Year-ending is a time to pause and reflect on the past year. In 2021, the pandemic waxed and waned, throwing newer challenges at us. Yet, amidst all, science was at the forefront throughout, providing the props for us to learn, stay informed, choose wisely, and adapt to new normals.
The past year is a reminder of how far we have travelled together. It was also a reminder of our readers' continued support and patronage reposed in us. Staying true to our motto to communicate the 'wow' of India's latest and best science news, we at Research Matters strived to showcase an eclectic mix of compelling stories in biology, ecology and conservation, nutrition, health, discoveries, engineering, and technology.
SciQs that grabbed attention
SciQ is one of our popular columns aimed to raise the scientific quotient of our layperson audience. These short reads open a window to peep into scientific concepts and phenomena and assimilate them.
Here we shortlisted (in no particular order) a few SciQs that are worth a second glance.
If you ever wondered why you seem to be more prone to mosquito bites than others, then this article will throw light on the science behind it. Scientists are still baffled by how mosquitoes choose their targets, as it turns out to be no less than rocket science!
The animal kingdom is rife with mating rituals that never cease to fascinate us. This story is about a tiny, 3-cm frog found in the Western Ghats. Scientists found that at the onset of the breeding season, the males of these tiny frogs break into a tap dance, pirouetting around to attract the females. Isn't that amazing!
Are there other worlds like us? This story tells us that Astronomers estimate an astonishing number of exoplanets in our galaxy that meet the Goldilocks criteria – life-supporting factors on other planets.
The flower-pollinator equation is dynamic, with flowers attracting pollinators such as butterflies in myriad ways. Did you know that butterflies are picky about colours? Scientists found that flowers are changing their hues due to climate changes, which could hamper the butterflies' choices. The repercussions of these unwarranted changes could be far-reaching, which needs much investigation.
Hitherto it was a mathematician's prerogative and ingenuity to prove theorems, discover new mathematical formulae to relate natural constants and more. History shows such endeavours took the mathematicians many years. However, now, a mathematical machine can slash the task time.
These are just a few of last year's science snippets. Stay tuned for many more exciting stories ahead.