About

I’m Vasudevan Mukunth, a science writer and editor in Bangalore, India, and currently science editor at The Wire. Before this, I worked at Brainwave Magazine, a science magazine for children previously owned by Amar Chitra Katha, and before that at Scroll and even before that at The Hindu. I have also been published in Physics World, Quartz, Wissenschaft im Dialog and China Pictorial. Here’s a list of all of my published work arranged chronologically.

This blog runs on good food, a small library of excellent books and Bangalore’s weather. There are no affiliates, sponsored content or paywalls on these pages and never will be. There might be the occasional advertisement but nothing garish or out of place.

I enjoy writing about high-energy, astroparticle and condensed-matter physics, and the sociology of science. I have also written about climate change, science policy, academic misconduct, Tamil cinema and science communication. I also like fantasy world-building, writing weird fiction, playing Dungeons & Dragons, discussing Steven Erikson’s books (but not the Wilful Child series) and discovering new electronic music.

If you’re an aspiring science journalist and want to talk to me, ping me at the IndiaBioScience forum. For tips, suggestions, brickbats, bouquets and commissions, email me at mukunth at thewire dot in. I’m on Twitter as @1amnerd, on Mastodon as @1amnerd@mastodon.social, my Facebook page is /1amnerd and my Keybase identity is /drizzly. Comments are disabled on this blog.

Cosmologies

I have much sympathy with the view, formulated clearly and elegantly by [Benjamin Lee] Whorf (and anticipated by [Francis] Bacon), that languages and the reaction patterns they involve are not merely instruments for describing events (facts, states of affair), but that they are also shapers of events (facts, states of affairs), that their “grammar” contains a cosmology, a comprehensive view of the world, of society, of the situation of man which influences thought, behaviour, perception.

Against Method, Paul Feyerabend, Verso 2010, p. 169.

Epsilon Aurigae

Epsilon Aurigae is the name of a star system in the Auriga constellation that astronomers think could be two or three stars orbiting each other. The system’s brightness has been fluctuating in a strange pattern: it drops for about two years at a time once every 27 years, most recently in 2009. Baffled astronomers, based on multiple observations and astrophysical theories, have offered competing explanations. The most popular one at the moment is that it’s a two-star system surrounded by a thick disk of dust, gaps in which are modulating the brightness as seen from Earth. The Persian sultan Mirza Muhammad Taraghay bin Shahrukh first recorded the star in his catalogue in 1665 and called it “Al ma’az”, Arabic for “the goats”.

Colophon

I work for The Wire, but the stuff I say on this blog has nothing to do with my employer or their views. They are my personal opinions.