#NewsBytesExclusive: An interview with Physics Guru Dr. HC Verma
Dr. HC Verma needs no introduction. Almost every student who has studied Physics, especially IIT-JEE/engineering aspirants and students, knows him as the Physics Guru who authored their Bible, "Concepts of Physics". The retired IIT-Kanpur professor is highly regarded for his Physics books and teaching methods. In an exclusive interview with NewsBytes, Dr. Verma talks about education in India and gives tips for students and teachers alike.
Dr. Harish Chandra Verma is an experimental physicist and a former professor at IIT Kanpur. He was born in Bihar's Darbhanga in 1952. He pursued BSc (Hons.) in Physics at Patna Science College. He later did MSc (Physics) and PhD at IIT-K. Dr. Verma joined Patna Science College as a lecturer in 1979. He later became an assistant professor at IIT-K in 1994.
Dr. Verma, who retired as an IIT-K professor in 2017, starts his day at around 5:00 am and spends most of his time writing, replying to emails or questions from students, apart from developing educational material at different levels, right from middle school to graduation. Currently, he is also developing online courses and experiments for teaching science to students.
As mentioned earlier, Dr. Verma is developing and offering online courses/lectures for students to learn various concepts of Physics in a better manner. Those who want to learn it all from the Physics Guru himself can visit these websites to register: www.hcverma.in and bsc.hcverma.in.
Explaining how he came up with the two-volume "Concepts of Physics", Dr. Verma said that after teaching for 3-4 years at Patna Science College, he realized that the available books "were not connecting Physics to life"- the real culprit behind students not enjoying the subject. After discovering this core issue -disconnect in the classroom- he decided to bring "Concepts of Physics".
Almost all science students consider Dr. Verma as their "Physics Guru". When asked who his guru is, he replies, "My students," adding, "Even currently, I am learning many things from my students," suggesting that learning is a constant process and it should be.
When asked about India's investment in higher education, Dr. Verma -while agreeing that the country isn't investing enough- says the problem lies elsewhere. He says, "Even if the government invests a lot of money, that will not bear fruit... The basic problem is somewhere else." "Our teaching (methods)...(are) so dry...and monotonous. This has to be sorted; after that only funding will help," he adds.
"In the colleges and universities, the brains (of students) are shaped. There, work has to be done; teachers should be trained and motivated. Though there is funding from the government, we don't have the right kind of trainers (who can train teachers)," Dr. Verma says.
Dr. Verma says teachers should love and enjoy their profession, adding, "That's how I am working 18 hours a day. Teachers must discover...they can and should do it." He advises students to focus on learning and not cramming, adding they can also utilize online resources available nowadays. He says, "The thing is not about cramming equations and formulae, it is to feel the subject."
"The thing is that Science, or any other subject, is not to be disconnected from the kind of life we are living. Once you connect that, you start enjoying and can excel and add to the knowledge base," Dr. Verma says to students.