Follow nature’s trail to solve universe’s mystery: Scientist-author

January 11th, 2009 - 12:44 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 11 (IANS) If the universe seems mysterious to you, try becoming a ‘cosmic detective’! For, nature has left behind many clues to unravel its mystery, says US-based award-winning scientist Mani Bhaumik who has just penned a children’s novel on the subject.”The study of the universe is a mystery - fortunately nature has left behind some telltale clues around us and like a detective we can pick up the clues and follow the trail to solve the mystery,” Bhaumik told IANS in an informal chat in the capital.

His children’s non-fiction novel, “Cosmic Detective”, hit the bookstores this month. “It helps children fend off boredom and keeps them engaged in something new,” he explained.”

The book, which explains the mysteries of the universe to children, was launched in Kolkata to flag off 2009, designated as the “International Year of Cosmology”. It is a Puffin imprint of Penguin-India.

The book has been selected by the United Nations as its official cosmology guide to commemorate 400 years of Galileo’s sighting of the Jupiter’s moons.

California-based Bhaumik describes “The Cosmic Detective” as a mystery and education novel for children, but even adults can enjoy it.

“Children have receptive minds, and I have packed the book with new information. The age group is 11+ to 99+,” laughed the mild-mannered bespectacled author, who is a co-pioneer of the Lasik eye therapy that corrects vision impairments by scalping the cornea.

The author said he has tried to explain the creation of the cosmos with texts and 62 pictures - mostly new photographs by the Hubble telescope, space probes, maps and satellites.

“Where did we come from? We know that we are part of the universe that was created 13.7 billion years ago as none of us was there. How do you figure out what happened?

“Inquisitiveness is our hallmark and we will invent and discover things - but one cannot have ecstasy without agony,” Bhaumik said, justifying the duality in science in the context of instruments of terror and advancements in technology - both of which are born of science.

“If you look at every aspect of the world, it is built on dichotomy. Science invents new things and it is for the people and politicians to use it in the best possible way - whether nuclear technology should be used to generate power or make arms is the user’s prerogative,” said Bhaumik.

The author also produces a science television series, “Quantum Ray”, which are capsules on cosmology.

“My capsule is different from the legendary cosmologist Carl Sagan’s ‘Cosmos’. His episodes were more like documentaries. I create storylines to keep the viewers engaged. They may not know all the details, but they look for it,” he said.

The scientist, who is now working on divine consciousness that gives us spirituality and its scientific source, believes there is life in outer space. “There are one billion-trillion planets and it will be unusual if there is no life on one of them,” he said.

The author, who was born in a village in Tamluk in the West Midnapore district of West Bengal, loved science and math as a child. His professor, S.N. Bose, the founding father of modern science in India, inspired him.

For Bhaumik, it is pay back time. “I am building an IT University in Kolkata in collaboration with Cal Tech and is supporting poor Indian students to study abroad,” he said.

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