Wednesday 22 June 2016

Academic rigour
A friend of mine who earlier lived in India has migrated to USA.
He told me that when he gave his exams for a Master's degree in an American University in some subject he was awarded one mark less than what was required for a first division ( or its equivalent in America ).
Now his examiner was an American who had become his close friend, and they often spent time together.
So he asked his friend why he had awarded one mark less....
His friend brought the answer copy of my friend, and showed him a mistake he had made, because of which one mark had to be deducted.
So though they were close friends ( and have remained so ), this played no part when it came to evaluating merit.
But do we see this in India ? All kinds of devious methods and cheating are often resorted to in many educational institutions here. I heard that sometimes the invigilator in an examination takes money from the examinees to permit them to cheat. Various other diabolical things are also done in exams. Marks are often awarded on extraneous considerations.
A degree or certificate should reflect the knowledge that the degree or certificate represents. But sometimes a person with an M.Sc. Physics degree does not even have the knowledge of Intermediate in Physics.
When I was a Judge in Allahabad High Court, a lecturer in mathematics in a University in U.P. had a case before me ( relating to his service conditions or something ). By chance he was present in Court, and I asked him what 1 divided by zero is equal to. He replied it was equal to infinity. I was shocked at his answer. Here was someone teaching mathematics to undergraduates or post graduates in a University, and he did not even have the knowledge of intermediate in mathematics. Evidently he had got his job on some extraneous consideration
I then told him that in mathematics it is impermissible to divide by zero, and I explained why.
Suppose 1/0=x.
Then x multiplied by 0 should be 1
But we know anything multiplied by 0 immediately becomes 0.
That is why it is impermissible to divide any number by 0.
So the expressions 1/0, 2/0, 3/0, etc are known as indeterminate numbers, and have no meaning. They are not equal to infinity.
In fact infinity is not a number at all, and can be expressed as follows :
Limit 1/x, x tending to 0=Infinity
Thus, infinity is not a number at all. It simply means that the expression 1/x will become greater and greater as x becomes smaller and smaller.
So this is the state of most of our educational institutions
May God ( who does not exist ) help our country !

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