#TMBA (The Murmurs Before Arrival, July 14, 2018):

Do you forget names and words? Are you going to get Alzheimer’s soon? Is any experience fundamentally conditioned by time? What cannot be anticipated? Can murmurs function like (unprocessed?) signs? Why are multi-parameter signals very difficult to ‘observe’ ahead of time? Is knowing all the initial conditions the primary source of difficulty? How are social systems different? Can beauty be ‘a’ number? Are nucleation events always stochastic? Does growth of protein aggregates ‘fit’ the equations more easily in a test tube than in the human body? Is change of phase akin to change of model equations? Do magnets, markets, fluids, or (even) society display some signals (say, susceptibility or compressibility) before a transition? Is it possible for a laser pulse to exit before it has entered? Does the stimulus to transform always come from the outside? Are all misfolded proteins similar the way all chairs are similar? Does recognizing new patterns need languages (& neologisms), & what happens when forms dissolve? Are repetitions (always) copies? How can we be ‘otherwise’? SynTalk thinks about these & more questions using concepts from statistical physics & econophysics (Prof. Bikas K. Chakrabarti, Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics (SINP), Kolkata), philosophy (Prof. Leonard Lawlor, The Pennsylvania State University, Pennsylvania), & biophysics (Prof. Sudipta Maiti, TIFR, Mumbai).

Listen in…

SynTalk is pleased and privileged to have hosted the following SynTalkrs (in alphabetical order) on its #TMBA show.

Prof. Bikas K. Chakrabarti (statistical physics, econophysics) is Emeritus Professor of Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics (SINP), S. N. Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences, and Visiting Professor of Economics in Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata. He is former Director, Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, Kolkata. Prof. Chakrabarti’s research interests include classical and quantum statistical physics, and modellings of economic & social dynamics. His other interests are fracture, breakdown & earthquake, statistics of polymers in random media, dynamic hysteresis and transitions under oscillating and pulsed fields,  quantum spin glasses, annealing & computation, and physical & computational models of mind & brain. He received his Ph.D. from Calcutta University (1979), & did post doctoral work at Universities of Oxford and Cologne. The ideas from his research on quantum search techniques, such as, the advantages of quantum tunneling in searching for the global solution(s) of NP-hard problems (avoiding innumerable localized ones), & the subsequent works on Quantum Annealing, have ultimately led to the development of a class of special-purpose (Analog) Quantum Computers. He has authored/co-authored more than 185 papers in refereed journals, 7 reviews (including 4 in Reviews of Modern Physics) and 10 books (3 from Cambridge University Press, 2 from Oxford University Press, 3 from Springer and 2 from Wiley). Prof. Chakrabarti received the S. S. Bhatnagar Award in 1997, and is a Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore and of the Indian National Science Academy, Delhi. He received the Outstanding Referee Award of the American Physical Society in 2010. He is presently Editorial Board member of several journals including the European Physical Journal B: Condensed Matter & Complex Systems (EPS & Springer; Executive Editor), Journal of Economic Interaction and Coordination (Springer), Journal of Magnetism & Magnetic Materials (Elsevier) and Scientific Reports (Nature).

Prof. Leonard Lawlor (philosophy) is currently the Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Philosophy at The Pennsylvania State University, USA. He has also taught at The University of Memphis and the State University of New York at Binghamton, USA. He is also a Visiting Professor at IITB, Mumbai. His research interests are nineteenth and twentieth century continental philosophy, social and political philosophy, & aesthetics. His writings are on phenomenology and on the figures Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze, Michel Foucault, Henri Bergson, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Edmund Husserl, and Jean Hippolyte. Prof. Lawlor completed his B.A. in Philosophy from Eastern Michigan University (USA), and then went to State University of New York at Stony Brook (USA), to complete his M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy. He has published 21 books (authored, co-edited, & translated). Two of the recently published books authored by him, are, ‘From Violence to Speaking Out’ (Edinburgh University Press, 2016), and ‘Early Twentieth Century Continental Philosophy’ (Indiana University Press, 2011). Three of the recently published books, co-edited by him are, ‘Between Philosophy and Non-Philosophy: Essays in Honor of Hugh J. Silverman’ (SUNY Press, 2016), ‘A Companion to Derrida’ (Wiley Blackwell, 2014), & ‘The Cambridge Foucault Lexicon’ (Cambridge University Press, 2014). He has translated works such as, Jacques Derrida’s La voix et le phénomène as Voice and Phenomenon, and co-translated works such as, Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s course notes, 1955-56: L’institution, La passivité, as Institution and Passivity, Renaud Barbaras’s The Being of the Phenomenon: Merleau-Ponty’s Ontology, and Jean Hyppolite’s ‘Logic and Existence’. He has contributed more than 10 encyclopedia entries and over 100 articles (in various journals) & book chapters. He was awarded the Faudree-Hardin University Professorship (2004-till date) & the Dunavant Professorship (2001-2004) at The University of Memphis, USA.

Prof. Sudipta Maiti (biophysics) is currently a Professor at the Department of Chemical Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai. Before joining TIFR, he taught at IIT Kanpur, and completed his post-doctoral work at Cornell University (USA). He also worked as a Graduate Research Assistant while completing his Ph.D. (Biophysics) from University of Pennsylvania, and his M.A. (Physics & Astronomy) from University of Rochester, USA. As part of the research in his own laboratory, Prof. Maiti (& his team) aims to investigate biophysically tractable yet biologically interesting systems, using (mostly) spectroscopic and imaging tools. They have focused on two key problems, namely, protein misfolding/aggregation, and vesicular neurotransmission. Both of these interface with the phenomenon of amyloid-induced neuro-degeneration. Their research is aimed at uncovering the fundamental mechanisms underlying protein misfolding, aggregation and toxicity. Prof. Maiti is a Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences (2017). He is on the editorial board of multiple journals such as Frontiers in Physiology and Biophysics (Nature Publishing Group), Journal of Optics (Springer), and Biomedical Physics and Engineering Express (IOP Publishing). He was awarded the ‘Best Teacher Award’ in TIFR (2017), the TIAA Patent Award (TIFR Alumni Association, 2013), & the Award for Excellence in Teaching (University of Rochester, 1990). Prof. Maiti has also been awarded the Intramural Grant from TIFR (1998-till date), Department of Information Technology’s ‘Instituting the National Photonics Fellowship’ (2010-2014), and a grant from Department of Biotechnology (Government of India) for ‘Single Molecule Fluorescecence Investigations on the mechanism of aggregation’ 2011-2015). Prof. Maiti is also the Founding member for the BioPhysics Pashchim, an association of Biophysicists in the Mumbai-Pune region.

Note: Any & all errors in the brief profiles above are SynTalk’s own.

#TMBA mentions: Socrates, Issac Newton, Thomas Kuhn, Gilles Deleuze, Michel Foucault, & Jacques Derrida, among others.