Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Engineering and Politics - PART 2 - By Vickramabahu Karunaratne

READ PART 1 - Resist the Rag

PART 2 - Science Faculty Days

As usual then, we did a one-year spell at the Science Faculty.

I was most impressed with those who taught Mathematics to us: Valentine, Volume and Epa. Some of the fundamentals spelt out by them still ring my ears, and certainly helped me to finish my PhD in electromagnetic theory.

There was professor Milvaganam; frankly I do not remember what subject material he introduced to us. But he gave discourses in ethics, ehiquette, and education in general. That was most certainly very useful.

I still remember how he explained, during two lecture hours, the difference between Mr and Esq.. He wanted us to be proper gentlemen before venturing into any field of activity.

I do not blame him.

Coming from Ananda Collage, the epicentre of Sinhala Buddhism, what impressed me most at that stage, was the fact the so many Tamils and others, mixed freely with the Sinhalese, both within the lecture rooms and outside.

In those days, in spite of some racist elements here and there, all students and staff worked together without squinter or suspicion. I do not think that any Sinhala student felt uneasy learning under Mailvaganam, Mahalingam and Sivaprakasapillai.

I always yearn for in my heart that those days will come again to this country, for the benefit of the future generation.

TO BE CONTINUED with PART 3: Confrontation with Electric Gunda


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  2. I have had the privilege of getting prizes for mathematics from late Prof .A W Mylvaganam who was the chief guest at JHC in 1965 which celebrated 75 anniversary. Late Prof Mylwaganam was hailed as the father of physics in Ceylon. His research at Cambridge was in cosmic rays and research assistant to Nobel prize winning physicist late IMS Blackett of Atomic Science at Cavendish Laboratory. I also got prizes for mathematics at JHC from late Prof Sivaprakasapillai who was an old boy of JHC and chief guest at JHC in 1967 . I still remember what he said at JHC that a degree in engineering is the first step on the ladder of Engineering Profession. When he was acting head of Civil Engineering Department in 1972 he gave a hand written reference and asked me how many ports were there in ceylon? Late Prof Mahalingam reminded me of man in his own world who knew the value of time in every movement he makes in his lectures.


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