Friday, February 20, 2009

Lasers In Bloom

Dr. Mani Lal Bhaumik, physicist and LASER scientist par excellence. Former team leader/ manager of laser technology at Northrop and co-inventor of the cold cut excimer laser later used for corneal sculpting, an eye surgery made popular by LASIK. The man whose life-story has inspired me in limitless proportions.

Born on the mud floor of a hut in a village near Tamluk in Bengal, his struggle began in the birth canal and as he lay on the floor for an entire night awaiting someone to cut the umbilical cord. He suffered from the pangs of hunger and utter poverty. The infamous Bengal famine destroyed many families. His grandmother Sarada fed him her own share of food from the relief agency while she herself wasted away to death. In his own words, she taught him that great love is more verb than noun. Dr. Bhaumik thus survived and was given a chance to face life despite the insecurity of destitution. For inspiration, he had people like the great freedom fighter Matangini Hazra around him, a strong lady who taught him never to give up.

This man has lived life on his own terms as only great men and women do. He talks about science, the universe, and the meaning of life in his autobiography Code Name God. The quintessential scientist, he calls God the one source and explains his concept of the primary field where that one source has been at play all along. From penury, to a top class scientist, to the great socializer who almost ended up as his own tragic hero, The Great Gatsby, to drinking the nectar of meditation to the lees, successfully dabbling in real estate, then back to his roots, Mani Bhaumik’s journey has been a long and eventful one that came back a full circle to science his only consort, and his scientific paper on Unified Field-The Universal Blueprint? He is a man who is rich enough to have appeared on the television show Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. A real rags-to-riches story that did not end as Jay Gatsby’s did. In his seventies now, Mani Bhaumik continues to be an active man and is in vibrant contact with many scientists across the globe. He continues to give lectures, make science programs especially for children, and encourages research on the human consciousness and neuropsychiatry.

He mentions his friendship with Norman Cousins (the man who decided to beat his own fate and his heart problem), Eddie Albert (the famous actor whom Deepak Chopra introduced him to) and Ashley Montegu (the famous anthropologist/ sociologist). Montegu encouraged him to write the story of his life upon hearing it. Unfortunately, death came a knocking as Montegu passed away and the story that was supposed to have been co-written by the two friends never materialized. But the story ultimately came out.

If you are interested in biographies, this is a great book. If you are looking for inspiration, then too it could be the best book for you. Happy reading!

Book review/ Code Name God.


  1. A great man, indeed! One of India's finest sons. And I am looking for the book. Thank you for introducing me to such a genius.

  2. Roshmi,
    Great men like him are citizens of the world and not the property of any single country. Though he was born Indian, he is now an American citizen. Think about why such people never become succesful in India. He went to the US of A on the recommendation of SN Bose. In his extraordinary book The Scientific Edge, Jayant Vishnu Narlikar the famous Indian astrophysicist who has a PhD from Cambridge University, wrote that SN Bose's achievement was one of the top ten achievements of 20th century Indian science and could be considered in the Nobel Prize class. But Bose was neither honored abroad nor in India.

  3. Will borrow this one for BookReviews... and provide the link back of course.