#TFOFA (The Fields Of Forces Around, November 30, 2014):

SynTalk thinks about the dynamic nature & origins (since the big bang) of fundamental & emergent forces in the universe. Was there only one force at the time of big bang? How did human beings first recognize & understand both the forces of nature (shamanism, magic, storms, lightning) and the forces more in their control (combat, weapons, hunting, push & pull)? The concepts are derived off / from Aristotle, Galileo, Laplace, Newton, Halley, Oersted, Faraday, Maxwell, Mach, Bohr, Planck, Einstein, Schrodinger, Heisenberg, Higgs, Max Jammer, & Karplus / Levitt / Warshel (2013 Chemistry Nobel Prize winners), among others. How is the world held together by the various forces? What exactly is a force field? Can there be force without matter (Yes)? Does matter create its field, or can a field be its own source? How to think of Maxwell’s equations in ‘free space’, and why we need matter (as sources for (say) microphones & radio)? How do forces act at a distance? Why do we try to create early universe conditions in large colliders, and study strong & weak forces? How did the forces separate (gravitation, electromagnetism, weak & strong forces, in that order) as the universe cooled down? Why don’t bodies simply move in a straight line, and links with the concept of ‘natural motion’? Is it (even) possible to know why forces exist? Is Big Bang the new ‘prima mobilia’, and how much more do we conceptually know about forces now? How do strongly interacting (uncertain) electrons / atoms get confined in a classical body, and links with concepts of multiscaling (QM/MM; Quantum Mechanics/Molecular Mechanics) and the mesoscopic world? Why an electrical circuit is difficult to understand in terms of electromagnetic field theory. How forces bind parts together and why / how a different whole sometimes emerges? How the degrees of freedom get frozen as the number of bodies increase. Why did Bohr’s premise of simply quantizing angular momentum did not work for many-electron atoms (beyond hydrogen-like atoms)? Link of the grey zone (‘interface region’) between quantum mechanics & classical mechanics with drugs, proteins, buildings, brain, cricket ball, polymers, spark plug, steering wheel, effective theory, & wave-particle duality. How does a magnet defeat the earth and pull a piece of iron, and its links with gauge theory (with all three forces, except gravity) and the possibility of gravity as an entropic or emergent force? Are market, political, or life forces similar entropic forces? Why is gravity difficult to unify with the other forces? Has ‘force’ replaced ‘energy’ since mid 19th century (after the energy-ists)? Are a different set of forces likely to govern dark matter and dark energy? Is force just a defined concept and not purely fundamental? The SynTalkrs are: Prof. S. D. Agashe (electrical engineering, history & philosophy of science, IIT Bombay, Mumbai), Dr. Sourav Pal (quantum chemistry, NCL, Pune), & Prof. Sreerup Raychaudhuri (particle physics, TIFR, Mumbai).

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

Prof. S. D. Agashe (electrical engineering, philosophy, history of science) is the Emeritus Fellow & Adjunct Professor in Electrical Engineering, IIT Bombay since 2004. He has taught courses in Control Theory, Network Theory, Optimal Control, Applied Linear Algebra, Logic & Foundations of Mathematics, History & Philosophy of Science, and Mathematical & Physical Theories in Electrical Engineering. His research interests lie in optimal control systems, multivariable control systems, network theory, and in the history and philosophy of science and education. Professor S D Agashe has been instrumental in conducting groundwork research in the Electrical Engineering department in IIT Bombay. His research on EINSTEIN’S ZUR ELECTRODYNAMIK has been instrumental and has led to a widespread recognition among researchers and professors across India. He has also been instrumental (along with Prof. Amitabha Gupta, also previously from IIT Bombay) in championing ‘A New Orientation Toward the School Curriculum in Sciences and Mathematics’. Prof. Agashe obtained his B.E. (Electrical Engineering) from University of Bombay in 1961. He then went to University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, USA, to complete his M.S.(Electrical Engineering), & also Ph.D.(Electrical Engineering) which he completed in 1967. He started working as an Assistant Professor in Electrical Engineering, IIT Kanpur & then moved to IIT Mumbai in 1973 where he taught till 2004 as a Professor.

Dr. Sourav Pal (quantum chemistry) is the Director of CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory (NCL), Pune. He has been working at NCL for more than 30 years and has contributed significantly to the many-body theory of molecular electronic structure and properties as well as to the area of chemical reactivity and functional materials relating to gas storage and catalysis. He is currently the President of Chemical Research Society of India (CRSI) and is a member of several scientific decision making committees in India. He served as a member of the working groups on Environment and Forests, Chemicals and Petrochemicals for XII five-year plan. He is a member of the Advisory Board of CSIR, Governing Council of CWPRS, Pune, Board of Governors, AcSIR and IISER, Pune, among others. He was also the visiting Professor in University of Arizona, Tucson and Institute for Molecular Sciences, Japan. He delivered the prestigious Charles A Coulson lecture (2014) in University of Georgia, USA, and received several awards, the significant ones being Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize in Chemical Sciences in 2000, inaugural SASTRA-CNR Rao Award in Chemistry & Materials Science (2014), Professor Sadhan Basu Memorial lecture of INSA, New Delhi (2014), and CRSI Silver Medal, 2009. He is a Fellow of all the three National Academies of Science in the country and Royal Society of Chemistry, UK as well as J.C. Bose National Fellow of DST. He has published over 220 papers in peer-reviewed international journals, guided over 25 Ph.D. theses till date, and delivered more than 100 lectures in important conferences and is serving on editorial boards of international journals.

Prof. Sreerup Raychaudhuri (particle physics, interdisciplinary) is currently a Professor in the Department of Theoretical Physics at Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR, Mumbai). He studies the physics of elementary particles and their fundamental interactions. His principal areas of interest are the electroweak interactions, supersymmetric models, low-scale quantum gravity, & physics beyond the Standard Model. He has worked on diverse topics such as Higgs physics, flavour mixing, supersymmetry, and extra dimensions. Most of his research is centred around predicting experimental signatures for such theories, especially in the context of high-energy colliding-beam machines. His work, therefore, is a meeting place between theory, experiment and numerical computation. He also retains an abiding interest in pedagogy. Prof. Raychaudhuri obtained his Ph.D. from University of Calcutta (1994) following which he held postdoctoral positions at TIFR and CERN, Geneva, Switzerland (as a John S. Bell Fellow) before joining IIT Kanpur (1999). He has been in TIFR since 2007.

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

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