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Tag: Quotes

Origin of Word Photon

When do you think was the word “photon” first coined? Your first guess might be somewhere around 1900-1910, when Einstein and Planck introduced the idea of light quantum or das Lichtquantas as Einstein called them. But interestingly, neither Enistein nor Planck coined the word photon. The word photon was introduced by chemist Gilbert Lewis in 1926 when he wrote a letter to Nature magazine titled ” The conservation of Photons”. The letter was published in December 1926 issue of Nature magazine. In the letter he introduced his hypothesis “we are dealing here with a new type of atom, an identifiable entity, uncreatable and indestructible, which acts as the carrier of radiant energy and, after absorption, persists as an essential constituent of the absorbing atom until it is later sent out…… I therefore take the liberty of proposing for this hypothetical new atom, which is not light but plays an essential part in every process of radiation, the name photonYou can read the complete letter here. His theory and explanation about light failed but the word ‘photon’ he introduced, survived.

The word photon can be broken down to Greek word phōs, which means light. Phōs can also be related to Sanskrit word bhā or ābhā which means light. Other words originating from phōs were already in use by that time (photo, photograph, photometer). I plotted frequency of occurrence of words –photon and photograph– in books during the years 1800-2000 using Google ngram which gives us an idea of the evolution of both the words. As you can clearly see, photon became popular after 1926 while the word photography was already in vogue by that time. But it’s interesting to see a hump in photon curve during 1900-1910, same time period during which Planck and Einstein presented their idea of light quantum. I don’t have an explanation for that, whether it’s an artifact from Google ngram data sampling or whether the word photon was used sometime even earlier than 1926, but it would be interesting to investigate.

1 Comment June 9, 2011

Happy Birthday Bapu

Today, Oct 2nd,  is Mahatma Gandhi’s 141st Birth anniversary which is also celebrated as International Day of Non-Violence. More than ever, world needs to understand and embrace his ideals and  principles in present world. These days it has become kind of a fashion to bash Gandhi and his principles but those are the people who, frankly speaking, have no clue what Gandhism is. We need more Mahatmas like him  in today’s world. Happy Birthday Bapu!

The video above is the first talkie movie of Mahatma Gandhi, a very rare footage!

I will try to list some of famous quotes of Gandhi here:

  • Non-violence is a power which can be wielded equally by all – children, young men and women or grown-up people- provided they have a living faith in the God of Love and have, therefore, equal love for all mankind.
  • There is a limit to violent action and it can fail. Non-violence knows no limit and it never fails.
  • A rabbit that runs away from the bull-terrier is not particularly non-violent. The poor thing trembles at the sight of the terrier and runs for very life.
  • Non-violence, in its dynamic condition, means conscious suffering. It does not mean meek submission to the will of the evil-doer, but it means putting of one’s whole soul against the will of the tyrant.
  • All true change comes from within. Any change brought about by pressure, is worthless.

My Ahimsa would not tolerate the idea of giving a free meal to a healthy person who had not worked for it in some honest way, and, if I had the power, I would stop every Sadavrat where free meals are given…It has encouraged laziness, idleness, hypocrisy and even crime. Such misplaced charity adds nothing to the wealth of the country, whether material or spiritual, and gives a false sense of meritoriousness to the donor.

  • I am endeavouring to see God through service of humanity, for I know that God is neither in heaven, nor down below, but in every one.
  • There is no such thing as ”Gandhism,” and I do not want to leave any sect after me. I do not claim to have originated any new principle of doctrine. I have simply tried in my own way to apply the eternal truths to our daily life and problems. Truth and non-violence are as old as the hills. All I have done is to try experiments in both on as vast a scale as I could do. In doing so I have sometimes erred and learnt by my errors. Life and its problems have thus become to me so many experiments in the practice of truth and non-violence.
  • To me God is Truth and Love; God is ethics and morality; God is fearlessness. God is the source of Light and Life and yet He is above and beyond all these. God is conscience.
  • Scientists tell us that without the presence of the cohesive force amongst the atoms that comprise this globe of ours, it would crumble to pieces and we cease to exist; and even as there is cohesive force in blind matter, so must there be in all things animate and the name for that cohesive force among animate beings is Love. We notice it between father and son, between brother and sister, friend and friend. But we have to learn to use that force among all that lives, and in the use of it consists our knowledge of God. Where there is love there is life ; hatred leads to destruction.
  • I believe that the sum total of the energy of mankind is not to bring us down but to lift us up, and that is the result of the definite, if unconscious, working of the law of love. The fact that mankind persists shows that the cohesive force is greater than the disruptive force, centripetal force greater than centrifugal.
  • Non-violence is the first article of my faith. It is also the last article of my creed.
  • We have to make truth and non-violence not matters for mere individual practice but for practice by groups and communities and nations. That, at any rate, is my dream. I shall live and die in trying to realize it.
  • The very first step in non-violence is that we cultivate in our daily life, as between ourselves, truthfulness, humility, tolerance, loving kindness. Honesty, they say in English, is the best policy. But, in terms of non-violence, it is not mere policy. Policies may and do change. Non-violence is an unchangeable creed. It has to be pursued in face of violence raging around you. Non-violence with a non-violent man is no merit. In fact it becomes difficult to say whether it is non-violence at all. But when it is pitted against violence, then one realizes the difference between the two. This we cannot do unless we are ever wakeful, ever vigilant, ever striving.
  • Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man.
  • Ahimsa is a science. The word ‘failure’ has no place in the vocabulary of science. Failure to obtain the expected result is often the precursor to further discoveries
  • I am an irrepressible optimist. My optimism rests on my belief in the infinite possibilities of the individual to develop non-violence. The more you develop it in your own being, the more infectious it becomes till it over-whelms your surroundings and by and by might over sweep the world.
  • No matter how weak a person is in body, if it is a shame to flee, he will stand his ground and die at his post. This would be nonviolence and bravery. No matter how weak he is, he will use what strength he has in inflicting injury on his opponent, and die in the attempt. This is bravery, but not nonviolence. If, when his duty is to face danger, he flees, it is cowardice. In the first case, the man will have love or charity in him. In the second and third cases, there would be a dislike or distrust and fear.
  • Seven social sins: politics without principles, wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, and worship without sacrifice.
  • To call woman the weaker sex is a libel; it is man’s injustice to woman
  • Religions are different roads converging to the same point. What does it matter that we take different road, so long as we reach the same goal. Wherein is the cause for quarreling?
  • You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.
  • We need to be the change we wish to see in the world.
  • If you want to give a message again to the West, it must be a message of ‘Love’, it must be a message of ‘Truth’. There must be a conquest — [audience claps]  — please, please, please. That will interfere with my speech, and that will interfere with your understanding also. I want to capture your hearts and don’t want to receive your claps. Let your hearts clap in unison with what I’m saying, and I think, I shall have finished my work. Therefore, I want you to go away with the thought that Asia has to conquer the West. Then, the question that a friend asked yesterday, “Did I believe in one world?” Of course, I believe in one world. And how can I possibly do otherwise.
  • Gandhi’s Talisman -“I will give you a talisman. Whenever you are in doubt, or when the self becomes too much with you, apply the following test. Recall the face of the poorest and the weakest man [woman] whom you may have seen, and ask yourself, if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him [her]. Will he [she] gain anything by it? Will it restore him [her] to a control over his [her] own life and destiny? In other words, will it lead to swaraj [freedom] for the hungry and spiritually starving millions? Then you will find your doubts and your self melt away.” [One of the last notes left behind by Gandhi in 1948, expressing his deepest social thought.]

Picture credit: Flickr user Paulo Fehlauer | Used under creative commons license

Leave a Comment October 2, 2010

Origin of The Word “Evolution”

When we think of the word “Evolution”, first thing that comes to everyone’s mind is Charles Darwin and his book Origin of Species which he wrote in 1859. So the question comes, did he coin the word evolution or it existed even before he wrote Origin of Species. Well, to learn about the history of the words, first thing we should do is lookup the dictionary, which not only gives various meanings of each word, but also mentions the year when the word was first used in print.

Merriam Webster:


Latin evolution-, evolutio unrolling, from evolvere

First Known Use: 1622

evolution  (ev·o·lu·tion)

Origin: early 17th century: from Latin evolutio(n-) ‘unrolling’, from the verb evolvere (see evolve). Early senses related to physical movement, first recorded in describing a tactical “wheeling” maneuver in the realignment of troops or ships. Current senses stem from a notion of “opening out” and “unfolding,” giving rise to a general sense of ‘development’

So what we find is that word evolution originated from Latin word evolutio, which means unrolling, something like unrolling of the scroll, and the word existed a couple of centuries before Darwin wrote Origin of Species. He infact did not even use the word evolution  in his book until the last line which was:

There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone circling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved. [Abridged version of Origin of Species]

Darwin did not even prefer the choice of word evolution for describing — genetic adaptation of species to the environment as a result of natural selection, and breeding and mutation. He preferred other words such as “transmutation by means of natural selection”- tells Science historian Howard Markel in a NPR show. Infact, it was geologist Charles Lyell  who first used the word evolution for scientific purposes  in 1832 in a book he wrote about geology.  Darwin also did not like the word for another reason– it suggested the process as getting good, better, best and ultimately to perfection, which left the room for the idea of an ultimate creator and perfect creation. Darwin was totally against this idea of perfect creator and he described very carefully at various instances that the process of evolution is not unidirectional, and things can go opposite direction as well. Anyway, the word evolution caught up with public and scientists alike, thanks to Darwin’s followers who spread his theory, work and the word “Evolution” . So that’s how the word Evolution evolved!

Picture credit: Flickr user krossbow| Used under creative commons license

Info: NPR podcast

Leave a Comment August 26, 2010

The Courageous Life of Sophie Scholl

While wandering in the blockbuster last Saturday night and unable to find any interesting title, I went to the international section and picked up a German movie– Sophie Scholl – Die letzten Tage (Sophie Scholl – The Final Days). I am glad I got that movie. As the title says, the movie shows last five days of Sophie Scholl before she was beheaded on Feb 22nd, 1943 on charges of high treason. Now, who is Sophie Scholl? Sohpie Scholl was a member of non-violent student resistance movement against Nazi rule in Germany. The group called itself “White Rose” which was mostly based in University of Munich campus and its main activity was printing and distributing leaflets denouncing Hitler’s rule, which was equivalent to asking for death sentence in Hitler’s regime.

White Rose consisted mostly of students, including the Scholl siblings, Hans Scholl and Sophie Scholl. Sophie was younger sister of Hans Scholl; earlier Hans wanted to keep Sophie separate from the White Rose’s activities in order to protect her, but Sophie joined the movement anyhow. On Feb 18th 1943, Hans and Sophie carried suitcases full of the sixth leaflet and placed it in different locations in University of Munich, but unfortunately they were seen by one of the janitors and ultimately handed over to Gestapo for interrogation. Over the last year, the leaflets distributed by the group has caused a stir in the Nazi regime and they were looking out for the group members. Sophie bravely faced the interrogations, and the ideological discussions between her and the prosecutors/interrogators are interesting to watch in the film. She was just 22, and the whole life was ahead of her– her boyfriend, her loving family– but she heard the voice of her conscience and did what she felt was right thing to do. We live in a relatively free world, where we are free to to say or write anything we want. Anyone can write a blog expressing his/her ideas, opinions, start a petition and so on, so it might be difficult for us to understand how much courage it took to write and distribute a leaflet in Nazi regime when one knew the consequences of getting caught- a certain death. Yet Sophie and her friends did, because they believed in an idea of free Germany, free world and equal rights for all, and they took actions on what the believed in. Sophie died as a martyr at the age of 22, Salute to her and her courage to stand by her ideals!! Grab the movie, if you get a chance. Here are few of Sophie’s quotes:

“Somebody, after all, had to make a start. What we wrote and said is also believed by many others. They just don’t dare express themselves as we did.”

“I am, now as before, of the opinion that I did the best that I could do for my nation. I therefore do not regret my conduct and will bear the consequences that result from my conduct.”

“How can we expect fate to let a righteous cause prevail when there is hardly anyone who will give himself up undividedly to a righteous cause?”

“It was a sunny day, I was carrying a child in a white dress to be christened. The path to the church led up a steep slope, but I held the child in my arms firmly and without faltering. Then suddenly my footing gave way … I had enough time to put the child down before plunging into the abyss. The child is our idea. In spite of all obstacles it will prevail.”

1 Comment May 23, 2010

Demetri Martin Quotes

Fractals loving Demetri Martin is one of my favorite stand up comedian. His jokes, one liners, big drawing pad, music, sketches all are very intelligent, hillarious and very unique. I attended one of his performances in Univ of Florida last year and it was just amazing. To brighten your day, here are few of his quotes and videos from his comedy central show ” Important Things with Demetri Martin”.

  • “I wonder what the most intelligent thing ever said was that started with the word ‘dude.’ ‘Dude, these are isotopes.’ ‘Dude, we removed your kidney. You’re gonna be fine.’ ‘Dude, I am so stoked to win this Nobel Prize. I just wanna thank Kevin, and Turtle, and all my homies.’”
  • “I think that when you get dressed in the morning, sometimes you’re really making a decision about your behavior for the day. Like if you put on flipflops, you’re saying: ‘Hope I don’t get chased today.’ ‘Be nice to people in sneakers.’”
  • “‘Sort of’ is such a harmless thing to say. Sort of. It’s just a filler. Sort of – it doesn’t really mean anything. But after certain things, sort of means everything. Like after ‘I love you’ or ‘You’re going to live’ or ‘It’s a boy.’”
  • “I feel stupid when I write the word banana. Its like, how many na’s are on this thing? ‘Cause I’m like ‘Bana … keep going. Bananana … damn.’
  • “About a month ago I got a cactus. A week later, it died. I was really depressed because I was like ‘Damn! I am less nurturing than a desert.’
  • “I like when good things happen to me, but I wait two weeks to tell anyone because I like to use the word ‘fortnight.’”
  • “I like video games, but they’re really violent. I’d like to play a video game where you help the people who were shot in all the other games. It’d be called ‘Really Busy Hospital.’”
  • “I went into a deli and got an egg sandwich and a hot chocolate. And then I went outside and I had to get a cab, so I had to put up one of my hands. But I already started eating my sandwich; I took it out of the bag, I was impatient. So my choice was hold up an egg sandwich or hold up a hot chocolate to get a car. So I chose the hot chocolate. And I put it up there and no cab stopped and I realized it was because I looked like I was toasting traffic. Standing on the street, ‘Here’s to you guys, to everybody heading west, I just wanna say I like what you do… but one of you needs to stop, pick me up.’”
  • “I noticed that there are no B batteries. I think that’s to avoid confusion, cause if there were you wouldn’t know if someone was stuttering. ‘Yes, hello I’d like some b-batteries.’ ‘What kind?’ ‘B-batteries.’ ‘What kind?!?’ ‘B-batteries!!!’ and D-batteries that’s hard for foreigners. ‘Yes, I would like de batteries.’”
  • “A drunk driver is very dangerous. So is a drunk backseat driver if he’s persuasive. ‘Dude make a left.’ ‘Those are trees…’ ‘Trust me.’
  • “I wrapped my Christmas presents early this year, but I used the wrong paper. See, the paper I used said ‘Happy Birthday’ on it. I didn’t want to waste it so I just wrote ‘Jesus’ on it.”
  • Lines – Adding Lines
    2 (Part 2) – The Adventures of Duperman
  • “My favorite fruit is grapes. Because with grapes, you always get another chance. ‘Cause, you know, if you have a crappy apple or a peach, you’re stuck with that crappy piece of fruit. But if you have a crappy grape, no problem – just move on to the next. ‘Grapes: The Fruit of Hope.’”
  • It was my friend’s birthday and I was mad at him, so I sent him a card. It said happy birthday, but I put quotes around the word “Happy”… sarcastic birthday, douchebag.
  • I was on the street. This guy waved to me, and he came up to me and said, “I’m sorry, I thought you were someone else.” And I said, “I am.”
  • “Batteries are the most dramatic object. Other things stop working or they break, But Batteries… They Die. ‘Why aren’t you listening to your walkman?’ ‘I can’t. My Batteries died in my lap this morning… They were so young. The twins are gone.’
    If you’re a battery, you’re either working or you’re dead… It’s a shit life.”
  • “I saw a door onetime that said “Exit Only.” So I entered it, and I went up to the guy working there and said, “I have some good news. You have severely underestimated this door here. By like 100%, man.”
  • “I bought a clock and then the big hand broke off it. I didn’t want to through it away, so I just added -ish to every number.”

Picture and Video Credit:

1 Comment April 9, 2010

Scrubs Memorable Quotes

Some memorable quotes from my favorite TV series Scrubs. Just love it’s slapstick comedy, lovable characters, subtle seriousness wrapped inside all those jokes and most of all, the soundtrack.

  • The truth is, it is all your memories, the joyful ones and the heartbreaking ones that make up who you are as a person
  • I don’t believe in the moon. I think it’s just the back of the sun.
  • There comes a time when every man needs to make a choice, whether it’s a professional choice or whether it’s a personal choice. In the end, it’s about integrity, and it’s about chasing after what you really want, even if that means showing you both care a little. And sometimes… well, sometimes you just have to do what’s right for your friend, even if it means sacrificing your own happiness. When it comes down to it, you just have to be proud of the decision you make.
  • I don’t think people are meant to be by themselves. That’s why if you actually find someone you care about, it’s important to let go of the little things, even if you can’t let go all the way. Because nothing sucks more than feeling all alone, no matter how many people are around.
  • Every time you take a big risk in your life, no matter how it ends up, you’re always glad you took it
  • You can never let go of the kid inside of you.You see, it’s the kid inside of us that keeps us all from going crazy
  • I miss you so much it hurts sometimes.
  • Love is mainly about pushing chocolate covered candies and, y’know, in some cultures, a chicken. You can call me a sucker, I don’t care, because I do believe in it. Bottom line is: it’s couples who are truly right for each other wade through the same crap as everybody else, but the big difference is they don’t let it take them down. One of those two people will stand up and fight for that relationship every time. If it’s right, and they’re real lucky, one of them will say something.
  • It’s hard trying to figure out how to reach somebody. I guess the only thing to do is to think of someone that I look up to and remember how they first got through to me.
  • There are a few things I’ve always believed in. Flowers are good for any occasion. And nothing is more important than making time for an old friend, especially if the old girl has seen better days. Because even if it breaks your heart to be “just friends,” if you really care about someone, you’ll take the hit.

Leave a Comment February 27, 2010


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