Archive for September 28th, 2008


Aurolab and exhibitions

Sep 28, 2008 in Uncategorized

Dr. V's quoteLast week I went with some friends to an “exhibition.” It was basically a carnival with rides that inspire fear, and not because of the heights or speeds involved! There was a Ferris wheel that moved FAST! The interesting part was that there was a Disney-like tour through a manufactured mountain that featured Indian gods and goddesses made of a paper mache like material. At the top of the mountain there was an Arklike building which housed a very important god, lingua. Apparently it represents a part of Shiva’s power, and perhaps some anatomy that you’ll have to look up for yourself if you are interested… but basically it is a frozen figure that resembles a thimble to my western eyes (see pictures below). We also went to melody night (Friday) in the Aravind auditorium, a weekly display of traditional Indian music.

This week I also made a visit to Aurolab, a fifteen minute drive from central Madurai.  Dr. Senthil Kumari, the Ocular Pharmacologist in our lab offered to take me for a tour on Saturday morning. Aurolab is where all of the intraocular lenses (IOL) for use at Aravind are manufactured. They also export their products to over 80 countries. The price per intraocular lens is $2 (compared to the $150 medicare will pay for a standard IOL in the USA) and over 4,000 lenses are produced each day. Unfortunately, no pictures are allowed inside. I did get to see every step of making IOL and the other products of Aurolab. They also make scalpels, pharmaceuticals, and needles with sutures. The facility was impressive for its large scale and attention to detail. People there were also happy to give explanations and answer questions.

Next week is the inauguration of the new research building at Aravind. The lab will move over there (across the street) shortly. This past week everyone in the lab has been working extra hours to make posters and prepare for the event, which will include an appearance of the ex-President (2002-07) of India, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. He is a physicist and known as the Missile Man because he jump started India’ rocket programs. Stay tuned!