India’s science leadership

On October 17, the National Council for Education Research and Training (NCERT) introduced a reading module for middle-school students called “Chandrayaan Utsav”. It was released by Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan in the presence of S. Somanath, Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation, and claims that the Chandrayaan-3 achievement was great but not the … Read more

Gaganyaan: The ingredient is not the recipe

The nose cone bearing the spacecraft of the Chandrayaan-3 mission ahead of being fit to the launch vehicle.

For all the hoopla over indigeneity – from ISRO chairman S. Somanath exalting the vast wisdom of ancient Indians to political and ideological efforts to cast modern India as the world’s ‘vishwaguru’ – the pressure vessel of the crew module that will one day carry the first Indian astronauts to space won’t be made in … Read more

An EIA process just for the Himalaya?

photo of mountains surrounded by pine trees

In The Hindu today, lawyers Archana Vaidya and Vikram Hegde have written an article asking for a separate environment impact assessment (EIA) process for the Indian Himalayan region. The article begins with a brief history of the EIA, its origins in 1976 in the need to assess river-valley power projects from an “environmental point of … Read more

An ‘expanded’ heuristic to evaluate science as a non-scientist


The Hindu publishes a column called ‘Notebook’ every Friday, in which journalists in the organisation open windows big or small into their work, providing glimpses into their process and thinking – things that otherwise remain out of view in news articles, analyses, op-eds, etc. Quite a few of them are very insightful. A recent example … Read more

Marginalia: On NewsClick, NYT, toolkits, etc.

brown black and white tiles

The Bharatiya Janata Party in power in India knows that the process is the punishment, that the amount of punishment imposed depends on the law invoked in the chargesheet, and that no law is as ripe for misuse in this regard as the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) 1967. In fact, simply invoking the law … Read more

“Why has no Indian won a science Nobel this year?”

A depiction of Alfred Nobel in the Nobel Museum in Stockholm. Credit: sol_invictus/Flickr, CC BY 2.0

For all their flaws, the science Nobel Prizes – at the time they’re announced, in the first week of October every year – provide a good opportunity to learn about some obscure part of the scientific endeavour with far-reaching consequences for humankind. This year, for example, we learnt about attosecond physics, quantum dots, and in–vitro … Read more