Ganesh, Ganesha: One of the five prime Hindu Deities. Elephant headed, four handed, broken tusked, usually shown riding on a mouse. Lord of success and destroyer of obstacles. God of wisdom, knowledge, education, and wealth. Surely a deity for research and science if there ever was one. The elephant head represents wisdom, and the trunk "Om" - the sound symbol of cosmic reality. The upper right hand holds a goad, to push mankind on the road to wisdom and success, the upper left a noose of rope to capture obstacles. The lower right hand holds like a pen, the tusk broken in writing the heroic epic "Mahabharata", the lower right a loop of beads indicating that the pursuit of knowledge should be unending. The snake about his waist represents energy, and the mouse the fact that he is humble enough to ride the most unprepossessing of creatures. (Ok, that last is not a description of most researchers, but maybe it should be...)
The picture above is of a sculpture given to your professor by an
The one below is from the web site ExoticIndianArt.com,
an online art gallery.