An Indian paper retracted for ‘legal reasons’

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The Editor-in-Chief has retracted this article because it was published in error before the peer review process was completed. The content of this article has been removed for legal reasons. The authors have been offered to submit a revised manuscript for further peer review. All authors agree with this retraction. This is the notice accompanying…… Continue reading An Indian paper retracted for ‘legal reasons’

Science shouldn’t animate the need for social welfare

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This is an interesting discovery: https://twitter.com/NYTScience/status/1485821542395224064 First, it’s also a bad discovery (note: there’s a difference between right/wrong and good/bad). It is useful to found specific interventions on scientific findings – such as that providing pregnant women with iron supplements in a certain window of the pregnancy could reduce the risk of anaemia by X%. However, that…… Continue reading Science shouldn’t animate the need for social welfare

Getting ahead of theory, experiment, ourselves

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Science journalist Laura Spinney wrote an article in The Guardian on January 9, 2022, entitled ‘Are we witnessing the dawn of post-theory science?’. This excerpt from the article captures its points well, I thought: Or take protein structures. A protein’s function is largely determined by its structure, so if you want to design a drug that blocks or…… Continue reading Getting ahead of theory, experiment, ourselves

On science, religion, Brahmins and a book

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I’m partway through Renny Thomas’s new book, Science and Religion in India: Beyond Disenchantment. Its description on the Routledge page reads: This book provides an in-depth ethnographic study of science and religion in the context of South Asia, giving voice to Indian scientists and shedding valuable light on their engagement with religion. Drawing on biographical, autobiographical, historical, and…… Continue reading On science, religion, Brahmins and a book

On anticipation and the history of science

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In mid-2012, shortly after physicists working with the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Europe had announced the discovery of a particle that looked a lot like the Higgs boson, there was some clamour in India over news reports not paying enough attention or homage to the work of Satyendra Nath Bose. Bose and Albert Einstein…… Continue reading On anticipation and the history of science

Tek Fog and science

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If you haven’t read The Wire’s Tek Fog investigation, do so right away – not just because it’s necessary preamble to this post but because it concerns you either because you’re an Indian citizen and you need to update your awareness of what the BJP is capable of or because device-hacking, which is one level of…… Continue reading Tek Fog and science

A false union in science journalism

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At what point does a journalist become a stenographer? Most people would say it’s when the journalist stops questioning claims and reprints them uncritically, as if they were simply a machine. So at what point does a science journalist become a stenographer? You’ll probably say at the same point – when they become uncritical of…… Continue reading A false union in science journalism

About vaccines for children and Covaxin…

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I don’t understand his penchant for late-night announcements, much less one at 10 pm on Christmas night, but Prime Minister Narendra has just said the government will roll out vaccines for young adults aged 15-18 years from January 3, 2022 – around the same time I received a press release from Bharat Biotech saying the…… Continue reading About vaccines for children and Covaxin…

Charles Lieber case: A high-energy probe of science

There’s a phenomenon in high-energy particle physics that I’ve found instructive as a metaphor to explain some things whose inner character may not be apparent to us but whose true nature is exposed in extreme situations. For example, consider the case of Charles Lieber, an American chemist whom a jury found guilty earlier today of…… Continue reading Charles Lieber case: A high-energy probe of science

Some thoughts on Robert Downey, Jr.’s science funding idea

A screenshot of Iron Man in action in 'Avengers: Infinity War' (2018). Source: Hotstar

On December 12, Iron Man, a.k.a. Robert Downey, Jr., and David Lang coauthored an op-ed in Fast Company that announced a grant-giving initiative of theirs designed to help fund scientists doing work too important to wait for the bureaucracy to catch up. Their article opened with a paragraph that, to my eye, seemed to have…… Continue reading Some thoughts on Robert Downey, Jr.’s science funding idea