A difficulty celebrating Chandrayaan 3

I’m grateful to Avijit Pathak for his article in Indian Express on August 29. After the Chandrayaan 3 mission achieved its primary objective, to soft-land a robotic lander on the moon’s south polar region, there was widespread jubilation, but I couldn’t celebrate. I felt guilty and distressed, actually, with the thought that my well-rewarded scepticism … Read more

Land on the moon, feet on the earth

Yesterday was fantastic. India made a few kinds of history, when one is great enough, by autonomously landing a robotic instrument in the moon’s south polar region. Some seven hours later, it deployed a rover, bringing the Chandrayaan-3 mission’s toughest phase to a resounding close and beginning its scientific mission, significant in its own right … Read more

With Gyanvapi article, Abhinav Prakash Singh does logic wapsi

The national vice-president of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, Abhinav Prakash Singh, published an article on May 22 on the Gyanvapi mosque issue that is from start to finish an exercise in verbal sophistry. But while we have come to expect such nonsense from functionaries of the Bharatiya Janata Party, I was shocked to see … Read more

Press releases and public duty

From ‘Science vs Marketing’, published on In The Dark, on May 20, 2022: … there is an increasing tendency for university press offices to see themselves entirely as marketing agencies instead of informing and/or educating the public. Press releases about scientific research nowadays rarely make any attempt at accuracy – they are just designed to get the … Read more

Super-spreads exist, but do super-spreaders?

What does the term ‘super-spreader’ mean? According to an article in the MIT Tech Review on June 15, “The word is a generic term for an unusually contagious individual who’s been infected with disease. In the context of the coronavirus, scientists haven’t narrowed down how many infections someone needs to cause to qualify as a superspreader, but … Read more

Retrospective: The Wire Science in 2019

At the start of 2019, The Wire Science decided to focus more on issues of science and society, and this is reflected in the year-end list of our best stories (in terms of traffic and engagement; listed below). Most of our hits don’t belong to this genre, but quite a few do – enough for us … Read more