When cooling down really means slowing down

Consider this post the latest in a loosely defined series about atomic cooling techniques that I’ve been writing since June 2018. Atoms can’t run a temperature, but things made up of atoms, like a chair or table, can become hotter or colder. This is because what we observe as the temperature of macroscopic objects isContinue reading “When cooling down really means slowing down”

Why are the Nobel Prizes still relevant?

Note: A condensed version of this post has been published in The Wire. Around this time last week, the world had nine new Nobel Prize winners in the sciences (physics, chemistry and medicine), all but one of whom were white and none were women. Before the announcements began, Göran Hansson, the Swede-in-chief of these prizes,Continue reading “Why are the Nobel Prizes still relevant?”

Disentangling entanglement

There has been considerable speculation if the winners of this year’s Nobel Prize for physics, due to be announced at 2.30 pm IST on October 8, will include Alain Aspect and Anton Zeilinger. They’ve both made significant experimental contributions related to quantum information theory and the fundamental nature of quantum mechanics, including entanglement. Their work,Continue reading “Disentangling entanglement”

Can gravitational waves be waylaid by gravity?

Yesterday, I learnt the answer is ‘yes’. Gravitational waves can be gravitationally lensed. It seems obvious once you think about it, but not something that strikes you (assuming you’re not a physicist) right away. When physicists solve problems relating to the spacetime continuum, they imagine it as a four-dimensional manifold: three of space and oneContinue reading “Can gravitational waves be waylaid by gravity?”

The science in Netflix's 'Spectral'

It’s fun to think about the implications of a film’s antagonists being modelled after a phenomenon I’ve often read/written about but never thought about that way.

Parsing Ajay Sharma v. E = mc2

An Indian scientist’s disputes with Einstein’s mass-energy equivalence betray a misreading of how one of history’s most famous equations came to be.

Feeling the pulse of the space-time continuum

Humans have known about the force of gravity since ancient times. Yet, we are still exploring its true nature, how it works, and why it works the way it does.

The non-Nobel for Satyen Bose

Last week, as the Nobel Prizes were announced and Peter Higgs and Francois Englert won the highly coveted physics prize, dust was kicked up in India – just as it was in July and then in September 2012 – about how Satyendra Nath Bose had been ‘ignored’. S.N. Bose, in the 1920s, was responsible forContinue reading “The non-Nobel for Satyen Bose”