Hobbies and other interests

Interests that I actively pursue:


Number Theory

Mathematics is the queen of sciences
and Number Theory is the queen of Mathematics
-- Carl Friedrich Gauss

An equation, for me, has no meaning unless it expresses a thought of god
-- Srinivasa Ramanujan

The theory of numbers, unlike other branches of Mathematics, is a purely theoretical science without apparent practical applications. What could be more beautiful than a deep, satisfying relation between whole numbers? Mathematicians study Number Theory for the sake of its own beauty. Take for example a theorem of Fermat: Every integer is either a square or the sum of 2, 3 or 4 squares. Isn't that interesting??
More Number theory factoids:


Indian Classical Music

Music washes away from the soul
The dust of everday life.
-- Berthold Auerbach

I have a strong passion for Indian Classical Music. I play the violin, Carnatic (South Indian) style. I am fortunate to have Shri Vittal Ramamurthy as my Guru, who comes from the Lalgudi tradition. Earlier I learnt from several gurus- mainly Master Nishant Chandran and Kum. Kanyakumari while I was at Madras, and Smt Krishnaveni when I was in Bangalore. In Bangalore I had the good fortune of being with Pandit Shyamkant Barve (see picture), a gifted Hindustani vocalist and a wonderful person.

I listen to a *lot* of ICM and the atristes that I hear most frequently are: Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, Pandit Mallikarjun Mansur, Ustad Amir Khan, Pandit Kumar Gandharva, Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, Pandit Ravi Shankar, Pandit Nikhil Banerjee, Dr. N. Rajam, Dr. M. Balamurali Krishna, Smt. M.S.Subbulakshmi, Padmashri M.S.Gopalakrishnan.

If I were to be stranded on a Desert Island, and allowed to have *only* 10 CDs :-(, here is the list of ten CDs that I would choose to take.


Astronomy

I am interested in both theoretical and practical aspects of astronomy. From a theoretical point of view, I find celestial mechanics, orbital motion, astrophysics and cosmology very enticing.

My friends Vasuki Seshadri, Sreraman Narasimhan and myself spent quite a bit of time writing computer programs that generates the sky map for any date, time and place; program to predict eclipses, etc.

I also enjoy star gazing, and I got myself a telescope (Newtonian, 6 inch aperture) that I used extensively back home in India.

Picture of my telescope


Yoga

Yoga is an ancient system of self-discipline to harmonize (unite) the different aspects of our being (body, breath, mind, spirit, etc). The discipline involves body postures (to harmonize body functions), breathing and meditation (to harmonize our inner self). These practices enhance life energy within us and promote health- both physically and at the level of the mind.

I started practicing yoga since 1987, and I am a certified yoga instructor through the Art of Living Foundation.

I am also a co-president (along with Arjun Kurup) of the Rice University Yoga club. The club offers (free) yoga classes every Sunday. Additionally, we arrange workshops on Breathing from time to time. More information can be had from the club website. Feel free to contact me if you are interested to join us in the yoga activities!



Stereograms

Stereograms are 2D images that fool the brain into perceiving 3D depth. The principle behind the illusion is that when our 2 eyes look at 2 objects that look identical, the mind percieves it as a single object. The depth at which the illusory object is perceived can be adjusted by changing the horizontal distance between the 2 identical objects.

Stereograms need to be viewed stereoscopically (that is, with the eyes focussed behind where the page really is). Some people find it easier to trick the eye by bringing the page to their nose and easing it away without refocusing or by looking at a distant wall and then darting back to the page, without straining the eyes.

Stereograms that I made


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