Magic Matter

Remember when you learnt about the three states of matter - solid, liquid and gas - in school? Well, things are not so simple now. There are other states - plasma and Bose-Einstein condensate and superconductors. Superconductors are materials through which electricity can flow without any resistance once they are cooled below a certain critical temperature. Resistance leads to loss of energy. No resistance means no energy lost. It is not surprising, therefore, that there are immense practical applications of superconductivity.
Aswin Sekhar Apr 16, 2018 00:00 IST


The volcanic eruption at the Indonesian island of Sumatra 74,000 years ago threw up enough ash to darken skies worldwide. Signs of it have been found as far as South Africa. Plants may have stopped growing and humans teetered on the brink of extinction, scientists have long thought.
NYTNS Apr 16, 2018 00:00 IST

First artists

It's long been an insult to be called a Neanderthal. But the more these elusive, vanished people have been studied, the more respect they've gained among scientists.
Carl Zimmer  Apr 09, 2018 00:00 IST


Someday, ghostly subatomic particles known as antineutrinos could provide a clear view of what countries with illicit nuclear weapons programmes - such as, North Korea - are trying to hide. A collaboration of US and UK scientists announced that they are going to build a test antineutrino detector in a mine in England. 
Apr 09, 2018 00:00 IST

Hocus focus

Surgery was not what it is before anaesthesia. It was a mad scramble to perform the procedure in the shortest possible time. One of the leading surgeons of London in the first half of the 19th century, Robert Liston, could do amputations in 28 seconds flat, or so his admiring contemporaries recorded. Several methods were used to induce some measure of painlessness during surgery. 
Anjan Das Apr 02, 2018 00:00 IST


Perhaps this is the most unromantic cohabitation in the living world. Nepenthes ampullaria, an unusual pitcher plant found on the islands of Southeast Asia, allows the worm of Xenoplatyura beaveri, a species of fungus, develop and grow inside the plant's mouth.
Apr 02, 2018 00:00 IST

When stars were born

It was morning in the universe and much colder than anyone had expected when light from the first stars began to tickle and excite their dark surroundings nearly 14 billion years ago.
Mar 26, 2018 00:00 IST


For years, a wispy strand of purple light has been seen running across Canada from east to west, sometimes flanked by neon green fingers that appear to wave. Nicknamed Steve, it looks like a piece of the Northern Lights but is beyond the bounds of normal Aurora Borealis sightings. 
Mar 26, 2018 00:00 IST

Homeo Apathy

As a man of modern medicine, I have always believed that homeopathy is bogus though I did not openly denounce it to maintain peace at home. After he retired, my father got himself an online qualification in the subject and started a free homeo clinic at home. When he waxed eloquent on the benefits of homeopathy, I did not contradict him to avoid friction. My wife and other doctor friends too held their tongue though it must not have been easy to listen to praises of homeopathy for practitioners of evidence-based medicine.
Mar 19, 2018 00:00 IST


People who are easily disgusted by body odours are also drawn to authoritarian political leaders, says a research paper published in the Royal Society Open Science.
Mar 19, 2018 00:00 IST

Chemist, doctor and patriot

Chunilal Bose was a man way ahead of his times. He sought to spread awareness about the benefits of hygiene and sanitation in rural Bengal and spoke out against adulterated food as well as environmental pollution. A brilliant student of Chemistry and a medal-winning medical graduate, he spoke of the importance of a balanced diet and daily exercise in the early 20th century.
Mar 12, 2018 00:00 IST


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