My heart of physics

Every July 4, I have occasion to remember two things: the discovery of the Higgs boson, and my first published byline for an article about the discovery of the Higgs boson. I have no trouble believing it’s been eight years since we discovered this particle, using the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and its ATLAS andContinue reading “My heart of physics”

The molecule that was also a wave

According to the principles of quantum mechanics, you’re a wave – just like light is both a particle and a wave. It’s just that your wavelength is so small that your wave nature doesn’t matter, and you’re treated like a particle. The larger an object is, the smaller its wavelength, and vice versa. We’re confusedContinue reading “The molecule that was also a wave”

Scientists make video of molecule rotating

A research group in Germany has captured images of what a rotating molecule looks like. This is a significant feat because it is very difficult to observe individual atoms and molecules, which are very small as well as very fragile. Scientists often have to employ ingenious techniques that can probe their small scale but withoutContinue reading “Scientists make video of molecule rotating”

Jayant Narlikar's pseudo-defence of Darwin

Jayant Narlikar, the noted astrophysicist and emeritus professor at the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Pune, recently wrote an op-ed in The Hindu titled ‘Science should have the last word’. There’s probably a tinge of sanctimoniousness there, echoing the belief many scientists I’ve met have that science will answer everything, often blithely oblivious toContinue reading “Jayant Narlikar's pseudo-defence of Darwin”

Jayant Narlikar’s pseudo-defence of Darwin

Jayant Narlikar, the noted astrophysicist and emeritus professor at the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Pune, recently wrote an op-ed in The Hindu titled ‘Science should have the last word’. There’s probably a tinge of sanctimoniousness there, echoing the belief many scientists I’ve met have that science will answer everything, often blithely oblivious toContinue reading “Jayant Narlikar’s pseudo-defence of Darwin”

All the science in 'The Cloverfield Paradox'

I watched The Cloverfield Paradox last night, the horror film that Paramount pictures had dumped with Netflix and which was then released by Netflix on February 4. It’s a dumb production: unlike H.R. Giger’s existential, visceral horrors that I so admire, The Cloverfield Paradox is all about things going bump in the dark. But whatContinue reading “All the science in 'The Cloverfield Paradox'”

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.

The intricacies of being sold on string theory

If you are seeking an appreciation for the techniques of string theory, then Brian Greene’s The Elegant Universe could be an optional supplement. If, on the other hand, you want to explore the epistemological backdrop against which string theory proclaimed its aesthetic vigor, then the book is a must-read. As the title implies, it discusses theContinue reading “The intricacies of being sold on string theory”

Bohr and the breakaway from classical mechanics

One hundred years ago, Niels Bohr developed the Bohr model of the atom, where electrons go around a nucleus at the center like planets in the Solar System. The model and its implications brought a lot of clarity to the field of physics at a time when physicists didn’t know what was inside an atom,Continue reading “Bohr and the breakaway from classical mechanics”

Bohr and the breakaway from classical mechanics

One hundred years ago, Niels Bohr developed the Bohr model of the atom, where electrons go around a nucleus at the centre like planets in the Solar System. The model and its implications brought a lot of clarity to the field of physics at a time when physicists didn’t know what was inside an atom,Continue reading “Bohr and the breakaway from classical mechanics”

How hard is it to violate Pauli's exclusion principle?

A well-designed auditorium always has all its seats positioned on an inclined plane. ​Otherwise it wouldn’t be well-designed, would it? Anyway, this arrangement solves an important problem: It lets people sit anywhere they want to irrespective of their heights. It won’t matter if a taller person sits in front of a shorter one – theContinue reading “How hard is it to violate Pauli's exclusion principle?”