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1. I have read your book (Our physics so far) and would like to have a discussion with you on physics/metaphysics. Is it possible?

- Definitely yes! I am always looking for people to discuss physics/metaphysics with, regardless of whether you've read my book. Learning about your perspective really stimulates and helps me in my quest. Just drop me an email at (preferably mention the gist of what you would like to say) and I will get back to you as soon as possible and then we can fix a date together to meet online.

2. Would you be interested in reading my research paper?

- I would recommend not sending your research paper to me (or anyone else unless you trust that person and he/she is qualified to give advice). You can dig up some good journals online and submit your paper there. If you are young (still a high school student), I would recommend submitting your paper to the Young Scientists Journal here.

3. What do you love the most about physics?

- When people listen to romantic songs (the ones in which the boy is hopelessly in love with the girl, but thinks he is not good enough for her), they usually think of their girlfriend or crush. I don't listen to such songs often, but when I do, I think of physics. Physics is my crush. Physics is my only weakness. I know I'm not good enough for her, she is way too great, but I still love her. I wasn't in love with physics from the beginning. This change came about when I realized I could never rest until I figured out how the universe works (I know I'll never be able to do that, but let's keep our dreams high). I realized physics is magic. You are trying very hard to answer a particular question, and then you have a fundamental insight that changes the entire worldview, answers a lot more than this particular question, and gives rise to a thousand new questions. This doesn't happen daily, but the fact that this has happened a few times, in my opinion, makes physics much, much more exciting than the best crime thriller out there. And physics is about the real world. There is a devilish intellectual satisfaction in uncovering the secrets of the universe. It's like we are playing with the mind of God. When I learned that the inclusion of an extra, hidden dimension can account for electromagnetism in a world which is consistent with Einstein's general relativity, my mind was blown away. Such an ingenious way to unify gravity with electromagnetism. Both gravity and electromagnetism can be described by ripples in the fabric of five-dimensional spacetime. Of course, we now know that these Kaluza-Klein theories are incorrect, but string theory attempts to unify the four forces using extra dimensions. The idea was very important. Then there's dark matter and dark energy. Black holes. These concepts are as fascinating to me as a Moriarty crime is to Sherlock Holmes. That's why I love physics: it's exciting, and it's totally worth it. Also, I should add, my interest in physics increased manifold after I learned about pattern formation in Nature. You see patterns everywhere. One example that comes to my mind is the Chladni patterns. Basically, when you have a large number of fine particles (like sand, for example) vibrating at a particular resonant frequency, these particles arrange themselves in particular patterns (called Chladni patterns). I thought of Chladni patterns because we recently performed this experiment at college using a speaker, an online tone generator, some sand and a plate containing the sand. We also attempted the experiment using wood dust and water. We had to take care of a lot of factors here, like surface tension (to reduce which we boiled the water slightly), etc.. So anyway, the thing is that, the projection of the orbitals of hydrogen atoms also resemble the Chladni patterns. And not just this, there are many more examples of the same (or similar) pattern emerging at different scales. And I regard these patterns, which crop up everywhere, as nothing less than "the face of God." Isn't this amazing? Do you need any further reasons to love physics? Well, there are many, many more reasons as well, but let me stop here.

4. What’s your favorite interpretation of quantum mechanics and why?

- First, let me tell you about a different possibility you probably haven't considered. Take a less fundamental subject like psychology. Open a psychology book and count the number of equations you find throughout the book and the number of words. Then take the ratio of the number of equations to the number of words. This number would approach zero. Take a textbook of a more fundamental science like physical chemistry, this number would be slightly larger, cause there are way more equations (and way less words) in a textbook of physical chemistry as compared to a psychology textbook. Now come to an even more fundamental science, physics. For physics, this number would be still larger. Open any good physics textbook, it is full of equations. The point is, it might be the case that as we go down deeper and deeper, words lose the ability to describe what's really going on. Language is a human construct, and it is foolish to assume language to be capable of describing everything. (I don't believe that mathematics exists objectively and fundamentally, so in my opinion mathematics is also a human construct, but it is different from language and it does a better job describing what's going on fundamentally, but recall that I always assert that we will not be able to answer every question. If the universe were just math, then it would have been possible to completely understand it. Math can take us very far, but I believe even math can't fully describe the universe. We will never completely understand the universe. And we humans are preprogrammed to easily understand language and not easily understand math because our early ancestors needed a language to communicate, and not math. Math wouldn't have given them any survival advantage. We have been speaking for way longer than we have been doing math, but that doesn't make language superior to math in describing the universe.) Anyway, coming back to the question, well, my second favorite interpretation of quantum mechanics is the "shut-up-and-calculate" interpretation. Quantum mechanics is a successful theory, it makes extremely accurate predictions. And it is mathematically well-defined. We know how to use quantum mechanics pretty well. So maybe we should just use quantum mechanics to calculate different properties of fundamental particles and investigate fundamental particles and forces. But any attempt to describe in language what's really going on deep down is doomed to fail and is a waste of time. That's just a possibility, and as I have already said, that's my second favorite interpretation of QM. The favorite interpretation is of course the many-worlds interpretation. Again, many will say that it is speculative and not testable. The very idea of parallel universes cannot be called a scientific idea. However, this is a completely deterministic and elegant interpretation of QM, and modern theories in cosmology also point at the existence of parallel universes. I think it is likely that the many-worlds interpretation is true. There are a lot of other interpretations, some of which I really like, some not so much and some I don't even properly understand. But from my knowledge, I would vote for the many-worlds interpretation. I would give superdeterminism the third place. And, although this was not asked in the question, the CopenHagen interpretation is my least favorite interpretation of quantum mechanics. 

5. Will we ever discover a theory of everything and will pure science come to an end then? Do you think we should focus more on empirical physics rather than the modern, speculative and mathematical theories of quantum gravity?

- I don't know whether we will ever formulate a theory of everything. New developments in science usually don’t prove that our older theories are incorrect, rather that they are special cases, applicable under some special circumstances, of a more general theory. So, will we ever discover the most general theory? Does such a theory exist, in the first place? Well, we don't know. And yeah, I believe that there is a limit to what we can know, and pure science would technically end once we reach that limit. As for the second question, well, I have talked with a lot of professors and science communicators about this. Many of them believe physics should be an empirical science. The modern speculative theories like string theory do not qualify as physics, because they make no testable prediction, and we have no way to verify that they are actually true. But I don't think that these theories are entirely nonsense and that we should stop working on them. Because if a theory is mathematically elegant and answers a lot of theoretical questions, it could be true. We understand very little about string theory, so maybe it's too early to expect experimental support. If you don't know the details of the theory, how can you figure out an experiment to test the theory? And, I admit it is all math and speculation and maybe a bit too radical, but can you suggest a better theory that will answer (or at least give possible answers to) all the questions? And if you are under the impression that all the conclusions we draw from performing experiments and doing empirical physics are true, then let me tell you, a lot of error can creep in during statistical analysis of data. Statistics is a dangerous tool. It's the best tool we have, sure, but even empirical physics need not be firmly true. And experimental physics would not be able to progress without inputs from theoretical physics. The problem today is that theoretical physics has advanced much, much faster than experimental physics, which is why we can't bridge the two. But that doesn't mean modern theoretical physics is wrong, philosophy, speculation and all that. String theorists didn't make up the story of strings and extra dimensions, they were led to those conclusions by some well-defined mathematics. But yeah, it may be true that there is no unifying theory, and even if there is such a theory, the approach majority of physicists take to discover such a theory is not the correct one. Like maybe some of our preconceived notions are incorrect. We need to consider each and every possibility. We should look for alternatives to string theory and loop quantum gravity in addition to researching these theories. We shouldn't get stuck on these theories. 


6. I am a singer/songwriter/musician and I would like to collaborate with you on a track. Is it possible?
- Actually, yes! I am open to collaborations (as long as it is a free collaboration), and if we do make a track together and I release it, I will always mention you as a featured artist. However, if you want me to help you with one of your releases, I am quite picky about that. I may agree, or I may not, depending on your material. But I won't say no to really good material. So feel free to hit me up.

7. I would like to join the Young Scientists Journal as an editor. Would you be able to help, being a member of the editorial team?

- No. I can do nothing about it. You can click here to visit our website. You will get all the information about the open positions and apply there. Anyone can apply, you don't need any help from any insider for that. All the best!

8. I have written an article which I wish to submit to the YSJ. Could you take a look at it before I submit, just to make sure everything's okay?

- No. I can't do that. Once you submit your article to our system, a subject editor will take a look and perform a plagiarism check. If your article is alright, it will be accepted for review.

9. Do you believe physics can explain consciousness?

- There are a lot of theories about consciousness and physics, and in general, I do believe physics, neuroscience and computer science can one day explain consciousness as an emergent property of physical matter. I think all this consciousness-is-fundamental stuff is utter nonsense, and consciousness is nothing but an emergent property. It arises from the arrangement of and interaction between the physical matter that makes up the brain, and nobody purposefully arranged this matter in this way. It's just permutation and combination. All the possible combinations occurred, and by itself, this "magical" combination also occurred at one point of time. Although I call it "magical," I believe it is, in theory, possible to explain consciousness using the known (or not-yet-known) laws of physics. Deriving the properties of something as complex and sophisticated as consciousness from first principles would be practically impossible. We don't have the computational power to carry out a calculation of this magnitude. But all I am saying, it can be done in theory. Consciousness is subject to the laws of physics. Consciousness is emergent, and that's it. However, I'm still in the process of researching and have not yet come to any firm conclusion. 

10. Do you believe in free will?

- A friend of mine asked this very question to me in college. I said I mostly don't believe in free will, while she asserted that free will must exist. It resulted in a row and ended in a challenge: before the end of our lives, either I would have to prove there's no free will, or she would prove the opposite. Now, the fact that I accepted this challenge shows what a great fool I am. If indeed there is no free will, the fact that I would row with my friend over free will was also predetermined! And there is no way to conclusively prove that free will exists, even if it actually does exist. So this is a question which is resistant to scientific analysis. It's not a scientific question. I suspect free will could be an emergent property of human consciousness (the only reason the friend I mentioned above hasn't killed me yet is that I have not completely ruled out the possibility that free will may exist!), but I think it is more likely that there is no free will. I say this with full knowledge of quantum indeterminacy and the uncertainty principle. We know a lot, but we still have much more to know, and it's too early to draw conclusions. And there are completely deterministic interpretations of quantum mechanics. And finally, even if I accept that the outcome of a quantum experiment is random and can't be predicted, it still doesn't mean our consciousness can influence this outcome. Determinism ruled out is not equal to free will verified. I believe that deep down, the universe is perfectly deterministic and ordered, just as Einstein believed, and that the apparent randomness is indicative of our incomplete knowledge. The reason I say the universe might be deterministic is that even randomness can be deterministic. There are laws that apply to random systems; random doesn’t mean it can’t be studied or understood. All I mean by deterministic is that the universe functions according to some universal laws. This reminds me of another important point, which I'd better discuss here. So this was pointed out to me by one of my readers recently; I have claimed that ordered complexity is a fortunate product of random processes. How do I reconcile this with my belief that the universe might be deterministic deep down? Well, to be honest, right now we don’t have enough knowledge to determine whether these two statements are conflicting. When I say ordered complexity is a fortunate product of random processes, I simply mean that everything happened spontaneously and not because of some greater power or God. But I don’t think this rules out the possibility of a deterministic universe. Notice the phrase “ordered complexity.” Ordered implies that certain rules are being followed, and thus determinism may hold. That's all.


11. I would like to join the Journal of Young Physicists as a contributor/editor. How to do it? 
- We are looking for contributors and editors. As a contributor, all you need to do is write short physics articles for us. Not too many. You just need to contribute a few hours per month. Or less, depending on your other commitments. You can click here for more information.

12. Would you agree to speak at my/our event about physics/consciousness/your journey?

- When I was young, I was really afraid of public speaking, but I have started loving it now. Public speaking would be an important part of my life, since I want to become a science popularizer alongside a physicist. And I have spoken a few times at my school and college. So yeah, I would surely love to speak at your event, but it depends on your location and other factors. However, feel free to contact me about it. If I can make it, I will go. Else, I am always ready to speak at your online event.


13. Why did you think founding the JYP is important? Also, what advice would you give to the youth regarding founding an organization?

- Well, as I have said many times, the primary purpose of founding the JYP is to create a platform for young students to publish their physics articles. Yeah, there already exist many such platforms, which are probably way better than the JYP. But I wanted to create a journal for young students dedicated only to physics and so I did. The JYP is also different from other journals for young students in some other aspects. The JYP is committed to popularizing physics and fostering the growth of young physicists. And as for the second question, well, I'm really not the right person to come to for such kind of advice. The JYP was a sudden and crazy idea. It paid off, but that is because of the support I received from you guys. Yes, there were many who criticized my decision to open the JYP, and I received a lot of hate mail and stuff like that. But I just ignored all of that. So yeah, the advice I would like to give to the youth is this: no matter what, follow your passion, have patience and never give up on your dreams. In the initial days of the JYP, I literally had to beg people to write and submit articles to keep the blog going, and today, even after rejecting a couple of articles, we have so many pending articles to review and publish. And yeah, I emphasize that this would never have been possible without your unwavering and unconditional support. So I'm grateful to all of you. 

14. Are you a nihilist? Do you believe in God?

- Well, I do consider myself a nihilist. But before you jump to the conclusion that I'm a depressed guy who thinks nothing meaningfully exists, everything is an illusion and that sort of thing, let me tell you: I am not a nihilist if that's your definition of nihilism. I just believe there is no inherent meaning in life and ultimately our lives are futile, and this only increases my urge to live my life in a way that is meaningful to me. I also believe that some features of the universe are the way they are because of chance, and not due to some divine reason. That's all. And also, I don't think we can classify a person as a nihilist and another person as a stoic and so on. Our philosophies are not the same at every point of time in our lives: sometimes I am a nihilist, sometimes a stoic, sometimes both. But yeah, mostly I am a nihilist. As for the second question, well, I would say I am an agnostic, and I also consider spending too much time on the question "Does God exist?" a waste of time. It will lead us to nowhere. And the question is not well defined. What do you mean by God? Discussing God means getting lost in metaphysical speculation. But in general, I believe that we don't need to invoke God to explain the universe. Either we will understand it fully in the course of time, or at least we will understand the fundamental principles on which it is based (even if we can't calculate every detail and every feature of it from this knowledge) or maybe there will always be some questions we won't ever be able to answer. It's foolish to assume that we can understand everything about the vast universe, although we have uncovered quite a lot. But I don't think it is a good idea to leave whatever we can't explain to God. Just accept that we can't know everything. 

15. You have a pretty large collection of airplane scale models. What’s your favorite airliner?

- I have flown in both the Boeing 737 and the Airbus A320. And although the 737 looks better than the A320, I have to admit that the A320 is probably the better airliner of the two. But my favorite airliner, in general, is the Boeing 777. And the 747 and the A380 make me emotional too. And yeah, I love the king as well. I nearly cried when I came to know that the only Antonov An-225 was destroyed in the Russia-Ukraine war. Well, I just mentioned these names (and didn't mention the A350, the 787 Dreamliner etc.), but I more or less like every airplane out there!

16. Have you ever regretted any decision of yours? How do you deal with regret?
- Well, yes, I have made many wrong decisions throughout the course of my life, and I do regret that. But I try not to focus too much on it. Humans make mistakes. The person you put your faith in may betray you any day, the choice you impulsively made may prove to be the wrong choice and so on… But whenever I feel regret, I convince myself that it could have been worse, and I have learned from my mistakes, these experiences have toughened me up and I am now better equipped to face the world, so, I say to myself and to you as well, let’s move on. 

17. How do you manage to do so much at once? Could you share any tips on time management?
- It seems like I’m doing a lot of stuff, but in reality, it’s not much. And to be honest, I am probably the last person you should turn to if you want advice on time management. I procrastinate a lot, and sometimes I’m extremely lazy and unproductive. But yeah, once an idea comes to my mind, I start working on it day and night. If the idea gives me a sense of purpose, I’m unstoppable. I work like anything. So it’s not really time management. I don’t do all these parallelly. I get these sudden bursts of motivation. But I admit that recently I have started doing stuff in an organized fashion and managing my time. That’s important, that definitely is. And one last thing. You see a lot of motivational videos saying stuff like “nothing’s impossible” and so on… I used to get extremely angry when I heard stuff like that. It’s easy to say “nothing’s impossible” but we all know that’s not true. However, if you want to succeed, if you want to do a lot of good stuff in your life, you have to believe this and work hard. I mean, work extremely hard (in other words, work so hard it would make Elon Musk proud). And never give up, even when it seems like you’re losing the game. This confidence is required to get you over the initial obstacles. That’s why you should believe “nothing’s impossible”, and really believe that. Again, that’s not true. And you have to stop sometimes. But if you are passionate about what you are doing and think it’s right, don’t give up. This does not guarantee success, but increases your chances of succeeding by a considerable amount. 


18. Who inspires you the most and why?

- To be honest, I am very fickle-minded regarding this. A lot of people inspire me, and with different intensities at different times. Some names that come to my mind are Elon Musk, APJ Abdul Kalam, Albert Einstein, Erwin Schrödinger, Issac Newton, Satyendra Bose, Amal Raychaudhuri, Edward Witten, Satyajit Ray, Alan Walker, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar Junior (yes, I love football!), Werner Heisenberg, Richard Feynman and many, many more. But there is one more person, who has always inspired me with the same (and greatest) intensity. He is always present at the very top of the list (the positions of the other persons are not fixed). And he is my father. I love his kindness and simplicity, I revere his intelligence and reasoning, and above all, I respect his honesty and struggle in life. He didn't get justice in his life. But he never thought of giving up. I won't say anything more here, but yeah, the answer to the question is my father. He inspires me the most. There are many more names that come to my mind, but let's not make this answer any



19. What do you think about the human future? 
- Well, climate change, the prospect of nuclear wars and pandemics - these are not good things. But we have survived worse situations, so I think the human race will not go completely extinct in the near future, provided there is no cosmic catastrophe, which is beyond our hands. What I really want to say is that just thinking about the human future is not going to do us any good. We should keep working and researching, and try to build a utopian future, while always trying to make sure that it all doesn’t end with dystopia. And I would really suggest that you watch this video (The Human Future by melodysheep). It’s just brilliant, and does a much better job answering the question of the human future. 

20. Are you working on any exciting new project at the moment? If yes, could you share some details?

- Well, the answer is an emphatic yes! I wanted to keep it a secret, but, well, why not reveal it... Yeah, I think I will reveal it. I will obviously not trumpet the fact right now, but if you have taken the trouble to come to the end of the FAQ page of my website, I think you deserve to have this information a bit early. I am writing another popular science book. I really don't know when it will be released, but I can give you a basic idea of the project. This book would be very different from Our physics so far. This book is actually about a crime that has not yet been solved (and probably never will be solved satisfactorily). It's a detective story, which is true. And the criminal in our story is way more deadly and intelligent than even the most dangerous criminal you have encountered in any crime thriller (like, say, Professor Moriarty from Sherlock Holmes). Guess who is our criminal? God. And what exactly is his crime? Creating the universe. And who are the detectives who are investigating this crime? Of course, the physicists. So yeah, I am not writing a crime thriller, it will be a popular science book on physics. But nothing like Our physics so far. It will be entirely different, novel and enjoyable. Stay tuned for updates! Also - this is extremely important - the fact that I'm writing a book titled The crimes of God (yes, that's what I've decided) doesn't mean I've started believing in God. I just take this little literary license. I'm not sure if I technically can use the word "literary license" in this context, but I think you get what I'm trying to say. And coming back to the question, well, we all are working on exciting projects, and I am no exception. However, I don't want to reveal the other projects I am working on (or planning to work on) right now. 


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