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The “Proust Questionnaire” refers to a nineteenth-century parlor game involving a list of personal questions about the respondent’s values and preferences, to be answered in rapid-fire succession. Marcel Proust didn’t invent it, but he may be the most famous person ever to have played. These days, a certain venerable magazine prints an adapted version of the question-and-answer game in their back pages each month. And now we, in turn, have shamelessly re-adapted the well-known Q & A for the purpose of introducing you, dear reader, to the personalities behind the blogs here at Sb.

This week, Selvakumar Ganesan answers on behalf of ScienceBlogs’ newest addition, The Scientific Indian.

What’s your name?
Selvakumar Ganesan. If you don’t have the lung capacity, feel free to call me Selva.

What do you do when you’re not blogging?

Working for money. Reading. Fixing things around the house.

What is your blog called?
The Scientific Indian

What’s up with that name?
It’s what I want all my fellow countrymen and women to be. It’s a quality of life thing.

How long have you been blogging, anyway?

Four years. Two years with ‘The Scientific Indian’.

Would you describe yourself as a working scientist?

Where do you live?
In the town of Amersham in England. It’s a lovely old town.

Where are you from?
Namakkal. A town in south India.


Post Graduate Degree in Computer Science from Anna University, a technology university in Chennai, India.

Main academic interests?
I don’t think this applies to me as I am not associated to an academic institute. As a software professional, I am interested in large scale enterprise systems and their architecture.

Idea of a perfect day?
Probably the day when I can have my breakfast at Milliways restaurant.

Greatest habitual annoyance?
Continuous partial attention.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
There’s a saying in tamil (my mother tongue) that goes like this, “It disgraceful to beg, but it is even more disgraceful to refuse the beggar.”

What is your idea of earthly happiness?
Oh, boy! I just finished reading Daniel Gilbert’s “Stumbling upon Happiness”. It is ironic that the biological purpose (which in turn would provide the basis for defining happiness) is to have babies. But research indicates that having babies reduces overall happiness. The answer to your question is: I don’t know.

Who are your favorite heroes of fiction?
Alvin in the scifi novel “The City and the Stars” by Arthur C Clarke. ‘Life’ as a character in the novel “Evolution” by Stephen Baxter. My most favorite is Alexei in the novel “The Real Man” by Boris Polevoi (Russian novelist). But Alexei is based on a real person so perhaps this doesn’t count.

The quality you most admire in a person?

Your most marked characteristic?

I get shy when asked to navel gaze.

What is your principal defect?

Poor eyesight.

What would you like to be?
Sound asleep.

Who are your favorite writers?
Richard Dawkins. Shakespeare. Vikram Seth. Amartya Sen. Emily Dickinson.

Who are your heroes in real life?
My parents.

Not enough Selva for you? Check out The Scientific Indian, here.


  1. #1 Abel Pharmboy
    August 18, 2006

    Katherine, what a fabulous idea! Even with being an Sb’er, I’m really looking forward to reading the responses of my blogleagues/SciBlings. A beautiful mechanism with which to introduce new bloggers as well. Two thumbs up!