Sunday, September 16, 2012

Changing Up Spiral Galaxy

You may have noticed that the name of the blog has changed above: from "Spiral Galaxy Reviewing Laboratory" to "Spiral Galaxy Musings." It's no surprise that I've barely been blogging here for the last year. I realized that one reason for that is that almost any review I write goes to venues like SFSignal, Strange Horizons, Locus Magazine, or Cascadia Subduction Zone--so as long as I thought of my blog as a place for reviews, I didn't have much content to put here.

However, I have a lot of thoughts that aren't necessarily reviews, but that don't fit on Twitter (too long) or Facebook (all baby, all the time). So I think it's time to shift Spiral Galaxy's purpose, and make it more of a "Karen's Thoughts" blog than a strictly reviewing blog. I may still post reviews here, especially whenever I can get back into my Golden Age/New Wave/Non-Fiction Criticism reading lists. But I'd also like to post things like the following:

If any of you follow the Roundtable section of the Locus Magazine website, you might have seen Vandana Singh's post on early Indian SF that she'd love to see translated. She talks about Niruddesher Kahini a story written in 1896 by Jagadish Chandra (J. C.) Bose. She points out that he was a polymath: "His contributions to the science of radio waves predate Marconi, and he also pioneered research in biophysics through his study of electrical impulses in plants." I learned today that the IEEE agrees: they honored him and contemporary C. V. Raman in ceremonies in Kolkata, West Bengal this past weekend. The article describes Bose's work in physics, biology, botany, and archeology. Here's an interesting bit:
After graduating in 1884 with a natural science tripos (an honors baccalaureate), Bose returned to India. A year later, a recommendation from Rayleigh got him the post of professor at Presidency College, in Calcutta, the first Indian to hold that title there. The college’s British administrators offered him only one-third the salary of its European professors. Bose protested by taking no salary at all for several years until the college recognized his value and raised his salary to match his European peers, retroactive to the start of his professorship.
C.V. Raman did groundbreaking work in acoustics and optics, all while working as a civil servant in the Indian Finance Department. He won the Nobel Prize in 1930.

I love reading about the scientists who contributed so much since Newton's day and who aren't as well known as Einstein and Maxwell et. al. It's great that the IEEE is working to bring them some additional recognition. It'd have been even cooler if the article had mentioned Bose's role as an early science fiction writer!

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