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Prestigious Einstein Prize for Indian American professor Abhay Ashtekar

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Abhay Ashtekar to be honored by the American Physical Society on October 23 for his commendable work.

The American Professor with the Indian origin, Abhay Ashtekar is going to be honored with the illustrious Einstein Prize along with $10,000 as an award on October 23, 2018, by American Physical Society, APS. After nearly four decades of outstanding accomplishment in his scientific engagement with gravitational science and owing to his commendable work, Abhay Ashtekar is all set to receive the Einstein Prize.

Speaking about his achievement, Abhay Ashtekar told IANS, “The prize is special because it is the highest honor bestowed by APS in the broad area of gravitational science. The first Einstein prize was awarded jointly to Peter Bergmann and John Wheeler, who introduced general relativity to the American universities by creating research groups. Perhaps because the first award often sets the tone, subsequent prizes have come to recognize ‘lifetime achievements. So the news was deeply satisfying.”

Ashtekar pursued his higher studies in India when his passion for physics began. He said, “At first I knew only Marathi literature –that is my mother tongue and was the medium of instruction until I was 11. Then was exposed to Hindi and English literature and realized how deeply literature is tied to specific cultures. What is considered great in one language or context could well be mediocre in another. At the same time, I learned Newton’s laws and universality of gravity — what makes the apple fall on earth also makes the planets go around the sun. This was stunning by itself.

The most remarkable thing what he found was that, unlike art and literature, which are totally tied to human conditions, Newton’s laws transcend both. It was striking to him that the same Newton’s laws were taught and adored in India as in China, Japan, and the West.

Thereafter, in college fundamental physics seemed to him to be the deepest and purest way to pursue an understanding of Nature (the external world). In graduate school, he chose to work in general relativity, cosmology and quantum physics because he thought that is where the most fundamental questions about space, time and the nature of the physical universe were discussed.

When Ashtekar was asked if physicists in India are producing world-class research, he proudly answered that there are extremely talented physicists in India who are making first-rate contributions to pure physics in areas he has had first-hand acquaintance with. He even said that he is particularly pleased by the ‘LIGO-India’ project that is now placing India firmly in the front ranks of international efforts.

According to Ashtekar, between 5 and 10 years from now; the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics in Pune, in particular, will play an important role in the major discoveries that will be made with the international network of gravitational wave observatories. He says India is ahead of China in this area, as for an instance he said that at times, his colleagues in other areas of physics, tell him that this is not the case in their field; that there is a lot of good research but not enough ‘great’ research that gets published in most of the visible journals.

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DU Professor Writes To PM On “Violation” Of Quota Norms In Teachers’ Appointment In Central Varsities

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He said the Dalit teachers have not been happy due to lack of implementation of the reservation policies in various central universities.

A Delhi University professor has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi accusing various central universities of violating various reservation norms in appointing Dalit teachers and requested him to look into the matter.

In an open letter to the Prime Minister, Academic Council member Professor Hansraj Suman requested him to ensure that the vacant posts for professors in central varieties are filled up as per the regulations for reservation in appointments of SC/ ST teachers.

He said the Dalit teachers have not been happy due to lack of implementation of the reservation policies in various central universities. He said there are many posts for which there was no reservation policy in place in many varsities, giving the varieties a free hand in the matter, he wrote in the letter.

(SOURCES PTI )

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100 Percent Fee Refund On Cancellation Of Admission 15 Days Before Last Date: UGC

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The University Grants Commission (UGC) prohibited the charging of fees in advance for a year or a semester. It also warned institutes against forcing students to buy the institutions’ prospectus.

UGC has issued the guidelines to be followed for fee refund in case of withdrawal of admission. The rule shall be applicable to undergraduate, postgraduate, and research programs run by universities included under Section 2 (f) of UGC Act, together with all colleges under their affiliating domain and institutions declared as Deemed to be Universities under Section 3 of the UGC Act. The guidelines also cover retention of original certificates by Higher Education Institutes at the time of admission.

The decision about fee-refund was announced by Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar during an interaction with media on October 10, 2018.

“Now no student will be required to submit any original academic and personal certificates at the time of submission of admission form and Students’ will get refund of fee from the Institution if they withdraw their admission from the programme,” the minister had said.

The guidelines state that Higher Education Institutes can not make it mandatory for students to purchase institutional prospectus. As per the Right to Information Act 2005, and also reiterated by UGC, all HEIs have to disclose institute related information, i.e. course details, affiliation details, intake capacity etc. on its official website.

HEIs can not charge fees for any semester/year other than the one in which a student is to engage in academic activities.

In case of withdrawal of admission, the following rules will be applicable for refund of fee:

100% fee refund: in case a student decides to withdraw 15 days or more before the formally notified last date of admission. Not more than 5% of the fees paid by the student, subject to a maximum of Rs. 5000, will be deducted as processing charges.

90% fee refund: in case a student decides to withdraw less than 15 days before the formally notified last date of admission.

80% fee refund: in case a student decides to withdraw within 15 days or less after the formally notified last date of admission.

50% fee refund: in case a student decides to withdraw between 16 days and 30 days after the formally notified last date of admission.

NIL: in case a student decides to withdraw after 30 days of the formally notified last date of admission.

HEIs can not ask students to submit original certificates at the time of admission. HEIs shall physically verify the original certificates at the time of admission and return the same immediately. The self-attested certificates of students will be held valid and authentic. In  case, a HEI doubts the authenticity of the certificates they can approach the concerned University or Board which issued the certificate but original certificate can not be retained under any circumstance.

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DU’s Political Science Department To Continue With Kancha Ilaiah’s Books

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The committee had suggested removal of three of books of Ilaiah— Why I am not a Hindu, God as Political Philosopher: Buddha’s Challenge to Brahminism, and Post-Hindu India: A Discourse in Dalit-Bahujan Socio-Spiritual and Scientific Revolution.

Setting aside the recommendations of the standing committee on academic matters, which had suggested removing three books of OBC academician and activist Kancha Ilaiah for being insulting to Hinduism from the postgraduate syllabus, Delhi University’s (DU) Political Science Department have decided to continue with the readings.

The decision was “unanimously” taken in a department meeting held on Thursday. The final decision in the matter, however, will be taken by the Academic Council (AC).

The committee had suggested removal of three of books — Why I am not a Hindu, God as Political Philosopher: Buddha’s Challenge to Brahminism, and Post-Hindu India: A Discourse in Dalit-Bahujan Socio-Spiritual and Scientific Revolution.

“We stand by the past courses we have taught, as we had sent them earlier. The books will also continue to be used. These were very carefully considered readings which were given for these courses, and these are readings which are used all over the country and world. They are part of standing academic discourse, so there’s no question of selectively picking on them,” said associate professor Madhulika Banerjee.

Assistant professor Saroj Giri, who was also a part of the meeting, said no change was accepted which was suggested by the committee. “They had a problem with three courses — Black Radical Traditions, where they objected to the word ‘radical’, Islam; International Relations where they said that the word ‘religion’ should replace the word ‘Islam’; and Political Theology in India, wherein they wanted more Hindu literature. None of these recommendations were accepted,” he said.

“All these decisions were taken purely on academic grounds. The committee, in its formal communication, has not mentioned the reasons for implementing these changes,” said Giri.

Professor N Sukumar, too, said no “academic reasons” were given for the suggestions: “The final decision rests with the AC, but if they do decide to drop these books, I… will approach court.”

Ilaiah said he was thankful to the department for “taking a stand”. “I’m glad the department has taken a democratic stand to protect the pluralist ideas continuing in the university. This will set a trend in universities in the rest of the country, where Hindutva people wanted to make universities one dimensional,” he said.

Hansraj Suman, member of the standing committee and among those who raised objections to Ilaiah’s readings and the use of the word Dalit, said, “I don’t want to comment. The final decision will be taken by the AC.”

Source: (indianexpress)

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