Chintamani Ragoonathachari and contemporary Indian astronomy

Chintamani Ragoonathachari1 (1840–80)served the Madras Observatory under various cadres. His meticulous contributions fetched him the honour of membership of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Credits : B. S. Shylaja [shylaja.jnp@gmail.com]

Chintamani Ragoonathachari1 (1840–80)served the Madras Observatory under various cadres. His meticulous contributions fetched him the honour of membership  of the Royal Astronomical Society. He conducted two solar eclipse expeditions  in 1868 and 1871, and was the first Indian to be credited with the discovery of two variable stars, R Ret and V Cep. The transit of Venus which occurred in 1874, was a great astronomical event observed by many Indian and European teams on the Indian soil. Ragoonathachari prepared a treatise on this subject sometime in the early part of 1874. The English and Kannada versions are available at the archives of the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore. Here a comparative study of the two texts is done to demonstrate the new light it throw son the status of contemporary Indian astronomy.
The two texts It is widely publicized that Ragoonathachari1authored a book on the Transit of Venus in English and Indian languages. The archival collection has the coverage of the Persian version. The entire texts of the English and Kannada versions are available2,3. A couple of pages are missing in the Kannada version. They correspond to the diagrams at the end of the text. Since these diagrams are identical with the English version according to the figure captions, the text may be considered as complete. At the outset the two versions appear to be one and the same; however, a careful study shows that there is a variation. It is interesting to note that the same content has been presented differently to suit different readers. The English version has the text in the form of a dialogue, where a Siddhanti (scientist, astronomer aware of modern/European astronomy)answers and convinces the Indian pundit on the importance of the event. The Kannada version The mode of presentation in the Kannada version is different. It is not in the form of a dialogue, but a smooth reading text.

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Making of Zoozoos

There were two fabrics that were considered for the body suits, and one was rejected for it had too many wrinkles and was shiny. The wrinkles would have shown when the characters moved, thereby shattering the illusion of animation

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Prakash Varma, ad filmmaker, Nirvana Films, has directed the commercials, and reveals that the Zoozoos were a big challenge to create. The practical aspects of how they will move, talk, gesticulate and emote were very important. Essentially, costume design and artwork were crucial elements.

“It took me three weeks of pre-production to understand how it will work,” says Varma. There were two fabrics that were considered for the body suits, and one was rejected for it had too many wrinkles and was shiny. The wrinkles would have shown when the characters moved, thereby shattering the illusion of animation. “So we chose the more practical, thicker fabric,” Varma explains.

The production team divided the outfit into two parts: the body and the head. The body part of the outfit was stuffed with foam in some places, while the head was attached separately. To make it look bigger than a human head, a harder material called Perspex was used, which in turn was stuffed with foam (with scope for ventilation).
If one wishes to understand the size of this head, here’s a fact: a human head would typically reach up to the mouth level of this giant Zoozoo head. “We kept the hands and legs thin, which is why we cast women – and occasionally children – wearing the costumes,” says Varma. The thin limbs, contrasted with big bellies and a bulbous head, all add to the illusion that these creatures are ‘smaller’ than humans. Sets were created to suit the size of the Zoozoos.
Cinematically, this ‘size’ was a trick: the creatures look smaller than they actually are on screen, to portray a different world of sorts. For this, the speed of shooting was altered: Nirvana shot it in a high-speed format to make them look the size that they do.
Furthermore, simple sets/backdrops were created and spray painted with neutral Greys – a colour of choice so that attention isn’t diverted from the main characters. For a supposedly ‘outdoor’ shot, even the shadow of a Zoozoo was kept ‘live’ and not done in post production: it was painted in a darker shade of grey on the ground. An even lighting was maintained throughout.
There was virtually no post production work done.

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Pictures of partial solar eclipse at bangalore, India

These are the series of photographs taken at Bangalore, India.

These are the series of photographs taken at Bengalore, India. I took these pictures with an olyumpus FE-310 with solar filters. It was takes at an ISO value of 640 and with maximum lense and digital zoom. Also frame rate is at 1/50.

History of Indian Institute of Science

It is time to remember the great minds that took part in the building of the institute. It all began with a dream for a centre of excellence seen by J N Tata. And relentlessly pursued by many scientists in the 100 years that followed. It is time to salute their efforts.

The Indian Institute of Science (IISc) is all geared up for its centenary celebrations beginning May 27, the day on which it was established in 1909.

Bangalore would have lost the prestigious Indian Institute of Science to Roorkee if it it had not been for the timely initiative of Mysore Maharani Vani Vilas Sannidhana back in 1901.

On behalf of her young son Krishna Raja Wodeyar Bahadur IV, the queen assigned 371 acres of land free of cost at Bangalore and an annual grant of Rs 18,000 a year towards expenses of establishing a research institute. That clinched the deal for Bangalore.

The fact-finding committee comprising Masson and Clibborn of Roorkee College had reported prevalence of enteric fever and plague in Bangalore. The climate was enervating in November, they added, and the power from the nearby hydel project (Sivasamudram) was hypothecated to KGF. Roorkee, they said, was more favourable for Tata’s Institute.

This was in reply to Prof William Ramsay who at J N Tata’s behest had toured India and found Bangalore the best place as it ‘does not present the same distractions as Bombay, Calcutta or Madras, but it is seat of a Geological Survey, of an agricultural section and of a government college and these would furnish a certain nucleus of scientific society which could not fail to be congenial both to staff and students of the new Institute.’

Interestingly, Ramsay had cited the hydel project with its ‘enormous potential for industrial development in which the new institute could play a vital role.’

He had found the climate temperate for nearly all the year; ‘it is not too hot for Europe nor too cold for natives’.
Bangalore was also favoured for a qualification it no longer holds! Ramsay was of the opinion that the place chosen ‘should not be in a very large centre of population, else social and administrative occupation from which it is so difficult to escape in a large city, would necessarily absorb the attention of the staff from their more immediate duties.’

Eventually Viceroy Lord Minto approved the establishment of the Institute, named Indian Institute of Science by Masson and Clifford, on 27th May 1909.

It is time to remember the great minds that took part in the building of the institute. It all began with a dream for a centre of excellence seen by J N Tata. And relentlessly pursued by many scientists in the 100 years that followed. It is time to salute their efforts.

Source : DECCAN HERALD