They’re trying to build a telescope

If a telescope like the TMT and a big physics experiment like the INO are being stalled for failing to account for the interests and sensibilities of the people already living at or near their planned sites, what should scientists do when they set out to plan for the next big observatory or similar installation … Read more

On resource constraints and merit

In the face of complaints about how so few women have been awarded this year’s Swarnajayanti Fellowships in India, some scientists pushed back asking which of the male laureates who had been selected should have been left out instead. This is a version of the merit argument commonly applied to demands for reservation and quota in higher … Read more

Trump, science denial and violence

For a few days last week, before the mail-in votes had been counted in the US, the contest between Joe Biden and Donald Trump seemed set for a nail-biting finish. In this time a lot of people expressed disappointment on Twitter that nearly half of all Americans who had voted (Trump’s share of the popular … Read more

Playing the devil’s advocate on Starlink

After SpaceX began to launch its Starlink satellite constellation to facilitate global internet coverage, astronomers began complaining that the satellites are likely to interfere with stargazing schemes, especially those of large, sensitive telescopes. Spaceflight stakeholders also began to worry, especially after SpaceX’s announcement that the Starlink constellation is in fact the precursor to a mega-constellation … Read more

The INO story

The INO’s is a great story but stands unfortunately to become a depressing parable at the moment – the biggest bug yet in a spider’s web spun of bureaucracy and misinformation.

On the need for the India-based Neutrino Observatory

A prototype of the ICAL detector at TIFR. Credit: TIFR

“I bet @1amnerd disagrees with this” was how Kapil Subramanian’s piece in The Hindu today was pointed out to me on Twitter. Titled ‘India must look beyond neutrinos’, the piece examines if India should be a “global leader in science” and if investing in a neutrino detector is the way to do it. A few … Read more

Why Indian science projects must plan for cultural conversations, too

The Wire May 18, 2015 What should be the priority for science in India? Nature journal published answers from ten scientists in India it had asked this question to on May 13. One of the scientists was Prof. Naba Mondal, a physicist at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, and he said India has to … Read more

Construction has started on two of the world’s grandest neutrino observatories

The groundbreaking ceremony for the Jiangmen Underground Neutrino Observatory happened on January 10. This means construction on Asia’s two biggest neutrino experiments will have started in the span of a week, after the India-based Neutrino Observatory was given the go-ahead by the government on January 5. Where the INO uses a device called the iron … Read more

Vaiko has a problem with the unmanned, fully automated neutrino observatory

Imagine a vast research facility situated below a hill – fully underground – hosting a massive particle detector made up of the world’s largest electromagnet and some 30,000 metal plates. Embracing this device is a magnetic field 35,000 times as strong as Earth’s, not to mention more than three million electronic channels carrying signals to and from computers monitoring … Read more

Cabinet approves India-based Neutrino Observatory

On Monday, the Prime Minister’s Office gave the go ahead for the India-based Neutrino Observatory, an underground physics experiment that will study particles called atmospheric neutrinos. The project is based out of Theni in Tamil Nadu, and the Tamil Nadu State Government is providing the infrastructural support. The observatory is expected to cost Rs 1,500 … Read more