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Bengaluru | Jun 14
Tell me why: Scepticism in science

Jack: That, my dear Algy, is the whole truth pure and simple.
Algernon: The truth is rarely pure and never simple.
— 
Oscar Wilde in The Importance of Being Earnest

In a series of articles, Research Matters tries to explain the commonly accepted process of scientific methodology, the interpretation of scientific studies and the obvious pitfalls. It is hoped that this series will help lay public in analysing any understanding published scientific studies for what they are, instead of believing just because ‘scientists say so’. This article is the first in the series.

General, Science, Society, Deep-dive, Friday Features, Joy of Science
Bengaluru | Jun 12
The street smartness of urban lizards

Bengaluru, once called the ‘garden city’, has today traded its greenery for the grey tones of cement. The mushrooming buildings have not only changed the city for its human inhabitants but also for animals that once called this land home. Like us, these animals try to adapt to a new and ever-changing world by learning the tricks and trades necessary to thrive. Now, a study by researchers from IISc has discovered that lizards in the city’s suburbs are street smart, and learn faster than their rural brethren, to stay safe.

General, Science, Ecology, Deep-dive
Guwahati | Jun 10
Is your milk pasteurised? Detection strips from IIT Guwahati can tell you

In this digital age, ruled by smartphone apps, how about one to tell you how fresh your milk is? Although there are stringent safety rules concerning the quality of milk, almost 68% of what is available in the country does not conform to them. In a recent study, researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati have come up with a paper-based detection system to detect if a sample of milk is pasteurised and fresh. This technique, they say, is cost-effective, rapid, user- and environment-friendly.

General, Science, Technology, Health, Deep-dive
Bengaluru | Jun 10
Improving the prediction of the impact of earthquakes

About five earthquakes of magnitude 5.0 or higher on the Ritcher scale occur on our planet every day. Researchers from the IISc, Bengaluru, King Saud University, Saudi Arabia, and BARC, Mumbai, have reported a method to better identify building sites with soil that could be susceptible to damage from earthquakes.

General, Science, Society, Deep-dive
Aizawl | Jun 7
Researchers describe a new genus and species of rain-loving snake from Northeast India

Researchers from NCBS, NHM, WII, Mizoram University, Pachunga University College, and IISc have documented a new genus and species of Natricine snake from Northeast India. 

General, Science, Ecology, Deep-dive
Kolkata | Jun 6
Tracing the footsteps of aphids to save India’s mustard crops

Researchers from Bose Institute, Kolkata, investigated the effect of air circulation and the varying climatic conditions on the mustard aphids that migrate across the Indo-Gangetic Plains in Northern India. The authors traced the pests’ exact origin by studying the backward courses of air movement along known migratory routes.

General, Science, Ecology, Deep-dive
Bengaluru | Jun 5
Beating the Blues of Air Pollution this World Environment Day

Every year, the 5th of June is observed as the World Environment Day to “encourage worldwide awareness and action to protect our environment”. For 2019, the theme is ‘Air Pollution’, and the host country is China. On this occasion, Research Matters caught up with three leading scientists from the country that are actively pursuing research on different aspects of air pollution. The three researchers, Prof. A R Ravishankara, Prof. S K Satheesh and Prof. Navakanta Bhat shared their work and thoughts on the ‘burning’ problem of air pollution.

General, Science, Ecology, Health, Society, Deep-dive, Featured
New Delhi | Jun 4
The art of crafting insect-specific pesticides using machine learning

Researchers from the IIITD, CSIR-IMT and DU designed NeuroPIpred, a web-based tool that uses machine learning techniques to craft insect-specific pesticides.

General, Science, Technology, Ecology, Deep-dive
Mysuru | Jun 3
From bulbuls to hornbills—Why do forests need them all?

Researchers from the Nature Conservation Foundation, explored organisation of plants and fruit-eating bird communities of the Pakke Tiger Reserve in Arunachal Pradesh. They observed 43 plant species and 48 bird species in the region, and have identified the different networks formed between the trees and their avian seed dispersers.

General, Science, Ecology, Deep-dive
Bengaluru | May 31
Bengaluru’s parks brim with birds and butterflies, finds study

Bengaluru’s decreasing tree cover and expanding concrete jungle in recent decades paints a grim picture of the city’s biodiversity. The tales of sparrows nesting on the roofs, parakeets pecking on the juiciest fruit in the backyard tree or the myriad coloured butterflies dancing in the garden are now fragments of imagination! So where have all the birds, animals and insects gone?

General, Science, Ecology, Society, Deep-dive