Scientist Arnab Bhattacharya demystifies 'the dress' that went viral

White and gold or blue and black? Arnab Bhattacharya will explain the mystery of the dress that went viral, among other things, at his science-made-fun session on light

| Updated on: Jul 24 2015, 11:41 IST
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Arnab Bhattacharya at his lab in Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Colaba.
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Arnab Bhattacharya at his lab in Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Colaba.

Have you ever wondered how laser operations are conducted or how millions of messages can be transferred through a single cable? Scientist and science communicator at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Arnab Bhattacharya, will answer these questions and more on Friday, at his talk, Light, Colour, Action, as part of the Mumbai Local series.

Known for his popular, award-winning talk series Chai and Why?, Bhattacharya has always been fascinated with light in all its forms. "This year is UN's International Year of Light. We will discuss how the ability to use lights of different colours allows us to do things that were not possible before," says Bhattacharya. For instance, in a LASIK surgery, fine cuts are made using laser on the outer surface of the eye to change the shape of the eye and improve vision. "However, even an experienced surgeon with a steady hand can make these cuts with a knife," he explains. But in old age, some people suffer from a condition where the retina of their eye gets detached. And no knife can be used in this area of the eye. "In such a situation, all one has to do is change the colour of laser from ultraviolet to green and the surgery can be performed easily," he says.

Over the last seven years, Mumbai-based Bhattacharya has been enlightening young minds and solving many of their queries through the Chai and Why? sessions conducted every first and third Sunday of the month.

At Mumbai Local, a monthly talk organised by Sanjana Kapoor's Junoon, Bhattacharya will bring in many examples from day-to-day life — like the mystery of the dress, for instance — to create curiosity about light and colour. "Colour is perhaps what we make it to be," he explains. Similar to his Chai and Why? sessions, he will demonstrate experiments using light, and field questions from the audience.

Seeds of the Chai and Why? sessions were sown in 2008, when Kapoor and her colleague Sameera Iyengar visited TIFR to enquire about a play. He says, "I liked the fact that even scientists are treated as creative people at Mumbai Local. There is a platform we can share with other artists and creative people."

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Bhattacharya's scope of work, including the topic for his PhD involves light. "Currently, I work on semiconductors, which emit light. These are probably the future of light. For instance, LEDs where semiconductors are used are extremely energy efficient," he says. Bhattacharya is currently studying the various materials that can help emit light proficiently.

Light, Colour action
Friday, July 24, 2015
When: 4pm-5pm
Where: Somaiya College, Vidyavihar
For registration, email
Call: 98333 44173

(The writer tweets as @CultureCola )

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First Published Date: 23 Jul, 18:22 IST
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