HindustanTimes Sun,21 Dec 2014

Retired Maharashtra teacher thanked by Oxford for spotting diagram flaw

Puja Pednekar, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, September 26, 2013
First Published: 01:15 IST(26/9/2013) | Last Updated: 01:17 IST(26/9/2013)

The Oxford University Press (OUP), a department of the University of Oxford, UK, has removed a web page containing an incorrect diagram of the human eye from its official site after a retired teacher from Maharashtra brought it to their notice.


The diagram describing the eye published in the Oxford science encyclopedia and uploaded on its website had an error — it showed that the image of an object was formed on the blind spot in the retina of the human eye. In actuality, the human eye does not form images on the blind spot.

“When light falls on the eye, the image is formed on the retina. But the diagram showed that the image was formed on a blind spot in the retina. This is incorrect,” said Narendra Tamboli, an 80-year-old retired teacher from Ahmednagar who spotted the mistake. He said lakhs of students and teachers must have referred to the incorrect diagram as the encyclopedia was in print for 10 years.

On noticing the error, he brought it to the notice of the chancellor of the university. Following his complaint, the OUP amended the website, taking down the web page as the print edition of the encyclopedia is no longer in publication.

In a recent email to Tamboli, Clare Whitston, editor, Children’s Books, OUP, acknowledged the mistake and also thanked the veteran teacher for flagging the issue. “Thank you so much for getting in touch with OUP and highlighting the omission in the Oxford Science Encyclopedia. I will keep your email in the file so that if we were ever to consider a new edition, we can correct the eye diagram which you refer to,” the email reads.

Tamboli, who taught science and geography in secondary school, came across the mistake a couple of months ago.

“I was downloading some free images from the university’s website when I saw the incorrect diagram. It was copied from its encyclopedia which was in the market for the last 10 years,” he said.

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