India’s Future Needs of Electricity

Dr SP Sukhatme Professor Emeritus, IIT Bombay will be presenting a talk -Can India’s future needs of electricity be met by renewable energy sources? This will be for about 50 min.

In this lecture, an attempt is made to answer two questions. How much electrical energy will India need in the future? Can this need for electricity be met by renewable energy sources? The first question is answered in two ways. In the first approach, the energy inputs required for various activities in the residential, commercial, transportation, manufacturing, agriculture and other sectors are considered, while in the second approach, the empirical relationship between the Human Development Index and the annual per capita consumption of electricity is used. The second question is answered by systematically considering all the renewable sources (solar power, wind power, hydro-electric power, etc) and estimating the potential of each source to supply electricity in the future. In an overall sense, the calculations show that the annual need of electricity can perhaps be met by renewable sources if India adopts a frugal policy for energy usage. However, this is not enough because the demand for electricity has to be met continuously on a daily basis. Many difficult technical challenges will have to be overcome in order to tackle this issue successfully. These challenges will be discussed.

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Language of Gods

Arvind Pendse has given many interesting talks in the past. This time he will talk about how the Genetic code was deciphered.

Most people have heard words like DNA, chromosomes, genes and genetic code and probably have a vague idea that genes contain a manual of instructions that runs our life, both mental and physical. All living beings have such an instruction manual inside them. However, people may not be aware that the language in which this manual is written and the way the instructions are executed is the SAME in ALL LIVING BEINGS. Content is obviously different but the language and its execution is the same right from single celled amoeba to complex human beings.

This talk will be about a detective story ie the long journey to uncover the fascinating mystery that had always puzzled mankind. Mystery about how life works, how this information is stored in us, and how it is passed on from generation to generation. How these questions were resolved by deciphering the genetic code in many small logical steps with co operation of many scientists from many countries working together.

The story has many twists and turns, shows how the scientists also make silly mistakes, how they also have biases and reject sound logical ideas, but how the self correcting scientific method prevails to uncover the truth in the end. Along the way we will also talk about what is meant by scientific method and why it is probably the best tool we have to uncover truth.

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Practical lessons from the Gita for modern life

Modern life is quite different from the world our parents grew up in; and a lot of what we do in our lives and careers has no parallels in what they did. So it appears that we’re on our own as far as navigating this new world is concerned. I take timeless advice from the Gita and show how, with appropriate mappings to modern concepts, the advice is surprisingly effective. And I show how it parallels advice from modern gurus like Marc Andreessen, Paul Graham, and Scott Adams. I also try to provide empirical/scientific backing from the work of researchers in the areas of psychology, sociology, and game theory.

This is not about ancient-India-was-great, but practical, useful tips to bring order to the chaos of the internet-enabled life. We’ve all grown up hearing quotes from the Gita (including Karmanye vaadhikaraste). Some years ago, I decided to seriously read the Gita and then see what parts of it could actually be applied to modern life, and whether any of it appeals to my (modern/western/atheistic) sensibilities.

In the talk, I’ll pick out selected passages from the Gita (there’s a lot I rejected as not being relevant to this talk, and to my sensibilities as a materialistic atheist). For each one of those, I will give examples of situations from entrepreneurship, or professional/family relationships, or even simply social media management, and who how the Gita’s wisdom is a useful framework to evaluate alternative courses of action. For each, there will also be examples of advice from modern gurus, or scientists/researchers that is roughly equivalent.

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The Third Curve – The end of growth?

Watch Mansoor Khan‘s passionate pitch about how we’ve hit “Peak Oil” and have consequently reached the end of economic growth which we’ve assumed to perpetual so far. No only have we exhausted earth’s ability to sustain this growth, but the risky financial engineering necessary to create this illusion of growth will collapse too! The Third Curve – is his book which talks about this crisis staring at humanity.

Mansoor spoke at the IITBAA Pune Chapter function on 28th June. He studied at IITB, Cornell and MIT – but never completed a course in any of these institutes. He shot to fame as the director of Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak in 1988.

Click the image above to watch the talk!

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Emotions and Neuroplasticity – how our brain works

Watch Arvind Pendse’s talk about Emotions, Neuroplasticity and how we interpret world around us.

Emotions: What are emotions? Why are they there? Are they universal or culture based? What is Emotional Quotient? How important is it? Can we improve EQ? Can we regulate and control emotions? Can we conquer anger and other negative emotions, addictions and impulsive behavior? Two levels at which reprogramming could be done to regulate formation of emotions and their effect on our actions. Our personality is nothing but our emotional make up. How much of it is inborn? How much of it is genetic? Can we really mould our personality?

Brain Plasticity: Part of the answers of questions raised above are in knowing how plastic our brain is and how much can we change it? What are some of the techniques? Principles behind the techniques like meditation. Interesting actual examples of change in brain network would be discussed. Any discussion about what is changeable and what is not changeable would be incomplete without understanding how and to what extent our genes control us.

Mistakes in interpreting world around us: Some interesting examples of how we are genetically and evolutionarily programmed to commit mistakes in interpreting world around us. Understanding of these natural tendencies can help us avoid these mistakes and lead more rational life.

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The IUCAA story by Dr. Jayant Narlikar – building scientific institutions

Watch Dr. Jayant Narlikar talk about the story of Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), the prestigious research institute based in Pune. Dr. Narlikar was the founder director of IUCAA. Under his direction IUCAA has acquired a world-wide reputation as a centre for excellence in teaching and research in astronomy and astrophysics. He retired from this position in 2003. He is now Emeritus Professor at IUCAA.

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Marathi Vidnyan Parishad – 48th Science Convention

Watch the full video proceedings of the 48th Marathi Science Convention held at Lonavla on 7-8 December, 2013.

लोणावळा येथील मनशक्ती प्रयोग केंद्राच्या विस्तीर्ण जागेत ७ डिसेंबर २०१३ ला सकाळी १० वाजता ४८व्या अखिल भारतीय मराठी विज्ञान अधिवेशन सुरु झाले. महाराष्ट्रातून तसेच महाराष्ट्राबाहेरून सुमारे तीनशे विज्ञान प्रसारक प्रतिनिधी अधिवेशनासाठी जमले होते. “सर्जनशिलतेकडून संशोधनाकडे” या विषयाभोवती गुंफलेल्या या अधिवेशनात भारतात गेल्या शेकडो वर्षांपासून चालत आलेल्या विज्ञान-तंत्रज्ञानापासून आजच्या आणि उद्याच्या अत्याधुनिक विज्ञान-तंत्रज्ञानापर्यंत सुसंगत असलेल्या संशोधनाच्या दिशांचा मागोवा घेतला गेला.

वैज्ञानिक संशोधनास चालना देणे, दैनंदिन जीवनात विज्ञानाचा वापर करत विज्ञान व तंत्रज्ञानाचे महत्त्व वाढविणे, विज्ञानाच्या माध्यमातून पर्यावरण, ऊर्जा, आरोग्य, महिला सक्षमीकरण करत विकास करणे आदी विषयांवर विस्तृत चर्चा झाली. सगुणा बागचे, शेखर भडसावळे, डॉ. सतीश देसाई, “आरतीचे’चे आनंद कर्वे, मिटकॉनचे विजयकुमार चोले आदींनी चर्चासत्रांमध्ये त्यांचे विचार मांडले.

Watch all the videos here!

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The Master Keys that control world trade – Praful Talera

Praful Talera, MD of Dynamic Logistics talks about the geo-politics and geo-economics of international maritime trade.

Business is a combination of war & sport, and military strategy and business strategy have a lot in common. The world has moved on from geopolitics to geo-economics. The British during their maritime domination of the world identified these specific chokepoints on the map as they are called and used them to control trade, hence they also referred to them as – The Master Keys That Control World Trade. It is very interesting to understand them as they shape not only global politics but also the economics of the world. Even though we do not realize this fundamental fact, our lives are shaped by this logic – Geography they say is Destiny!

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