Friday, January 22, 2010

A story of Prof. Shiv Dutta Joshi

Prof. S.D.Joshi would not appear to you as the stereotypical professor of IIT Delhi shown in "3 idiots" (Bala Sir may..but then that is a different post altogether). He won't appear to you as any stereotypical teacher, if you meet him outside. He is simple, sober, smiling and intelligent. He appeared exactly that way when he came to our hostel for the STIC-D(Students Teachers Interaction Council Dinner) last year. Till that day we all regarded him as a chill prof, who knows his subject through and through and who is modest enough not to intimidate others by his knowledge.Now the respect has increased manifolds.

That day he told us one of the most amazing first person account you can ever here. Its genuineness and the genius was evident just like that.

I will try to tell it in first person, almost verbatim, though it is difficult because it happened one year back

I started working on my PhD thesis in IIT, I was lucky to be able to work in a field I liked. But all my work was to solve a particular problem (whose details Sir mentioned, but I cannot remember).

I still remember I used to go to my mentor's room. He would not be there most of the time. And then daily, in the morning, all I did was took few blank pages, sit on a chair there, write the same question on the top of the first page and then for the whole day just keep looking at it. Doing nothing else except doing some rough scribble here and there. At the end of the day, I would just leave the room, feeling nothing, but the question still in my mind.

I continued this routine for almost 4 to 5 months and now I was supposed to show some results as the semester was going to end. There were no means to gauge my progress because the solution was unknown. I did not know, and neither did anyone else, how close to or how far from the solution I was. So I could not say that I have completed x percent of my thesis work.

Then one day, while I was diligently repeating my routine of staring at the question, something just struck me. I knew I had found the solution. I was very happy but I did not write even a word on the paper that day, not even a scribble. I left my mentor's room, called my friends and went for a movie. I have never felt so happy.I was happy because there was something in my brain that no one in the world ever knew.

I enjoyed life for the next fortnight. I had not written even a word of the solution. Finally because of the pressing deadlines, I sat down to work and writing the solution was as easy as I thought.

Even today I love research because I get to feel that exhilaration of doing something original. Those moments are few but then you just love them.
Amazing man! Amazingly simple and modest.


Novacaine said...

He surely is one of my favorites, and infact - I remember that each of our seniors' favorite too, and their senior's...

Unknown said...

He is my favorite professor.
I am fortunate to work with him for my BTech project in final year.

Unknown said...

He is my most favorite prof.
I am fortunate to work under him during my BTech project.

Pannir Selvam Elamvazhuthi said...

He was my teacher at IITD in 1991 when he took "Detection and estimation". Happy to hear that he is the most revered one even now.


Priyadarshi Mukherjee said...

He is taking Detection and Estimation again from this semester and it is no doubt that still now and shall always be, as it was in the past, his class is full even at 8am in the winter and even though he does not take any attance strictly.

Eruditus said...

Thanks Pannir and Priyadarshi for sharing. It's nice to get such comments year after year on this 5-6 year old story.

Unknown said...

I did my BTech project under him
He is one of the best professor I have been tought.