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The Book:

The book is a letter written to a student who requested guidance from swamy to meliorate his studies. This later became popular amongst other students and got published as a book. This magnificent piece is just 12 page pocket size booklet of abundant knowledge and is a English translation of “Vidyarthigondu Pathra” that is originally in Kannada.

The book provides valuable guidance on:

  • Learning etiquettes
  • Disciplines
  • Respect to parents & teachers
  • Time management
  • Language practice
  • Methods to improve neatness of handwriting
  • Importance of meditation and yoga
  • Secrets of concentration and dedication
  • Diet & sleep
  • Preparation for examination
  • Handling examination stress
  • And many other vital aspects that are considered trivial

Book also throws light on difficulties faced by urban & village students and effective guidance to overcome them. This beautiful book suites for all ages at all times and has power to change anyone who dedicates himself to the guidance presented. I have found people got transformed and share experience alike and pity those who haven’t.

One can avail this book from Ramakrishna Mission situated at Bull Temple Road, Basavanagudi, Bangalore – 19. I was fortunate to get introduced to this book by a member of Ramakrishna Mission at my college campus. I have made sincere attempt to introduce this book to among my peers and others too. And still love to read this book now and then.

Last Word:

If this book can change me then it can change anyone who endows commitment & dedication towards it.

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It was unlike any other Physical Chemistry classes we had during our 4th Semester of Engineering. That day we were going to learn about Catalysts. It is Mr. R. Ramaswamy(R.R.) who’s going to take session on the same topic during second hour. We knew almost everything about Catalysts from school day itself, but the one we’re going to learn from Ramaswamy remarked as most thrilling session we ever had. The question now is not “What did he explained?”, but “How did he explained?”. So hook yourself on and I’ll take you through the session.

Catalysts:
Boring Definition from Book: Certain substances whose presence alters the rate of a reaction are called Catalysts, but the catalyst does not involve in any chemical change. The chemical reaction in the presence of Catalyst is known as Catalysis.

Interesting Explanation from Ramaswamy: “For an instance, we’ll take a boy and girl as two reactants. Both boy and girl has possibility to love each other but, unable to propose each other. So, you’ll take help of her friend to give a good impression about you. For example, If boy takes 2 years to propose a girl independently, then it’s too long and by that time some other boy will take her and will run away, then what you will do?. Therefore, A third person i.e. Catalyst can do them in just 2 months, great alva?(isn’t it?). It’s the quality of Catalyst to increase the rate of reaction between boy and girl. Unfortunately if your friend i.e. catalyst himself/herself proposes your boy/girl instead of helping you, then he cannot be called as Catalyst, he is called as third reactant.”

Types of Catalysts:

Positive Catalyst:
Boring Definition from Book: A Catalyst which increases the rate of reaction is known as Positive Catalyst or Catalyst.

Eg: MnO4 is used as a Positive Catalyst to decompose KClO3 and liberate O2.

Interesting Explanation from Ramaswamy: “This is nothing but a normal Catalyst that we already discussed. Positive catalyst is a person who engages boy and girl with a good attitude towards them.”

Negative Catalysts:
Boring Definition from Book: The Catalyst which decrease the rate of a reaction are called Negative Catalysts or Inhibitors.

Eg: Heavy Water(D2O) is used as an inhibitor to slow down the uncontrollable nuclear reaction.

Interesting Explanation from Ramaswamy: “I don’t think I need to say anything about this person. He’s just opposite to Positive Catalyst. Be careful about him, he can be with you as friend and he increases the distance between you and your girl, husshaar!(be alert).”

Auto Catalyst:
Boring Definition from Book: In certain reactions, the reaction rate suddenly increased even in the absence of Catalyst. It is due to one of product formed can Catalyse that reaction and that product acts as Auto Catalyst.

Eg: When Ethyl Acetate is hydrolised into ethyl alcohol and acetic acid the product acts as an Auto Catalyst and increases the speed of reaction.

Interesting Explanation from Ramaswamy: “This boy is a very brave and self-driven. He may be kind of short tempered, he will not wait until a proper time to come. Somehow he gets lots of courage and drives himself to ask the girl. Unexpectedly by luck girl agrees to love him. Therefore auto catalyst is a brave boy. The courage in him acts as auto catalyst.”

Induced Catalyst:
Boring Definition from Book: One chemical reaction influence the speed of other chemical reaction which not possible under ordinary condition, such Catalysts are called as Induced Catalysts.

Eg: Sodium Sulfite solution is readily oxidised by air, but Sodium Arsenide solution is not oxidised by air. If air is passed through a mixture of Sodium Sulfite and Sodium Arsenide solution both are oxidised. Therefore Sodium sulfite is Induced Catalyst.

Interesting Explanation from Ramaswamy: “Here’s another boy. This man is like a master, he makes other follow him. He will propose a girl and luckily she agrees. This makes other boys jealous, they will propose other girls, sometimes they too will get successful. Therefore the boy is called as Induced Catalyst. All boys who follow Induced Catalysts are called Bakras, because they’ll not do anything of their own, they always follow others. We call this as herd-ish behaviour, they are Naalaayaks(useless).”

Promoters:
Boring Definition from Book: In certain Catalytic reactions some other substance is not a Catalyst, but whose presence increases the activity of Catalyst and therefore the Catalytic activity of the reaction is further increase. Such substances are called Promoters.

Eg: In the manufacture of Ammonia by Haber’s process in the presence of Fe Catalyst to the reaction mixture a small quantity of Molebdinum is added which increases the activity of Catalyst. Therefor Molebdinum is the Promoter.

Interesting Explanation from Ramaswamy: “This is a Catalyst for a Catalyst. This could be a girlfriend or boyfriend of a existing Catalyst who’s already helping a pair to engage. It is like you are helping your friend then you are a Catalyst, your girlfriend sits on your head and forces you to do this more faster, then your girfirend is a Promoter, gothaaitha?(understood?).”

Catalytic Poison:
Boring Definition from Book: Certain substances whose presence decreases the activity of Catalyst and therefore they may decrease the rate of reaction, sometimes they destroy reaction. Such substances are called as Catalytic Poison.

Eg: Even a small amount of Arsenic destroy the activity of Platinum Catalyst in the manufacture of Sulfuric Acid by Contact Process.

Interesting Explanation from Ramaswamy: “I call this person as Villain. When you are helping your friend, this person suddenly comes and starts spoiling everything. He will complain your parents and their parents and creates chaos and spoils everything. He/she can be your ex-girlfriend/ex-boyfriend.”

Soon after the session got over, everybody started looking each other’s face. We soon identified who are reactants, their catalysts and other types of Catalysts existing in classroom.

I have practice of naming my best supporters as Catalysts. Here they are:

  • We called our best lecturers R. Ramaswamy and H.S. Yamuna as Catalysts.
  • A boss of one of my previous company who helped me to complete my education and boosted my career prospects to next level.
  • A girl who always used to help me to win card games while going back home in company cab. And she’s the latest addition to the list of Catalysts.

Please share your Chemistry classroom experiences and Catalysts in your life with me here.