I usually put the links of articles here whenever I find something interesting regarding academia, especially about engineering disciplines, their future directions and challenges. This page flows freely like a *blog*, but in no way it is a *research blog* which I find often boring, filled with platitudes.
Got a job! Congratulations! But how about sustaining a job? Specially in this unsettled age of AI? I often engage in conversations with high school students who are taking their 12th and the pan-India competitive exams (nearly to be $10 Bn industry). Among these pool I find approximately 50-60% interested in pursuing engineering. But wait! almost all of that “engineering pool” want to study computer science in ANY of the engineering colleges under the sun. The reason is obvious, the so called *white collar jobs* that all the engineering degree institutions promise at the time of admission. Yes, a handful of the students does get a job in the big IT companies of India. What next? are these jobs safe? After 5 years the same job can be done by fresh graduates like the present pool but for less money of course! So, the older people start loosing their jobs easily unless they keep on upskilling them on a regular basis. See a recent Indian Express article by Prof. Smruti R. Sarangi of IIT Delhi stating the scenario of the present day IT industry and why one should have long term career plans beyond securing a job after B.Tech. Prof. Anindya Chatterjee of IIT Kanpur also addresses this problem of sustaining an engineering career in his book “Build and Sustain a Career in Engineering”. Give it a thorough read and get started with your engineering career keeping the warning signs in mind.
Teaching mechanics? a cakewalk? Prof. Asok Kumar Mallik used to tell in his class that mechanics have only two balance laws, namely the linear and angular momentum balance laws, which makes the subject very difficult to teach. Wait! only two laws? shouldn’t that be easy? Nope! these laws govern motions. The motions of large asteroids in the space, the motion of a mammoth aircraft, the motion of tiny a bacterial flagella. So, the context becomes important such that these balance laws change their expressions depending on the physical problem on hand. That’s where the expertise of an engineer comes into play. The expertise of interpreting a real world problem and make it simple enough to be tractable with pen and paper or with some level of computer programming. I think this skill is crucial for the engineers (specifically of non-circuital branches). Of course, acquiring this skill is difficult and time consuming. Transferring this skill to the students in class is even more difficult. In my opinion, a mechanics teacher needs to explain the thought process behind formulating a problem. i.e., *the bigger picture*, besides performing the regular problem solving activities in the class.