Category: Scicomm

  • On that anti-mRNA vaccines video

    On that anti-mRNA vaccines video

    The Times of India has published an irresponsible article today on a video by a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) claiming with dubious evidence that all mRNA vaccines are harmful. The article quotes from the video at length, effectively offering less-sceptical readers a transcript and encouraging the uncritical absorption of the video’s […]

  • Should journos pay scientists for their expertise?

    Should journos pay scientists for their expertise?

    I recently came across a question posed on Twitter, asking if experts whom journalists consult to write articles should be compensated for their labour, especially since, in the tweeter’s words, “it’s quite a bit of effort”. The tweeter clarified their position further in some of the conversations that sprang up in response. I felt compelled […]

  • Notes on covering QM

    Notes on covering QM
  • The identity of scientific papers

    The identity of scientific papers

    This prompt arose in response to Stuart Ritchie’s response to a suggestion in an editorial “first published last year but currently getting some attention on Twitter” – that scientists should write their scientific papers as if they were telling a story, with a beginning, middle and end. The act of storytelling produces something entertaining by […]

  • New LHC data puts ‘new physics’ lead to bed

    New LHC data puts ‘new physics’ lead to bed

    One particle in the big zoo of subatomic particles is the B meson. It has a very short lifetime once it’s created. In rare instances it decays to three lighter particles: a kaon, a lepton and an anti-lepton. There are many types of leptons and anti-leptons. Two are electrons/anti-electrons and muons/anti-muons. According to the existing […]

  • Notes on the NIF nuclear fusion breakthrough

    My explainer/analysis of the US nuclear fusion breakthrough was published today. Some stuff didn’t make it to the final draft for space and tone constraints; I’m publishing that below. 1. While most US government officials present at the announcement of the NIF’s results, including the president’s science advisor Arati Prabhakar (and with the exception of energy […]

  • The strange beauty of Planck units

    The strange beauty of Planck units

    What does it mean to say that the speed of light is 1? We know the speed of light in the vacuum of space to be 299,792,458 m/s – or about 300,000 km/s. It’s a quantity of speed that’s very hard to visualise with the human brain. In fact, it’s so fast as to practically be instantaneous […]

  • A ‘quantum consciousness’ absurdity at IIT Mandi

    A ‘quantum consciousness’ absurdity at IIT Mandi

    As you go downward, inward, smaller and smaller, you get more vast conscious experience. This is the idea in Indian knowledge systems. At the bottom of it, or the very base of it, at the source, is Brahman. My point is that this is actually very consistent with what we’re learning about how consciousness may […]

  • The curious case of the blue coloured ice cream

    The curious case of the blue coloured ice cream

    From an unusual ice cream colour to quantum mechanics to ecology to semiconductors to gastroporn.

  • A fountainhead of intrigue

    A fountainhead of intrigue

    Recently, a Chinese-American mathematician named Yitang Zhang claimed to have resolved the Landau-Siegel zeroes conjecture, which is related to the Riemann hypothesis. (Specifically, disproving the conjecture brings us a small stop closer to proving the Riemann hypothesis.) His paper hasn’t been validated verified by independent mathematicians yet, but it was newsworthy nonetheless because Zhang has […]