Standing on the shoulders of giants

“If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”

Isaac Newton

Keeping curiosity alive

This famous quote by Newton has been an inspiration to many students of Science, I am one among them. Two years ago, in July 2018, I had started to learn something new. It was the skill of making info-graphics using an application on my phone. As I pondered on a subject to try my info-graphic-making skills on, I thought of scientific inventions and discoveries. I made many designs to completely understand the design tool on my phone. However, the trial subject held my attention. I christened one design I made as ‘Standing on the shoulders of giants’.  This design became a daily exercise. What started as a creative exploration turned into a daily series. Today, the series completes 731 days. The intention was to share some inspiration with the readers and followers of NumberNagar®. In the last 730 days, I have shared the info-graphic quite diligently on social media channels. The unintended consequence has been that the daily ritual has added immense value to my self-learning journey.

Learning by doing

Two years of consistent work on the info-graphic has been a positive influence in my life.

Gaining knowledge

During this creation, I have gained knowledge of at least 500 concepts of Science. This knowledge has added a new dimension to my teaching. Many times, I have used the concept or story on the same day in one of my classes. Happy coincidence!

Sharing and discussions

Because I create these with the primary objective of sharing with people, the info-graphics have added to the collective knowledge of the audience as well. Everyone does not have something to say every day. However, something inspires someone someday. Then, they reach out to me and other members of the NumberNagar® team with a question or a comment or a story. This has given rise to a platform for discussion about the things that inspire different people.

It has been a pleasant journey. Many friends have expressed interest to know more about local heroes who have contributed to the field of literature, science, technology, art, and learning. In the last two years, my focus has been scientific inventions and milestones. In future editions, I shall make it more comprehensive of the various fields of learning.

Sharpening the mind

This exercise has sharpened my mind and kept my appetite for learning high. Every day there are at least 6 giants I read about and learn their contributions to the improvement of human knowledge. Out of these, I select one based on different criteria, some of these are listed below.

  • relevance to everyday life – Eg: Who made popcorn famous? Who invented nachos?
  • award-winning work that changed a great deal in their field of study – Eg: Nobel prize winners
  • relevance to a specific day – Eg: π day or 3-14 and its connection to Einstein

Perspectives

This exercise has also given me a new perspective of the world around us; the way people have worked without the inclination towards profit. For instance:

  • Nikola Tesla and his myriad ground-breaking inventions
  • How Charles Darwin’s obsession to travel the world led to the understanding of the origin of species
  • How a simple problem of keeping things in order led to the invention of the safety pin

I compare these dedicated individuals to today’s mad rush of entrepreneurship with the seemingly single objective of raking in millions in investment. I am left wondering whether we have missed the larger picture of life and social well-being.

Continuing the journey

This introspection motivates me further to keep sharing inspiring bits of information with the next generation. I want to educate them about the ‘pleasure of finding things out’. I wish that my students become the giants on whose shoulders the next generation of learners can stand and see further.

For the next 365 days, I have resolved to learn about the giants from India spread across different fields of achievement. These knowledge bytes have fascinated me ever since I was a child and continue to fascinate me to this day.

I leave you to enjoy a small sample of the designs created over the last two years.

First design in the series
One year after starting
Hard to choose, so they both got featured

If you wish to receive these designs on WhatsApp, please send a message to +91 63612 02395. You could also follow NumberNagar® on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram.

If you have any personality in mind whom you want to be featured in the series, please write to us in the comments section.

Featured image credits: Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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Sriraghavan S M

Sriraghavan S M

Sriraghavan (Raghu) is an Astronomer by qualification (MSc, Astronomy, Bangalore University) and a teacher by passion. He is a trained counsellor and psychotherapist. His firm belief and conviction to transform the education system in India led him to be an entrepreneur through NumberNagar®. His core work at NumberNagar® revolves around product presentations, academic content, and training. He teaches Maths and Science to young students, rubbing off his passion to them. He trains teachers as well, inspiring them to better themselves. He has taught Physics in educational institutes, during his early career days. He has travelled extensively all over Karnataka, training teachers and popularising Astronomy. He advocates multiple intelligence and is constantly on the lookout for new things to learn. He is ambidextrous and enjoys sketching. He was an avid cricket player in his younger days. He is an enthusiastic biker and uses long solo motorcycle rides as means of reflection and rejuvenation.
Sriraghavan S M

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