Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Nights of the Researcher

There are nights of pain. There are nights of joy. There are nights of tears. There are nights of celebration. There are nights of ignorance. There are nights of knowledge. There are nights of dumbness. There are nights of enlightenment. There are nights of humility. There are nights of arrogance. There are nights of being lost. There are nights of being in control. There are nights of despair. There are nights of achievement. There are nights of isolation. There are nights of vagueness. There are nights of clarity. There are nights of darkness. There are nights of brightness. There are nights… and there are nights… until the heart stops beating.

…that’s the life of a researcher.

There are times when I find myself most satisfied with life. Sometime back, I decided, whenever I would feel satisfied with life, I should blog down my thoughts so that I can read it when I am unhappy. Finally that moment has arrived. Some of you might know, I have started working on a research idea after a long time. For few days (rather for few months) I failed to attain certain level of concentration that was needed to do research and was feeling really disappointed with life. There were lots of promises that I had made to the people close to my heart and giving up was not the option. I tried hard… tried to shut my senses to avoid distractions. Tried to be away from social networks and people gatherings. Slowly and steadily, the focus started increasing. Few days back, I got couple of big ideas. And since then, that true satisfaction of being a researcher is reflecting in my life.

Honestly, the idea is actually very simple. But the most interesting aspect was my reaction to it. For a moment, everything in the world appeared so unimportant and useless. I felt like, I am very close to meeting God. It’s that feeling that can’t be expressed. It’s like you star breaking down the matter and get an opportunity to look at the the deeper meaning of life. And then, you find the piece of knowledge that human were never aware of. That’s pure treasure.  It’s like, God has chosen you for something. It’s like… suddenly the life has found its significance. I started talking with God and yes, I could sense the confidence. Or maybe, it’s the arrogant feeling that… O’ God, now I know your universe better than anyone else. Or maybe, when you attain that knowledge, the heart automatically becomes humble. The tears flow out of eyes… and you realize… how merciful God has been to give you that knowledge.

For those of you who find all this rather stupid, let me give you some context. There was this idea, which I first got during my engineering back in 2004-2005. I felt it had something special to it. I wrote lot of stuff about it but there was something missing. And didn’t know what that missing stuff was. I did communicate about it with lot of professors then. Few American professors did reply to my emails. But ultimately, if you have an idea… and if it’s incomplete, nobody can help you except God. I think, somewhere in between, I gave up on that idea. Few days back, I was working on possibility of finding polynomial exact solution for ‘Traveling salesman problem’, suddenly, a thought about that old idea occurred to me. Let me clarify, the old idea was nothing to do with TSP. It just that, when you are working on something… and it leads to something else. So, I put the TSP aside and started working on the old idea once again. Fortunately, as I proceeded further, the path in the woods appeared… and I just walked on. Eventually, the big picture appeared and yes, the idea was indeed profound.

Since Sunday, I have been working on the research paper to formally express the idea. Insha’Allah, the paper should be out on arXiv by end of this week. I still have to explore suitable mathematical journal for it.

Shall be posting about the paper soon! Insha’Allah. Please include me in your prayers.

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