22nd November 2018: Times of India wrote a report about OAR #2
Sam Thomas, one of 2017-18 free-thinkers is awarded a Western Digital international scholarship!! Sam has mentioned about his work in OAR and Saha Institute for this scholarship. Congrats, Sam!!
Folks who supported the protest- Astrology he getting the boot in IISc is big news! But stay alert, there are plenty of believers who will now try ways to sneak in again to give it a stage on Science. Let’s remain watchful and set as example of how social media can help support building and maintaining scientific character and temper. Cheers!!!
If at all any social issue which can be of paramount importance in this group, then it has to be welfare of research students in academic campuses in India. It will be nice if the aware members of the group can can take some initiative about plight of PhD students in IISc. Many students in IISc suffer from various systemic issues; typically a longer PhD, less remuneration, typically inferior publications during PhD, in some cases abusive advisors, lack of financial support for long PhD, high attrition rate, no proper grievance redressal mechanism, lack of honest feedback mechanism, no proper checks for state of PhD etc. etc.
Can we have a signature campaign or draft a letter to IISc chairman from this forum ? If yes, we can have a online meeting. Will be nice if we can in anyway improve situations of students who might be in struggling now. Please suggest how shall we go about this.
A questionnaire to IISc asking for statistics and measures, a letter with some suggestions etc. etc.
We can meet online to discuss this and the appropriate steps we can take.
I will be attending alumni meet on 16th-17th December. We can convey our message or the response to IISc director during this time.
Lets have an online meeting on this. Please tell you availability for a meeting on doodle. We can schedule a time according to convenience of participants.
Any suggestions is welcome.
A letter is being sent to the Director of IISc by some IISc alumni in protest of the upcoming Astrology workshop organized by the IIScAA. I am pasting it here. If you are interested in signing, please send your Name, Dept, Course and Year of joining to firstname.lastname@example.org. In case you don't want to be named publicly, but would like to sign, you can mention this in your e-mail.
Prof Anurag Kumar
It has come to our attention that the IISc Alumni Association is organising a workshop titled 'Astrology as a scientific tool for individual progress', at Choksi Hall in IISc on 25 and 26 November this year. This is profoundly shocking and, frankly, incredible. Astrology is a system of belief that has no scientific basis. None of the explanations offered by its proponents have any scientific merit. In addition, scientific experiments done in good faith to test the predictions of the various systems of astrology have all shown that it is only as good as random
chance. As a system of belief, individuals are, of course, free to profess faith in astrology. The problem arises when practitioners of astrology claim it to be a science, and use scientific jargon in an attempt to gain credibility. This credibility is then misused to give false hope to people, spread fatalism, and promote superstitions.
The Indian Institute of Science is the premier science education and research institute in India, and has been at the centre of much of the scientific progress in this country. All of us, who are alumni of IISc, have benefited from the education we received from the institute. It is therefore all the more distressing as well as outrageous that the IISc Alumni Association has seen fit to organise an event
on astrology in its name, that seeks to bring scientific legitimacy to it. That this workshop is being conducted by an EC member of the IIScAA is a matter of shame to both the institute and to us alumni.
This workshop is definitely not as innocuous as it may seem to some, who might argue that everyone has a right to their belief systems. The repercussions of holding such a workshop are many. First, it is being organised by the IISc Alumni Association, which will be taken to imply that the alumni body supports astrology as a science. Second, it is being held in IISc campus, which will be taken as further proof that the scientific community of IISc agrees with astrology. Third, the title of the workshop explicitly states that astrology is a scientific tool. It is obvious that allowing such a workshop to be held will do grave damage to the reputation and integrity of IISc as well as to already endangered scientific temper in the country.
Hence, we ask you to not only disallow the workshop to be held, but also conduct an enquiry as to how permission was given in the first place. We also firmly state that the IISc Alumni Association cannot be run by people who wish to organise workshops on astrology being a science. Surely the Alumni Association can find far better people to run its affairs. As members of the Alumni Association, who have been supporting it and its activities, we feel that its Executive Committee needs to be reconstituted before any further damage is done to the name of IISc and what it stands for.
The advertisement can be found at
The detailed brochure, at
As we come in terms with the nonsense happening at IISc, can we take a moment to appreciate the young, energetic scholars Siddharth Mitra Ghosh et al. who are spending their money in organizing a workshop to help grow Indian science?
31st October 2017
Hindu took an interview of OAR
1st September 2017: Shanmugam Anitha, 17, a youngster from Tamilnadu, India killed herself due to the current academic structure and peer pressure to crack entrance examination to pursue here dream to be a medical doctor! Indian Express -- a popular newspaper report says, 'Anitha had scored 98% marks in Class 12 and, according to the state education department’s evaluation, scored 199.75 out of 200 for engineering and 196.75 for medicine, which would have ensured her a seat in either stream without NEET. However, according to her family, she scored only 86 out of 700 in NEET. In a recent interview to a Tamil TV channel, Anitha had described how helpless she had felt while appearing for NEET with an unfamiliar national syllabus.'