#TSOE (The Suns On Earth, May 04, 2019):

What came first – the nuclear power plant or the nuclear bomb? Do you fear nuclear power(s)? What was our experience of encountering coal? What is the relationship between energy consumption and well-being? What drives demand? Is more (always) better? Why did human population grow steeply from c. 1698? Where did the muscular Uncle Sam come from? Does pollution kill more people than wars? Is nuclearization value-neutral? How are human beings a part of nuclear power systems? How does (any) technology become a political or cultural artefact? What was the first official publicity like? Can ‘something’ be an instrument of peace ‘and’ an absolute weapon of destruction? Is nuclear energy ‘sublime’? Is it democratic? Is it green? Why aren’t nuclear power plants located within cities if they are not risky? Do more plants risk more weapons? Where does spent fuel go? Can the political economy of a nuclear power plant be separated from its engineering? Why the ‘secrecy’ (?)? What is the future of nuclearity? Is industrialization necessary? Will we beam energy down from satellites? &, will we have to continue to live with (military) radioactivity? SynTalk thinks about these & more questions using concepts from nuclear engineering (Prof. R. B. Grover, HBNI, Mumbai), development studies (Dr. Manu V. Mathai, Azim Premji University, Bangalore), & cultural studies (Dr. Dibyadyuti Roy, IIM Indore, Indore).

Listen in…

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

Prof. R. B. Grover (nuclear engineering) is Emeritus Professor at Homi Bhabha National Institute (HBNI), Mumbai, where he served as a Vice Chancellor for 11 years (2005-2016). He is also a member of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), and was also Principal Adviser in the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) for the period 2010-2013. As part of his tenure as an engineer at BARC (Bhabha Atomic Research Center), Mumbai, he specialized in nuclear reactor thermal hydraulics and energy studies with special reference to nuclear energy. He worked on fuel and core thermal hydraulic analysis for a research reactor, and process safety analysis, plant dynamic analysis, process design of primary systems and equipment for a compact nuclear reactor. He has also studied the growth of power requirements in India with a view to delineate the role of nuclear energy in India’s electricity mix. Prof. Grover completed his B.Sc. (Mechanical Engineering) from Delhi College of Engineering (Delhi University, 1970), and his Ph.D. from the Faculty of Engineering, Indian Institute of Science (IISc, Bangalore, 1982). He is a fellow of the Indian National Academy of Engineering (INAE), the Maharashtra Academy of Sciences, and the World Academy of Art and Science. He has delivered invited talks at multiple institutes, such as, the Royal Society (UK, 2010), and Tsuruga International Energy Forum (Japan, 2008). Prof. Grover has also received multiple awards, including, Padma Shri (2014), Lifetime Achievement Award (DAE, 2011), Distinguished Alumnus Award by IISc and its Alumni Association (2011), and Lifetime Achievement Award by the Delhi College of Engineering Alumni Association (2016).

Dr. Manu V. Mathai (development studies, sustainability studies) is currently Assistant Professor in the School of Development at Azim Premji University (APU), Bangalore. His research and teaching focuses on the ‘how’ of realising fairness in human well-being outcomes on a ‘finite’ planet. He locates this question at the intersection of energy-society relations as it informs and shapes questions of development and sustainability. Dr. Mathai received his B.Sc. from St. Joseph’s College, Bangalore University (1997) and M.Sc. (wildlife science) from the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun (1999). He then switched to studying policy and earned a Masters in Public Policy from the University of Maryland (USA, 2002), and a Ph.D. in energy and environmental policy from the University of Delaware (USA, 2010). Prior to joining APU, Dr. Mathai taught at the United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies (Japan, 2011-2014) and the Department of Science, Technology and Society/Public Policy at the Rochester Institute of Technology (USA, 2010-2011). He has lectured and published widely at various venues in India and overseas. His publications include Nuclear Power, Economic Development Discourse and the Environment: The Case of India (Routledge, 2013) and the co-edited volume Green Growth: Ideology, Political Economy and the Alternatives (Zed Books, 2016). He is currently serving 2-year terms as Co-Chair of the Working Group on the Political Economy of Sustainable Consumption and Production and as member of the Steering Committee of the Knowledge and Action Network on Sustainable Consumption and Production, both under the Future Earth umbrella.

Dr. Dibyadyuti Roy (cultural studies) is Assistant Professor at the Department of Communications, Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Indore. His research interests are digital humanities, global anglophone literatures, and postcolonial criticism, American literature, popular culture, theories of masculinity, gender, and the body, science/technology studies, & Dalit studies. Dr. Roy did his B.A. in English from Presidency College (Kolkata, 2008), and then completed his M.Litt. (Master of Letters) from University of Glasgow (UK, 2009). He then went to West Virginia University to complete his Ph.D. in Cultural Studies (2016). He has published articles in peer reviewed journals such as, Humanities (MDPI), Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies (Taylor and Francis), Millennial Asia: An International Journal of Asian Studies (SAGE), and Sanglap: Journal of Literary and Cultural Inquiry. Dr. Roy has co-edited a book titled, ‘A Handbook for The Digital Humanities in India’ (under review), and is currently working on a monograph, titled, ‘Whiter than a thousand Suns: Chronicling Radioactive Masculinity in Nuclear Nations’. He is also on the editorial board of Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds. Dr. Roy has presented in multiple conferences across institutes, such as, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT, USA), Pennsylvania State University (USA), Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU, New Delhi), & MICA (Ahmedabad). He has also received the Jackson Family Doctoral Dissertation Writing Fellowship (Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, West Virginia University, 2014), and the Glasgow Postgraduate Excellence Scholarship (University of Glasgow, 2009).

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

#TSOE mentionsImmanuel Kant, George L. Harrison, Henry L. Stimson, Leslie Groves, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Klaus Theweleit, Ira Chernus, Lewis Mumford, Jimmy Carter, Damodar Dharmananda Kosambi, Homi J. Bhabha, Herman Daly, Vaclav Smil, &  Alex Wellerstein, among others.