2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog. Here’s an excerpt: 4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 22,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 5 Film Festivals Click here to see the complete report.

The case of the red-haired kids

Seriously, shame on me for not noticing the release of a product named Correlate until December 2012. Correlate by Google was released in May last year and is a tool to see how two different search trends have panned out over a period of time. But instead of letting you pick out searches and compare them, Correlate … Read more

Dr. Stone on the Higgs search

On December 10, 2012, I spoke to a bunch of physicists attending the Frontiers of High-energy Physics symposium at the Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai. They included Rahul Sinha, G. Rajasekaran, Tom Kibble, Sheldon Stone, Marina Artuso, M.V.N. Murthy, Kajari Mazumdar, and Hai-Yang Cheng, amongst others. All their talks, obviously, focused on either the search … Read more

NPPs in Japan

In the first general elections held since the phased shutdown of nuclear reactors across Japan, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) scored a landslide victory. Incidentally, the LDP was also the party most vehemently opposed to its predecessor, the Democratic Party of Japan (DJP), when it declared the shutdown of nuclear power plants (NPPs) across Japan, increasing the economic powerhouse’s reliance on fossil fuels.

Now that Abe, who termed Noda’s actions “irresponsible”, is in power, the markets were also quick to respond. TEPCO’s shares jumped 33 per cent, Kansai Electric Power’s rose 18 per cent, the Nikkei index 1 per cent, and the shares of two Australian uranium mining companies rose at least 5 per cent each.

How will nuclear fusion develop in a carbon-free world?

On December 5, Dr. Stephen. P. Obenschain was awarded the 2012 Fusion Power Associates’ (FPA) Leadership Award for his leadership qualities in accelerating the development of fusion. Dr. Obenschain is the branch-head of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory Plasma Physics Division. Dr. Obenschain’s most significant contributions to the field are concerned with the development and … Read more

The strong CP problem: We’re just lost

Unsolved problems in particle physics are just mind-boggling. They usually concern nature at either the smallest or the largest scales, and the smaller the particle whose properties you’re trying to decipher, the closer you are to nature’s most fundamental principles, principles that, in their multitudes, father civilisations, galaxies, and all other kinds of things. One … Read more

One of the hottest planets cold enough for ice

This article, as written by me, appeared in The Hindu on December 6, 2012. — Mercury, the innermost planet in the Solar System, is like a small rock orbiting the Sun, continuously assaulted by the star’s heat and radiation. It would have to be the last place to look for water at. However, observations of … Read more

Reaching for the… sky?

This article, as written by me, appeared in The Hindu on December 4, 2012. — The Aakash initiative of the Indian government is an attempt to bolster the academic experience of students in the country by equipping them with purpose-built tablets at subsidised rates. The Aakash 2 tablet was unveiled on November 11, 2012. It … Read more