#TVVS (The Very Very Slow, September 30, 2018):

Are younger systems faster? Do elephants mate slowly? Is a plastic ruler always ageing? Is only glass glassy? Why are processes slow or fast, & how do they speed up or slow down? Do all systems have an internal clock? Is water fast because it acts like a large correlated spring? Is there such a thing as fully-dissolved? Are certain social systems stable because they remain ‘useful’? How does fashion change fast? Is slowness a sign of highly connected groups? ‘How’ does inter-caste marriage happen? Is the past more important only for systems that are undergoing change? Do external disruptions lead to a revival in interest in the past? What is the opposite of revolution? What changes predictably – science or technology? How do languages die? Does protein misfolding tell us about its past? Are the biasing forces blind? Is friction a memory function? Is swapping like catalyzing? Is speed synonymous with forgetting? How do the ‘same’ human beings exist in different states? Could an umbrella theory uncover secrets of all slow dynamics? Will we remain addicted to speed? &, what will not change much in the long run? SynTalk thinks about these & more questions using concepts from physical chemistry (Prof. Biman Bagchi, IISc, Bangalore), literary theory  (Prof. Sachin Ketkar, The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Vadodara), & glass physics (Prof. Jorge Kurchan, École Normale Supérieure (ENS), Paris).

Listen in…

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

Prof. Biman Bagchi (physical chemitry) is the Amrut Mody Professor at the Solid State and Structural Chemistry Unit, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore. His research interests are time dependent statistical mechanics, stochastic processes, dynamics of chemical and biological Reactions, phase transitions, dynamics in glassy liquids, liquid crystals, biological water, protein folding, biopolymers, DNA intercalation, polar solvation dynamics, electron transfer reactions, vibrational and rotational relaxation in liquids, electrochemistry, transport properties, classical laws, polyelectrolyte, conjugated polymers, polymer reactions, & Förster energy transfer. Prof. Bagchi completed his B.Sc. in Chemistry from Presidency College (Kolkata, 1974), M.Sc. in Physical Chemistry from Calcutta University (1976), and then went to Brown University (USA) to complete his Ph.D. (1981). He also holds the Honorary Professor positions at three other institutes, namely, JNCASR (Bangalore), S.N. Bose National Center of Basic Sciences (Calcutta), & NIAS (Bangalore). He is on the editorial / advisory board for several journals including The Journal of Physical Chemistry, PhysChemComm, & Theoretical Chemistry Accounts. His, over 400, research papers have been published in international journals such as Physical Review Letters, Journal of Chemical Sciences, & Current Science. He has authored two books, ‘Molecular Relaxation in Liquids’ and ‘Water in Biological and Chemical Processes: From Structure and Dynamics to Function’. Prof. Bagchi has received multiple awards including Alumni Excellence Award in Research (IISc, 2002), Seventh G.D. Birla Award for Science and Technology (1997), and the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize (Chemical Sciences, 1991). He is also an elected Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, India (NASI, 1995), The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS, 2004), Indian National Science Academy (INSA, 20199407), & Indian Academy of Sciences (IAS, 1991).

Prof. Sachin Ketkar (literary theory, poetry) is currently Professor at the Department of English, Faculty of Arts, The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda  (MSU), Vadodara. He is a bilingual writer, translator, editor, blogger and researcher. His research interests are translation studies, comparative Indian literature, literary historiography, semiotics of culture, travel studies, & digital humanities. Prof. Ketkar received his M.A. in English from MSU Baroda (1995), and then went to Veer Narmad South Gujarat University (Surat) to complete his Ph.D. (2002). He has published widely; his most recent book ‘Changlya Kavitevarchi Statutory Warning: Samkaleen Marathi Kavita, Jagatikikaran ani Bhashantar’ (September 2016) is a collection of Marathi articles on contemporary Marathi poetry, globalization and translation. His books in English include ‘Skin, Spam and Other Fake Encounters: Selected Marathi Poems in translation’ (2011), ‘(Trans) Migrating Words: Refractions on Indian Translation Studies’ (2010) and ‘A Dirge for the Dead Dog and Other Incantations’ (2003). His collections of  Marathi poetry are ‘Jarasandhachya Blogvarche Kahi Ansh’ (2010) and ‘Bhintishivaicya Khidkitun Dokavtana’ (2004). He has translated fiction by Jorge Luis Borges, Ted Hughes and Adam Thopre into Marathi. Prof. Ketkar was awarded the ‘Indian Literature Poetry Translation Prize’ (2000) by Sahitya Akademi (New Delhi) for translation of modern Gujarati poetry. He has translated numerous modern Gujarati writers/poets like Ghulam Mohammed Sheikh, Narsinh Mehta (also a part of his Ph.D. work), Bhupen Khakkar, Jayant Khatri, Rajendra Patel, Nazir Mansuri and Mona Patrawala into English. He is currently working on ‘A Critical History of Marathi Literature’. Prof. Ketkar has published in multiple journals such as Spring Magazine on English Literature, Journal of Higher Education and Research Society, Research in Indian Languages: Problems and Prospects, & Critical Perspectives.

Prof. Jorge Kurchan (glass physics) is currently the Director of  Laboratoire de Physique Statistique, Ecole Normale Supprieure (ENS), Paris, France. He has also been the Deputy Director of Institut Henri Poincare, Paris. He received his B.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Buenos Aires (Argentina), where he worked on the question of defining quantum moving frames for many-body problems. He was a postdoctoral fellow in the Weizmann Institute (Israel), in Roma La Sapienza and in ENS (Paris). In 1996 he obtained a permanent position in Ecole Normale de Lyon, then in 2000 moved to Ecole de Physique Chimie in Paris and then, more recently, back to ENS in Paris. His main interests are (working towards an) out-of equilibrium thermodynamics, glassy physics (he has been a specialist in and an advocate of a dynamical treatment) and, most recently, the stochastic treatment of near-integrable dynamical systems. Prof. Kurchan has been the co-editor of Europhysics Letters (2002-2005), & the Journal of Statistical Physics (2003-2014). He has also delivered lectures & talks at multiple international universities & institutes such as, Rutgers University (USA, 2015), Leiden University (Netherlands, 2014), Imperial College (London, 2013), & Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton (USA, 2013). He has also co-authored a book titled ‘Lecture Notes : The Treatment of Collective Coordinates in Many Body Problems, an Application of the BRST Invariance’ (World Scientific, Singapore, 1990). Prof. Kurchan has received multiple awards including the Prix Jean Langlois de Diffusion de la Recherche (2002), Prix Langevin Societe Francaise de Physique (2002), and the Prix Servant de la Academie des Sciences (2005). He has also been awarded the patent (along with Dr. J-L Iguain) for ‘A new strategy for the separation of magnetically marked cells and macromolecules’. His research has been published in international journals such as, Annals of Physics, Physics Letters, & Nature.

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

#TVVS mentionsPānini, D. H. Lawrence, Milan Kundera, Philip W. Anderson, Yuri Lotman, Cyrus Levinthal , Graham R. Fleming, & Richard Dawkins, among others.