Nov 15, 2006

Reply from Dr. Mahbub Majumdar

I've already posted about a letter about Dr. Mahbub Majumdar a few days ago. And many of us were frustated and enraged about the content of the letter. Almost all the bangladesh related groups and newsletters were flooded debating about the topic of the letter. So it came to the attention of Dr. Mahbub Majumdar himself. Here is the reply I received from him about the matter :

Dear Friends,

I was very surprised and deeply embarrassed to find that a partial transcription of a confidential University of Dhaka job interview of mine was published on the internet.

While there are some elements of truth in the emailed story, there are also some egregious inaccuracies. For example, Professor Aminur Rashid, Chairman of the Physics Department supported me at every step and was extremely kind to me.

I ask those of you are outraged by this event to channel your frustration in a productive manner. If Bangladesh is to survive as a nation, then it requires those of you who have gone abroad and become experts in various fields to at some point return to Bangladesh to do whatever you can with regard to teaching, research, business etc.
You may sometimes face humiliating rejection like me, but there are enough good people in this country who will appreciate you, support you and try to help turn your dreams into reality.

For instance, we hope to soon establish an independent Mathematical Sciences Institute which will cater to the very brightest students and researchers in Bangladesh. This is my dream. Many have offered their help, and I hope all of you will also be my partners to make this a reality.

Best wishes,

Mahbub Majumdar
National Coach of the Bangladesh Mathematical Olympiad Team

I wish everyone of us would be so dedicated and patriotic. I wish him every success in his life.

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Nov 12, 2006

The zoo

After BUET was given sine die last june, we planned a 3 day dhaka tour for the vacation. The basic plan was to visit memorable places and monuments of dhaka. Day 1 consisted of visiting architecturial monuments of old dhaka like Ahsan monjil, Lalbagher kella, Choto katra , Boro katra. But I missed the first day of our tour as I went to jessore. Day 2 was for Dhaka zoo and botanical garden. So after this eid we thought lets visit these two. We weren't too optimistic about dhaka zoo mainly because we heard and read numerous stories of corruption of zoo officials in newspapers. But in reality we were quite pleased with the zoo environment. It was comperatively clean and some of the animals were really lively. Perhaps it was due to Eid. Or we became too pessimist before visiting the zoo.

Without further ado I present you a few pictures of that day I took...

Chitrol horin, DeersThese deers (Chitrol horin) were curious at us.

Royal Bengal TigerWe visited him just after his lunch , when he went out for a walk.

White PeacockThis white peacock was very beautiful.

I forgot his name. can any one help?

PeacockWe tried to scare the peacock so that we could see it's tail (the beautiful plumage). But it didn't give a shit :(

Maya horin , deerThe maya horin was very friendly

Sambar horin, deerThe sambar was taking a rest..

Macaw , kakatuaKakatua (Macaw?)

PythonThis python had just had it's lunch.. Look at it's mid section..

PelicansThese pelicans were too far away for my point and shoot camera. I was missing an SLR :( . You'll have to look at the higher resolution image to see the pelicans. Click the image to see them.

Now as you've completed reading it, it's no harm to check this one now from mezba bhai.

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Nov 1, 2006

A painful funny story

I received this mail today. I don't know whether it's authenticate or not, but if it's true then it's a very sad incident. I am sharing the mail with you just as I received it but without giving the details of the sender :

Hi everyone,

I heard something today that I can't avoid sharing with all the people I know. The subject of the story is a senior friend of mine: Dr. Mahbub Majumdar. Mahbub bhai did his undergrad from MIT (electrical eng), an MSc from Stanford (civil eng) and PhD from Cambridge (theoretical physics, string-cosmology) . After PhD he had many offers but chose to do a post-doctoral fellowship at Imperial College (London) since he wanted to stay in England (by the way, in England, imperial college is the best place after Cambridge and Cambridge has a rule of not taking their own student as post-doc). I met Mahbub bhai and I can simply say that I never met anybody in my life so modest, honest and compassionate as Mahbub bhai. Just to give an example, Mahbub bhai received US$ 1000 per year forbooks as a part of his presidential scholarship. He used to spend this money buying books for Dhaka university library.

During his post doctoral years Mahbub bhai made frequent visits to Bangladesh and worked as a coach for the Bangladesh math Olympiad team. Only those who are involved with the hectic field of high energy physics knows what sacrifice this means.

Anyway, to our great surprise, Mahbub bhai (who was born and brought up in USA and can't even speak bangla very fluently) decided to join the Dhaka University Physics department as a faculty and failed to get any position. Today I heard what happened during the interview.

The "interview" was taken by Yusuf Haider, Badrul Alam and Aminur Rashid (I decided not to use any Sir after their name and comment on their character). During the interview they first raised question about Mahbub bhai's certificate from Stanford. The certificate showed the name of the university as Leland Stanford Junior University. The interviewers suspected that this is not the Stanford university
they heard of. At some point somebody suggested that they can look it up in the internet (you can do that too and make sure to take a look at seal of the university).

Then they asked him to write down the Maxwell's equations. Mahbub bhai wrote it down with exterior derivatives in one line (most useful and elegant form for theoretical physicists). The interviewers did not understand what he wrote and asked him to write it again. Mahbub bhai now wrote it with tensor notation. The interviewers again found it incomprehensible and asked for it again. At some point Mahbub bhai wrote all four Maxwell equations in a form understandable for first year physics students and everybody was happy.

Then the interviewers expressed their concern whether Mahbub bhai will be able to take care of first-second year labs since he does not have "relevant" experience. At some point, they asked him whether he read the advertisement properly and pointed out that they require the candidate to have a BSc in physics whereas Mahbub bhai has a bachelor in electrical engineering. Therefore, the interviewers decided that Mahbub bhai is not qualified to become a faculty of DU physics.

A senior friend of mine (who told me the story) commented: "I am happy that Mahbub did not get the job. It is good for his career. But I am sad for Bangladesh. "

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