Category Archives: architects & architecture

Bernard Ziegler’s Innovative Impact on Air Travel: Manifold

Times Obituary, 9 June 2021 ….  https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/bernard-ziegler-obituary-lhzx5txbc

Ziegler oversaw the advance of technology on aircraft such as the Airbus A320. In 1993 Bernard Ziegler flew what was then the longest recorded flight by a civil aircraft when he piloted an Airbus 340-200 around the world in 48 hours, stopping once in Auckland.  Yet the veteran French fighter pilot and director of the multinational aircraft manufacturer Airbus was self-deprecating about his abilities in the cockpit, attributing most of the skill involved to the automated systems he had developed. “After all, airline pilots are no more than taxi drivers,” he said.

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Bamboo Challenging the Willow in the Cricket-Bat World

Katrina Kramer of The Chemistry World, 11 May 2021, where the title is … Bamboo bats could beat traditional willow at affordable cricket” …. with highlights imposed by The Editor, Thuppahi

Cricket bats made from bamboo might help batters hit farther and faster, researchers have discovered. While willow has been the bat wood of choice for nearly 200 years, bamboo could deliver more energy to the ball during impact, though at the price of being much heavier. But bamboo’s fast growth could help make the sport more affordable to its rapidly growing fanbase.

Source: © Tom Almeroth-Williams

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Laki Senanayake As I Knew Him

Ismeth Raheem: An Appreciation of Laki Senanayake (1937–2021)

Given Laki Senanayake’s stature and personality, I am confident that there will be a fair share of obituaries and appreciations that will attempt to capture something of the man and his work. This is a more personal account of my encounters with Laki, which span over half a century. By no means is this an overview of his life or work. For the most part this account is anecdotal, but it does strive to convey aspects of his personality, his passions and the work he created and inspired.

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Addressing A Criticism of DS Senanayake’s Dry Zone Colonization Schemes

Chandre Dharmawardana, 28 May 2021, with this title “Criticism of D.S. Senanayake’s Dry Zone colonization schemes”

Would Sri Lanka have been better off if not for the fetishization of rural peasant life and its connexion to the Sinhalese Buddhist nation-myth?

Why do people talk of “colonization schemes” when a government  facing bulging population growth, for one reason or another, opens up land for its people to settle?

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Percy Colin-Thomé and the Composition of the Book People Inbetween

Michael Roberts

Percy Colin-Thomé was born in Galle and his initial learning roots were at Richmond College. His genealogical roots derived from the Swiss personnel of the de Meuron Regiment in the service of the VOC in the 1790s who stayed on in Sri Lanka in British times when the colonial lands on the coast of Ceilao were taken over by the expanding imperial power known as Britain. These lineages became one strand in the mixed/race “Burgher” ethnic group in the island once the whole arena had been unified as colony by Britain between 1815 and 1818. Largely urban in background and increasingly English-speaking at home, these Burgher people became an influential segment of the local “middle-class” fulfilling intermediary roles in the British colonial service.[1]

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An Appreciation of Avishka’s Illustrated Tale of St. Joseph’s College, Colombo

Jeremy De Lima of Melbourne … with highlighting imposed by The Editor, Thuppahi

When Avishka asked me for an opinion of his book, I thought of presenting this to him in a review, but was hesitant, as this has been done before, at greater literary levels that I can ever aspire to. All these have been so comprehensive, there doesn’t seem to be anything left to write without resorting to plagiarism i.e. reproducing the words and ideas of another without attribution. However, not wanting to stoop to this and/or to refuse this genuine request, I thought I will instead, accompany the young author on the rocky road he has journeyed in publishing this book on the story of St Joseph’s College, Colombo, Sri Lanka.

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Mathematics: Islamic Mainsprings Magnifique

Adrienne Bernhard, in BBC.Com, 7 December 2020, where the title reads thus: “How modern mathematics emerged from a lost Islamic library”

Centuries ago, a prestigious Islamic library brought Arabic numerals to the world. Though the library long since disappeared, its mathematical revolution changed our world.

The House of Wisdom in Wikipedia ….

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Tamils in Ancient and Medieval Sri Lanka: The Historical Roots of Ethnic Identity

Sirima Kiribamune, in Ethnic Studies Report, vol IV/1, January 1986, pp. 1-23 … article retrieved via meticulous work by Iranga Silva of the ICES, Kandy — in a committed labour of love

“The past is intelligible to us only in light of the present; and we can fully understand the present only in the light of the past.” E.H. Carr.[*]

Professor Kiribamune

The current ethnic problems of Sri Lanka form the backdrop to this paper. The present tension lies between the majority Sinhalese who speak an Indo-Aryan tongue and the Tamils who use a Dravidian language. The two groups claim distinct racial antecedents, the Sinhalese styling themselves Aryans from north India and the Tamils tracing their origins to the Dravidians of the south. (The use of the terms ‘Aryan’ and ‘Dravidian’ to denote racial groups is considered totally unscientific. This terminology can only be used in a linguistic context. Sinhalese is included in the Indo-European or Aryan group of languages and Tamil belongs to the Dravidian group. The division of people speaking these two groups of languages into distinct racial types is not valid even for India and less so for Sri Lanka.) This division is further marked by religious differences, the Sinhalese being largely Buddhist and the Tamils, Hindus. Interested parties on both sides of the conflict have tried to use the past to legitimise different standpoints. It is the responsibility of the historian to set the record straight and that is the aim of this paper, but one is all too aware of the fact that complete detachment in the writing of history is hardly ever achieved. It is an ideal towards which one strives and needs to strive.

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The Sigiriya Frescoes and Their Maidens: The Hard Work of Restoration

From Raja de Silva’S book Sigiriya  — as excerpted in the Island, 18 April 2021, with the title “Dangerous and meticulous work copying Sigiriya frescoes in Bell era (1896)

The village of Sigiriya is mentioned in the 16th century book of Sinhala verse titled Mandarampura-puvata. From then on, the site seems to have disappeared from the public record until its rediscovery in the 19th century. Major Forbes of the 78th Highlanders and two companions rode from Polonnaruva through Minneriya and Peikkulam in search of Sigiriya, and reached the site early in the morning of a day in April 1831 (Forbes 1841).

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Designing Peradeniya Campus

Thuppahi’s recent presentation of a striking photograph unearthed by Gerald Peiris which depicts world-famous dignitaries on their way to formally declare the University of Peradeniya open for the business of study and play has  attracted pleasure as well as information on the hands that may have been at work on this design. The debate on the choice of site for a new University branch is a separate and complicated issue. The focus here is on the architectural and landscaping designs.  As I indicated, Shirley De Alwis [also spelt D’Alwis?] was the principal architect (and we require bio-data on this man). But, what else can we gather? Here are some preliminary responses. The Editor, Thuppahi

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