Chromodynamics: Gluons are just gonzo

One of the more fascinating bits of high-energy physics is the branch of physics called quantum chromodynamics (QCD). Don’t let the big name throw you off: it deals with a bunch of elementary particles that have a property called colour charge. And one of these particles creates a mess of this branch of physics because of its … Read more

The significance of Cassini’s end

Many generations of physicists, astronomers and astrobiologists are going to be fascinated by Saturn because of Cassini. I wrote this on The Wire on September 15. I lied. Truth is, I don’t care about Saturn. In fact, I’m fascinated with Cassini because of Saturn. We all are. Without Cassini, Saturn wouldn’t have been what it is in our shared imagination of … Read more

Starless city

Overheard three people in Delhi: When you feel the rain fall, you feel the dirt pouring down on you, muck streaking down your face and clothes. It washes down the haze from the skies and you can finally breathe clean air and the sky gets so blue. The dust settles. Some 25 drops of water … Read more

Understanding what ‘400 years’ stands for, through telescopes

This is how Leonard Digges described a telescope in 1571: By concave and convex mirrors of circular [spherical] and parabolic forms, or by paires of them placed at due angles, and using the aid of transparent glasses which may break, or unite, the images produced by the reflection of the mirrors, there may be represented … Read more

Making sense of quantum annealing

One of the tougher things about writing and reading about quantum mechanics is keeping up with how the meaning of some words change as they graduate from being used in the realm of classical mechanics – where things are what they look like – to that of the quantum – where we have no idea … Read more

Gods of nothing

The chances that I’ll ever understand Hollywood filmmakers’ appetite for films based on ancient mythology is low, and even lower that I’ll find a way to explain the shittiness of what their admiration begets. I just watched Gods of Egypt, which released in 2016, on Netflix. From the first scene, it felt like one of those … Read more