An Upanishadic lesson for modern science?

Do the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads lack the “baggage of biography” – to borrow Amit Chaudhuri’s words – because we don’t know who the authors, outside of the mythology, are or – as Chaudhuri writes in a new essay – do these texts carry more weight than their authors themselves because Eastern Philosophy privilegedContinue reading “An Upanishadic lesson for modern science?”

To read or not a bad man’s book

The Life of Science team uploaded the video of their webinar on July 10, about the construct of the genius in science, on YouTube on July 14. Please watch it if you haven’t already. I had also blogged about it. During the webinar, Gita Chadha – a sociologist of science and one of the twoContinue reading “To read or not a bad man’s book”

Redeeming art v. redeeming science

Recently, someone shared the cover of a soon to be released book, entitled The Physics of Climate Change, authored by Lawrence M. Krauss and expressed excitement about the book’s impending publication and the prospect of their reading it. I instinctively responded that I would be actively boycotting the book after the sexual harassment allegations againstContinue reading “Redeeming art v. redeeming science”

Freeman Dyson’s PhD

The physicist, thinker and writer Freeman Dyson passed away on February 28, 2020, at the age of 96. I wrote his obituary for The Wire Science; excerpt: The 1965 Nobel Prize for the development of [quantum electrodynamics] excluded Dyson. … If this troubled Dyson, it didn’t show; indeed, anyone who knew him wouldn’t have expectedContinue reading “Freeman Dyson’s PhD”

Two sides of the road and the gutter next to it

I have a mid-October deadline for an essay so obviously when I started reading up on the topic this morning, I ended up on a different part of the web – where I found this: a piece by a journalist talking about the problems with displaying one’s biases. Its headline: It’s a straightforward statement untilContinue reading “Two sides of the road and the gutter next to it”

Unseating Feynman, and Fermi

Do physicists whitewash the legacy of Enrico Fermi the same way they do Richard Feynman? Feynman disguised his sexism as pranks and jokes, and writers have spent thousands of pages offering his virtues as a great physicist and teacher as a counterweight against his misogyny. Even his autobiography doesn’t make any attempts to disguise hisContinue reading “Unseating Feynman, and Fermi”

Chromodynamics: Gluons are just gonzo

One of the more fascinating bits of high-energy physics is the branch of physics called quantum chromodynamics (QCD). Don’t let the big name throw you off: it deals with a bunch of elementary particles that have a property called colour charge. And one of these particles creates a mess of this branch of physics because of itsContinue reading “Chromodynamics: Gluons are just gonzo”

Dude, where's my comma?

(Update: Includes Gopal Gandhi’s reply.) Gopalkrishna Gandhi’s lead in The Hindu, ‘An open letter to Narendra Modi‘, was a wonderful read – as if from the Keeper of the Nation’s Conscience to the Executor of the Republic’s Will. I’m not interested in scrupulous political analyses and Gandhi’s piece sat well with that, explaining so lucidly what’s reallyContinue reading “Dude, where's my comma?”

Dude, where’s my comma?

(Update: Includes Gopal Gandhi’s reply.) Gopalkrishna Gandhi’s lead in The Hindu, ‘An open letter to Narendra Modi‘, was a wonderful read – as if from the Keeper of the Nation’s Conscience to the Executor of the Republic’s Will. I’m not interested in scrupulous political analyses and Gandhi’s piece sat well with that, explaining so lucidly what’s reallyContinue reading “Dude, where’s my comma?”

Ramblings on partons

When matter and anti-matter meet, they annihilate each other in a “flash” of energy. Usually, this release of energy is in the form of high-energy photons, or gamma rays, which are then detected, analysed, and interpreted to understand more of the collision’s other properties. In nature, however, matter/anti-matter collisions are ultra-rare if not altogether non-existentContinue reading “Ramblings on partons”