What kind of jobs do Chemists do?

Most chemists work in research, but not all of them work in pure research, that is, research for the sake of it. In fact, more often than not, they work in industry, doing research to develop products that can be sold to make a profit, products that will enhance or improve our lives or lifestyles. A large number work in education, sales and marketing, medical laboratories, and consultancy.

Depending on their particular areas of specialization, chemists can be involved in any number of different kinds of jobs. The four basic specializations are:


Organic chemistry – which deals with every compound on earth (and elsewhere) that has a carbon atom in it, and of course, carbon itself in all its forms. This includes every single form of life on earth, so you can see just how wide a field this is. Synthesis – that is, making new things – is the biggest responsibility of the organic chemist. New ‘things’ might include more effective drugs, better fertilizers, and safer food additives. Organic chemists would find jobs in industries like agriculture, the environment, food, medicine, petroleum, rubber, alcohol, and consumer products like soap.

Inorganic chemistry – simply put, this is the chemistry of non-living objects. They are also involved in synthesis, but in the synthesis of things like plastics, glass, ceramics, synthetic fabrics with special properties that make them ideal for certain applications. Chemists were involved with the discovery and development of both nylon and lycra. Inorganic chemists would find jobs in industries as diverse as mining and minerals, chemicals, microchips, environment, polymer technology, cosmetics, and so on.

Physical chemistry – is the area of overlap between physics and chemistry. That means you venture into this area only if you love maths almost as much as you love chemistry. Physical chemists determine the properties, both good and bad, of all kinds of substances. Spectroscopy, which is the study of the physical properties of chemical compounds using light and other forces, is a big area of physical chemistry. So is theoretical chemistry, which is, like its name, mostly about using theories and calculations to predict the existence or behaviour of something that can’t actually be proved. Physical chemists would find jobs in nuclear and atomic research labs, and in a wide range of industries that need materials scientists.

Analytical chemistry – involves deduction, reasoning and analysis. Most analytical chemists work in the area of qualitative and quantitative analysis. It is these guys who check, for instance, if the pollution levels in the atmosphere are within safe limits or not, and if not, how much beyond the safe limit they are. They would also be involved in testing water to see if it is potable, in testing food to check if it is fresh, in testing metals (like gold, for instance), to establish their purity. Analytical chemists work in forensic science departments, medical laboratories (testing blood and urine samples, for instance), in all kinds of industry (where they may work as industrial chemists, testing random samples from production lines to see if the product is up to standard), government environmental departments, and so on.

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March 17, 2009 at 8:30 am Leave a comment

Traditional Indian dances to specialize in.

Once in a while it helps to sit back and think about things like dance; and what it actually means to be called or to call someone a dancer, and what comes to mind is the evidence of human artistic activity. We have been told that God made man in his image; the artist intuitively knows that the reverse equally applies.
Classical Dance has a primordial origin. Dance is Shiva himself. Dance is language; not of words but of mudras, postures or gestures. When I ask you, “Have you eaten?” you answer, “No”. This is the language of words,but the language of dance and music is symbolic. The performing artist conveys every thing through signs and gestures. Dance is a language not of words, but of feeling and moods. It is the language of the heart.
In India, there are two kinds of dances; the classical, and the contemporary dance styles. Both are popular for their own reasons and both types are pursued equally today.
There are five major styles of classical dance in India. Each of these styles has been developed in specific regions of India. They differ in their language of gestures, postures or mudras, but they are all founded on the principles of rasa and they all draw upon stories and poems that tell about the lives of the Hindu Gods. These include Gods like Lord Shiva (the God of Dance), Lord Krishna, and many more. Each classical dance form has been discussed briefly in the following few pages to give you an overview of the large variety that can be explored by you according to your interest.

Manipuri
Manipuri developed in eastern India. The posture of the Manipuri dancer is such that the dancer’s feet face forward and knees are slightly bent. The dancer moves his or her chest and waist in opposite directions, making a figure-of-eight shapes with the body. The dancer’s arms make graceful, curved movements. His/her fingers trace out delicate circles and curves in the air. The Manipuri style includes a large repertoire (range of dances). Five types, consisting of dances involving whole troupes, as well as solos and duets, deal with a story about Lord Krishna. Another body of dances, the Sankirtanas,
involve male dancers performing jumps to the sound of drums, cymbals and clapping.

Odissi
Odissi is a dance form of the state of Orissa, in eastern India. Sculptures found in Odissi, dating from the second and first century B.C., show dancers in distinctive poses characteristic of the Odissi style. The style developed from musical plays and was common in temples and village entertainment. Odissi dances were first performed by men dressed as women around temples. Now, the Odissi style is a solo dance form, usually performed by a woman. It has several similar patterns and poses as Bharata Natyam. But it makes greater use of curves in body movements and postures rendering it an innate sensuality. Occasional jumps add vitality to the Odissi style.

Folk dance
This is a form of social dancing that has become part of the customs and traditions of people. There are as many folk dances as there are states in India. Various styles, apart from the five major classical dance styles, are performed in different regions of India. They include the Yakshagana of Mysore, and the Chhau of eastern India. Unlike the classical forms, these dances are not tied down by rules but are more flexible and spontaneous.
Most of them are connected with religious or seasonal festivals. In many of these dances, the performers use sticks or even swords. Examples of folk dance styles include Bhangra, a harvest dance from Punjab, and Kolattam,a circular stick dance
performed by women in Tamil Nadu and the Lavani in Maharashtra

Bharata Natyam
“Bharata Natyam is like a Banyan tree with great roots. You can bend it, turn it, do what ever you want, but its roots remain strong… I want to take dance further, to use it as a language, as an agent of change,” -Mallika Sarabhai.
Bharata Natyam is one of the most important and probably one of the oldest of the classical styles that comes from south India. Although closely linked with local traditional dance-drama, it was used mainly in Hindu religious ceremonies. The movements of this dance style are developed from a basic pose, in which the thighs are turned out ward, the knees are flexed, and the feet are brought close together and are also turned outward. The feet beat out complex rhythms. Performances may last for about two hours and follow a set list of procedures.

Kathak
Kathak is the major dance style of north India. It combines local folk elements with dance forms that developed in the courts of the Mughal emperors and later, Indian princes.
The folk and temple traditions from which the Kathak style has developed consist mostly of Hindu dance-dramas.
Kathak owes much of its present form to developments made in the 1800s at the court of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah, the ruler of Lucknow. Dancers perform Kathak keeping their bodies straight. Clever and intricate foot work, including highly rhythmical walks, glides, and fast pirouettes (spinning on one foot), gives the style its vital, dazzling, skillful character. Delicate movements of the eyes, eyebrows, neck, and shoulders are also used in some dances. Kathak is frequently lyric based performance with a sense of raunchiness. Both, men and women, perform Kathak dances. Many dances express love or devotion to Krishna.

Kathakali
Kathakali, from the state of Kerala, is true dance-drama. Kathakali dancers act out the parts of different characters in a play. They dress up in out size costumes to give themselves a larger than- life appearance. They also wear mask-like facial make-up, in colors that have strong symbolic meanings.
Kathakali performances are often held out doors and sometimes go on all night. They are accompanied by a person who sings or recites the poetry, while the dancers convey the meaning of each line with movements and gestures, sweeping body movements, and wide, circling arm movements.
The dancers are also trained to convey exaggerated movements through facial expressions. In former times, male dancers took all the parts in a Kathakali play. But now a days women have also started performing this form of dance.

March 16, 2009 at 6:24 am 1 comment

Civil Engineering

Civil Engineering as a career

Civil engineers are the quiet, unsung heroes of the engineering fraternity. While engineers from other branches work in quiet offices or noisy shop floors, the civil engineers’ theatre of operations are the great outdoors.

Civil engineers blast roads through the strongest mountains to make our journeys shorter. They build the massive dams that generate all our hydroelectricity and the reservoirs that capture rainwater in the monsoon so that people can have water through the long summer months. They design the amazing bridges – across rivers, across the sea, across deep mountain ravines – that can take the load of thousands of vehicles every day for years and years without breaking down. They build the flyovers, the airports, the sports stadiums, the sprawling factories and the underground transport systems. It is civil engineers who go in where others haven’t dared, especially in wartime, as they build roads, construct bridges, and clear forests to facilitate the movement of troops.

Whether it is the world-class Mumbai-Pune Expressway or the Sapporo Dome in Japan that played host to some of the most exciting 2002 World Cup football matches, the border roads between India and Pakistan where building is as difficult as it is dangerous or the underground train systems of London, Paris, Kolkata and Delhi, the Konkan Railway that connects Mumbai and Mangalore, an engineering marvel that incorporates 2,000 bridges and 92 tunnels or the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, the Pyramids of Egypt or the massive apartment block in your city, it is teams of brilliant civil and structural engineers who have made it possible.

Are you Civil Engineering material?

If you want to be a civil engineer, you need to:

Have a love of the outdoor life – most of the civil engineer’s life is spent at the mercy of the weather elements, be it sweltering sunshine or pouring rain.

Be more or less happy with your own company – civil engineers are usually the only ones on the building team with such a high level of education.

Be a patient kind of person – civil engineering projects usually take years and years to complete, and almost always take longer than what they were supposed to take.

Be able to handle large teams of blue-collar workers.

Be excited by the thought of designing and then overseeing the construction of gigantic structures.

You should not be:

A creature of the city. While there are city-based projects open to civil engineers, like building sky scrapers or flyovers or underground rail systems, there are definitely more projects in remote locations. Manufacturing and chemical plants, projects involving the railways, interstate highways, dams, and power plants situated mostly very far away from cities.

Someone who loves the good life – you will have to learn to live without the modern luxuries such as air conditioning, big cars, posh restaurants, and more, at least while you are on a project outside a city.

What do civil engineers do?

Civil engineers are required where anything needs to be constructed – whether it is a building, a factory, a bridge, a dam or any such structure. The presence of the civil engineer is required prior to construction, during construction, as well as after the construction.

A civil engineer’s job is perhaps more physically demanding than any other kind of engineer’s. You will spend days outdoors when you are on a project. In the first phase, you will survey the land, take soil samples, check the depth of the water table, and so on. This will help you decide what to do next – maybe, you will need to do some blasting if the ground is rocky, or drain some water out if the land is swampy. Testing the soil will also help you decide what type of foundation your structure will need and how deep it should be.

Once building starts, you will be supervising large teams of contract laborers. Apart from handling all the unexpected problems that come up while building, you will also have to manage your team. As head of the project, you have to keep workers’ welfare in mind while also making sure you finish the project within time. You will have to negotiate with your workers on wages, holidays, providing temporary shelters close to work site and so on. You will have to do it well, if you don’t want them to go on strike and bring all building work to an abrupt halt.

March 10, 2009 at 6:33 am 2 comments

Public Relations

A Typical Day in PR

This depends on where you work. “A typical day for a PR person starts with getting to know the clients, as well as the means to do it. Sending out press releases to the media which also have to be written, following up with the press regarding the press releases sent to them, organizing press interviews with the clients and providing information to the press. And tracking all the stories that appear in the press”, says Parul Gosain.

If it’s a corporate or a PR agency, you definitely have to dress and speak formally. They are busy places, work schedules are irregular and frequently interrupted. They answer calls for information from the press and public, work on invitation lists and details for a press conference, escort visitors and clients, help with research, and write brochures.

For example: When you have a sports day in school, your coach is the person who takes care of organizing the whole event, from setting up the sports ground, clearing doubts of the parents and students, to inviting the chief guests. She also takes care of the events, talks to the participants about their performances. After the day is over, she sees to it that the participants and winners get their certificates and trophies. She also encourages the others to participate the next year, congratulates the winners and at the same time, consoles the others.

In the balance:

The good and not so good things about a career in public relations

The good bits:

# You always know the true picture of what is going on in the company you work for.

# You’re responsible for managing the way your company is perceived.

# It can be quite glamorous, because you meet a lot of people at the very top of their professions.

# The PR fields can result in very satisfying careers. There aren’t many jobs that allow your strategies to come to life, to be observed by thousands or even millions of people.

Keep in mind, however:

# A company can sometimes expect the earth from a PR person in terms of the company’s image. And if the company ha s been involved in a scam or something unsavoury, and the press is constantly pointing that out, a PR person’s life can become very difficult indeed.

#Competition for getting into PR jobs is intense. There are many more candidates than the number of positions. You must be willing to start at the bottom and work your way up.

# Public relations people operate against deadlines. Under such high-pressure conditions,9to5 schedules go out the window. Public relations executives are not tied to their desks for long periods. Meetings, community functions, business lunches, travel assignments, special speaking and writing commitments, and unscheduled work on ‘crisis’ situations often mean long hours.

# You develop an analytical mind, far-sightedness and the ability to handle crises. The job demands an alert mind for planning, defense and guarding the image of the firm, person or product.

Training required to get a job

To land a job in media relations and internal communication, a basic Bachelor’s degree in any field will do, and a mass communications degree or diploma will help. For the strategy part of the field, companies these days look for an MBA. Though public relations is a relatively new field, many colleges and universities offer a public relations course. Most public relations programmes are administered by journalism or mass communications schools or departments.

Technical skills required

Public relations demands the creativity of advertising, but the business savviness of management consulting. Excellent writing skills, speaking well and an ability to use all the research tools available in today’s information rich, Internet-driven world are pre requisites. You definitely need to know how to use Microsoft Word and Excel.

March 9, 2009 at 6:09 am Leave a comment

What are the different aspects of publishing?

There are various aspects to publishing as a business. To begin with, its a business and have to be managed as such. Therefore you’ll need to understand management practices. Publishing begins with the processing of the manuscript.

Editorial: Editing plays a big role in this business. The Chief editor guides the team of editors and oversees the complete running of the publishing house. They contact authors for writing books on selected topics. The editorial lays down the policy of the publication, manages the staff and co ordinates all the related work. There are two types of editors:

Commissioning Editors:
If you’re a commissioning editor, its your job to find new authors or work with established authors to come up with new books. This means you’ll have to know a lot of writers so that you re able to suggest ideas and themes to them. Once the author accepts the idea, you have to work with him or her and help structure the book properly. This is especially important if you’re working with a brand new author. You’ll also have to know everything there is to know about publishing, including costs of production, because you’ll be the person to initiate new books. Generally however, you will not begin your career in publishing as a commissioning editor, because this is a job that requires tons of experience and understanding that can only come from having worked at least eight to ten years in the profession.

Copy Editors:
As a copy editor, your job will be to work with the text that the author has submitted to the publisher, to make sure that the style is consistent throughout the book and that there are no factual, spelling or grammatical errors. You can begin your career as a trainee copy editor and work your way to becoming a commissioning editor, and could wind up being editor in chief.

Production: Editing is carried out on the computer and the type face and page layout adjusted. The illustrations, appearance of the book, book cover, paper quality, etc, is decided by the editor as well as the production in charge. The design department does the art work for the book. A number of publishing houses work with freelance artists on their rolls, who are commissioned for artwork, such as illustration, cover design, photographs, etc. Production staff manage the technicalities of the printing process, the pricing and marketing of the product. They purchase the paper, coordinate the printing and binding of the books. In the newspaper and magazine segment, the production department deals with purchase of newsprint as well as the printing and dispatch of the newspaper of magazines to the marketing department.

Sales and Marketing
: Publicity, promotion, sales campaigns are a major responsibility. Distribution of books entails under standing the market where the books may sell. Distribution to libraries,schools, organizations is often done directly or through local book suppliers. The on line book sales is the latest technique in marketing and sales.

Literary Agent:
A concept that still doesn’t exist in India, though opportunities do exist now that publishing is taking off in a big way. A literary agent is basically the middle man between the writer and the publisher. In fact, the literary agent is almost the writer’s first commissioning editor, because she/he will read the manuscript the writer has submitted, decide whether it’s worth publishing and if it is, will show the manuscript to various publishers so as to get the best possible deal for the writer. Abroad, publishers will only accept manuscripts submitted through a literary agent. As a literary agent, your educational qualifications do not matter since you’ll be working on your own. But it will help to have a background in publishing because you need to know the business and you also need to know people in the publishing industry because this job works on contacts.

Merchandiser:
You could also work for a major book store such as Crossword as a merchandiser. A merchandiser’s job is very exciting because she/he gets paid to read. As a merchandiser, you’ll have to decide which books the store should buy from the publishers that can be sold to the public. Not only which books, but how many copies of a particular book. For instance, when the next book is finally available, you will decide how many copies should be in stock so that all the copies don’t get sold out the first day itself. You’ll also be in a position to guide people’s taste in reading, because you’ll be responsible for buying books by authors that the Indian public may not have heard of yet. Most bookstores will train you in the actual aspects of merchandising because this is an area that is new to India and there are no courses available as yet.

March 3, 2009 at 7:40 am Leave a comment

What are the different jobs in advertising?

Advertising people create ads, which help sell an idea or product. Broadly speaking, an ad agency has two main work streams of which you can choose the one that interests you. The creative section, has people who visualize and conceptualize an ad, including the copywriters, art directors. And the client servicing section, has people who interact with the industry and are an interface between them and the agency. Let us look at each part so that you will have an overview of what each department of advertising is involved in to create a communication.

There are four aspects to advertising:
Copy
Art
Client Servicing
Media Buying.

Copy writing:

This is the world where art is sold through the magic of words. If advertisement is the heart of marketing,then copywriters are its soul. It is an art through which the consumer psyche is translated into words. Technically speaking; the copywriter is the person who crafts the wording of the advertisement whether it is a print ad (what you see in a news paper or magazine) or a radio or TV commercial. She/he comes up with the head line that grabs your attention and the text that tells you more about the product being advertised. Remember the commercial for Cadbury’s ‘Temptations’? It’s supposed to be so good that you don’t want to
share it with anyone, even someone you love. That was the idea. The words and pictures were crafted later. Nike’s ‘Just do it’ and, ‘There are some things in life which money can’t buy. For everything else there’s Master Card,’ are not only brain children of copywriters but are also words that reflect the go-getter personality. Copy writers are on perpetual deadlines-which are always ‘yesterday’. Most copy writers complain that it is an extremely pains taking task to come out with catchy lines on a regular basis, especially, if they are suffering from a ‘writer’s block’. So, when Aishwarya winks and declares to the world how cool it is to drink Coca- Cola,don’t go thinking it’s her conviction, although she makes it seem so,it’s the copy writer talking.

Ad Filmmaker:

He makes the commercials that we see on TV. The ad film maker examines the script written by the copy writer and the art director and also contributes suggestions. The Coke, Hutch, Pepsi, ads are made by ad film makers.

Commercial Photographers and Illustrators:

They are the people who take snaps and pictures or illustrate graphically the products or elements used for print advertising. They work with the art director to give the ad its look and personality and to make it look appealing.

Art Direction:
The art director (known as the visualizer at junior levels) works with the copywriter to come up with the big idea. Then she/he takes the words written by the copywriter and decides on how to present it to the buyer. This involves not just the way the ad looks (colors, photographs, drawings), but also the font the text is printed in (which should be eye-catching and easy to read). The art director is also wholly involved with the ad; she/he must follow it through right from the stage when the layout begins,to the stage when it is ready to be distributed to news papers and magazines for printing. For a commercial, the art director works with the copy writer’s script and supervises its filming and final production.

Client Servicing:

The client servicing people generally have a marketing background. These are the people who, together with the client (the company that wants to advertise a product), come up with a plan for how to present the product to the buyer. Once the client servicing person’s strategy for advertising is accepted by the client, she/he will brief the creative team of copywriter and art director on the product. The creative team will be told about the product (for instance, Cadbury’s ‘Temptations’), its pricing, its target audience (the set of people the company wants to sell ‘Temptations’ to), and the aspects of it that the client wants to emphasize. After the creative team comes up with the idea(s) and put together a rough layout,the client servicing person takes the idea to the client for his approval. His job now is to sell the idea to the client and therefore make money for the ad agency. Once the idea is approved, he returns to the creative team and gives them the go ahead and then follows the ad through production till it is ready for publication and broadcasting, and then present the client with a bill!

Media Buyers
These are the people who buy space (half a page, a quarter page, two inches of a column) in newspapers/magazines or buy airtime (30 seconds in which to show the commercial, or 60seconds) on television channels or radio channels for the ad agency’s clients. They are also responsible for part of the advertising strategy, because they have a clear idea how to reach out to the ad’s target audience. If we look at Cadbury’s ‘Temptations’, we’ve seen it’s a chocolate meant for people who are into fine living. This kind of person will read a certain kind of magazine, watch a certain kind of television channel, listen to a certain kind of music. So, to get the ad across to this kind of person, the ad must be placed where the target audience can see it and hear it.

March 2, 2009 at 5:35 am 3 comments

What kind of jobs do Chemists do?

Most chemists work in research, but not all of them work in pure research, that is, research for the sake of it. In fact, more often than not, they work in industry, doing research to develop products that can be sold to make a profit, products that will enhance or improve our lives or lifestyles. A large number work in education, sales and marketing, medical laboratories, and consultancy.

Depending on their particular areas of specialization, chemists can be involved in any number of different kinds of jobs. The four basic specializations are:

Organic chemistry – which deals with every compound on earth (and elsewhere) that has a carbon atom in it, and of course, carbon itself in all its forms. This includes every single form of life on earth, so you can see just how wide a field this is. Synthesis – that is, making new things – is the biggest responsibility of the organic chemist. New ‘things’ might include more effective drugs, better fertilizers, and safer food additives. Organic chemists would find jobs in industries like agriculture, the environment, food, medicine, petroleum, rubber, alcohol, and consumer products like soap.

Inorganic chemistry – simply put, this is the chemistry of non-living objects. They are also involved in synthesis, but in the synthesis of things like plastics, glass, ceramics, synthetic fabrics with special properties that make them ideal for certain applications. Chemists were involved with the discovery and development of both nylon and lycra. Inorganic chemists would find jobs in industries as diverse as mining and minerals, chemicals, microchips, environment, polymer technology, cosmetics, and so on.

Physical chemistry – is the area of overlap between physics and chemistry. That means you venture into this area only if you love maths almost as much as you love chemistry. Physical chemists determine the properties, both good and bad, of all kinds of substances. Spectroscopy, which is the study of the physical properties of chemical compounds using light and other forces, is a big area of physical chemistry. So is theoretical chemistry, which is, like its name, mostly about using theories and calculations to predict the existence or behaviour of something that can’t actually be proved. Physical chemists would find jobs in nuclear and atomic research labs, and in a wide range of industries that need materials scientists.

Analytical chemistry – involves deduction, reasoning and analysis. Most analytical chemists work in the area of qualitative and quantitative analysis. It is these guys who check, for instance, if the pollution levels in the atmosphere are within safe limits or not, and if not, how much beyond the safe limit they are. They would also be involved in testing water to see if it is potable, in testing food to check if it is fresh, in testing metals (like gold, for instance), to establish their purity. Analytical chemists work in forensic science departments, medical laboratories (testing blood and urine samples, for instance), in all kinds of industry (where they may work as industrial chemists, testing random samples from production lines to see if the product is up to standard), government environmental departments, and so on.

February 28, 2009 at 6:05 am Leave a comment

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