The fiction of men

After you find out that a male writer has been a lesser person than you thought he was, have you found it harder to read and appreciate his work? I bet you have. I’m sure it’s the case with female, rather non-male, writers too but most examples we know are those of men. Now, I … Read more

Fantasy and pseudoscience in Rajinikanth’s ‘2.0’

Rajinikanth’s film 2.0, which released last year, was recently uploaded on Amazon Prime and I finally watched it in its entirety. It is a dumpster-fire of masculinity, sexism and misogyny, which is not surprising after Petta was what it was. 2.0 also goes one step further and confuses fantasy for license to peddle pseudoscience, ultimately … Read more

Welcome to the ergosphere

A black hole’s gravitational influence is a twisted – and twisting – thing, with many parts to it. We all know about the event horizon because of its wondrous ability to capture ‘even light’ within its envelope, keeping everything within trapped in absolute darkness for as long as the black hole lives. But beyond the … Read more

Poisoned trees bear poisonous fruits

Of late, there has been a clutch of Tamil films that have endeavoured to show the Hindu right-wing in poor light, associating its rituals with violence and oppression. The two most notable examples are Kaala and Petta, both starring Rajinikanth. Kaala was a modern adaptation of the Ramayana but told as if from Ravana’s point … Read more

Star Wars and the dynastic principle

Late last week, I picked up Ram Guha’s Patriots and Partisans. I know shamefully little about India’s modern political history – before and after Independence – certainly beyond the virtual borders of its scientific and technological endeavours. And to someone as receptive to new ideas on this front as me, Guha’s writing is perfect: he’s … Read more

The black hole image’s question of kind

In my latest op-ed for The Wire, where I defended the criticisms of some people who called the EHT’s black hole picture too blurry, there are two lines that aren’t entirely true. This post attempts to clarify its underlying science as well as to defend it in the immediate context of the op-ed. The lines … Read more

To creativity, and conviction

The physicist David Thouless passed away earlier this month. I confess I didn’t know much about him or his work until he won a part of the Nobel Prize for physics in 2016. After that, I read up about his work and had my mind blown, mostly motivated by a phenomenon in condensed-matter physics called … Read more

What it means to be scientific

On April 1, a few days after India successfully completed its ‘Mission Shakti’ ASAT test, an editorial in the RSS mouthpiece Organiser read: In the initial days, scientists had to fight hard to prove their mettle and significance of the research they were undertaking. … In the last few years, whether in space programme or in the case of … Read more