#TDAL (The Darkness Around Light, November 26, 2016):

What does a bee see? Do we see light? What are we blind to? Is the universe dark? Does darkness have a physical basis? Is light a wave or a particle or both or something else? Does this depend on the nature of the detector? Is light (like a) photon for living systems? Are photons wave packets? Why haven’t all the contradictory theories of light been permanently overthrown? Is the discipline reorganized differently when we revisit it after several centuries? How is heat different from light? Is it probable that there is life somewhere vis-à-vis another (non overlapping) wavelength band of electromagnetic radiation? Do gamma rays almost don’t diffract, & why? Does light interact with ‘each other’? How do a combination of optical, chemical, electrical, vibrational, and ‘dark’ processes produce visual perception? Can we simulate what the other animals see without simulating the brain? Are there other light dependent biological functions besides vision? Are we ‘stuck’ with the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics? Can the nature of light be known? &, would ‘shelved’ theories continue to be picked up and reinterpreted? SynTalk thinks about these & more questions using concepts from history & philosophy of science (Prof. Dhruv Raina, JNU, New Delhi), optics (Prof. Chandrasekhar Roychoudhuri, University of Connecticut, Connecticut), & chemistry (Prof. Anil Kumar Singh, IIT Bombay, Mumbai).

Listen in…

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

Prof. Dhruv Raina (history & philosophy of science) is Professor at the Zakir Husain Centre for Educational Studies, School of Social Sciences, in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi. He studied physics at IIT Bombay, Mumbai, and received his Ph.D. in the area of philosophy of science from Göteborg University, Sweden. His research areas are history and philosophy of science, social history and theory of knowledge, historiography of sciences & mathematical proof. Over the last couple of years he has been working on the cultures of history and science policy in postcolonial South Asia, and the social theory of science and mathematics. In particular his research focuses upon the institutionalization of science in the late 19th and 20th centuries, as well contemporary concerns of science and social movements. His books include ‘Domesticating Modern Science, Images and Contexts’ (2004) and more recently ‘Needham’s Indian Network’ (2015). He has also co-edited many books and published extensively in research journals. He has been a Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Study, Berlin and the first incumbent of the Heinrich Zimmer Chair for Indian Philosophy and Intellectual History at Heidelberg University. He is also the Honorary Director at Indian Council for Social Science Research (ICSSR), Northern Regional Centre, JNU. [Note: Also a SynTalkr on #TWOK (The Ways Of Knowing)]

Prof. Chandrasekhar Roychoudhuri (optics) is currently Research Professor at the University of Connecticut, USA. His life long professional expertise has been in the fields of Physics and Optical Engineering. His current research interests encompass both Nature and Social Engineering. Prof. Chandra completed his M.Sc. (Physics) from the Jadavpur University, Kolkata and then received the Fulbright Scholarship to acquire a Ph.D. from the University of Rochester, USA. He has worked in academia and with industry (TRW, Perkin Elmer Corporation, and United Technologies) in USA, India & Mexico. He has published several research papers and book chapters, and two books. His most recent book is ‘Causal Physics: Photon Model by Non-Interaction of Waves’ (CRC/Taylor & Francis, 2014); this book revisits all the basic optical phenomena across classical, quantum and astrophysical spectrums & leverages his ‘re-discovery’ of Huygens’ Non-Interaction of Waves (NIW). It incorporates the universal property that waves by themselves do not interact (interfere) with each other in the absence of interacting material medium. The Superposition Effects (fringes) due to multiple beams, become manifest only as physical transformations in detector arrays. Prof. Chandra is a life member of American Physical Society, and a Fellow of Optical Society of America and the Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers. Prof. Roychoudhuri believes human beings must now adopt ‘evolution process congruent thinking’ to proactively design and organize the future.

Prof. Anil Kumar Singh (chemistry, photobiology) is currently Professor (Department of Chemistry) at IIT Bombay, Mumbai. He received his Ph.D. from IIT Kanpur (1978) and then went on to do postdoctoral research at Florida State University-Tallahassee, University of Hawaii, and Columbia University, New York. His research interests span areas of Organic and Bioorganic Chemistry, Photochemistry and Photobiology, with special focus on molecular level understanding of optical control of structure and reactivity of organic and bioorganic systems. His particular focus has been on the structure and mechanism of function of retinal-based biological photoreceptors involved in biological sensory and energy transductions. His research also includes design of molecular fluorescence probes, organic reactions in organized assemblies, biomolecular caging, phototriggers and photoswitches, design of antiradical agents, photochemical synthesis, and design of organic nanoparticles of biomedical and opto-electronic significance. Prof. Singh has authored more than a hundred research papers and scholarly articles in key journals and special periodicals. He has also played a key role as an institution builder and an academician and served as a Visiting Scientist, University of Montreal; as the Convener of IIT Gandhinagar Cell (IIT Bombay); as the Director of CSIR-Regional Research laboratory (Jorhat); as the Vice Chancellor of Bundelkhand University and University of Allahabad; and as the Head of Chemistry Department and Dean of Academic Programs, IIT Bombay. He is a Fellow of The National Academy of Sciences, India,and Indian Academy of Sciences.

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

#TDAL mentionsAlhazen, Issac Newton, Christian Huygens, Thomas Young, Augustin-Jean Fresnel, Max Planck, Joseph Needham, Gaston Bachelard, & Imre Lakatos,  among others.