Nurturing a Million Dreams | H C Verma

H C VERMAI remember the day in school when I was in class XI and a friend of mine suggested me the book-Concepts of Physics by Dr. H C Verma. He was of the opinion that if someone really wants to learn physics, She/he shall go through this book at least once. Concept of Physics is the magnum opus that can fetch you a seat in prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), but what I love it for is the very fact that this book really teaches physics in a way which very few other books can. He is no ordinary teacher, but a crème de la crème who paved the path of thousands of students to realize his dream of building a career in science and engineering both by his teaching and his books. I remember the college days when me and my friends used to have a good laugh when I would compare Concepts of Physics with Monalisa and Dr. Verma with Leonardo Da Vinci. While his book is well known among the science and engineering community, very few people know about the personal life of Dr. H C Verma. The purpose of this article is to let the students of science and engineering know more about one of their most loved and respected hero, Dr. H C Verma.
Dr. Harish Chandra Verma was born on 3rd April, 1952 in Darbhanga District, Bihar. He completed his B.Sc from Patna University and M.Sc & PhD from IIT-Kanpur. Post education, he joined as a lecturer in Patna University where he taught Physics to students from undergraduate to post graduate level. During his teaching days, he realized the need of an ideal book for the physics student community which can explain underlying concepts in an easy to understand fashion and make students love and appreciate the subject. It took him about 8 years to complete his magnum opus. After continuing for about 15 years at Patna University, he joined IIT-Kanpur. At IIT-Kanpur he took many socio-educational initiatives including teaching to help under privileged and meritorious students realise their dream of education.

Dr. H C Verma is also an avid researcher and a social engineer. His main area of research has been nuclear Physics. He has always stressed on learning based on experiments and practical demonstrations. In this regard, his famous ‘Dettol Bottle Experiment’ is very famous. He has designed more than 150 practical experiments to make physics learning enjoyable to school students. As a social engineer, he undertook many seminars, teacher training workshops, school Physics projects etc. where he discussed the importance of learning based on simple experiments. In one of such seminars, when he was explaining the famous ‘Dettol Bottle Experiment’ to a gathering of school teachers, two of the teachers met him back-stage after the event and applauded his contribution to teaching and offered their help in whichever way possible. This experiment explains the phenomena of total internal reflection in the mixture of Dettol or soap solution and water. When a laser beam is passed through the solution, the internally reflected ray can be easily seen from outside of glass bottle.
Dr. H C Verma has also been very active with his initiative of Siksha Sopan, Anveshika, Utsahi Physics Teacher and Bal Vigyan Mela. These initiatives are mainly focused on improving the quality of education in general and Physics in particular in India. They focus on providing education to rural and poor students in and around IIT-Kanpur. Through these activities, Dr. H C Verma has been constantly stressing the need for education based on practical demonstrations and implementations. He has been a great advocate of social and cultural equality which can be understood from his active Facebook activities as well.
Like all great scientific minds, Dr. H C Verma also has a passion in arts. His art comes in the form of poetry. His website has a few lucid, meaningful poems raising issues of social concern, ‘Siksha me markswad’ is my favourite.

माइक पकड़ कर मैं चिल्लाया सत्य कभी नहीं छुप पाया है
मैकाले से मनमोहन तक सब ने शिक्षा में मार्क्सवाद बढ़ाया है

Apart from teaching and social causes, Dr. H C  Verma is currently working on his new book which discusses the subject matter of electrostatics and electrodynamics. This book is meant for undergraduate and graduate students.
From his multi-dimensional approach to the cause of teaching, I believe, this son of Bihar can easily be identified as a role model to anyone who has a passion for teaching science, learning physics or social service.