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The fascinating story of how India is transforming itself into a global science superpower.


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The fascinating story of how India is transforming itself into a global science superpower.

30 review for Geek Nation

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ed

    I have just finished Angela Saini's new book `Geek Nation: How Indian Science is Taking Over the World' and I loved it. Not only is it a rich and fascinating account of the progress of Indian science in many fields and of the conflict between science, modernity and traditional society. It is a sort of road movie as Angela travels India seeking out the truth, very much like a Raymond Chandler private eye. She has the same sometimes dark, ironic sense of humour, particularly when confronted by som I have just finished Angela Saini's new book `Geek Nation: How Indian Science is Taking Over the World' and I loved it. Not only is it a rich and fascinating account of the progress of Indian science in many fields and of the conflict between science, modernity and traditional society. It is a sort of road movie as Angela travels India seeking out the truth, very much like a Raymond Chandler private eye. She has the same sometimes dark, ironic sense of humour, particularly when confronted by some evidence-free assertions on the certainty of some far-out scientific hypothesis being true, or that the Vedas show that ancient Indians flew around in early far from aerodynamic aircraft. But I never sense any condescension in her stance. She has an open mind and a great sense of curiosity, which she follows all over India into biology, genetics, IT, nuclear power, agriculture, wherever the thread leads her. She also catches what is unique about the sheer size of Geek Nation. The number of qualified scientists, the relatively low cost of doing business, but also the paucity of resources in many research facilities run almost literally on a shoestring, but producing impressive results in many cases. She also shows some of the cultural differences around science in a less individualistic, less legalistic culture. In particular, her piece on open source biological research on the possible cures for Tuberculosis (neglected by western medical companies because only poor people tend to get it) is fascinating, and opened my eyes to new, creative ways to overcome the cost/benefit dilemmas of other infectious diseases similarly cash-starved by the global inequality of suffering demographics. Ultimately, though at the heart of this road movie is a strong moral sense. This is no journey of mere curiosity, but a quest for some answers as to how much science can help solve India's huge problems of corruption, poverty, inequality, power shortages, food shortages and related issues. She has a keen eye for what is performative bullshit, and what really offers some hope. Ultimately, she left me cautiously optimistic that India indeed can help lead the world in solving some of the tough problems. I loved her quote from Chintamani Nagesa Ramachandra Rao: ` I really want India to become great in science. All other things will shine when science shines'....Good science takes passion.....'We need real nutty guys doing science'

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sandeep Mertia

    Angela Saini’s “Geek Nation – how Indian Science is taking over the World” – is an attempt to answer an ever growing question in the world and particularly the west – Is India a geek nation? Saini, a UK based NRI science journalist, travels across India to the best campuses of engineering, science and technology education, research and enterprise. And interviews several innovators and leaders in the fields of science, which are helping to give birth to what she calls “world’s next scientific sup Angela Saini’s “Geek Nation – how Indian Science is taking over the World” – is an attempt to answer an ever growing question in the world and particularly the west – Is India a geek nation? Saini, a UK based NRI science journalist, travels across India to the best campuses of engineering, science and technology education, research and enterprise. And interviews several innovators and leaders in the fields of science, which are helping to give birth to what she calls “world’s next scientific superpower”. “India: it’s a nation of geeks, swots and nerds” reads the first line of the book description. This very first line reminds me of the new perception the world is reluctantly trying to adopt of India as a geeky or a scientific nation, as opposed to the recently popular one of a place of call centres and healing ashrams and the age old one of a mystical land of snake charmers and naked saints. To begin with Saini is forced to explain the title of her book. In the past to be a geek meant something of an oddball. And that’s why Infosys chairman NR Narayana Murthy asks Saini ‘is geek a good thing?’ Saini reassures him that being a geek is a good thing according to her book. According to her, “geekiness is all about passion. It’s about choosing science and technology or another intellectual pursuit and devoting your life to it”. For me one of the most interesting part of the book was in the first chapter when Saini interviews Dr. Vijay Singh who is the National Co-ordinator for Science Olympiads. Where he tells her about how sports are just not part of Indian culture but science is. Being a Physics Olympiad qualified I could almost hear him speak the same words he said three years back at the nationals. He talks about a wonder kid named Nitin Jain, IIT-JEE 2009 Topper and Gold Medallist at the International Astronomy, Astrophysics and Physics Olympiads, which everybody at my coaching institute including me wanted to be! So, to understand the ‘prototypical Indian nerd’ Saini goes to meet him next. He has recently written a book called the ‘The story of my success’. But as she interviews him she finds out that most of the part of that book has really been written by his parents and moreover the lack of excitement or vision for science shown by Nitin, shrinks my desire to be him or say to be a geek! She next visits IIT Delhi expecting it to be a geek factory, but after a week’s stay she concludes, “I had hoped to find a geek’s paradise here, but I haven’t. Instead of being the hothouses of intellectual curiosity and innovation…the IITs seem to have developed a culture of getting the grades and getting out.” Also she analyses well one of the reasons for IITians being like ‘drones’ and not ‘geeks’ is the coaching which makes students ‘burn-out’ even before they arrive. The above image of ‘drones’ gets amplified at India’s largest software company, Tata Consultancy Services, where its chief technology officer has been trying to engineer innovation for a while. The examples he cites to Saini thoroughly disappoint her. They smack of tech reconstruction and give an impression that what these IT giants are doing is not innovative work but providing quality resources at a very cheap rate to do a lot number crunching, outsourcing and such menial tasks. In fact TCS as well as other Indian IT giants spend less than half-a-per cent of their total income which accounts for a few million dollars on research as compared to the global giants like Microsoft, Google, Samsung, etc. which spend tens of billions of dollars on research! But there was and is some optimism. Yusuf Motiwala and Apul Nahata founders of a company in Bangalore called ‘TringMe’, made more than half a million dollars last year and have at least a million users worldwide of their innovative application which can make phone calls directly from web browser! The ‘Spoken Web Technology’ was designed and developed at the IBM’s India labs. Even the IIT Delhi which she had left unimpressed last time had something to offer after all. She writes about a club called ‘Technocracy’ started by students as they were tired of the theoretical, nose-in-a-book culture developing at the IIT. In the following chapters Saini talks about the Genetically Modified Crops research and usage scenario in India, the anti and for GM lobbies; the Vedic Sciences and the popular belief that ancient Hindu scriptures have mentions of all the science we see today as opposed to the views that it’s all pure superstition or might as well be an attempt to overcome an inferiority complex by overly glorifying the ages before the foreign rulers came in; the use of the ‘lie detector’ machines and massive developments in the field of forensic science and how it is helping our slow judicial system; Medical research in India; The coming up of e-governance; and finally about the annual Indian Science Congress. ‘Geek Nation’ is interesting and gripping, written in a fairly objective manner. Being a Science journalist she’s good at the job of explaining science – from aeronautics, to the pathology of tuberculosis and from working of a mind reading oscilloscope to the working of a thorium based nuclear reactor. Saini’s vivid portrait of hi-tech India reveals a country in a hurry. Best part of her approach being that she leaves the decision of ‘geeky’ or not ‘geeky’ to the reader. But Saini seems to have a romantic view of India, the rosy picture accentuated by the fact that economic conditions have led most developed nations to cut back their spending on science and technology and India, in contrast, is pumping money into this field. But Saini should know that geeky-ness, of the scale she is talking about, is a function of the milieu. And that is why Geek Nation – in part – seems to be another account by a young NRI who returns to India in search of some explanations especially when she draws the picture of Science Vs. Spirituality in pure black and white; or when she tries to portray the Indian bureaucracy and judiciary like an R.K. Laxman and thinks technology as the solution for fixing the bugs in our system… then may be in some distant future we’ll have a tech-pal or a geek-pal bill! :)

  3. 5 out of 5

    Priyavrata

    There are two kind of readers. First, those who read newspaper for the third page and others who actually read about events. This is a good book for the former who want to be entertained in a somewhat new way. Even among them, the book is not useful for native(Indian) readers but for those Western Citizens who believe India to be just a nation of 'snake-charmers' and 'babas', First of all, the title is misleading. 'Geek Nation: How Indian Science is Taking Over the World'. This title in a Non-Fi There are two kind of readers. First, those who read newspaper for the third page and others who actually read about events. This is a good book for the former who want to be entertained in a somewhat new way. Even among them, the book is not useful for native(Indian) readers but for those Western Citizens who believe India to be just a nation of 'snake-charmers' and 'babas', First of all, the title is misleading. 'Geek Nation: How Indian Science is Taking Over the World'. This title in a Non-Fiction Category and the author claiming in blurb, "...I want to know...Why...How...What new technologies they are creating..... figure out if this is a real scientific revolution" gives an impression that the book will be taking stock of Indian S&T achievements and cutting-edge endeavors across the board, how they are impacting society, how much have they achieved compared to other nations in the world, and what is there in store for future. And, all this in an interesting and innovative way. But, it turns out to be damp squib. Nine chapters in the book are nothing but 'diary pages of a science-graduate foreign/PIO tourist' cross-bred with 'a little background knowledge gleaned from newspaper and other articles'. It all is made to seem very insightful by appending interviews with some of the leaders in various related fields - UR Rao, NarayanMurthy, Vandana Shiva and few others. Add to this, sometimes, injection of simile and metaphor by the author to make the work as entertaining/exciting as a fiction makes the reading very stale and distasteful. Chapter 4 (Chariots of Gods), Chapter 5 ( The Mind Reading Machine) are completely redundant. Periphery should be explored when one has covered the core. In essence, this book is casual common-man description of IIT system (Ch1), IT industry (Ch 2), GMO debate (Ch 3), e-Governance (Ch 6), Bio-Medical research (Ch 7), Nuclear energy(Ch 8) and Space Programme (Ch 9)in India. This description is overloaded with unnecessary and sometimes very distasting narration of surroundings, people's looks etc. Out of 250 pages, real stuff can be leniently condensed to 30 pages maximum. A non-fiction is supposed to be full of ideas. If you really have an interest in knowing about Indian science. Just google about various dimensions, and read first two articles. You will, definitely. know more than what this book offers. I am really disappointed by the book and learnt a few things. Dont Go by Author's impressive credentials (Oxford, University, BBC and awards), hype and blurbs and waste your precious money. Having said all this, author needs to be commended for taking the initiative to write on such a 'geeky' subject with a lighter treatment.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Bobbi

    A very interesting read, the writing style is conversational and makes it easy to pick up the scientific content, the reader is definitely swept up in Saini’s journey. Personally, I felt that parts could have benefitted from being more concise. Having said this, I cannot wait to pick up Saini’s next book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Darshan Elena

    A fun read. I wish the author had been more attentive to the concerns of activists such as Vandana Shiva who question the marketing and consequences of GMOs. I also think a more detailed consideration of how caste and class influence the structures of science research and application would have deepened Saini's analysis. I appreciated the author's attention to ancient technologies as well as modern religious beliefs, and I learned a lot from her reflections on Nehru's commitment to science for t A fun read. I wish the author had been more attentive to the concerns of activists such as Vandana Shiva who question the marketing and consequences of GMOs. I also think a more detailed consideration of how caste and class influence the structures of science research and application would have deepened Saini's analysis. I appreciated the author's attention to ancient technologies as well as modern religious beliefs, and I learned a lot from her reflections on Nehru's commitment to science for the people and nation and his influence in more recent decades. A good read for anyone interested in global science/politics and newer and emerging technologies.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Rosie

    This is an exciting exploration through both the history of Indian science, it's present and it's possible futures. There are so many interesting and innovative ideas here that are inspiring to read about. I must say I also very much love the way that one of science main purposes is to help the poorest people in their everyday lives. Creating the automated bill payment stations to help cut out the corruption and bribery. Making communication systems more available, to bring healthcare, food and This is an exciting exploration through both the history of Indian science, it's present and it's possible futures. There are so many interesting and innovative ideas here that are inspiring to read about. I must say I also very much love the way that one of science main purposes is to help the poorest people in their everyday lives. Creating the automated bill payment stations to help cut out the corruption and bribery. Making communication systems more available, to bring healthcare, food and education to more people. The feel that it should be for the public good and not for the profit making potential of businesses is refreshing and to me feels like what the true heart of science and discovery and innovation should be. I am very glad that the concept of trying to patent every molecule is not part of the mindset and I think western science is lesser for having so much of that. It's clear how so many of the huge drug companies are simply not interested in curing illnesses that don't affect rich countries and people. There were parts of science and technology I am not generally as interested in which I found engaging and interesting to learn more about. Angela Saini is an excellent and engaging writer and after first finding her work through Inferior, I'm very glad I went back to this earlier book too. There are many parts of it I would be interested to follow up on 8 years later and see what has happened. I am already looking forward to reading her next book Superior. A great science writer for anyone with even a passing interest in the vast world of science and understanding.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kadri

    I found this book interesting in the choice of examples that Saini brings for and against considering India a "geek nation". It seems to be pretty divided - there are some awesome reasons for saying that it might be, and then there a very serious reasons for claiming that it couldn't possibly be a "geek nation" for reasons 1 to n-1 ... Saini provides some insight into the phenomenon of the IIT, how Jawaharlal Nehru was an important force behind getting India started on a path to employing more te I found this book interesting in the choice of examples that Saini brings for and against considering India a "geek nation". It seems to be pretty divided - there are some awesome reasons for saying that it might be, and then there a very serious reasons for claiming that it couldn't possibly be a "geek nation" for reasons 1 to n-1 ... Saini provides some insight into the phenomenon of the IIT, how Jawaharlal Nehru was an important force behind getting India started on a path to employing more technological solutions in solving social problems, how medical research in India is different than in the west, why there's so much active opposition to GM crops, why is thorium going to be in Inda's energy future, and how religion tries to adopt science and claim priority of discoveries and technology. More here

  8. 4 out of 5

    Varapanyo Bhikkhu

    ...a risible and miserable text which argues that India was destined to be a scientific superpower but was held back by “invasion, colonisation, famine, and partition” which “all but stripped the nation of its scientific legacy.” The White male is Saini’s ‘folk devil,’ and one can imagine that Richard Lynn represents more than a scientist to her. I note that Saini’s article makes a brief, telling, reference to the description of Pakistan by race scientists as a “low IQ country,” though she was u ...a risible and miserable text which argues that India was destined to be a scientific superpower but was held back by “invasion, colonisation, famine, and partition” which “all but stripped the nation of its scientific legacy.” The White male is Saini’s ‘folk devil,’ and one can imagine that Richard Lynn represents more than a scientist to her. I note that Saini’s article makes a brief, telling, reference to the description of Pakistan by race scientists as a “low IQ country,” though she was unable bring herself to mention that India ranks even lower (although there is much variation, and Indian immigrants to the US are a particularly talented group). Andrew Joyce

  9. 4 out of 5

    Suman

    A London born Indian scientist who goes in the quest of scientific temper in the country. She explores science in ancient texts to the IITs to the modern temples of science in Bangalore in search of why our talent to research isn't in proportion to our population. She mostly finds that even if people are keen, the lack of facilities in India makes it harder. All in all, she goes to a lot of places that conduct research but somehow the book doesn't seem to come together by the end. A London born Indian scientist who goes in the quest of scientific temper in the country. She explores science in ancient texts to the IITs to the modern temples of science in Bangalore in search of why our talent to research isn't in proportion to our population. She mostly finds that even if people are keen, the lack of facilities in India makes it harder. All in all, she goes to a lot of places that conduct research but somehow the book doesn't seem to come together by the end.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Nikhil

    Reading this book 8 years after it was written/published was interesting. The sections on GM food, disease and drugs, Y2K were good reads. Most of the notes start with the author being excited about something new and novel being solved, and then getting disappointed with the results. The people she meets during her research and the interviews with them were good reads.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Raghu

    Angela Saini is a British born person of Indian origin. She believes that Indians, wherever they live, are a bunch of nerds, geeks, dweebs, boffins and swots. Her definition of geek is positive though, unlike the usual one in the West. For her, geekiness is all about passion, about choosing science and technology or another intellectual pursuit and devoting one's life to it. History's ultimate geeks, she says, are the men and women who sacrificed their lives on the altar of science risking failu Angela Saini is a British born person of Indian origin. She believes that Indians, wherever they live, are a bunch of nerds, geeks, dweebs, boffins and swots. Her definition of geek is positive though, unlike the usual one in the West. For her, geekiness is all about passion, about choosing science and technology or another intellectual pursuit and devoting one's life to it. History's ultimate geeks, she says, are the men and women who sacrificed their lives on the altar of science risking failure to pursue an obsession. Saini travels across the length and breadth of India investigating what new technologies India is creating, what issues drive their scientific passion and how science is being used in the service of its poor. The result is this book with a number of interesting revelations and observations and a composite picture of how India looks at science. For someone like me who grew up in the India of the 1960s, it is nice to see the credit and respect she gives India's first prime Minister Nehru for inculcating a culture of pursuing science among our people. Nowadays, it is fashionable in India to knock down Nehru without understanding the contribution of the man. Perhaps, it takes someone young and foreign like Ms.Saini to see it. Among the innovative work that goes on in India, she documents the following of interest: One is the Spoken Web. It is an innovation being done at the IBM labs in India. The basic idea behind it is that , in the same way as people use written words to surf the web on their computers, a voice-based web lets them use spoken words to surf spoken information on their mobile phones. Pieces of speech are linked to each other in the same way as the World Wide Web. The need is driven by the fact that India speaks 1500 languages and dialects and also has a large illiterate population. With the Spoken Web, dialects which are spoken only in a single village can have its own network and it will also help the 15 million blind people in india. The other innovative work that I found of great interest is Open Source Drug Development. Tuberculosis kills Indians by the thousands each year.To find a drug to combat this new drug-resistant strain of TB, the pharmaceutical industry's assessment is about a billion dollars whereas the market for the drug in SE Asia and Africa, where it is most prevalent, is only 300 million dollars. So, no western drug company would put in the money for the search of a drug though one Indian dies of TB every one and a half minute. Saini talks about an innovative approach in India to find a solution. An Open Source Drug Development initiative, called OSDD, on the lines of the Open source movement in computer software, has been taken to develop a drug and make it available for the millions who die of it. We have to wait and see if it succeeds. On the Genetically Modified agricultural products, she talks about a long-life banana being developed. She also reports on a thorium based nuclear power reactor development saying that India is ready to commercialise 300 MW thorium AHWR(Advanced Heavy Water Reactor) reactors by the year 2020. She also quotes the scientists as saying that the FBR (Fast Breeder Reactor) in Chennai is the only thorium based reactor working anywhere in the world. However, she has not said much about the doubts which have been cast on the safety of these reactors or on the reliable working of the FBR itself. The Nuclear Power establishment in India has been very secretive about all this and have not responded satisfactorily to the criticisms from elsewhere in the world regarding this innovative technology. So, one finds it difficult to fully share Ms.Saini's enthusiasm for this achievement. Another point of interest is her investigation into the familiar Indian claims about many of the Western scientific advances having been already known to 'Hindu culture' millenniums ago. She makes the interesting observation that whereas devout Christians normally debunk science in favor of the Bible's claims, Hindus seem to want the approval of science to endorse their religion! She speculates rightly that it is most likely due to centuries of dominance by the European powers through colonization. Another observation of hers is that there is more freedom in scientific pursuits in India than in the West. She says that people who make outlandish claims still get a place to articulate their views in the Indian Science Congress every year. She also talks about a 'mind-reading machine' being used by the Mumbai police. This device records brain activity while questioning an accused person to determine if he/she was telling the truth. To me, this seems to point to excessive blind faith in science as opposed to the usual excessive belief in religion in India. I wish the author, instead, had looked deeper into something like the $35 tablet computer produced in India, called 'Aakash', which is an interesting initiative to help bridge the digital divide in developing nations. Overall, the book is a very good read even though the title '...How Indian Science is taking over the World' is a bit of a hyperbole.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Caroline

    Very readable account of India's accomplishments and aims, in terms of tech, medicine, space and health. Very readable account of India's accomplishments and aims, in terms of tech, medicine, space and health.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Daya4goal

    Somehow i Feel subject was forgetten

  14. 4 out of 5

    The Tick

    Outdated now but moderately interesting.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Refine Lubis

    This book is totally interesting. This is just like reading a science fiction in a way too, but bare in mind nothing fictions over here, all based on personal observation done by Angela Saini. I am always interested to find out what India will contribute to the new world with China is in the rise as world economic power. India has been so quite, not so much open sources explaining what they are going to contribute more on this new world. But I always suspect India will come with the new wave in This book is totally interesting. This is just like reading a science fiction in a way too, but bare in mind nothing fictions over here, all based on personal observation done by Angela Saini. I am always interested to find out what India will contribute to the new world with China is in the rise as world economic power. India has been so quite, not so much open sources explaining what they are going to contribute more on this new world. But I always suspect India will come with the new wave in science and innovation, and I guess this book somehow feed me with some affirmation of my thought of India. What is so clear to me when I read about India's point of view which is very different from the west way of thinking in Science is their belief that Science is part of Spiritual Journey. The book mentioned about the book called Vaimanika Shastra, written in 6000 lines of verse, comprising mantras dating back at least 5000 years ago. This book highlighted the concept of aerospace, UFO, Solar Power, even computer concept. It has outstanding Textbook of Mathematical Astrology, The Indian Epehemeris of Planet Poisitions, Span of LIfe: Astrological Thesis on Longevity. This book started off with the chapter called Brain Games - how in India challenging the capabilities of brain is a part of daily life. Kids playing chess since the young age, their prestigious ITT India Institute of Technology that deprives some of their best talent refuse to go to ivy league to study engineering. The booming of Electronic Cities that try to copy the silicon valley all over major cities of India. Some of their entrepreneur not only bring the building, but it build the ambiance of the typical sillicon valey in US to India. The book then continues with the hunger of Indian Scientist on solving major world problem like finding drugs solution that is cheaper and faster way to reach out those who are on the lower level, help sustain the farm during the difficult time by providing genetic modification solution that will help farmers. India is big in population many of them live in lowest poverty line, there are bodies and institution in India that try to solve this problem from scientific point of view. They provide technology and system that help speed up the solution. It is also astonishing to read some of the prominent noble prize highly recognizable worldwide scientist from India, who against modern technology even it is created to solve problem. She disagree on the idea of changing nature, she rather change human behavior that destroy the nature. There is a big discussion inside the book how the rooted and grounded moral belief of those in Indian Society guard the balance in nature and modern technology. In all - I enjoy this book, It is an amazing discovery for me to get to know India better, the people, their value, their belief and their cities. Thank you for writing the book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

    Saini has written a readable and engaging perspective on science and technology in India today. A worthwhile read even if not convincing that "Indian science is taking over the world". I was intrigued to see the indigenous manner of developing science and technology in India - one that was refreshing to see. In many western countries, Australia included, science has become a business focused on 'numbers' and not the numbers of science but the numbers of impact - dulling measures of scientific 'i Saini has written a readable and engaging perspective on science and technology in India today. A worthwhile read even if not convincing that "Indian science is taking over the world". I was intrigued to see the indigenous manner of developing science and technology in India - one that was refreshing to see. In many western countries, Australia included, science has become a business focused on 'numbers' and not the numbers of science but the numbers of impact - dulling measures of scientific 'impact' that can only have meaning to a mediocrity of bureaucrats. As Saini demonstrates in this book scientific progress is about nurturing that curiosity, the indefinable enjoyment of asking questions and pursuing solutions, as well as improving the lives of ordinary people through the use of innovative technology-the application of basic science. Saini illustrates that India, on these criteria, is having an impact far beyond the 'number'. A worthwhile and inspiring read for anyone interested in science in society and/or the emerging powerhouse that is India.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sankarshan

    There are a couple of things that jump out. I don't think that the author actually ended up meeting 'geeks' or, people passionate about technology and innovation. For those in the know OSDD is one of the good stories and for those who are coming across it for the first time they may find it interesting to read more about. Perhaps there was an element of reader expectation failure for me - I picked up the book thinking it would be a journey among the current crop of geeks in India and, what could There are a couple of things that jump out. I don't think that the author actually ended up meeting 'geeks' or, people passionate about technology and innovation. For those in the know OSDD is one of the good stories and for those who are coming across it for the first time they may find it interesting to read more about. Perhaps there was an element of reader expectation failure for me - I picked up the book thinking it would be a journey among the current crop of geeks in India and, what could be done to encourage geek and hackspaces. This book isn't so. It also tends to search for passion/geekiness in monoliths like ISRO, TCS and similar space where business drivers tend to isolate and not nurture the geek side of things. The book doesn't follow through with the notion of technology re-search that goes on. All said it is a good book and, for what it is worth I'd rather attend a talk by the author than re-read the book.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Girish

    Almost as if conducting an experiment on confirmation bias, the author starts with the assumption that India is a nation full of geeks and then visits various research institutes seeking evidence towards this hypothesis. While well-written, this book is probably meant for foreigners who are not aware of India's technological advances or for Indians who have not been keeping themselves updated with India's scientific endeavors, both of whom will definitely enjoy this book. There is hardly anythin Almost as if conducting an experiment on confirmation bias, the author starts with the assumption that India is a nation full of geeks and then visits various research institutes seeking evidence towards this hypothesis. While well-written, this book is probably meant for foreigners who are not aware of India's technological advances or for Indians who have not been keeping themselves updated with India's scientific endeavors, both of whom will definitely enjoy this book. There is hardly anything new uncovered by the author through her interviews, that has not already made headlines in Indian newspapers at one point or another. I suppose, the fact that the author offers a fresh, third person perspective is a plus point. Apart from that, there is very little to recommend this book.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ken

    Geek Nation is an enjoyable chronicle of the author's journey through various Indian locales that are connected to the country's ongoing quest to become a scientific and technological superpower. Saini tells her story through interviews with key figures in the IT, physical sciences, biotech, ag-biotech, and medical sectors. She even addresses the curious but commonplace juxtaposition of science and spirituality that is uniquely Indian. She highlights the challenges associated with innovation in a Geek Nation is an enjoyable chronicle of the author's journey through various Indian locales that are connected to the country's ongoing quest to become a scientific and technological superpower. Saini tells her story through interviews with key figures in the IT, physical sciences, biotech, ag-biotech, and medical sectors. She even addresses the curious but commonplace juxtaposition of science and spirituality that is uniquely Indian. She highlights the challenges associated with innovation in a country where a majority of people live below the poverty line. Overall, the book is a worthwhile read for anyone interested in learning about India's scientific past--or its future.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Deepak Jacob

    A decent and honest account about Indian science but it may seem a bit chauvinistic to any westerner as he/she may find it overglorified.The author has tried to bring in different aspects (both for and against) of the various themes that she has covered from an outsiders perspective. Any patriotic Indian who finds himself on top of the world after reading the book cannot be blamed as thats the way the author has laid down the facts and figures unearthed from archaic sastras and modern statistica A decent and honest account about Indian science but it may seem a bit chauvinistic to any westerner as he/she may find it overglorified.The author has tried to bring in different aspects (both for and against) of the various themes that she has covered from an outsiders perspective. Any patriotic Indian who finds himself on top of the world after reading the book cannot be blamed as thats the way the author has laid down the facts and figures unearthed from archaic sastras and modern statistical data. A good read to get an understanding about different themes that has an Indian touch ranging from GM crops, Aviation to IT, Maths and so on.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Roopinder Singh

    Saini explores how science and religion co-exist in India, so much so that there are many who claim that scientific knowledge has it origins in ancient Indian texts. She meets Sanskrit scholars and sees their blueprint of an ancient aircraft described in the Vaimanika Shastra, translated by G.R. Josyer, in 1946. She also finds the paper by five researchers at the Indian Institute of Science in Bengalaru, who ripped apart the text. For a longer review, please click here: http://www.roopinder.com/em Saini explores how science and religion co-exist in India, so much so that there are many who claim that scientific knowledge has it origins in ancient Indian texts. She meets Sanskrit scholars and sees their blueprint of an ancient aircraft described in the Vaimanika Shastra, translated by G.R. Josyer, in 1946. She also finds the paper by five researchers at the Indian Institute of Science in Bengalaru, who ripped apart the text. For a longer review, please click here: http://www.roopinder.com/empire-of-th...

  22. 4 out of 5

    Karthik

    Inspiring to those who want to pursue research as a career. Gives insights into some of the ground breaking research being carried in our country. Refreshing tales of some of the scientists and their motivation for research. Not a naysayer's critique version,sets Indian research in perspective, gives a fair idea about the lacunae of the system and carries the optimistic touch throughout the book. Inspiring to those who want to pursue research as a career. Gives insights into some of the ground breaking research being carried in our country. Refreshing tales of some of the scientists and their motivation for research. Not a naysayer's critique version,sets Indian research in perspective, gives a fair idea about the lacunae of the system and carries the optimistic touch throughout the book.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sonia Thomas

    An interesting take on the scientific mind of India. Being a software engineer myself, i agree to most of what she says about the IT industry.. Yes we do churn out hundreds in fact thousands of Drones every year.. The work needed is in the transformation from Drones to Geeks.. All in all a good book. Came to know about things that I was completely unaware of such as OSDD,Open Source Drug Discovery, an initiative started by Indians

  24. 5 out of 5

    gramakri

    I am not sure whether this book presents a complete scenario of scientific research in India but whatever is presented in this book certainly makes an interesting read. Therefore I would recommend this book to anyone who is keen on knowing some of the interesting facets of scientific research scenario in India around 2008-2010. Read about the themes covered and people featured in this book @ http://bookwormsrecos.blogspot.in/201... I am not sure whether this book presents a complete scenario of scientific research in India but whatever is presented in this book certainly makes an interesting read. Therefore I would recommend this book to anyone who is keen on knowing some of the interesting facets of scientific research scenario in India around 2008-2010. Read about the themes covered and people featured in this book @ http://bookwormsrecos.blogspot.in/201...

  25. 5 out of 5

    Shivam Sharma

    This book by an NRI gives a very good and true light on the status of technology and science in India. Are we really that good in this field? Reading this book, one realizes that we are only manual labor in this field. The real innovation is still happening in the West. However, a few entities are doing commendable work. This includes some government organizations like ISRO. As the author finds out the IT sector in India is sadly nothing but factory labor.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tushar Bisht

    nothing Geeky about the book, it meanders from engineering colleges to isro to medical research institutes to the nexus of science and religion in modern india. At times the narration deviates from the 'geeky' to the modern state of science in india.. to the interesting transitional stage of the indian society. nothing Geeky about the book, it meanders from engineering colleges to isro to medical research institutes to the nexus of science and religion in modern india. At times the narration deviates from the 'geeky' to the modern state of science in india.. to the interesting transitional stage of the indian society.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Dirk

    If I have to make a choice for best book of 2011, Angela Saini's Geek Nation would be at or close to the top of the list. I credibly interesting and insightful on India, Science, education and para science/religion. Very relevant for science educators and communicators. Looking forward to Angela Saini's next book. If I have to make a choice for best book of 2011, Angela Saini's Geek Nation would be at or close to the top of the list. I credibly interesting and insightful on India, Science, education and para science/religion. Very relevant for science educators and communicators. Looking forward to Angela Saini's next book.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Charles

    Fascinating overview of the state of technology in India. In some sectors, India is a like a factory with very little innovation. Lowered amounts of innovation are offset by the large number of workers (and graduates) attempting to catch up and overtake the west.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Anuradha Goyal

    A look at the cutting edge scientific research in India : http://www.anureviews.com/geek-nation... A look at the cutting edge scientific research in India : http://www.anureviews.com/geek-nation...

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ravi Narayanan

    It looks like a collection of peripheral magazine articles. Sometimes I got confused what the author says.

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