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Friday Features

Bengaluru | Apr 3, 2020
Statistics and the non-scientist: The need for communicating uncertainty

In an earlier episode of The Joy of Science Shambhavi Chidambaram spoke to Professor Shravan Vasishth about, among other things, the joy of psycholinguistics. In this interview, Professor Vasishth talks in detail about teaching statistics and the need to understand uncertainty both to students and the general public. He is the author of “Shravan Vasishth’s Slog”, a blog about statistics. This interview has been edited for clarity and conciseness and has been run past Prof Vasishth for accuracy before publication.

General, Science, Deep-dive, Friday Features, Joy of Science
Bengaluru | Mar 27, 2020
The urgency for social distancing in India: Lessons to learn from Past and Present

What is the importance of Social Distancing in these times of global crisis?

General, Science, Health, Society, Policy, Deep-dive, Friday Features, Op-ed
Bengaluru | Mar 20, 2020
The Joy Of Science: The Journey of a Psycholinguist

In this episode of The Joy of Science, Shambhavi Chidambaram speaks to Professor Shravan Vasishth, an Indian-origin professor of psycholinguistics at the University of Potsdam in Germany. In addition to his research, Prof Vasishth is an author of two interesting blogs—“Shravan Vasishth’s Slog”, where he talks about statistics, and “Things People Say”, a moving personal blog about his experiences of dealing with kidney failure and hemodialysis, and navigating the German health care system. 

General, Science, Society, Friday Features
Bengaluru | Feb 28, 2020
Nurturing a support system for India’s women scientists

Today is National Science Day—a day to celebrate the spirit of science and scientific temper across the county. It is a day to commemorate Sir C V Raman’s discovery of the Raman effect. This year, the theme of National Science Day is ‘Women in Science’, celebrating the contributions of women scientists to the field of science in India.

General, Science, Technology, Engineering, Society, Policy, Deep-dive, Friday Features, Featured
Bengaluru | Nov 15, 2019
The ubiquity of Hyperbolic Geometry

We all know that the geometric object of minimal surface area amongst all shapes with a fixed volume is the round ball, whose boundary is spherical. Water blobs try to minimise surface area and curl into spherical droplets. The physical problem of surface-area minimisation is thus quite well understood. What about the opposite problem of surface-area maximisation? Does the problem even make sense? Indeed it does. Trees try to maximise surface area to get the most of sunlight through their leaves.

General, Science, Deep-dive, Friday Features
Bengaluru | Nov 8, 2019
Studying fruit flies: A sneak peek into their lives in the lab

Disgusting, annoying or beneficial? What would you call these pestering fruit flies that don’t miss an opportunity to sit on your favourite cut fruit or visit your kitchen a few times? Whatever you call them, did you know we owe a great deal of our knowledge on evolution to these pesky flies? Ever wondered what’s the lifestyle of Drosophila melanogaster, as they are scientifically called, within the four walls of a laboratory where they are experimented upon? Here is a sneak peek.

General, Science, Ecology, Friday Features, Joy of Science
Bengaluru | Nov 8, 2019

Imagine just switching on your lights and downloading a movie in a second. The world demands high-speed internet connectivity at a lower price. This increasing clamour for speed and bandwidth is opening up new avenues, and one such evolving domain is LiFi - a wireless technology that makes use of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to transmit data. Light waves are 10,000 times denser than WiFi signals, so there is vast untapped potential here.

General, Science, Technology, Deep-dive, Friday Features
Bengaluru | Nov 1, 2019
On the edge: Bats in northeast India found to carry filoviruses that could spread to humans

Sometime in the middle of October each year, the Bomrr clan in Nagaland rush to the caves in Mimi village. With a good stock of burning firewood, men and women are ready for the bat harvest festival—an annual ritual where anywhere between 7,000 to 25,000 bats are suffocated or smashed to their deaths. These bats, the clan believes, have medicinal properties and can cure diseases like diarrhoea and body ache, and increase vigour. Now, a new study has shown that these bats, rather than being a cure to diseases, carry deadly filoviruses that could infect humans.

General, Science, Health, Society, Deep-dive, Friday Features
Bengaluru | Nov 1, 2019
Understanding the Riemann Hypothesis—the most crucial unsolved problem in mathematics

In the last one hundred and sixty years, in spite of hundreds of claims, some of them from first-class mathematicians, the Riemann Hypothesis, or the holy grail of mathematics, remains as elusive as ever. The conjecture, which originated from the work of Bernhard Riemann on the distribution of prime numbers, has now been extended and generalised into a monstrous beast. Its cunning and long arms now encompass almost all areas of mathematics, far beyond its site of origin.

General, Science, Deep-dive, Friday Features
Bengaluru | Oct 4, 2019
Healthcare on the backburner in Bengaluru’s slums

In a recent study, researchers from the Bangalore Baptist Hospital, Bengaluru, Zuyd University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands and the University of Sheffield, UK, have attempted to find what ailments plagued the residents of Devarajeevanahalli.

General, Science, Health, Society, Policy, Deep-dive, Friday Features
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