Why you should care about the New Horizons probe nearing Pluto

The Wire May 29, 2015 47 days 23 hours 39 minutes! — Alex Parker (@Alex_Parker) May 27, 2015 Alex Parker is a planetary astronomer at the Southwest Research Institute, Texas, and he posted his tweet just as I started writing this piece. And not just for Parker – it’s an exciting time for everyone, an exhilarating period in … Read more

Twitter isn’t impressed with what we’re doing about climate change

The Wire May 26, 2015 English is a happy language. At least the 10,000 most used English words are positively biased, according to a 2012 study conducted by mathematicians from the University of Vermont. To reach their conclusion, they used a tool they’d built called the hedonometer – an evaluator of happiness in natural (English) … Read more

Remembering John Nash, mathematician who unlocked game theory for economics

The Wire May 25, 2015 The economist and Nobel Laureate Robert Solow once said, “It wasn’t until Nash that game theory came alive for economists.” He was speaking of the work of John Forbes Nash, Jr., a mathematician whose 27-page PhD thesis from 1949 transformed a chapter in mathematics from a novel idea to a … Read more

ISRO keeps up steady trickle of photos from Mars Orbiter

The Wire May 23, 2015 On May 22, the Indian Space Research Organization released two new pictures snapped by the Mars Orbiter Mission, currently in orbit around the red planet. They were taken by the Mars Colour Camera on-board the orbiter in February and April, and follow a heftier batch of photos released in the third week of … Read more

Curious Bends – outraged warriors, bizarre obsessions, dubious drugs and more

It’s been one year since we launched Curious Bends – a newsletter where we bring you science, technology, data and India stories from around the web, once a week (subscribe). We’ve enjoyed serving you important and interesting stories. Thank you for being loyal subscribers! Anniversaries are a good time to reflect. Help us do that … Read more

Roundup of missed stories – May 23, 2015

I’ve missed writing/commenting on so many science papers/articles in the two weeks following the launch of The Wire. The concepts in many of them would’ve made fun explainers, some required a takedown or two, and one had surprising ethical and philosophical implications. I think it might be a bit late to write about them myself … Read more

Why Indian science projects must plan for cultural conversations, too

The Wire May 18, 2015 What should be the priority for science in India? Nature journal published answers from ten scientists in India it had asked this question to on May 13. One of the scientists was Prof. Naba Mondal, a physicist at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, and he said India has to … Read more

As seas exchange heat, the Indian Ocean is becoming a marine hothouse

The Wire May 21, 2015 Since about 1998, the rate at which the Earth’s surface temperature has been becoming hotter due to anthropogenic global warming has slowed. It slipped from about 0.12 kelvin per decade since the late 1800s to about 0.05 kelvin per decade. For a time, climate deniers jumped on this statistic to … Read more

Two of Alan Turing’s WW-II papers are now in the public domain

The Wire May 21, 2015 A scientific paper written by Alan Turing, the brilliant computer scientist who cracked the Enigma code during the Second World War and bolstered Britain’s war efforts, was recently declassified by the British government and uploaded to the arXiv pre-print server. The paper’s entitled ‘The Applications of Probability to Cryptography’. It has Turing … Read more

It’s time for ISRO to reach for the (blue) sky

The Wire May 19, 2015 Almost 40 years after the launch of Aryabhata, the Indian Space Research Organisation successfully placed another satellite into orbit, this time around Mars – becoming the world’s first space agency to have done so in its debut attempt. There are many similarities between the April-1975 launch of Aryabhata, India’s first satellite, and the September-2014 orbit-insertion of … Read more