxygen that may lead to brain damaging effects

8. Working your brain during illness (Not working my brain at all)
Working hard or studying with sickness may lead to a decrease in effectiveness of the brain as well as damage the brain.

9. Lacking in stimulating thoughts (Can hardly complain of this in IISc…by the way what is meant by “stimulating thoughts”??)
Thinking is the best way to train our brain, lacking in brain stimulation thoughts may cause brain shrinkage

10. Talking rarely.(I participate in rather intellectual conversations I guess)
Intellectual conversations will promote the efficiency of the brain


About a girl…

I am not really into reading other peoples’ blogs…never unless they ask me to or have put it up to be seen easily.
One blog that I came across, that falls in the second category is

It is the blog of an 18 year old girl living in Mumbai.
I came across it on her orkut page and I shall refrain from divulging other details.
One of the first blogs of hers that I read was one on Silence and it touched me.
This was a young girl who knew what she wanted ( atleast academically) and knew how hard she would have to work for it.She was ready to make the sacrifices it needed.
Something I rarely see in people of our generation.

She has a nice collection of articles on her blog and I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in reading intelligent writing that still ‘smells like teen spirit’

And another link I got from her blog…reproduced here for the benefit of those who will not care to try the above link:
Something called the Church of Skeptical Mysticism…but really interesting thoughts.
I hope the blogosphere (or whatever it is called!) abounds with such intelligent, mature young people.


The Beginning

This appeared in the TOI on 11th May and I thought it was very pertinent to the way our lives are.
Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up.It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed.
Every morning a lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death.
It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle.
When the sun comes up, you better start running.
– Tom Friedman.
This blog is intended to be an expression of what i am thinking on that particular day…since I am not very creative with words it will often have other people’s words …of course for intellectual integrity the source will be acknowledged wherever known.