For eighteen years Mr. Ravi, a police officer by profession, has been writing articles on 'science subjects' and has also published four books on science. In this manumental ground-breaking work As I See It containing seventy-two thought-provoking delightful essays which have been embellished with quotations from Shakespeare to Stoppard, and Arnold to' Attenborough, the author has once again revealed not only his enormous mastery over all branches of modern science, for which he is well known, but also his stupendous knowledge of Shake-speare's plays, his incisive insight into serious issues like the human condition, in tilt context of man's scientific achievements and moral values, controversial topics like the style of life of Indians settled in America, sensitive questions like 'national integration' and 'terrorism and even general matters of interest to one and all, like movies and sports.
In writing these brilliant articles in his own inimitable, racy and lyrical style, he has generously drawn facts from his own vast store-house of information acquired by him, as a brilliant scholar, a distinguished civil servant and a widely travelled man.
V.S. Ravi, one of the most distinguished police officers in the country, is a scion of the famous Alladi family being the grandson of the Late Sir Alladi Krishnaswamy Iyer, arguably the greatest lawyer of this country has known and regarded as the Chief Architect of India's Constitution. He joined the Indian Police Service in 1963 having graduated in B.Sc. (Hons.) Physics from the Madras Christian College. He has held various important assignments both in Andhra Pradesh and in the Centre. After a brilliant career of 35 years he retired in 1998 as the Principal Secretary to the Government, Home Department, Government of Andhra Pradesh, in the rank of Director General of Police. In recognition of his outstanding performance as Police Officer, he was awarded the prestigious President's Police Medal for Distinguished Service in 1992. (He had earlier been awarded the Indian Police Medal for Meritorious Service in 1985.)
His publications include Science : The Living Adventure—Astronomy and Space (1995), Science : The Living Adventure—Meaning of Science (1995), and Science : The Living Adventure—Medicine, Medical Technology and Health (1999) and Science : The Living Adventure—Nature and Biology. This is his fifth book, which in addition to science contains seven scholarly and delightful essays on Shakespeare, which reveal his vast knowledge, of Shakespeare's plays that would stimulate even the layman's interest, in the works of the greatest dramatist of all time, three thought-provoking essays on the human condition, seven incisive articles on life-style of Indians settled in America and some other essays on several general subjects.
I am fortunate to have imbibed, retained and fostered from my early childhood the various attributes of science and the enlivening and ennobling influence of art and literature. This has been made possible due to the influence of the scientific attitude and temper, as well as the artistic and aesthetic values displayed by my enlightened grandparents and my parents. My grandfather, the Late Sir Alladi Krishnaswamy Iyer, a legal luminary, an intellectual giant, a renowned jurist, one of the founding fathers of the Indian Constitution, and a great connoisseur and patron of art and literature, my revered father the late V.M. Subramanian, an eminent and distinguished engineer, and an international Civil Servant who served the United Nations with distinction for about two and a half decades, and my revered mother Mrs. V.S. Meenakshi, also a great connoisseur of art and literature have been the source of inspiration for me to venture into and explore the ever expanding frontier of scientific knowledge and 'the realms of gold' in the words of John Keats.
Recognizing my passion for Shakespeare and my love for English poetry at a very early age my perceptive mother provided me with an opportunity to get the guidance of one of the most knowledgeable professors in the English language in our country, the late Professor N. Balakrishan of Loyal College, Chennai—a teacher, who could recognize in a student genuine love for literature and stimulate his interest further, so as to bring out his full potential. He belongs to a breed that has vanished. Hence, I may be permitted to modestly claim that by the age of fourteen I had been able to acquire a high degree of interest in and association with the plays and poems of Shakespeare and the poetical works of the major English poets.
I also had at an early age the privilege of listening to great scientists like Dirac, Powell, Gamow and Raman and more recently Francis Crick, James Watson, Roald Hoffman and Charles Towns.
My recent forays into the world of scientific journalism are continuing to give opportunity to meet great scientists. I see in every such interaction yet another golden opportunity for a humble student of science like me to feel the pulse and spirit of the giants of science of our times.
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