Thursday, 26 November 2020

Making of a scientist


Making of a Scientist

                                           By Robert W. Peterson

Analysis

·       The chapter ‘The Making of a Scientist’ written by Robert W. Peterson is a detailed account of Richard H. Ebright’s life, contributions and achievements that made him a great scientist.

·       Richard Ebright received the Searle Scholar Award and the Schering Plough Award for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

·       The chapter describes how Richard H. Ebright’s researches, experiments, projects, habits, interests and determined work to prove his ideas led him to his theory about cell life.

·       It also mentions the important ingredients of a great scientist that were possessed by Ebright.

·       Ebright’s mother played important role in his development as a scientist as she possibly could see the signs of a great scientist in him.

·       Ebright’s character is a great lesson to the inquisitive young minds because he wanted to win not for the sake of winning but he possessed a will to win for the right reasons.


Summary /  Synopsis :

§  At the age of twenty-two Richard H. Ebright who had been ‘scout of the year’ published, along with his roommate, a new theory on how cells work and explained the theory in an article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. It all started with butterflies. Ebright, an only child grew up in north of Reading, Pennsylvania. In kindergarten, Ebright collected butterflies. He also collected rocks, fossils, and used to stargaze all night.

§  His mother encouraged his interest in learning and took him on trips, bought him telescopes, microscopes, cameras, mounting materials. She would bring home friends for him. His father died when Richard was in third grade. If he didn’t have things to do, his mother found work for him. He earned top grades in school.

§  In the second grade, Ebright had collected all twenty five species of butterflies found around his hometown. Then his mother got him a book, The Travels of Monarch X, which opened the world of science to the young scientist. At the end of the book, readers were asked to tag butterflies for research by Dr Frederick A. Urquhart of the University of Toronto, Canada. Ebright attached light adhesive tags to the wings of monarchs. Anyone who found a tagged butterfly was asked to send the tag to Dr Urquhart.

§  Ebright started raising butterflies in his basement. He caught a female monarch, took her eggs, and raised them in his basement through their life cycle, from egg to caterpillar to pupa to adult butterfly. Then he would tag the butterflies’ wings and let them go.

§  In the seventh grade he entered a county science fair but lost. He showed slides of frog tissues under a microscope. He realised the winners had tried to do real experiments. The competitive spirit was driving Richard Ebright and he appeared for prize projects in county and international science fairs.

§  For his eighth grade project, Ebright tried to find the cause of a viral disease that kills nearly all monarch caterpillars every few years and he won. For next year's science fair project he tested the theory that viceroy butterflies copy monarchs. He proved that viceroys look like monarchs because monarchs don’t taste good to birds. Viceroys, on the other hand, do taste good to birds. So the more they look like monarchs, the less likely they are to become a bird’s food. This project was placed first in the zoology division and third overall in the county science fair.

§  In high school, Richard Ebright’s research led to his new theory on the life of cells. He tried to find the purpose of the twelve tiny gold spots on a monarch pupa. He built a device that showed that the spots were producing a hormone necessary for the butterfly’s full development.

§  In his senior year he grew cells from a monarch’s wing in a culture and showed that the cells would divide and develop into normal butterfly wing scales only if they were fed the hormone from the gold spots. It won him first place at the International Fair. At Harvard University, Ebright was able to identify the hormone’s chemical structure.

§  During his junior year, Ebright discovered how the cell can ‘read’ the blueprint of its DNA. DNA is the substance in the nucleus of a cell that controls heredity. It determines the form and function of the cell. Thus, DNA is the blueprint for life.

§  Richard Ebright graduated from Harvard University with highest honours, second in his class of 1,510. His high school research on the gold spots of a monarch pupa eventually led him to his theory about cell life.

§  Ebright was also a champion debater, public speaker, a good canoeist and an expert photographer, he was an all rounder. Richard A. Weiherer, his social studies teacher said that Richard was competitive, but not in a bad sense. Richard wasn’t interested in winning for winning’s sake. For the right reasons, he wants to be the best. He possessed all the ingredients of a great scientist - first-rate mind, scientific curiosity, and will to win for the right reasons.

 

Flow Chart of key happennings

1.    It all started in kindergarten with Ebright collecting butterflies, rocks, fossils, etc.

2.    His mother encouraged his interest in learning and bought him telescopes, microscopes, cameras, mounting materials and got him the book ‘The Travels of Monarch X’.

3.    Ebright started raising butterflies in his basement.

4.    He tried to find the cause of a viral disease that kills monarch caterpillars

5.    He tested the theory that viceroy butterflies copy monarchs.

6.    He tried to find the purpose of the gold spots on a monarch pupa and showed that the spots produce a hormone necessary for the butterfly’s full development.

7.    He grew cells from a monarch’s wing and showed that the cells would divide and develop into normal butterfly wing scales if they were fed with the hormone from the gold spots.

8.    He discovered how the cell can read the blueprint of its DNA which determines form and function of cell.

9.    Richard Ebright graduated from Harvard University with highest honours, second in his class of 1,510.

10.                       At the age of twenty two, Ebright published, along with his roommate, a new theory on life and function of cell.


Important Question answers

Q1. What ingredients did Richard possess that are essential to become a great scientist? What qualities are essential to become successful in any sphere or career?

Ans. Richard Ebright possessed all the possible ingredients of a great scientist. He possessed first-rate mind, scientific curiosity, never dying spirit and a strong will. He was an all rounder.  He was champion debater, public speaker, good canoeist and an expert photographer. He was competitive, but not in a bad sense. He possessed a will to win for right reasons. All these qualities helped him become a great scientist, also these qualities can help anyone achieve success in his field or sphere.  

Q2. What role Richard Ebright’s mother had played in his development and growth as a great scientist?

Ans. A mother is the first school for a child. Similarly, Richard Ebright’s mother played the role of an important teacher in his life and helped him emerge a great scientist. His mother encouraged his interest in learning and took him on trips. She also bought him telescopes, microscopes, cameras, rocks and all the materials required for his experiments and research. She would bring home friends for him. If he didn’t have things to do, his mother found work for him. They both used to discuss important topics on the dining table. Most importantly she brought him the book ‘The Travels of Monarch X’ which gave the right direction to his scientific curiosity and inquisitive temper. This way mother played a pivotal role in the Ebright’s development as a scientist.





Thursday, 12 November 2020

Glimpses of India


Glimpses of India

 

Analysis

·       The chapter ‘Glimpses of India’ is written in three parts by three different writers from different parts of India, and that’s why they have successfully brought out true pictures of their regions.

·       This chapter presents a true glimpse of India which is varied in its heritage, rich in flora and fauna, land of cultural variety and a heaven for tourists.

·       The bread making tradition of Goa tells that people of India accept their rulers also and welcome all their good things making them a part of their culture for ever.

·       The chapter about Coorg demonstrates India’s richness in tourist destinations, wildlife, flora and fauna and the chapter on Assam proves its geographical variety, agricultural richness and economical strength.

 

Synopsis / Summary 


Part I – A Baker from Goa by Lucio Rodrigues


The chapter dates back to pre independence era when the Portuguese ruled over Goa and influenced the local people with their culture and life style. The elders in Goa often fondly recall the time when bread making used to be an important profession. The importance of bakers is maintained even after the Portuguese have left. The bakers in Goa are known as ‘Paders’. The mixers, moulders and their time-tested furnaces even now, continue to be used in Goa as the profession is still being accepted by the bakers’ sons. The jingling sound and thud of bakers’ bamboo stick is still heard in the streets of Goan villages that would wake up the narrator and his friends in their childhood who used to run to him to take bread bangles. 

Bakery products mark great significance in the culture and tradition of Goa. Bol or sweet bread is an integral part of marriage gifts. Cakes and Bolinhas or cookies are exchanged at Christmas and other festivals. The lady of the house prepares sandwiches for her daughter’s engagement.

In the time of Portuguese rulers bakers wear a peculiar dress known as ‘kabai’ which was a frock of knee length but during the narrator’s childhood, they wore a shirt and trousers of length slightly shorter than the normal pants. Baking has always been and will always remain a profitable profession would keep their families joyous and prosperous. It is believed that a baker’s family can’t die of starvation.


Part II – Coorg by Lokesh Abrol

The writer has depicted the beauty of Coorg, now called Kodagu which is the smallest district of Karnataka falls between Mysore and Mangalore. It attracts many visitors with its evergreen rainforests, spices and coffee plantations. It is more fascinating and favourable to visit between September and March It is not advisable to visit Coorg in rainy season.

This Coorgi people are a mixture of Greek and Arab cultures and there are stories behind the fact. Coorgi people are known for their valour and boasts of the most decorated army personnel as it is believed that a part of Alexander’s army settled there. Their clothes reflect their connection with Arab culture.

Coorg is blessed with varied wildlife, birds, bees and butterflies such as langurs, squirrels, elephants, kingfishers, macaques, loris, etc. It is favourite destination of trekkers and adventure lovers and enjoy rafting, canoeing, rock climbing, biking, etc.

It abounds in flora and fauna and the Brahmagiri hills present a panoramic view to the visitors. The presence of Buddhidst monks of a monastery at Bylakuppe near the island of Nisargandhama is a gift to the peace lovers. The fascinating beauty of Coorg reflects India’s very heart and soul.


Part III – Tea from Assam by Arup Kumar Datta

Rajvir, a friend of Pranjol is going to Assam to acquire knowledge about tea gardens of Assam in his summer vacations as Pranjol is inhabitant of Assam and his father manages Dekhiawari Tea Estate. Assam is known to be the largest concentration of plantations in the world.

Rajvir is very excited about his trip and has done a good homework about tea and its cultivation. He wants to share his knowledge with Pranjol and tells him Indian and Chinese legends behind tea. Rajvir tells a very interesting story of a Chinese emperor who discovered tea by chance when his water was boiling, tea leaves fell into water accidently and changed the colour and taste of water which the emperor liked. He also tells another story about the growing up of tea leaves out of the eyelids of a monk and these leaves could remove sleepiness.

This way they both reached Mariani junction and after this, visited Dekhiawari Tea garden managed by Pranjol’s father. In the tea garden they saw groups of tea pluckers with bamboo baskets on their backs and a tractor carrying the load of tea leaves.

Rajvir shared another piece of information that second sprouting season of tea lasts from May to July. This shows much excited Rajvir was to enhance his knowledge about tea and its cultivation.


Difficult Terms

Bol                       sweet bread used as marriage gift

Bolinhas              coconut cookies exchanged during festivals

Paker                    a term used for baker in Portuguese language

Bread bangles     sweet bread in the shape of a bangle      

 

Important Question - Answers

Q1. Is bread making an important part of Goan life and culture? How do you know this?

Ans. Bread baking holds a great significance in the culture and traditions of Goa and breads are an integral part of people’s life there. Bol or sweet bread is an integral part of marriage gifts there. Cakes and Bolinhas used at Christmas and other festivals. The lady of the house prepares sandwiches on the occasion of her daughter’s engagement. Bread making is still a profitable occupation and it keeps a baker’s family joyous and prosperous   

Q2. The chapter ends with the phrase ‘visitors searching for the heart and soul of India, right here in Coorg’ Explain the phrase.

Ans. The author, Lokesh Abrol beautifully describes Coorg as a heaven for the visitors. Hospitable people of Coorg keep the very soul of Indian culture ‘Atithi devo bhava’ alive. Its hills, coffee plantations and evergreen forests truly present India as a land of geographical variety and agricultural richness. The Koorgi people are live example of India’s cultural variety and their mixed culture speaks profoundly about its unity in diversity. The Buddhist monastery at the island of Nisargandhama attracts peace lovers and help them find real peace and find the answers to the most puzzling questions of life.