TU || Flax Golden Tales || Four Levels of Interpretation Lesson 31

Level: B.A/ B.B.S || Lesson 31 The Making of A Scientist (V.S. Ramchandran, India 1951)

Words Meaning

Destined = having good luck

Curious = eager

Passionately = intensely

Pathological = connected with disease

Yearning = desire

Innate = from birth

Breed = babies

Turbulence = disturbance

Contagious = infected

Arcane = mysterious

Stifle = destroy

Recommend = refer

Monk = sage

Juxtaposition = side by side

Surefire = certain

Arbitrary = artificial

Privilege = having special right

College = friend

Humdrum = dull

Perpetual = continuous

Undeciphered = complicated

Coincidence = chance

Vindicated = discovered

Paleontology = science of fossil

Excel = increase

Retreat = shelter

Tedium = boredom

Trace = sing

Undecriphered = not clearly mentioned

Crackpot = abnormal

Pundit = expert

Vindicate = support

Ethnology = study of ethic

Savor = enjoy

Plunged = dived

Trigger = beginning

Evolve = develop

Hoard = collect

Incubation = hatching

Gravitate = pull with force

Immune = safe

Suspiciously = with doubt

Incubation = hatching

Naïve = innocent

Implication = effect

Mirthless = worthless

Vanity = worthless pride

Dabble = to do something

Taxonomy = classification

Anachronism = old fashioned

Inverse = different

Trivial = less important

Drudgery = hard work

Sycophant = a person who flatters his master

elongated = extended

Phrenology = the study of mind

Emission = sending out

Mirthless = worthless

Goal = aim


The text was written by V.S. Ram Chandra who was a professor. He says that to be a scientist, there needs extra-ordinary curiosity and must have love for nature. Love of nature develops curiosity in us. He says that he was motivated towards science from his childhood. His parents brought him many items that encouraged him to take interest in science. Similarly, when he was at British school his teachers also encouraged him. So he takes himself as a lucky person because his teacher guided him. He also says that we need good conduct of good people. He used to read biographies of great scientists and scholars when he was 11 years of age. Before he studied history, archaeology and art. He was the first person to find out 30 million’s years old skull of Oreo don. Oreo don was an herbivorous mammal.

He liked Victorian-style of scientists who gave much importance on understanding the nature of the problem and seeking creative solution. There wasn’t gap between raw data and conclusion but now it isn’t. now days scientists only present their research papers and use tools.

Ram Chandra interested in neurology. Neurology is a discipline that takes us right into the heart of the problem of who we are. As his innate nature and interest, he chose neurology as his main research area because he was passionately he was passionately curious to know about what goes on in brain and he enjoyed working with human brain.

Four Levels of Interpretation

  1. Literal Comprehension

V.S. Ramchandran, in his autobiographical essay, The making of a Scientist at first defines what science is and later, he goes on describing from where he has got supported and influenced. He says to be a scientist, curiosity only is not enough, there also needs three types of curiosity: Obsessive, passionate, and pathology. He defines science is a love affair with nature. He too, from his early life, loves nature as a friend and source of inspiration. In fact his family members and teachers has supported him a lot. His mother brought him many seashell at home to make his study easier. Similarly, his father brought him microscope. In British school in Bangkok, he was helped especially by two teachers Mrs. Vanit and Mrs. Panacharaya who had allowed him to take chemicals at home for experiment. Actually, he extremely admires Victoria era because according to him, in this age, many new worlds were opened up for e.g. the giraffe and pigmy were found out.

He believes that in modern time, scientific research is done less than in past time. He goes on showing his pessimism saying that now people choose science for to be famous and there also lacks the support of finance. In this regard, he says that science cannot get a good place if the scientists do not have complete freedom and financial. However he sees some good things in 20h centre in which time the DNA structure was discovered and similarly invention of technology like FMR help to study brain.

Finally, he elaborates why he had chosen the field of neurology. He says that he chooses the field of neurology because form it, he could study the human and mood in depth and also could get more fun.

  1. Interpretation

The essayist is trying to say that to be a successful scientist needs others support, influence and complete freedom. From example, in romanticism nature was everything to be a good poet. Here in the essay too, the writer says that involvement and observation of nature are necessary to be a good scientist. Not only this much, family supports are also essential. The writer’s parents have also helped him more. His mother brought him seashell and his father bought him microscope to make him scientific studies easier. He is also supported by his teachers in Thailand and in India. For e.g. in British school in Bangkok, he was allowed to take chemicals at home. He was also greatly influenced by the past scientist like Faraday, Darwin and so on. He asserts that science cannot flourish (develop) in oppression, stress and depression. So scientists can do well in the time of complete freedom and in financial independence. In fact such freedoms were in ancient Greece, in Victorian era and in the golden age of Guptas in India. Due to that such freedom in ancient Greece, logic and geometry emerged (developed). Likewise, in India, the number of system, trigonometry and algebra were born and in Victoria era, the gentlemen like Darwin and Lord Henry Cavendish got good position and did much research.

  1. Critical Thinking

It is a scientific research writing in which we can find few unacceptable ideas. It is mentioned in the text that, for Ramchandran to do research, his mother brought shells from all over the world. So could his mother really collect the all types of shell from the world? Similarly, the writer says that to be a successful scientist, needs complete financial freedom. If so then, cannot the poor man become a scientist? It really discourages the poor background children who want to study science. Similarly, the writer seems to be the supporter of foreigners. Being an Indian writer, he describes few about Indian heritage but deals more about Greece, England and Thailand. So does not he seem to be a sycophant of other countries? He also directly tells us that scientist or a man should spend much time in nature to gain creative and imaginative mind. If all the people do like that, then what will happen for our society? In this stage, can society run smoothly?

  1. Assimilation

After reading this essay, I remembered 19th century literary movement: romanticism which asserts that source of poetry is nature. For romantic writers like William Wordsworth, nature was everything. For them, it was their parents, source of inspiration, god etc. Wordsworth was highly influenced by nature and wrote many successful poems like, “I wandered lonely as could” in which he gives human qualities to the nature.

Possible questions

  1. What advice would Ramchandran give to you a young scholar willing to become scientist?
  2. Do you agree with professor Ramchandrean that science has a great deal in common with poetry?
  3. Paraphrase the essay, The making of scientist in one paragraph.

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