Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Why the sky is blue

My blogpost was adjudged one of the three best in the Tulika Books Science Day Blogfest.  As a prize, I received (with a handwritten note by the editor) a copy of the book Why the Sky is Blue by Chandralekha and Dashrath Patel.

The book is an extract from Sir CV Raman's lecture in Dec 1968 in Ahmedabad, where he speaks about science, nature, the wonders of the world around us and the never-ending questions that arise from learning more and more about it. When Raman was speaking, Dashrath Patel clicked photographs, and later, Chandralekha wrote the text down.  The beautiful black-and-white photographs, every one of them frame-worthy, are very evocative, and portray the great man in different moods - involved, excited, and passionate.

Puttachi needed explanations (the book is for Age 8+), but she understood and appreciated the simple truths in the book. CV Raman is urging his listeners to probe deeper, keep their eyes open, and ask more questions.

"The best way to answer questions is to ask another one,"  he says, which Puttachi was very pleased with.

"Even at the age of 80, I am wondering about things I don't understand," he says another time, and again, Puttachi was awestruck by that.  She stayed silent for a long time thinking about that.

"Science never stops.  It goes on and on.  The more you find, the more you have left to find," he says.  "An endless quest," he calls it.   I could go on quoting from the book!

The book also has a very crisp Timeline of CV Raman's life, and some interesting Snapshots of his life that throw light on his character.  There is also a simple explanation of The Raman Effect.

Meanwhile, the book's explanation of why the sky is blue wasn't simple enough for Puttachi.   She wanted to know more  -  I had to dig deeper and explain to her in simple words so that she'd follow.  But then I used some terms which she didn't understand. So I had to describe those to her.  After that, she had some more questions about colours..... and voila!  We found ourselves doing the very thing that CV Raman urged us to do!

7 comments:

Slogan Murugan said...

Congrats!
And I'm ordering my copy now.

Radhika said...

You are just too good Shruthi. Already introducing complex subjects to Puttachi in a way she can understand. Is the book readable by a 7 year old? Or it needs help?

austere said...

superb! didn't this have to do with what gets absorbed and what gets reflected??

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DrDoubt said...

""The best way to answer questions is to ask another one," he says, which Puttachi was very pleased with."

A very bad trick to teach a kid :-)

Anonymous said...


Congratulations , i seemed to have missed that post earlier, now have read it , excellent post.
Guess it is a continuously fascinating journey for all of us to look & re-look at the marvels of the world around us.

best wishes
jm

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