Secrets of space

A Starry tale Scientist-author Mani Bhaumik

A Starry tale Scientist-author Mani Bhaumik   | Photo Credit: Photo: K. Bhagya Prakash

Scientist-author Dr. Mani Bhaumik says facts make interesting fiction

“Behind every equation there is a reality,” says Mani Bhaumik. Scientist-turned-author, Dr. Bhaumik is out with his second book, “The Cosmic Detective” published by Puffin India. If his first book “Code Name God” created ripples, this one has been chosen the “official product for International Year of Astronomy 2009 by UNESCO.”

Before one dismisses “The Cosmic Detective” as meant for kids alone, Bhaumik quickly pitches in, “This is for children who are 11-plus to those who are 99.” Bhaumik brings alive the dark mysteries of the night sky and narrates the story behind the gleaming stars and faraway galaxies. In a nutshell, “The Cosmic Detective” is a science textbook made into an interesting read. It is padded up with the details on latest leaps in astronomy and rare pictures of the universe.

In the Capital for the promotion, the U.S.-based writer recaps on a childhood in the untouched Krishnaganj in West Bengal, to a journey through the Indian Institute of Technology, to an extraordinary career in America. His touchstone to success and fame was being the co-inventor of the laser technology which made LASIK eye surgery possible. As a young boy who marvelled at the night skies when the oil and kerosene lamps gave way, Bhaumik confesses to being “bitten by the bug of astronomy” long ago.

A new step

“The LASIK invention gave me the financial freedom,” says the soft-spoken scientist about his headlong plunge into the subject that fascinates him. Though he was well-versed in writing “articles on scientific matters,” writing for the common reader was a different step. But Bhaumik was sure he wanted to take it. Much of it had to do with decoding science for the regular reader. “Science has become mathematical,” he says adding his attempt was to allow everyone to relate to it. “Everybody can understand it even without a mathematical background. It has as much beauty and creativity as a poem,” says Bhaumik.

In “The Cosmic Detective” he ventures out to make astronomy appealing. “I have put it like a mystery. The study of the universe is a mystery. When it started none of us know,” he says. However, for Bhaumik, astronomy is not merely a science but also a route to spiritual truths. “There is a hidden relation between science and spirituality. For me, they are the two sides of the same coin,” he asserts. According to him, science tells spiritual truths, but in an abstract way.

Even as Bhaumik takes us through a trip of the stars, the sun and its cousins and “the fingerprints of creation,” he points to the deeper questions that science raises.


Recommended for you