On anticipation and the history of science

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In mid-2012, shortly after physicists working with the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Europe had announced the discovery of a particle that looked a lot like the Higgs boson, there was some clamour in India over news reports not paying enough attention or homage to the work of Satyendra Nath Bose. Bose and Albert Einstein…… Continue reading On anticipation and the history of science

Tek Fog and science

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If you haven’t read The Wire’s Tek Fog investigation, do so right away – not just because it’s necessary preamble to this post but because it concerns you either because you’re an Indian citizen and you need to update your awareness of what the BJP is capable of or because device-hacking, which is one level of…… Continue reading Tek Fog and science

A false union in science journalism

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At what point does a journalist become a stenographer? Most people would say it’s when the journalist stops questioning claims and reprints them uncritically, as if they were simply a machine. So at what point does a science journalist become a stenographer? You’ll probably say at the same point – when they become uncritical of…… Continue reading A false union in science journalism

The omicron variant and scicomm

Somewhere between the middle of India’s second major COVID-19 outbreak in March-May this year and today, a lot of us appear to have lost sight of a fact that was central to our understanding of COVID-19 outbreaks in 2020: that the only way a disease outbreak, especially of the novel coronavirus, can be truly devastating…… Continue reading The omicron variant and scicomm

On AWSAR, Saransh, etc.

The Indian National Young Academy of Sciences has announced a “thesis competition for PhD students” called ‘Saranash’. A PhD student will have three minutes, and three slides, to describe their work via video, and winners stand to receive Rs 10,000, Rs 6,000 and Rs 4,000 in cash, for the first three places. It’s a good…… Continue reading On AWSAR, Saransh, etc.

The problem with rooting for science

The idea that trusting in science involves a lot of faith, instead of reason, is lost on most people. More often than not, as a science journalist, I encounter faith through extreme examples – such as the Bloch sphere (used to represent the state of a qubit) or wave functions (‘mathematical objects’ used to understand…… Continue reading The problem with rooting for science

Scicommers as knowledge producers

Reading the latest edition of Raghavendra Gadagkar’s column in The Wire Science, ‘More Fun Than Fun’, about how scientists should become communicators and communicators should be treated as knowledge-producers, I began wondering if the knowledge produced by the latter is in fact not the same knowledge but something entirely new. The idea that communicators simply…… Continue reading Scicommers as knowledge producers

On the lab-leak hypothesis

One problem with the debate over the novel coronavirus’s “lab leak” origin hypothesis is a problem I’m starting to see in quite a few other areas of pandemic-related analysis and discussion. It’s that no one will say why others are wrong, even as they insist others are, and go on about why they are right.…… Continue reading On the lab-leak hypothesis

The Wire Science is hiring

Location: Bengaluru or New Delhi The Wire Science is looking for a sub-editor to conceptualise, edit and produce high-quality news articles and features in a digital newsroom. Requirements Good faculty with the English languageExcellent copy-editing skillsA strong news senseA strong interest in new scientific findingsKnow how to read scientific papersFamiliarity with concepts related to the…… Continue reading The Wire Science is hiring

The passive is political

If Saruman is the stupid shit people say, I have often found Grima Wormtongue is the use of the passive voice. To the uninitiated: Wormtongue was a slimy fellow on Saruman’s side in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. He was much, much less powerful compared to Saruman, but fed the wizard’s ego, lubricated…… Continue reading The passive is political