Scientists Simplifying Science

Category archive

Theory of Creativity

Robert Hooke and the microscopic world

in Theory of Creativity by

This series highlights dead ol’ scientists, who went against the grain and started something cool. Most of them faced opposition to their ideas and beliefs, but they made some fundamental discoveries.


Illustrations by Leslee Lazaar


I am a neuroscientist, who is passionate about communicating science using visual art. I use illustrations, graphic design, infographics, collages and photography to condense complex scientific concepts into stylish and attractive visuals.

I have a PhD in Neuroscience from National Brain Research Centre (India) and post-doctoral research experience from Harvard Medical School (Boston, USA).

Apart from contributing content to many science blogs and magazines. I have authored a science book  for young adults called “The Five Senses”

Buy it here –

You can reach me at

Ina: artist who uses water to communicate science

in Face à Face/Theory of Creativity by
We are 90% microbial
Cellular processes in water color by Ina Schuppe Koistinen.

Since the time I started working with Sciwri, my interest has been to meet and chat with people who work at the interface of art and science. It has been an enriching experience for me to learn how other scientists/artists think. Trained as a scientist, we are accustomed to drawings and writings all the time, be it our lab notebooks, chalk talks, lab meetings, departmental seminars, etc. using every possible ways to explain our science to peers, mentors, reviewers or philanthropists and other funding agents. Some however break the boundaries of their training and manage to express themselves and their science through their art. Ina Schuppe Koistinen is one such artist.

Ina’s passion for science, biology and chemistry in particular stemmed from the classroom taught by her favorite school teacher. She is now a Associate Professor in Molecular Toxicology at Karolinska Institutet and works at the Science for Life Laboratory.

As a scientist, she feels that science is often unapproachable for commoners. People perceive us as a breed of nerds in white coats and instruments in lab and choosing not to talk about it. While that she proclaims is true, it does not give a complete picture. Science is not boring as often perceived. She has taken it upon herself to tell the world that science is pretty engaging and scientists are just not ‘labrats’ but extremely dynamic. And what can be more interesting than beautiful images where one color bleeds into the other and imagination takes its shape in the form of lines and curves and eventually comes together to build a scientific phenomena or a concept.

She had always toyed with colors and brushes. But during Ph.D. is when she really found her expression.  While gazing through the microscope for most of her graduate studies she would look at colored stained neurons on a dark background. The patters she saw inspired her and she felt the urge to share them. She rediscovered the colors and brush as a medium to express herself. The nerves and neuronal network became the subjects of her scientific and artistic inquiry.

It was too irresistible a force and since then she has been involved on various projects dealing with science and arts. As a scientist she would be looking at patterns all day and now how she looks at her life through that same glass as well. She believes there is no such thing as a part time artist. It is not about the hours one spends in the studio, it is about how much, energy, observation, preparation goes into making that “art”. The creative process is something that is with you 24X7. She often works on a subject and a medium for six months or more and once the project is done she is on the lookout for her next inspiration. She has developed her skills in watercolour painting at different art schools in Sweden. She explores different medium and different subjects. Her subjects are often inspired by her work, her fantasies and her surroundings. Microscopy is what inspires her the most. “The hidden intricacies of cells and tissue, a completely different world which deals with microns keeps me inspired”, Ina smiled.

Cellular processes visualized in water colors  by Ina Schuppe Koistinen.

When asked why did she chose visual arts, she had the most simple yet a profound response, “because, I like it”. Also as a yoga teacher, she believes in wholesomeness of life. The day job of science was not liberating her enough and she needed to do more. Almost all the multipotentialites I met during this journey of interviewing for Sciwri, this remains a common theme, the urge to do more, do something creative and useful. She made poignant observation that as scientists, we live in tomorrow. Today you plan an experiment, tomorrow you set it up. Today you set it up, you make observations in future. In future, based on the result, you decide further experiments and hypothesis. Gratification in scientific process is delayed. The moment in present is often lost. She fills up that space through the medium of art. Ina says “Art to me is like meditation; both allows you to explore within and focus at the same time.”

Contribution to science not only comes from scientists at the bench, it also comes from communicators, and educators of science. With her art shows and exhibits, she manages to engage society and continues to make science ‘cooler’ for everyone. She believes if one student gets inspired to do science after looking at her work, she would have accomplished something. During her exhibitions she has varied response from both scientists and laymen. Artists tend to appreciate the colors, patterns, the technique. Some compare the cells and process to cosmic events like big bang and other physical process. Audiences with a bit of biology training do tend to find the meaning and concept in the work. Her work ignites many wonderful conversations.

As scientists, we are trained to observe and analyze. For many the creativity and imagination is often lost in the process. Ina experienced something very similar when she had an exhibit of series of paintings on tissues and cells as viewed through microscopes. To her surprise many pathologists were unable to look beyond what they were used to looking under the microscope and were disappointed by the fact that the paintings do not show the real shapes!

Ada Lovlace, co founder of first computer with Charles Babbage, said, ‘Imagination is the Discovering Faculty, pre-eminently. It is that which penetrates into the unseen worlds around us, the worlds of Science. It is that which feels & discovers what is, the real which we see not, which exists not for our senses. Those who have learned to walk on the threshold of the unknown worlds, by means of what are commonly termed par excellence the exact sciences, may then with the fair white wings of Imagination hope to soar further into the unexplored amidst which we live.’

Ina’s portrait by the author

Talking to Ina has reiterated the importance of wholesome creative life to me. Hope you learn something from her as well. Next time when I paint blobs of colors, Ina’s philosophy will guide me.

Find more about Ina’s work on her website:

Cover Image: We are 90% microbial  by Ina Schuppe Koistinen.

About the author

Ipsa is a Ph.D. student at IISc. She wants to gather and spread interestingness. She prefers painting and drawing over writing.




in ClubSciWri/Theory of Creativity by

In this post I share the story of my struggle. I suffered from depression and was able to deal with it. I found help in my friends and family. You just have to seek help, you will find it galore. # Doobarapoocho



Ipsa is a Ph.D. student at IISc. She wants to gather and spread interestingness. She prefers painting and drawing over writing.

If someone else like to share their story (even if anonymously), please message to

The Resolution of Monera

in Sci-Pourri/Theory of Creativity by

E.coli:  Greetings dear Bacilli, Cocci, Spirochaetes, Mycoplasms and offspring. I, Escherichia coli K-12 of family Enterobacteriaceae, welcome you to the General Bacterial Gathering. It is my privilege as the spokes-microbe to throw some light … 


**Photobacterium illuminate the stage – metabolism at its brightest**

…on the latest fissions, fusions and multiplications of plans made by us in our last bacterial annum. Before I start off with the regular proceedings, I would like everyone to stand on their flagellas, those atrichous on their fimbriae or pili to take a moment to stand in memory of those who denature their plasmids in the hellish autoclave just to maintain our great reputation of proper contamination. Remember, true martyrs only lyse physically; but they are forever alive in our genomes!


Mr. Salmonella :

                 Achooooooooooooo !!!!

E.coli:  Mr. Typhi, please exocytose that recombinant Influenza receptor before the meeting in the human world. According to the rules, sneezing, puking or conjugating here will not be tolerated! Anyway, I would like to invite Monsieur Vibrio cholerae to say a few words. 




                  MRSA!!! MRSA!!!!! MRSA!!!!!


                 Merci Monsieur E.Coli! Bon jour! Vee, ze bactereaial generha, r eh uge clan veet many of uz replicating in uman intesteens. Vee r ze one whoo geef stoopid umans aver soofiseecatd diseeses and make dem leak zeir debrhi frhom both ends, but Mon du! vee r beeing man-andled!! Ze only theengs dat sum of uz r dooing now r running fhamilee-planning on agaar platez, excreeting ze enzymes, beeing cukked in ze ovens to become ze vaccines! 


Laast but not ze least, seeting in ze UV chaember running ze operons, feed on ze lactose sans saveur and surhvyv on toxic za fungal wastez. Sum of ouverh own kingdom iz secreeting anteebioteecs!! Quelle honte!!



B. subtilis:

                  Now, now, deary, let’s not point flagelle at anybody. We all do our jobs…In my times there was full ‘freedom of secretion’ in our constitution. I will make what I like! Erwinia sweetheart…you feeling ok?…..

Lady Erwinia collapses and lands slime-layer first onto the mud. The Clostridium paramedics run to the rescue. The member is recognized as Lady Erwinia Amylovora who once belonged to same family as her cousin E.Coli but betrayed her family by shifting to plants from the natural habitat of animal intestines. She used to survive on simple requirements but things were getting so complex nowadays that she couldn’t get proper intake daily for herself and her trailing species. CSC gives her a glucose shot.

[mild tremors felt across the meeting venue]

E. coli :

                 Oh dear…tremors are not a good sign. I am sorry as to what happened to my cousin Erwinia. By seeing her condition we can clearly say that we are running short of nutrients. We need to act fast! Members, we have decided to go ahead with ‘Project Sweet Revolution’. We will immediately start synthesizing more glucose and conserve it for our every proliferating offspring!! Our phototrophic community has agreed to produce the required amounts in return of necessary resources and full time protection. Mr.Azotobacter, Mr.Rhizobium and members of CSC have volunteered to help the autotrophic minority to boost their energy-less electrons.




Mr. Proteus rudely lets out a gush of suffocating ammonia gas. Everyone in the vicinity shuts up their mesosomes.

Madame Klebsiella:


                 I would be truly grateful if the spokes-microbe could kindly solve property and nutrient rights between all of us enterobacterea within the intestines. There is freedom of secretion but no liberty of gas production! We need a motion on this.


                YOU DON’T GET NO PERFUME!


                 Madame Klebsiella it is all about proper motions, isn’t it? Unfortunately there is no precedent about the dispersion of  obnoxious gases. We shall deal with the bio-geo-chemical cycling issues in the near future!

                 Let’s concentrate on our latest human problems. We are now very vulnerable to their loops. The other day Mrs. Nessiera was forced to crack open her lipopolysaccharide coat to show her peptidoglycan content. But do not worry. Dr. Thermus‘s and Dr. Pyrolobus‘s lab has had a major breakthrough to counteract this embarrassment. Their research was focused on evolving a new pseudomurein layer with tighter isoprene chains and lower lipids. We are excited to reveal that their latest experiments can guarantee us coats which can resist an astounding 115°C.



Mrs. Rickettsia gives Rickettsia Jr. a tolerably warm hug. The family have huge hopes from junior who shows great potential to become an official and responsible human pathogen.


Mr. Mycobacterium :

                 We are having terrible experience infecting humans nowadays. Just the other day, my poor twins had innocently infected a human while playing in the backyard. They had a narrow escape from a terrible aniline dye and escaped. Their brand new mycolic-acid-covering was permanently dyed with the stain. Just imagine the torment the two are going through at this young age!



                 BETTER SOGGY THAN DRAINED!!

[Moderate tremors rock the meeting venue…..]

E.coli :    

                 Oh dear its getting close. We are all glad that your kin eluded the evil human eye! For all those interested, Mrs. Diphtheriae, Mr.Tetani and Mrs. Yersinia will be giving micro-public demonstrations about the increasing audacity of humans who try to paint us red! I have requested our Pseudomonas Culture Foundation labs to work on new genes that would help us avoid the binding to dyes and provide more privacy from the human blood T-cells, B-cells and immunoglobulins. Signora Shigella, you wish to speak?




Signora Shigella:

                 Si, grazie mille! Io sono Shigella. Sorry for my English! I think we need to be friendly with virooses. T-even coliphages ave sent spies with Dee-En-Aa to find us. We should be smart. We should not fall for tricks. We don’t be stupid. I virooses sono belle.  If you date, the phages penetrate and control tutii genomi, stronza! Be vhery carefool of beeutee and sexy viroos belle! La famiglia Viroosa is stronger than La Camorra, La Mafia! They scare those umans. To win, we should not loss our ATPs and nucleotides in Leeteec and Leesogenic battglia! Forza Monera!!!



[Very strong tremors unbalance the meeting participants]

E.coli :

                 Not too far now I guess. I hear you signora! We have called upon a capable toxin releasing team from various families like the great biopesticide Dr. B. thuringiensis and Dr. C. botulinum to try and evolve a new antiviral machinery. Till now they have not been very successful. Microbes of the community, lend me your ribosomes (and translate accordingly). We placed our pili in this world long before those humans! We were told by nature to transcribe new proteins and create whom we know today as the humans. It took us great time to sculpture these evolutionary descendents who have now started using us for their benefits! They are abusing and murdering countless of our numbers every second! My nucleosome swells with grief when I see the debris of our fellow microbes in the enzyme cemetery acting as the sites for endonuclease, exonuclease and protease activity. May I request Streptococcus and Pseudomonas rough families to kindly undergo transformation if you find any useful genome in the cemetery.


A huge group is found rushing towards the debris, competing for the spoils of the war. Inspector Lactobacillus denies them exit fas the debri genomes may have transduced viral contamination. A terrible Central Dogma hazard!!

E.coli. :

                 Friends, family and offspring…lend me your flagella, cilia and ear-glycans. We help the humans to digest their food and what do we get in return? A red hot sterilized nichrome loop burning our precious genes to carbon dioxide or perhaps a one way ticket to UV chamber where we are brutally apprehended by hard wavelengths, forced to gobble up tasteless lactose! World was ours and now our own evolved multicellular brats are killing and rampaging all our resources. They forget that everything had started with us and everything ends with us!


E.coli :

                 It is now time to put our nuclei together and take a strong decision. We cannot go against nature’s wishes. Suffering members of Kingdom Monera, let’s unite and pass the ultimate resolution. We vow to be united in the decision taken by the majority of flagellas raised.


E.coil :    

                 SHUT UP MRSA!!!!! HERE IT IS!!! This is our chance to seek vengeance! To give back as much pain as we  have suffered. The humans will finally feel the wrath of the Monera.  GET TO WORK EVERYONE!!!!!


Very strong quakes rip apart the venue. All enterobacters take position, ready for action. Commensals flee south while MRSA disperses into capillaries.


[Evil Laugh and Painful Indigestion]




About the author: Sourav Banerjee has completed his PhD from MRC Protein Phosphorylation unit, Dundee, UK and is currently working as a postdoctoral associate at UC San Diego, USA. His interests include traveling, eating and numismatics.


About the illustrator: Vibhav Nadkarni completed his post-graduation in Biosciences from University of Auckland. He is currently considering a career move to the field of Bioimaging. He has previously worked with Regenerative Medical Services and SRL Ranbaxy. He is constantly exploring ways to incorporate creativity into life sciences. In his spare time, he works on building his online travel venture. His interests include sketching/painting and traveling.


Edited and Fake accented by: Shraddha Lad has recently finished her PhD in Epigenetics and Imprinting as a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Early Stage Researcher from Naples, Italy. She is currently at crossroads about her future career (Academia versus Industry) and is using the publication of her manuscript as an excuse to delay making that decision (jk!). In her free time she enjoys reading, tasting different cuisines, gaming and music.

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This work by ClubSciWri is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Maria Sibyllia Merian, who rendered science pretty

in SciWorld/Theory of Creativity by

Maria Sibyllia Merian was an illustrator and entomologist (1647-1717). At a time when education was scant for women, she learnt miniature painting from her step father. She used this skill to depict her observations on insect metamorphosis across a variety of specimens. Her work contributed to the shift in belief from theory of spontaneous generation prevalent at the time. She travelled to the forests of Surinam where she spent six years studying insects and plants. She worked at a time, when illustrations were the only ‘photographs’ available. For financial support, she sold her work as art and published books. Linneaus later used her work to classify insects. Here are recreation of four of her plates.

maria betonien rose 1

Bentonein rose


maria chocolate tree

Chocolate pod

maria lime tree with butterfly

Lime tree with insect metamorphosis

maria insect of surinam

Insect metamorphosis


While Maria used copperplate etching for her illustrations, here Adobe illustrator software has been used to revisit those.



About the illustrator: Ipsa is pursuing a Ph.D. at Indian Institute of Science. She loves to draw and paint. Biologist by training. Wants to gather and spread interestingness.

Creative Commons License
This work by ClubSciWri is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

The Dancing Scientist

in Theory of Creativity by


Dance pic

For a typical middle-class urban Bengali child, along with studies one must have one or more serious hobbies. This can be singing Rabindra-sangeet, classical dances to reciting poems and playing cricket (after the success of Sourav Ganguly). These hobbies are meant to instil an artistic behaviour in young children so that they can grow up to be a complete ‘Bhadrolok/Bhadromahila’ (a.k.a gentleman or a lady) donning many hats. Wait! Don’t stop reading the article! I promise this is not about just the Bengalis. As a Bengali myself this was no exception. Every Sunday I would go to learn Kathhak (yes your hobby must have a formal training) from a master. I won’t deny that I enjoyed dancing, but those ‘lessons’ took away the fun, and the routine made it unexciting. Soon enough it became an added ‘class’ in the long list of what was in my syllabi. As I grew up, the board and the entrance exams took centre stage and as with a lot of Bengali teens like me, life was too hectic to accommodate dancing (I was never the multi-tasker!).

I continued to stay away from dancing while I was pursuing Science for my bachelor’s and master’s degrees. As I entered the intense life of Ph. D student at the Indian Institute of Science, someone or something deep inside me started longing to dance. This time around I wanted to take formal lessons that which my younger self rebelled against. It is was probably an escape route possibly due to the existential crisis every Ph.D student goes through, especially in the final years. However, I managed not to give in to the temptation with the excuse of lack of time coming handy every time. Thinking back I have to say, there were many braver and more able souls around me who were connecting to their inner longing and doing science at the same time. This, alas, was not me.

Finally, the arduous journey of Ph.D came to an end with a little title added to my name, and I found myself in the exotic city of London. This time as a post doctoral research associate (PDRA) in Imperial College, a job much like Ph.D, it demanded a lot out of you giving the minimum in return (the gain is proportional to how optimistic you are). This however, more alarmingly, left me staring at my future life with a minimum clarity and little conviction. New workplace (lab), new boss with newer training (may I say, torture) techniques, new set of people (mostly lab mates) to build your social circle from scratch in a fast and fabulous but ruthless city. I was once again the awkward teenager who was trying to fit in. Then I discovered Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, a place in London where one can learn Indian classical music and dance. It offered lessons in Oddisi -the ancient dance form from Odisha (I was mesmerised by Oddisi when I watched the breath taking performance at Nrityagram in Bangalore). I did not let my practical self argue against it; instead I enrolled in the class on an impulse. It may sound exaggerated, but the dance lessons worked like magic. It was one of the most gratifying experiences of my life. In retrospect, I can see the dance was having a clear effect on my work. Suddenly, I was this calm person who started enjoying the experiments more than ever. I found myself discreetly practicing a footstep standing in front of the centrifuge as I was pelleting culture sample at 10 pm or suddenly realising the position of ‘Tribhangi’ is easier if I bend more because my centre of gravity comes closer to the ground making the posture more stable! It has been a year and half now since I re-started dancing. Almost 2 years into my PDRA, I am glad to say that I am enjoying both research and dance. These two are in perfect harmony making me a better Bhadromahila after all.

The other day, while the membrane for the western blot was in the blocking step, I sneaked out of the lab to perform a little dance piece in Victoria and Albert Museum Diwali celebrations. As I was drawing perfect geometric patterns on my Oddisi dance steps, my agnostic soul thanked God for the flawless performance. At the same breath, I also quickly prayed the blot look perfect to prove my hypothesis.

Author pic
About the author: The author, Paramita Sarkar, is a Ph.D. from Indian Institute of Science, currently working as a Research Associate at Imperial College, London. Her research interest delves into the exciting world of host pathogen interaction using E.coli– bacteriophages as a model system. She is also a first year diploma student of Odissi at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, London.

Edited by: Sitharam Ramaswami (

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This work by ClubSciWri is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Laapataa- One Among Us

in Laapataa- The Indian PhD/Theory of Creativity by

One Among Us - June 2016

Editor’s note: The last 24 hours have been abuzz with J1 waiver through NORI (No Obligation to Return to India). As a constant viewer of CSG forum, I can vouch that Immigration issues are the most sought after topics of discussion. Everyone has their own reasons for staying back in a foreign land or return to India to pursue their careers. Generalizing the reasons may be of importance to statisticians, but migration and speciation is a universal phenomenon. The debate will continue and whether this migratory behavior of scientists leads to a speciation that affects human development across the world will be the core issue. As trained thinkers of the highest calibre, are we thinking right? Sujit Kumar Chakrabarti has nicely summed up the dilemma in the current Laapataa cartoon series. Let’s provoke some thoughts!



About the cartoonist: Sujit did his PhD from CSA (Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore) and joined Philips. After few years in the industry he joined IIIT Bangalore as an Assistant Professor and continues to teach there. Creator of ” Lapataa”- A fictional IISCian as he dodges through the reality of PhD. It is one of the fantastic piece of art which ClubSciWri thought needs to preserved and showed to the world and other alumni. The clips connect all of us whether it is an IIScian or a non-IIScian who did their PhD in India.

©Sujit Kumar Chakrabarti

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This work by ClubSciWri is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Do it for yourself

in That Makes Sense/Theory of Creativity by

11257763_10154026391539757_9097282633581050824_oPortland cityscape – a 5 sec long exposure shot.

Happiness is for everyone, even the scientists. But, seldom have we found very happy scientists. We are often consumed by concerns about data, publications, grants, lab politics and job opportunities. Dumbledore says “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” This light could be something as simple as a hobby. I have cultivated several hobbies over the years, such as sketching, philately, numismatics, reading, short story writing, table tennis, cooking, photography, collecting elephant figurines and most recently people watching (what? It is an actual hobby; I’m not making it up). However, my top two favorites have always been cooking and photography. Experimenting with these excite me. Julia Child said, The art of bread making can become a consuming hobby, and no matter how often and how many kinds of bread one has made, there always seems to be something new to learn.” This probably could be adapted to each and every hobby that one can cultivate. Trying new variations in what we already know is a rewarding experience, especially, if the result turns out to be good.

12473789_10153952323349757_5901739034592049297_oAvocado cheese toast, with tomato basil soup

12998392_10154031114329757_3266212011687106775_oEgg less coconut macaroons

11411756_10153399273444757_8261155311457136848_oOnion pesarattu with onion-tamarind-peanut chutney

I can’t emphasize enough how happy you feel when you cook something and people really like it. It gives you a sense of belonging. It humbles you with a feeling that they trust you with something important, like a meal in their day. I feel guilty classifying cooking as a hobby; while actually, it is a necessity. We won’t list bathing or washing clothes as a hobby. But, in my case I use cooking as a hobby. When I’m stressed or depressed with something, I cook. I tend to make elaborate snacks or meals and photograph them. I eat them later, of course. While photographing the food that I and my wife prepare is a major part of my hobby, I don’t limit myself to photographing food. I have not been able to single out a particular genre or style of photography as my favorite. Maybe I just like holding a camera, and since I’m holding it, I must do something with it, Isn’t it? So, as a result, I have dabbled with macro, night, landscapes, wildlife, and other creative techniques.

12891542_10154013615054757_7514887790138694265_oA clumsy star trail – i did not clean up the satellite/aircraft trails interspersing the star trails. This one is a collage of about 100 images (each shot for 30 sec) stacked over each other. 

704664_10153931899469757_2385863900307662123_oA light painting. This exercise is more fun if you have a friend/partner who is willing to do such crazy stuff. I and my wife spent over 2 hrs trying a lot of stuff to get this picture right. It is not a stellar image, but it definitely has some happy memories associated with it.  

12916195_10154002983724757_5910159273188683424_oSun setting on Mt. Hood, a potentially active stratovolcano on the outskirts of Portland. This is an everyday view in the summer, as seen from OHSU campus. 

IMG_0328Pacific tree frog – found majorly in the west coast of united states. Mainly nocturnal, known for its colour morphing ability, and a funny mating call (they say “ooh-yeeh” to attract females) 

IISc main buildingFinally, every IISc photographer’s muse. Edited for that  vintage look. 

I feel it is really necessary that we take breaks and reset ourselves periodically. It is most certainly necessary for me. These activities take my mind off, albeit for a short while, from the routine stressful rigmarole of lab work. And, when I get back to work, I find myself charged with new enthusiasm. In addition to helping us relax, hobbies bestow several benefits. They promote eustress, help you acquire new skills and discover your hidden talents, provide an opportunity to meet like-minded people, result in constructive time utilization, and they look good on your resume. Above all, they make you happy. So, cultivate a hobby, not because you can show off your talent to people and impress them. Not because they provide an opportunity to meet people and make friends. Do it because it will make you happy. Do it for yourself. If you cannot take care of yourself and keep yourself happy, no one else can. If you already have some hobbies, and they just need resurrection, go do that. Don’t waste your time reading stupid articles like this one. Go…Now!

About the Author







Vikas did his PhD at IISc, and works as a postdoctoral researcher at OHSU, Portland, USA. He has been involved with photography and cooking from his high school days. Apart from tinkering with his camera, and indulging in culinary projects with his wife, he enjoys telling a good story once in a while (not an up-to-date collection of stories,

Celebrate Pi day and Albert Einstein’s birthday!

in Theory of Creativity by


Going by US date format, today 3/14 is PI day. However, today is also the birthday of one of the greatest ever scientists – Albert Einstein. To commemorate it, here is a sketch by Swaprava Nath, a Fulbright-Nehru scholar postdoc at Carnegie Mellon university.

Image source:
Swaprava’s webpage:

Shooting stories

in Theory of Creativity by

As a structural biologist and a photographer, I believe that these two fields are quite the same. During my Ph.D. at Molecular Biophysics Unit in IISc, I was trained as a crystallographer shooting X-ray beams to biological macromolecules. The X-ray, much like what light does in photography, reveals the structure of macromolecules in all glory. In structural biology, certain variation, such as a fold or a motif, makes some of these structures unique and interesting. This “uniqueness” about one structure often generates curiosity and a surge in brainstorming ideas about what that macromolecule might be doing. In photography, shape, pattern, tone, and light are the uniqueness factors that make a few compositions memorable. A well-lit and well-composed photograph conveys mood and messages and hints a story. There are many reasons that I love photography, not the least of which is that photography has an uncanny similarity to my profession.


& family dramas

Many times, my instinct decides what I want to photograph. I photograph subject for what I feel urgency to explore. For example, I am deeply interested in the family moments. It is one of the recurring topics in my photography. I love both the familiar overture and the complex and subjective idea at its core. I also realize that these photographs allow different points of entry for viewers and reveal themselves at many levels.



I shot this mom and baby gorilla photograph in a safari park. It was a lot of fun just to watch the mother and the baby gorilla cuddling with each other. I was shooting for the entire time as they were communicating love and affection to each other. This photograph is one of my favorite. To me, the coziness between them speaks about the universal nature of this relationship.





I photographed those swallow chicks at Yellowstone national park. We spotted the swallows quite unexpectedly and found out that they were nesting in a nearby dead tree. I immediately noticed how hungry the chicks are and how crazy they behave at the prospect of one the parents returning with foods. As tree swallows are really swift flyer it was challenging to capture them in the same frame with the chicks. I consider myself lucky to be able to document this.





About the Author

Koustav Maity obtained his Ph.D. in Structural Biology from IISc and pursuing his postdoctoral training at the University of California, San Diego. His current research efforts are focused on developing new strategies to characterize membrane proteins. Besides science, he enjoys photography. His photographs have featured in National Geographic, Outdoor photographer, National park services and Share the experience. He received Share the experience award for the best wildlife photograph of the year 2014. His photographs were exhibited and awarded at San Diego County fair.

You can reach Koustav at maityk[at]


To see some of his photographs please visit

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