Tag Archives: science

Book Review: ‘101 Facts You Didn’t Know About Space’ By Mark Thompson

Source: Amazon

Physics is generally called as the queen of all sciences, perhaps because of its elegance, beauty, charm and glamour. And among the various branches of Physics, from mechanics to thermodynamics, and from electromagnetism to acoustics, none attracts so much attention as astrophysics. It is true that astronomy and astrophysics are among the most glamorous branches of physics; most of the young students who choose physics do so mostly due to their infatuation with astronomy and astrophysics. Also, as we progress in our research career, sooner or later we do try to link our research work with the terrestrial and celestial worlds. That being said, astrophysics is also the subject to invoke if you want to attract young students to take up science education, in particular physics. After all, the lessons do start with star gazing and solar/lunar eclipses! But at the same time, it is also interesting to note how less do we know about space. No, here I am not commenting on how little do we know about space even after so many centuries of research. Instead, I am taking note of the various facts which are known, and is supposed to be in public knowledge, yet the general audience is either ignorant of it or oblivious to such information. Mark Thompson has compiled about a hundred such pieces in his book 101 Facts You Didn’t Know About Space. His aim is to bring the fascination of space science to general masses, and to educate them in an entertaining fun way. Continue reading

Book Review: ‘Bright Dreams: The Brilliant Ideas of Nikola Tesla’ By Tracy Dockray

Tesla

Image Source: Amazon

You have heard about scientists who were artists. In some of earlier posts, I have talked about collaborative efforts between artists and scientists. For example, the book Periodic Table presented scientific knowledge accompanied by beautiful graphic illustrations. Likewise, I talked about scenes from the movie 15 Park Avenue, which depicted struggles in the life of a physics professor. Continue reading

Book Review: ‘The Citizen’s Guide to Climate Success’ By Mark Jaccard

Climate1

Image Source: Amazon

Today I will share my views about The Citizen’s Guide to Climate Success: Overcoming Myths that Hinder Progress by Mark Jaccard. This is a very interesting book. The moment you open this book, you will be drawn into reading it in full. Honestly speaking, I found it really hard to put this book down after having started it. The tone is neither overly passionate nor dull. The writer maintains a balanced tempo throughout the book, and except for few scattered passionate outbursts, he does not leave it. He talks to you slowly, allowing you sufficient time to absorb the knowledge that he is trying to impart. He ensures not to feed you too much information with each morsel, while at the same time makes sure that every page contains something new to learn. This book was an eye opener for me, and even though I took about three months reading it, I would not mind reading it again. It is because the book contains so much stuff which would stay relevant for years to come. This book does not aim at entertainment as it is addressing a very serious issue. At the same time, nowhere does it create any impression of a boring treatise. At one place the writer acknowledges that scientists are poor communicators and this has been one of the reasons behind the knowledge gap between (climate) science and general public. This book will certainly fill that gap, and considering the scarcity of texts aimed at general audience, it will remain a valuable source to refer to. Continue reading

Book Review: ‘The Periodic Table’ by Tom Jackson

Periodic2

Image source: Amazon

This year we are celebrating 150 years of the Periodic Table of Elements. It is a landmark considering the pivotal and stellar position that this wonderful piece of scientific art or artistic science — whichever way you prefer to look at it — occupies in the progress, growth and development of science, especially modern science. The Periodic Table is the one entity which binds the two different branches of science — Physics and Chemistry together. It is also the first encounter of any school student with the fascinating world of science. If in doubt, consider how the study of Chemistry would look like had there been no such periodic classification of elements. That this classification exists, implies that you do not have to study and rote learn the properties of each individual element, instead just understanding the properties of a ‘group’ would suffice. It made the life of chemists and modern physicists so much easier! And not just that, the Periodic Table had provision (’empty slots’) for yet undiscovered elements. This way, it revealed the pattern in the nature around us and at the same time opened doors to the ingredients of the nature which were not yet known. Several names like Lothar Mayer, Dimitri Mendeleev and Moseley are associated with the history of the Periodic Table. While reading this history, every student participates in the logical reasoning and scientific thinking which went into the development of this process of classification. In a way it was all about observing and noting the pattern in the properties of elements found in nature. That everything fell into such an elegant piece of art must have been really exhilarating for the scientists of that time. Continue reading

Book Review: ‘Climate Change Simplified: A Recipe For Understanding’ By Thomas Anderl

ClimateChange

Image Source: Amazon

As a researcher working in the field of atmospheric and climate science, nothing gave me more pleasure than the recent awareness and interest among general public about the climate crisis in front of us. It was indeed very frustrating to see the work of fellow researchers going down the drain because nobody apparently cares. It doesn’t matter how important or how serious the results are, it seems that nobody else is concerned about the state of the planet. General public doesn’t care; of course, they have more important and relevant issues to take care of, instead of addressing climate change which anyhow can wait. When we talk about climate, our discussion involves large time scales extending from hundreds to thousands of years. This creates an impression on general mind that climate issues are far off and their resolution can wait. Continue reading

It’s High Time Journalists Became More Sensitive And Sensible

owl

Source: Flicker

This post is about NDTV journalist Pallava Bagla who is in news for last few days for all the wrong reasons. A lot has already been said on this episode; in fact, Twitter is on the verge of explosion considering the number of tweets shared on this news. It really brings delight to see the fervour and passion that my countrymen are carrying in their hearts. I am particularly happy to note that we have started looking beyond Tendulkar and Shahrukh Khan for people and institutions that bring us together. In the response given to Pallava Bagla, we have at least found something which is not controversial and everyone — barring a few — thinks in the same way. It is a rare sight these days. Continue reading

‘Ab Tak Chhappan 2’ Showed Two Physicists . . . Incongruous, But A Welcome Change

1321190_Wallpaper2

Image source: Hindustan Times

Ab Tak Chhappan is an important movie in filmography of Nana Patekar. In this movie he is depicted as an honest and tough police officer. The dramatic turn of events and Nana Patekar’s handling of them demonstrate the extent he could go to uphold his values and sense of duty. Given the success of this movie, no one was surprised when its sequel Ab Tak Chhappan 2 was released. In this movie, he was called by the state home minister Vikram Gokhale to ‘clean’ the city of its criminal elements. However, all is not what it seems; Nana Patekar has his moment of disillusionment, and he decides to set things right in his own way. I am not going to write a review of either of these movies. My interest is in a particular scene where Vikram Gokhale tells Nana Patekar how the latter was used for Gokhale’s political ambitions. This scene was a turning point in the movie and built up the climax of Ab Tak Chhappan 2. Continue reading