#TWOC (The Workings Of Clocks, February 03, 2018):

Do pilots experience jet lag? Why are there different types of rhythms? What does your heart beat ‘to’? Is all of life periodic (because of the sun)? Is there a master clock to everything, & are all clocks analogous? Does each cell have its own (genetic) clock? Do clocks help us stay in phase with each other? Do ‘autonomous’ (hardware) clocks always drift? How do clocks correct themselves? Are computer network clocks eventually physically anchored (in, say, Caesium clocks)? How are atomic clocks made to keep solar time? How is time served on networks? Is temporal constancy of fundamental constants, even, possible to measure? What makes a clock more accurate and/or robust? Does digital hardware ‘need’ a pulse trigger? Is time an artefact, & less ‘fundamental’ than frequency? Do clocks primarily help manage transitions, & is time keeping, therefore, state keeping? Why do the blind have shorter lifespans? Can causality exist without the notion of time? Will we do more things in the same amount of time in the future? Would our body clocks change – will we sleep well? Will all planes autoland? Is a clock-free paradigm possible? Are we too synchronized…? SynTalk thinks about these & more questions using concepts from atomic physics (Dr. Subhadeep De, CSIR-NPL, New Delhi), computer science (Prof. S. Arun-Kumar, IIT Delhi, New Delhi), & chronobiology (Prof. Vinod Kumar, University of Delhi, New Delhi).

Listen in…

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

Dr. Subhadeep De (atomic physics) is a Scientist at the CSIR – National Physical Laboratory (NPL), New Delhi. He has previously held post doctoral fellowships at the Joint Quantum Institute (of NIST, Gaithersburg, and UMD, USA, 2008). His research is focused on laser cooling and trapping of atoms, more specifically, studying laser cooled and trapped ion for optical frequency standards and quantum dynamics, many-body systems (using trapped ensemble of atoms), and studying ultra-cold atoms / ions for quantum phase transitions. Apart from experiments, he is also involved in theoretical study of the dynamics associated to degenerate gasses and trapped ion systems. Dr. De completed B.Sc. (Physics) from Burdwan University (West Bengal), M.Sc. (Physics) from IIT Kharagpur, and then went to University of Groningen (Netherlands) to complete his Ph.D.; his thesis was titled, ‘Laser cooling and trapping of Barium’. Currently in his research group at CSIR-NPL, he is developing the first optical frequency standard in India based on the ultra-narrow transition of a single trapped Ytterbium ion confined in a Paul trap. At the Time and Frequency division (CSIR-NPL), his role involves working in the team for generation, maintenance, and dissemination of the Indian Standard Time (IST) to stakeholders across India. He is also responsible for pursuing R&D to develop more accurate state-of-the-art atomic clocks. Dr. De is a member of American Physical Society (APS), Indian Laser Association (ILA), Indian Society of Atomic and Molecular Physics (ISAMP), & Metrology Society of India (MSI). He has also been awarded the CSIR-Young Scientist Award in Physical Sciences (2015), and the NWO Visiting Scientist Fellowship, Govt. of Netherlands (2015). He has published in reputed national & international journals, and also delivered many invited lectures in the national and international conferences.

Prof. S.  Arun-Kumar (computer science) is currently Professor and Head of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, IIT Delhi, New Delhi. In the past, he has worked as a Research Fellow at the University of Sussex (England), and also spent a sabbatical year at the North Carolina State University, USA. His primary research interest is semantics and verification of concurrent systems and formal methods. He has also researched in areas of logic, theorem-proving, model-checking and concurrent systems. At IIT Delhi, he teaches a wide variety of courses, ranging from the purely theoretical (such as discrete mathematics and algorithmic number theory), to areas of programming, logic, languages, compilers, automatic verification and pure hacking. He completed his B.Tech. in Mechanical Engineering from IIT Kanpur, and his M.Tech. in Computer Science from IIT Bombay. He obtained his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Bombay (1989). He is the recipient of the IBM Faculty Award (2007), and has also received multiple other teaching awards in IIT Delhi. He has also been associated with a number of research projects as both the Principal Investigator and the Co-Investigator. These projects have been funded by MHRD, Government of India, European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (Netherlands), & Sun Microsystems (USA). Prof. Kumar has also created web based courses on ‘Introduction to Computer Science’, and a 40 hours video course on ‘Programming Languages’ under the NPTEL programme. He has published a number of research papers in reputed international journals, such as, Lecture Notes in Computer Science (Springer), IEEE Computer Society Press, & Proceedings, Structures in Concurrency Theory (Springer Workshops in Computer Science Series). He is a strong believer in the paradigm that programming is a mathematical activity, and continues to actively write code and program.

Prof. Vinod Kumar (chronobiology) is currently Professor at the Department of Zoology, University of Delhi, New Delhi. He is also the President of the Indian Society for Chronobiology. His areas of research are biological clocks and seasonality, behavioural neuroscience, & neuroendocrinology. He has also earlier taught at Meerut University, and Lucknow University. His areas of teaching and research include animal behaviour, animal physiology, biology of reproduction, biostatistics, chronobiology, endocrine physiology, environmental biology, & general zoology (of vertebrates and invertebrates). Prof. Kumar completed his M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Zoology from Banaras Hindu University (1981). He has had research stints in research and academic institutions in the UK, Canada, Germany and Japan, and has been a visiting Professor at the Texas A&M University, USA. He has about 150 research publications in national & international journals, such as, ‘Journal of Ornithology’, ‘Chronobiology International’,  and the ‘Journal of Comparative Physiology’. He has edited/authored three books, titled, ‘Biological Timekeeping: Clocks, Rhythm and Behaviour’ (Springer, 2017), ‘Biological Rhythms’ (Narosa Publishing House/ Springer-Verlag, 2002), & ‘Animal Behaviour’ (Himalaya Publishing House, 1996). He has been an active contributor towards the growth of the discipline of chronobiology, by organizing/participating in more than 40 symposia, conferences, trainings, schools, & workshops. Prof. Kumar has won multiple honours, including, Fellowship of Indian Society of Chronomedicine (2016), Platinum Jubilee Lecture Award (ISCA, SRM University, Chennai, 2010), Vijay-Usha Sodha Scientific Research Prize of University of Lucknow (2006), & Young Investigator Award (Gordon Research Conference in Pineal Cell Biology, Oxford, UK, 2000).

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

#TWOC mentionsAlbert Einstein, Erwin Schrödinger, & Nathaniel Kleitman, among others.