Tuesday, August 12, 2008

What is Research

That test tube you see on the left. Dont you feel it represents the term "Research" quite well more than anything else? Well nothing could be more wrong.

I never quite fully understood what research was. Or how it worked. How did people think of new ideas just like that? How did they find it? Do all researchers work in labs doing experiements ? etc etc

That was until I met a cousin of mine who was doing research in IMSc Chennai. I was more shocked by the fact that his 'experiments' were all conducted in a closed room that resembled more a cubicle in an IT company than a laboratory !

In fact, in IMSc, all research which spans physics, maths and computer science is done by 'research scholars', much like you and me, in closed rooms like this with AC. I was also amazed by the easy life they led, the fact that they actually got paid while enjoying life researching.

Now I have a fuller idea of it. My research centre, or 'Office', as I call it, at NTU, is called CEMNET. Centre for Multimedia and Networking. And trust me the only multimedia and networking they have is the pc speakers and the Internet on the computers installed at every terminal :-)

Advanced simulation techniques, mathematical modelling techniques, data-gathering techniques, database management systems : these 4 things have made it possible to conduct 'experiments', or research, in 'labs' with nothing more than a computer terminal in front of you ! Its an amazing concept ! So the result? Im no longer a scientist in a white labcoat with glasses and test-tubes, but rather just a guy in front of a terminal with G-chat open most of the time :-)

Well things may not be that easy,because research is nevertheless the most challenging thing anyways because it does'nt ensure results. You'll never know if what you were working on for the past 4 years will be useful or existent. And if it clicks, you have a Ph.D. If you dont, well, you're an unlucky loser, thats all. And in the initial part of research, you have to do a looot of study, literature survey, to keep up to date in the latest research in these fields you are going into. That itself is a hard process that may take upto one year or more, from what I see. And yes, its still a continuous process even when you're researching something new, you still have to keep yourself abreast of the technology by reading.

So basically, thats my job at the Cemnet now :-) Nerd off, read read read, and find everything that is written in my field. And then research to find something new so I can add to that ! Signing off now..


Abhi said...

But does th kinda research you told about bring any results that help the majority of population in the world? Those poor guys who've a hand to mouth existance? I feel that only research that matters is one that clears the troubles of such people. Sorry if i'm wrong. :)

Wetfingers said...

Research..runs on google.Salute google. Mr.how is it going? Home sick?

Hari said...

The great would-be Dr Hari!! :-)

All the best with your work, sire! Work hard, come back and contribute to your nation! :D

Hari Vishnu said...

well the method i use has not much to do with the effect, abhi.. i mean, my research may not help the 'poor masses' as it is affiliated to a different cause, but in general that doest mean research has to be ground-level to be useful to a poor man..

Hari Vishnu said...

hehe, hail google.. im already gettin scared on how much we depend on one site for our needs.. like a monopoly..

going nice man.. not really homesick cos am in touch with home daily.. hail google chat :-)

Hari Vishnu said...


i think ive hit the ceiling :-).. dont pokkify me so much man :-).. yea sure ill return to india for sure man, im not going to further the brain-drain cos im dead against it too..

Quest said...

Even i would like research to being beneficial to the masses.

Nice thing that you are going to come back.....Now India is becoming the land of opportunities ;)

mea culpa said...

hail google.. im already gettin scared on how much we depend on one site for our needs.. like a monopoly.. Very true... I used to work as software engineer, all my code was literally stolen.... ssshh..

Neethu said...

ha..so having fun researching h?anyways gulluck with it!!!:)

Hari Vishnu said...

any research aims to bring down costs, times or improve accuracy of some technology.. and in doing so it eventually brings some development to an economy.. so directly or indirectly, any form of research wil bring development to an economy.. but whether my research will directly affect 'the masses' as u say, i cannot say :-)

Hari Vishnu said...

@mea culpa
hmm yea theres this documentary on how dangerous dependence on google can prove to be.. watch it.. just google it and you'll find it :-)..

hmm yea havingfun u cud say.. thanx, hope the fun continues..