Archive for July, 2012

“An Ancient Puzzle!”

I created this riddle while trying to sleep. And , I have decided to post it here, hoping that, unlike me, you could possibly get some sleep pondering over this.

An Ancient Puzzle
I am literally “the one that cannot be cut” ;
Yet so many times, people have tried to open me up ;
Aeons have I lived ;
But unbeknownst most have I been;
Everywhere and Everything I am ;
Yet, ye can see me only through a ‘cam’ ;
Mostly empty I am inside ;
Save for a dot that always hides;
Allow me to tell ye of my family ;
A Brother I hath ;
So much we hate each other that we should never touch ;
Though we love each other so much that nothing can prevent us from meeting as such ;
Three Sons have I ;
Two are opposites- they never see eye to eye ;
One is always neutral about them as am I ;
Change my attire many times I must ;
Losing my sons every time, only just ;
Yet, do so I always hath ;
For from the natural law, no one escapeth ;

Can ye, O stupefied reader ;
Find me in this Puzzler? ;



I find it rather strange that no one could find the answer(I prefer not to consider that no one came on this post). Even stranger given that I wrote the answer almost times in “A Brief History… Of Everything”.

The ‘very’ simple answer is …THE ATOM! Allow me to clarify:

An Ancient Puzzle
I couldn’t think of a better name

I am literally the one that cannot be cut;
“ATOMOS”(that’s atom in Greek) literally means ‘indivisible’ or ‘not to cut’

Yet so many times people have tried to open me up;
This refers to the scores of curious little men who have tried countless times(and finally succeded) to probe the atom and its structure

Aeons have I lived;
The atom(of Hydrogen and Helium is) ‘only about 350000 years younger than the ‘Big Bang’- that makes the atom about 13.7 billion years old. Still in its teen years, right?

But unbeknownst to most have I been;
There are not many people out there who know what the atom is all about( this seems to include those who have read this puzzle as well!)

Everywhere and Everything I am ;
Cannot be clearer than this. I’ll just use Lord Kelvin’s sayying to enumerate one measure of the atom- the mole.
Kelvin said that if you decided to mix a glass of water in the Ocean and took another glass from this mixture, you would get a hundred of your original atoms everytime. This may sound confusing. A better explanation goes thus: “remember that everytime you drink a glass of water, you are drinking atleast one atom that went through Aristotle’s bladder!”(I stopped looking at a glass of water in the same way after I heard this explanation)

Yet, ye can see me only through a ‘cam’;
The only way to ‘see’ the atom nowadays is to use an STM(scanning tunnelling microscope) or an AFM(atomic force microscope). Fact is we cannot ‘see’ it in reality as the atom is way smaller than the smallest wavelength of light that we can really see(red, blue…). So, scientists use electrical impulses to ‘see’ it in a screen. Enough explanations now, moving on…

Mostly empty I am inside ;
Our dear friend Rutherford would have quite a lot to say about this. He was the first to put forth the idea.In his own words: shooting the atom with alpha particles(helium nuclei) is trying to stop a bullet with a tissue paper!

Save for a dot that always hides;
Yup, that’s the nucleus we’re talking about- the good old house for the neutron and the proton.

Allow me to tell ye of my family;
We’d love to hear about them!

A Brother I hath;
That’s the anti-atom(all the stuff about anti-matter). It contains the anti-particles of the atom.(positron for electrons, anti-proton for proton and anti-neutron for neutron).

So much we hate each other that we should never touch ;
Now for the most infamous equation in history. e=mc^2. All their masses become pure energy upon meeting(gamma rays and stuff). Old Einstein would be so happy!


Though we love each other so much that nothing can prevent us from meeting as such ;
Positive negative, action and attraction- that’s what this is all about.

Three Sons have I ;
And then were the neutron, the proton and the elecron.

Two are opposites- they never see eye to eye ;
Proton rhymes with positive and electron with negative charges. They are opposites( though there are quarks but that is not very relevant here)

One is always neutral about them as am I ;
Neutron rhymes with neutral. The atom is neutral as well- equal positive charges and negative charges cancel out. If that wasn’t the case, you would probably have been stuck(literally) to your laptop screen while reading this !

Change my attire many times I must ;
That’s the case of Radioactive Decay! An unstable atom changes to a more stable one.(google ‘fukushima’ and there’s nothing you wouldn’t know about it). There are many types of decays.

Losing my sons every time, only just ;
An example would clarify things up. In a Classic Decay type, Uranium(the stuff used nuclear) changes to Thorium by emitting helium nucleus( 2 protons and 2 neutrons). The process can be understood by simple addition of numbers.

Yet, do so I always hath ;
For from the natural law, no one escapeth ;
Could not be clearer. Decay always happens whenever it has to.

Can ye, O stupefied reader ;
Find me in this Puzzler? ;
I doubt that I have to explain this part!!


We’ve got no money, so we’ve got to think.“Rutherford





The title that I have chosen for this post may sound wrong or somewhat ridiculous. I mean, how can I possibly write a history of EVERYTHING in about 200 words or so when whole books cannot do it?!

Allow me to clarify:”what does “everything” mean? Everything as in the whole human history, wars, planet Earth perhaps. How about everything as in everything that makes up everything else- the ATOM!

It all began in Ancient Greece. Democritus called it ATOMOS (modern man has removed the ‘OS’ from it). An interesting question immediately arises: “Are you kidding me, if “Atomos” was known for so long, how come my books say it was the 19th century or so that the Atom was discovered?” My humble answer to this question is this:”it was merely re-discovered, only this time, people believed in it!

Look at it this way: “ever wondered why our credulous ancestors thought that they were the center of the Universe or that it was the Sun that revolved around the Earth?” Because they saw the Sun moving in the sky everyday? Come on!(of course that may be a reason but it’s secondary). Rather because that ‘s what they were made to believe!

The same goes for Atomos except this time, it was Aristotle that everyone believed in. Fast forward some centuries later and we have the pioneer of the Atomic field- Dalton(another ‘non-believer’, if I may say). He laid the general outline of the atomic hypothesis(though most of his ideas were later abandoned for their inaccuracies)…To be Continued


(To keep this post brief, I have to stop- “A Brief History…of EVERYTHING is not yet ended-I’ll write more about Higgsy, how Bohr nearly eradicated the most resilient idea in science and much much more….So that’s all folks!…for now)

“What matters in Science is Physics, the rest is STAMP-COLLECTING!” ERNEST RUTHERFORD

A Classic!

Hey guys,

For the first “Crazy Puzzle”, I would  like to present a “classic“. For those who already have been through it, it is called the “Nine-Dot Puzzle”(if it really matters). Anyway, this one is for you who are seeing this puzzle for the first time.

Just a bit of advice, though, do not try to “google” the solution after several minutes,”just hang on”. Believe me, finding this solution on your own is a big “AHA” and will be well worth the time you took!

So, ready for a “braingasm”( One last advice: “Do NOT limit yourself to the box!)

Here it is:

The Nine Dots

Now the question: Using a pencil(or anything else), try to cover all the dots with 4 straight lines. The catch- you are not allowed to lift your pencil from the paper while making the lines.

I will give the answer in the next post and write some more interesting puzzles!

Till then:

“Logic can carry you from A to Z through 25 alphabets but imagination makes you fly all over them”- By Vasish(Plagiarized from Einstein!)


Okay, now for the solution. I really hope that there have been atleast one person out there who tried to find it.  The answer is quite easy. Remember the hint that I gave above (“do not limit yourself to the box). There was no figurative meaning hidden there. Really, write outside the box, that’s the solution. Here it is:

That’s it then!


p.s. check my “Ancient Puzzle”(I just Invented it!)

     Mauritius may be well known for its extinct Dodos, sun, seas and sand but when it comes to scientific research, not much is said to be done. Did I say it’s said? Fact is, there is a centre of astronomical research in Mauritius little known to the general Mauritian. Its name is the Mauritius Radio Telescope(MRT for short) and this comes as close to research as anything.

      MRT is one of those few places that one can call “isolated”- no sign of life for kilometres at end(except for some of the researchers, the nasty dogs, and yes…the birds- it is found in a natural bird reserve). I am one of those lucky few who have had the honor to visit the place and also one of the fewer few who is able to be part of the centre.

      MRT is currently participating in the Callisto Project, whose aim is to collect astronomical data from solar flares and send these to participating countries.(Sounds pretty exciting…believe me, exciting is an understatement).

      I’ve uploaded some pics. But I have to say: do not be deceived by the appearance of the place; as they say “there are more to some things than what meets the eye”

An aerial view(not taken by me, though)

The Start

In which some of the residents are dozing off after a hard day’s work.

The entrance

 This one’s just for show-off; the real thing is in the next pics


That goes on for one kilometer to the right.

And to the left

Another Crazy kilometer.

Some of the native residents(very welcoming)

Sorry for the fuzziness in this pic but that’s when the mother of the native residents saw the strange being who was doing strange things with a camera in its hands and started chasing it.

(Now I know what fight or flight means-I prefer not to elaborate..)

Some insider pics

Room X: Where it all happens!


The One!

As a first poll, I would like to keep it rather “open”.  For this poll, it does not matter how much you know about science. Actually, it’s way better if you do not know anything about it. Just choose the one you think is right,that’s it. And do not forget to leave a comment to let us know you’ve been here.


Thanks for participating. Don’t forget, more posts on the way soon!


      Too often has science seemed as a mixture of complex formulas jumbled together in a confusing way that is understood only by a select few. My purpose in writing this blog is simple: to show that science is fun.

Do you agree with what I just said? 

     If you don’t, then hang on for sometime by “Scient1fy and I will, hopefully, help you see otherwise. If you do, well, we will have a lot of fun together! “Scient1fy” is, in part, a response to what I, myself, have sometimes felt while doing science- “how and where do all these formulas, laws and deductions stack up to?” So, I’m pretty sure that learning will be a two way process.  The name “Scient1fy”, in itself, tells a lot- create some interesting science-related topics and unify them to evoke an interest.

    So, if one day while you are walking, you start wondering why, when you partly look at the sun, your eyelids appear colored and you think of that crazy “Scient1fy” Blogger who “said something about this, I will know that I have done something.

    Speaking of the colored eyelids, that is just a “light- game”- the same way rainbows are formed except this is a small rainbow that you carry just near your eyes without knowing it- one of the many fascinating phenomenon that occur around us.(and we don’t even know they are there)

    Speaking of fantastic phenomena, another one is called “Diffraction“(Just another name)- it actually  means “the spreading of waves” in normal terms. Think of it this way: have you ever wondered why you can hear a dog barking around a corner although you cannot see him? Well, it’s because of diffraction. Sound from the dog can “change its direction” through the corner or your window (a dog was barking while I was writing this, so that’s how I got the “dog-idea”) but not light. Both sound and light are different intensities of vibration(light being the higher and its nature being different). Enough of these explanations for now.(Actually, for the more adventurous, here’s a more thorough explanation) Just a final word: this principle is present everywhere and used in mobile networks among other things.

      So ask questions(that’s what the scientific method is all about!) and drop by when you are up for some thinking about the one beautiful thing that’s all around and which we are part of –nature!

 Science is like sex, it may have practical benefits in the end but that’s not why we do it.” By Vasish(That’s my name) [plagiarized from Richard P. Feynman]

p.s Please Visit my Polls Page, there is a  survey that I am conducting. Participation in highly encouraged and appreciated.