Vol 15, No. 1 (1999)
Editor: Dr. P. Vasu
Institute for Plasma Research, Bhat, Gandhinagar-383 428 (India)
NOTE: All correspondence regarding the newsletter should be sent directly to the editor.


It is not that they cannot see the solution. It is that they cannot see the problem.
(G.K. Chesterton)

ED Speak

Here is the first Newsletter brought out under the new PSSI board by the present Editor! As you may have learnt from the last GBM of PSSI at Rajkot, the editor usually writes up every word in the newsletter, publishes it, wonders if anybody else read it and found anything useful in it . . . . and a few months later the cycle starts again, as there is no feedback from the members in the form of either comments or contributions for the next issue.

From our side, in an effort to make the newsletter useful to our members, we are trying out the following:

  1. Publishing announcements that any member (or institution) have to make, i.e. A "Your Attention Please" column.
  2. A question and answer forum, wherein readers can ask questions related to their professional activities - like availability of some software, equipment, experimental facility at other labs, solution to some technical problem they are facing etc. AND expect to have them answered by other readers who just might be in position to offer help i.e. A "Can you tell me"? cum "You may try this . . . ." column. . . . and the following, if the members contribute
  3. A digest of any significant development or publication in an area related to Plasma science, technology or commerce, which the member comes across and feels others should be aware of and whose importance he/she elucidates for the benefit of other readers i.e. a "So, What is New" column.
  4. A list of papers (in referred journals only)/patents by members during the period between two issues of the newsletter, so that we may all be aware of what our members are doing professionally i.e. a "Our Members Publish" column.
  5. An "Opportunities" column wherein employers recruiting researchers for their projects can advertise. . . . and at last
  6. A "Tailpiece" - a filler column of humor, anecdotes, cartoon etc. to ensure that all the available space in the newsletter is used up. Readers are welcome to contribute . . . othrwise, the Editor's choice will be foisted upon them!

All contributions will be acknowledged by including the contributors name in the item published.


All correspondance regarding this newsletter may be sent directly to: Editor, PSSI Newsletter, Institute for Plasma Research, Bhat, Gandhinagar 382 428 (e-mail :

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From Webmaster

A PSSI website has been opened at IPR. It may be accessed at It is still being developed and so readers are welcome to send in their ideas regarding this site. To begin with visitors to this site should be able to

N.B. IPR has kindly made available its facilities to PSSI for e-mail and the website. Presently, Mr. Ashwini Kumar Rath ( is developing and maintaining the site.

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News Flash: PSSI Research Grants

Every year PSSI awards a few research grants to enable Research Scholars and Post-doctoral Fellows (below 32 years) to do collaborative research at a research institute other than their own. This grant includes a stipend of Rs.1,500/- p.m. for three months, second class travel and local accommodation. The area of research could be in a topic related to plasma science and technology.

For details regarding the 1999-2000 awards contact : Secretary, PSSI.

The receipients of the 1998-99 grants are:

  1. Ms. Kavita Rani Rajkhowa, Center for Plasma Physics, Guwahati
  2. Mr. Ram Prakash, Institute for Advanced Studies in Science & Technology, Guwahati

Both would be working at IPR, Gandhinagar.

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PLASMA-98, Highlights
(XIII National Symposium on Plasma Science and Technology; Rajkot 27-30 October, 1998)

See two photographs: [ 1 ] [ 2 ]

All PSSI members applaud Prof.K.N.Iyer and his team for efficiently organizing this symposium at Rajkot and acknowledge the generous funding by IPR, Saurashtra University, IIG, ISRO, DAE, DST and support by O.V.Sheth Community Science Center, Rajkot.

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Your Attention Please!

We are updating the PSSI directory. Two different forms are enclosed with this newsletter. Existing members please use the "update" form. Use the "New Membership" form (and photocopies thereof) to get your colleagues to join PSSI. Please do not waste these forms. A FREE copy of the new directory will be sent to those (existing and new members) who send in the completed forms. So HURRY!

Do'not forget to contribute to the 'what is new' and 'our members publish' column in our next issue.

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Can You Tell Me . . . ?

I need tubular lens mounts that slide smoothly without wobbling or wandering off-axis (i.e. telescope into each other), perhaps on a rack-and-pinion arrangement. I would like to know if anyone has bought or had such devices fabricated in India or have experience in designing them. N. Ramasubramanian, Ahmedabad.

Can someone provide me with a list of designers-cum-fabricators of electromagnets in India? J. Govindarajan, Gandhinagar.

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You May Try This . . .

Editor's note - If any readers can offer help to the above queries, please send your answer to us for publication in the next newsletter.

Readers can send in their queries too. Let us pool our knowledge and experience.

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Can you do a `Taylor Series Expansion' to save your life?

During the Russian revolution, the mathematical physicist Igor Tamm was seized by anti-communist vigilantes at a village near Odessa. They suspected him of being an anti-Ukrainian Communist agitator and dragged him off to their leader.

Asked what he did for a living, he said he was a mathematician. The skeptical gangleader began to finger the bullets slung around his neck. "All right", he said, "calculate the error when the Taylor series approximation is truncated after n terms. Do this and you will go free. Fail and you will be shot". Tamm slowly calculated the answer in the dust with his quivering finger. When he had finished, the bandit cast his eye over the answer and waved him on his way.

Tamm won the 1958 Nobel prize for physics but he never did discover the identity of the unusual bandit leader.

(From: The Penguin Book of Curious & Interesting Mathematics by David Wells citing from John Barrow's 'It's all Platonic Pi in the Sky', The Times Educational Supplement, 11 May 1993.)

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