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1St Cover IPP Feb.Indd

1St Cover IPP Feb.Indd



I recall the story of , who was awarded the in in 1944 for his discovery of nuclear magnetic resonance that has today led to MRI scans. A press reporter once asked Rabi, “What made you a ?” He answered, “My mother made me Dear Taranga, a scientist without ever intending to. Every Now that the celebrations are receding other Jewish mother in Brooklyn would ask her and the infant boy who has just entered child a er school, ‘So? Did you learn anything into our family fold is tripping and today?’ But not my mother. ‘Izzy,’ she would walking, I thought I would write you this say, ‘did you ask a good question today?’ That letter. Well, your son reminds us of your quality—asking good questions—made me a childhood when you fell off the steps scientist that I am today.” in that great silk lehenga or when your Mothers make great men and brother fell face down wearing his short women. Never discourage your child or new pants. Technology now brings us dissuade him from asking questions. It is closer as we can watch him on Skype or his birth right. Children have the uncanny Whatsapp. We are delighted to watch his of asking questions at the most Isidor Isaac Rabi antics and hear his scrambled screamings. inopportune moments. If you are not able But let me tell you that babies to answer his question, then fi nd a source, and proceeded to answer them.” Children come into the world with many innate a reliable source. have a confusing curiosity to know things abilities. These abilities develop slow or When asked how he came up with and relate them. Leonardo da Vinci said, fast depending on various environments the , “The desire to know is natural to good created by us. said, “I asked myself childish questions men…If you are good men or want to be 29 Reporter, FEBRUARY 2016 FEATURE ARTICLE

good, you should ask questions and get Albert answers, of course!” Einstein at Let me tell you the story of one of the age three greatest of all .

Passionately Curious He did not speak until age 3. When he did, it is only to ask a strange question. When he was two years old, his pregnant mother told him that a surprise was waiting for him. The child was naturally looking forward to an exciting new toy. After a few months, his mother showed him his new baby sister Maja. He threw a queer look at the infant and after a while asked, “Where are the wheels?” Can you guess who? Albert Einstein. That curiosity drove him down the road of discovery and exploration. He often said, “I am neither especially clever nor especially gi ed. I am only very, very Albert Einstein curious.” Once at the age of fi ve, he was bed ridden; his father Hermann gave him a magnetic compass. It was the fi rst time Edison as a Thomas Alwa Edison he saw a compass. The new device pulled boy him out of the bed stirring his intellect. Poor thing was obstinately pointing to the magnetic north, whatever he did, shake, twist or turn. Fever had gone but the passion continued. He was curious to know “something behind things, something deeply hidden.” He “never ceased to stand like curious children before the great mystery into which we are born.” Encourage your child in his curiosity, never stifl e it. Give your child freedom of exploration. Allow him to wander in the neighborhood of intellectuals and interact with them tugging the curiosity along. If you kill his curiosity, he might prejudge you to be incapable. Many parents agree that they are stumped by the science Do you know that a fully-grown questions their children ask. While domesticated adult elephant weighing answering, you try to learn. Children’s several tons is just tied to a twig with a inquisitiveness kindles interest. Your thin rope? It won’t escape; in it feels encouragement inspires them. that it cannot and won’t even try. They are trained in helplessness. On the other hand, a young elephant is tied to a large Learned Helplessness tree trunk or pole. Initially the baby elephant cries for freedom, tries hard. Walk into any home with small children, Then it gives up hope and realizes its you will hear the father chiding his child, helplessness. When it grows, it continues “Don’t do it! You will hurt yourself!; usually the result of repeated or with a trained pessimism. “You are good enough only for second scorn by a superior. When he falls prey to grade!” We inculcate fear, discourage Do not let your child fall prey to this, give him a gentle push. Encourage inherent abilities, and make unfounded this “learned helplessness.” When this him to unlearn. judgments. We prepare our children for manifests, individuals gradually develop You are his fi rst teacher and of helplessness. disinterest even to attempt simple tasks, course his best teacher. Some of the Science Reporter, FEBRUARY 2016 30 FEATURE ARTICLE ’s daughter, Irène Joliot-Curie, won the Prize in 1935 with her husband. Her second daughter was the director of UNICEF when it won the Nobel Prize in 1965. That’s a total of fi ve Nobels in the family. in the family?? greatest scientists were the products of Right: Marie their mothers alone. Read an extract from Curie and her a biography by Francis Arthur Jones on husband Pierre Thomas Alwa Edison (published in 1907): Below right: Curies “I did not have my mother very long with daughter Irene but in that of time she cast over me an infl uence which has lasted all my life. The good eff ects of her early training I can never her resources and working here lose. If it had not been for her appreciation and there, his mother sent him to and her faith in me at a critical time in my the University of St. Petersburg. experience, I should very likely never have Her dying words to Mendeleev: become an inventor. “Refrain from illusions; insist on work and not on words. Patiently She believed that many of the boys who search the divine and scientifi c turned out badly by the time they grew to truth.” manhood would have become valuable citizens Researchers debate whether if they had been handled in the right way those great persons are born when they were young. …. I was always at or inherit creativity the foot of the class. I used to feel that the from their parents. Child teachers never sympathized with me and that motivation and development are my father thought that I was stupid, and at no doubt important factors in last I almost decided that I must really be a the ultimate growth. A nurturing dunce. My mother was always kind, always environment deserves more sympathetic, and she never misunderstood or prominent place than DNA. misjudged me. But I was afraid to tell her all Neither genetics nor environment my diffi culties at school, for fear she too might appears to work alone. Take the case of Human Photocopies lose her confi dence in me. the Curies, a complicated combination of Until October 2014, One day I overheard the teacher tell the both. The Curies were the most successful was the youngest Nobel Laureate. He inspector that I was ‘addled’ (mentally ill) “Nobel Prize family.” shared his Prize with his father, William and it would not be worthwhile keeping me in Bragg for the analysis of crystal structure; school any longer. I was so hurt by this last effectively the duo founded modern – Noble Family straw that I burst out crying and went home crystallography! Marie Curie lived in some of the toughest and told my mother about it. Then I found out Danish scientist won the circumstances. Then with relentless work what a good thing a good mother was.” Nobel Physics prize in 1922 and his son and fanatic faith, she won the Nobel with followed him with a 1975 Edison’s mother defended him before her husband, Pierre. And one more on her Nobel. The 1924 his teacher and then decided to take him own! out of the school and homeschool him. was awarded to and That ultimately had a big impact on the Her daughter, Irène Joliot-Curie, his son received a Nobel man that he became. won the Chemistry Prize in 1935 with in Physics in 1981. Hans Karl August her husband. Her second daughter was Simon von Euler-Chelpin was awarded a Remember Mendeleev, the maker the director of UNICEF when it won the joint 1929 and of the of elements? Who in 1965. That’s a total of Chelpin’s son received a made him? His mother!! He dedicated fi ve Nobels in the family. Hunger in the joint Nobel in in 1970. his famous book to “a woman, who had family?? Well, we do not have a formula to instructed by example and corrected with Despite having faced the most trying create human photocopies. Intellectual love.” of circumstances, the Curies organized capacity could be inborn but a gentle Mendeleev’s mother had to support the best education, enlightenment and nudge in the right direction paves the way the family of nine when his father lost encouragement for their children. The for prominence. Your son deserves his job. But the mother knew that this is often ignited by a blend of such a nourishing atmosphere. Add boy had seeds of greatness. Spending all and nurture. encouragement, experience and affection. 31 Science Reporter, FEBRUARY 2016 FEATURE ARTICLE ItIt wwasas aann inspiration to watch his father, , in the great gathering of geniuses. Roger D. Kornberg himself went on to become the winner of the 2006 chemistry award. He said, “I guess it helps to have a father who is a Nobel laureate.” Arthur Kornberg Roger Kornberg Foster intellectual inquisitiveness and Great Gathering of Geniuses Abraham Lincoln wrote to his independent thinking. Arthur Kornberg took his son Roger along son’s teacher, “….but also give for his Nobel ceremony in . him quiet time to ponder over Feynman is Not Joking Roger recalls, “I can recall vividly traveling to Stockholm in 1959, at the time of my the eternal mystery of birds in was a joint recipient father’s award. I have always been an admirer the sky, bees in the , and of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965 of his work and that of many others preceding in electrodynamics. His fl owers on a green hillside.” me.” mother sparked his curiosity, fueled his students understood bird dynamics. This interest. His father’s infl uence on him It was an inspiration to watch his is real teaching. For Abdul Kalam the was phenomenal in developing in him father in the great gathering of geniuses. seeds were sown on the sea shore. Roger D. Kornberg himself went on to unorthodox thinking, and ability to learn Abraham Lincoln wrote to his son’s become the winner of the 2006 chemistry and teach something new. In Feynman’s teacher, “….but also give him quiet time to award. He said, “I guess it helps to have a words: ponder over the eternal mystery of birds in the father who is a Nobel laureate.” “We would be reading, say, about sky, bees in the sun, and fl owers on a green dinosaurs (from the Encyclopedia Britannica). Roger Kornberg once said, “Both my hillside.” parents had fi ne scientifi c minds and taught It would be talking about the Tyrannosaurus Success is intentional! Excellence is by example how to approach questions and rex and it would say something like, ‘This not by accident. Culmination of brilliant problems in a logical, dispassionate way. dinosaur is twenty-fi ve feet high and its head ideas, collected knowledge, accumulated Science was a part of dinner conversation and is six feet across.’ wisdom and the results of tireless efforts an activity in the a ernoons and on weekends. My dad would stop reading and say, of great men brought us to the Scientifi c reasoning became second nature. ‘Now, let’s see what that means. That would high level of life. Above all, the joy of science became evident to mean that if he stood in our front yard, he my brothers and me.” Now it is generally accepted that would be tall enough to put his head through present day children are sharper than our window up here.’ (We were on the second we were. I constantly believe that it is fl oor.) But his head would be too wide to fi t in Learn From Nature achieved because of the efforts of the the window. Children like to explore and expand. modern day mothers who prod them Everything he read me he would Take him out but with a lesson learned. and feed them. Apples must have fallen translate as best he could into some . Knowledge comes from Nature. on more heads before Newton. The only ….. I wasn’t frightened that there would be difference was what was inside Newton’s When his school teacher explained one coming in my window as a consequence of head and who nurtured it. about the bird’s fl ight on the black board, this. But I learned from my father to translate: none understood, including Abdul Kalam. Looks like I wrote a fairly long letter. everything I read I try to fi gure out what it The committed teacher took all of them With love really means, what it’s really saying. to the sea shore of Rameswaram. As the Dad I’ve been taught, so to speak – like boys enjoyed the roaring sea knocking someone who was given something wonderful at the sandy hills in the pleasant evening, the when he was a child, and he’s always looking teacher explained the marvelous fl ights K. Krishna Murty, 403 S B Enclave, 11-6-2 Rockdale for it again.” of birds. Within fi fteen minutes, all the Layout, Maharanipeta, Visakhapatnam-530002 Science Reporter, FEBRUARY 2016 32