Something more foolish than completing phase 3 trials in 1.5 months?

That the Union government and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) had entered into a more intimate, but not necessarily more beneficial, relationship became evident in 2019 when then ISRO chairman K. Sivan trotted out a series of dubious claims to massage the fate of the Chandrayaan 2 mission, whose lunar surface component had obviously … Read more

2022 in retrospect

2022 has been my worst on the record on several fronts. I had COVID-19 in the first month, which did a freaky number on my heart. My unexplained weight loss from 2021 continued its run into six months of 2022 before stopping suddenly, although all test reports came back normal and doctors were stumped. Bharat … Read more

The identity of scientific papers

bookcase books bookshop bookstore

This prompt arose in response to Stuart Ritchie’s response to a suggestion in an editorial “first published last year but currently getting some attention on Twitter” – that scientists should write their scientific papers as if they were telling a story, with a beginning, middle and end. The act of storytelling produces something entertaining by … Read more

New LHC data puts ‘new physics’ lead to bed

the large hadron collider at geneva switzerland

One particle in the big zoo of subatomic particles is the B meson. It has a very short lifetime once it’s created. In rare instances it decays to three lighter particles: a kaon, a lepton and an anti-lepton. There are many types of leptons and anti-leptons. Two are electrons/anti-electrons and muons/anti-muons. According to the existing … Read more

Notes on the NIF nuclear fusion breakthrough

My explainer/analysis of the US nuclear fusion breakthrough was published today. Some stuff didn’t make it to the final draft for space and tone constraints; I’m publishing that below. 1. While most US government officials present at the announcement of the NIF’s results, including the president’s science advisor Arati Prabhakar (and with the exception of energy … Read more

Skyward light, wayward light

silhouette of person under starry sky

This is welcome news: … even if it’s curious that three of the four officially stated reasons for designating this ‘dark sky reserve’ aren’t directly related to the telescopes, and that telescopes had to come up in the area for the local government, the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) and whoever else to acknowledge that … Read more