The stories of two physicists, and how they regarded the use of nuclear weapons to protect their loved ones, have something to offer our era of trigger-happy presidents and isolated dictators.
Vasudevan Mukunth is the science editor at The Wire. He has written for The Hindu, Scroll and Quartz, and has also been running a popular science blog since 2009. He graduated from BITS Dubai in 2010 with a degree in mechanical engineering, and from the Asian College of Journalism in 2012. Find him on Twitter @1amnerd.
A new investigation has found that two Harappan sites occupied a valley in which the river Sutlej used to flow before it shifted course 8,000 years ago, putting a dent in some theories about the river Saraswati.
It’s sweet to get results that surprise scientists, sweeter when local researchers are involved – and even sweeter to be reminded we haven’t been entirely left behind in non-theoretical particle physics research.
A professor has been accused of bullying her students. While some have called her actions unacceptable, other have defended her by pointing to the pressures of being a woman in a male-dominated field.
Instead of trying to eradicate belief in pseudoscientific ideas by diktat, perhaps we should start addressing the factors whose interplay provides a breeding ground for those ideas.
A “completely confusing statement” in a gazette notification has scientists wondering which of their papers will and won’t be considered towards their promotions in the future.
We have stunning shots of other galaxies but we don’t exactly know what the Milky Way itself looks like. Large parts of it that lie on the far side from where we are are obscured by thick dust clouds.
Many of the important papers penned by the chemistry laureates are not freely accessible. Yet the Nobel Prizes are apparently given for work that is “for the greatest benefit of mankind”…
Jacquet Dubochet, Joachim Frank and Richard Henderson optimised the electron microscope through simple workarounds, preserving it as the instrument of choice among structural biologists.
But by giving the prize only to Kip Thorne, Rainer Weiss and Barry Barish, the prize committee has ignored the contributions of 1,000+ scientists around the world who helped build the detectors and analyse the data.
We are getting a glimpse of the power of a network of gravitational wave detectors. India’s own detector will join it in 2024.
The highly publicised treatment in a Mumbai hospital of an Egyptian woman with a rare disorder that caused her to gain weight raises ethical issues for the medical profession, and the media.
If the thinking of Satya Pal Singh is anything to go by, we must prepare for a long spell of darkness.
Particles called gluons are responsible for mediating the strong nuclear force, a fundamental force of nature. But one of their properties complicates this picture profusely.
Cassini has been humankind’s proxy-visit to Saturn, a diminutive, polite and empathetic ambassador dispatched to learn more about a tremendous planet.
Banning the game will not take away the many psychological issues that young teens are susceptible to – just the way banning heavy metal is not going to stop spree or serial killings.
While Cassini is celebrated in the popular literature for its stunning photographs of Saturn’s rings more often, its more unique contributions have advanced our understanding of the planet’s moons.
A new study has found that flocking on curved surfaces gives rise to unique patterns that nature could be taking advantage of – in our bodies, in the world.
A spare satellite, IRNSS 1I, was expected to launch in November 2017, followed by two more spares next year. How the failure of C39 will impact this schedule is not known.
Barely a week after the death of Yash Pal, who worked hard to dispel superstitions and debunk pseudoscience, an article in a business daily advises readers against eating during eclipses.
Making the discovery was like trying to accurately measure how much the Titanic would bob when an orange is dropped on it.
The July 2015 version of the Bill had been criticised by The Wire for arbitrarily assigning wide-ranging discretionary powers and for not possessing the necessary privacy and data-security safeguards.
Rao succeeded Satish Dhawan and helped ISRO work more systematically, in the process leading a series of significant projects like the INSAT 2 and PSLV.
Particles called Majorana fermions are supposed to be their own antiparticles. A new study by an international team of scientists claims to have found them – but what they have found aren’t particles per se.
Scientists from labs in Mumbai, Gandhinagar and Lisbon have found a cheaper-than-usual way to understand how magnetic fields in solar winds and solar flares evolve.
A new law signals Luxembourg’s intention to persist with its bold pro-space strategy after reaping immense rewards from the first time it tried it, in 1985.
At the heart of the history of quantum entanglement lies a furious debate between two groups of physicists, a clever paradox and an iconoclastic way out of it.
If physicists do find that gravitational waves have travelled through dimensions other than the four we live in, it will be the start of a revolution in physics. But how close are we really?
Two physicists have obtained theoretical evidence of the existence of amorphous topological insulators, which are easier to make than crystalline ones while offering the same utility.
The criticism Kosambi faced over his papers on the Riemann hypothesis could have coloured his view of science’s practice and his impression of how much class politics might have been to blame.
Condensed-matter physicists are increasingly relying on machine learning and neural networks to help understand exotic materials called topological insulators.
We all had richly imagined ‘space’ phases as children – but only through Western toys, films and the chronology of NASA’s success, and the occasional book from the Soviet Union.
The D1 mission has injected the GSAT-19 communications satellite into a geostationary orbit. It carries Ka-/Ku-band transponders, an indigenous lithium-ion battery and the GRASP instrument.
Science does not have answers to every question we’ve had. And answers that science can’t validate are not false.
A dutch Nobel laureate and his colleagues have built a motor with synchronous rotor motion – using two molecules. The breakthrough allows us to build more complex nanoscale devices to mimic biological systems.
Indian physicists verified a century-old prediction and then used ASTROSAT to firm up another. The country’s own gravitational-wave detector is expected to be ready in seven years.
When you embed insensitive ‘leaders’ within organisational structures that already struggle to recognise discrimination, you heighten the risk of further dispiriting those being discriminated against.
Even though the US blocked the transfer of cryogenic technology to India towards the end of the Cold War, ISRO has much to gain today from working closely with the West and with NASA.
There are as many flaws with the technology as there are with the processes used to secure the EVMs, the laws that create the sanctions and, as always, with the people involved.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has envisaged the satellite as a ‘gift’ to increase regional cooperation outside the SAARC framework using India’s status as a space power.