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A cop with passion for PHYSICS

Hunger for knowledge has always helped me to expand my mental horizon and thinking capabilities.

The Police Commissioner, B. Prasada Rao, with his short stories and English work books.

When one talks about the Commissioner of Police, certain things spontaneously come to one's mind. Like motorcade with siren, AK 47 toting gunmen, kowtowing subordinates and some real tough talking by the tough man. But here is a different person: he is no doubt tough as far as his work is concerned but at the same time he shuns expressions like `kowtow' and `flatter' and likes to embrace words like `camaraderie'; and prefers to keep a low profile. He likes to spend his free time rehearsing the 11,000 English words that he has mastered, write short stories and challenge the horizons of physics.

Meet the Commissioner of Police, B. Prasada Rao, the tough man of this city. The

eldest of the four siblings, he was an average student till Std.VI, but the influence of a teacher, by name Rathayya, changed his academic career thereafter. From average he scaled to become the topper in school and secure the 13th position in the SSLC examination.

After his graduation from Loyola College in Vijayawada, he completed M.Sc. with distinction in physics from Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. Thereafter, he set his eyes on the civil service examination.

He qualified for the civil services as IPS Officer in the very first attempt in 1978-79. But during the same period offers came pouring in. He was simultaneously selected as probationary officer in the State Bank of India; he qualified for the junior lecturer's post in Osmania University; was selected as a fellow in the Indian Institute of Science; and also selected as a forest officer. In fact, with the idea of bettering his scoring in the civil service he initially refused to join the IPS cadre and joined the SBI to make one more serious attempt. He also underwent a training session at the Staff College of SBI and joined as Probationary Officer in the Maharanipeta branch.

"My tenure as a banker in this city was only for a few days as I decided to take up the IPS training by then," reminisces he.

Prasada Rao worked in various capacities as an IPS officer in different parts of the State. Apart from serving as Superintendent of Vigilance, he had a brief stint as Commandant of CISF in Visakhapatnam and Bhopal.

Honestly accepting the general feeling that he is a low profile officer, he says, "I like to be myself and do not try to ape any body or flaunt the power of my uniform. I try my best to give a patient hearing to most of the complaints, especially the ones from the lower strata of society. In general I believe in reforming criminals rather than advocating for severe punishment unless it is a gruesome cold blooded crime."

Talking about the excellent relationship he enjoys with his colleagues, he says, " It is much easy to handle my colleagues than politicians. With colleagues it is the matter of teamwork that comes to the fore but with the politicians it is their demands, some just and a few unjust, that makes up the equation. But that's part of the game."

Peering through the microscope to see the fluid flow effects. Photos: C.V. Subrahmanyam

For his colleagues, an interaction with Prasada Rao has always been a learning experience. And why not, the constant academic upgradation plays a major role in his life, be it English, physics or any other general subject.

Talking of English, he has over 11,000 words in his kitty and can be called a moving dictionary. "I had a penchant for this language since childhood but it was only from 1985 that I took up the task of memorising the words with their meaning," he points out. He devised a unique approach to achieve this task. Setting target for himself on a daily basis he used to write down a set of words and later in the day used to frame a short story using the same. It took him 12 years to memorise a little over 11,000 words and he still rehearses them on a daily basis.

But the most intriguing facet of his persona comes to the fore when he sits in his makeshift lab looking through the microscope. The scientist in him takes over the tough cop and that has seen him stumble upon a phenomenon that eluded the best of scientists and researchers so far.

"Science, especially physics, has been my passion since long but things started to change when I accidentally picked up a Soviet science magazine in a book fest in Bhopal in 1990. There was an article on the Big Bang theory, and anything to do with the universe and astronomy always fascinated me. This article kindled my thought process that was lying dormant ever since I took up the service," says he.

Taking a cue from this article in the magazine he delved into the nitty-gritty of the Doppler effect and the D1 and D2 theories pertaining to wave nature of light that plays a substantial role in proving the Big Bang theory. After years of reading and research he picked up a hunch that there was some distortion associated with the wave nature theory that proved the expansion of the universe through the `Red Shift' phenomenon.

According to him, light is only the illuminating factor and it weakens and gets distorted with the distance. "Ripples in water cannot be seen in darkness and can be seen only when light is focused on it. And depending on the intensity of light the clarity of the ripples improves. Similarly, light from a distant star weakens as it reaches earth but that does not signify that the universe is expanding. It is only the distance that matters."

To prove it, he started to work on the Newton rings theory and stumbled upon the fact that every substance has got a fluid flow effect on its surface and that effects the refraction of light. This phenomenon, according to Prasada Rao, eluded researchers so far. To prove it, he conducted experiments on various substances ranging from glass to plastic and finally proved his findings by using heat.

"When heat is added to the slides that are closely held, the phenomenon of fluid particle movement on the surface becomes distinctly clear under the microscope, and I have used both sodium light and normal light as the source of illumination. The colour of the rings also keeps changing with the use of different light source at different angles."

He concludes by saying "You don't have to invoke wave theory to explain `Red Shift'. You can explain it by the particle theory itself."

His paper has been accepted and appreciated at the Indian Science Congress in Bangalore and has also been accepted for publication in an Italian science journal.

"Continuing scientific pursuits," Prasada Rao says, "be it scientific experiments or word building exercise, the hunger for knowledge has always helped me to expand my mental horizon and thinking capabilities, and it has helped me in my daily routine work also."


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