The word 'scientist' often conjures an image of an isolated man in a lab, surrounded by books, expensive instruments, test tubes, and beakers belching out strange fumes. But actually, scientists have many facets to their character. Some of the scientists in this book wrote stories and poems; others had a passion for art — while a few loved speeding around on motor bikes! Many scientists passionately engaged with the society outside their labs and worked hard to make the world a better place.
Apart from their life sketches interesting personal anecdotes have been added to lend depth to their character. What made them take up science? Did a childhood experience inspire them? Was it a kindred teacher or a loving parent? What odds did the men, and particularly the women have to face and overcome? Hopefully, their lives will inspire the young.
Bright Sparks chronicles the lives and contributions of 40 inspiring Indian scientists of the past.
Arvind Gupta is known throughout India as a science populariser and toymaker. He has conducted thousands of workshops in India and abroad, and made numerous TV shows on making science toys from 'junk'. He writes, translates, and shares his passion for books and toys through his popular website arvindguptatoys.com Arvind obtained a BTech from IIT Kanpur in 1975. He opted out of a lucrative career to devote his life to science popularization. Currently, he works at the Muktangan Science Centre for Children located at the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy & Astrophysics (IUCAA) in Pune. He has been conferred numerous awards for his work, including the inaugural National Award for Science Popularisation amongst children (1988) and the Distinguished Alumnus Award by IIT / Kanpur (2000).
Karen Haydock has illustrated numerous books and textbooks An- children during her last 20 years in India. In addition to her work as an artist, she has been teaching, training teachers, developing teaching methods, and writing books. She was originally trained as a biophysicist, having completed her PhD and post-doctoral research in USA.
It is with great pleasure that I commend to readers, particularly young ones, BRIGHT SPARKS, written so beautifully by Arvind Gupta and illustrated equally beautifully by Karen Haydock. As part of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations, the Indian National Science Academy (INSA) has been pursuing a vigorous publication programme this year. Most of the publications we have brought out are scholarly scientific volumes. We also felt the need for a publication to introduce in an appealing manner great past Indian scientists to the public, especially the young. It was when I was toying with this idea that I happened to chair the lecture by Arvind Gupta when he received the INSA Indira Gandhi Award for Science Popularisation on Science Day- in February, 2008. After listening to him, I had no doubt as to whom we should invite to write such a book. Arvind Gupta graciously accepted our invitation to do so. He recruited the services of Karen Haydock to prepare illustrations. My distinguished colleagues Jayant Narlikar, Madhav Gadgil and T. Padmanabhan kindly agreed to function as an Advisory Committee in the preparation of the book. All then worked well and we now have this wonderful book. I 'thank the author, the illustrator and the Advisory Committee for producing it. I am sure it would inform, inspire and entertain a wide cross section of children and adults.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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