Cracking the Puzzle of the “Mother of All Molecules”: A Conversation with Venki Ramakrishnan

How is genetic information translated into chains of amino acids which combine to form proteins, the building blocks of life? In Gene Machine, published by Harper Collins India, Nobel Laureate and the President of the Royal Society Venkatraman Ramakrishnan – better known as Venki Ramakrishnan – answers this fundamental question in biology even as he […]

T Ramakrishnan, a Pioneer of TB Research

The story of an IISc scientist who brought molecular techniques into research on the deadly disease in India   A young T Ramakrishnan, who lived with his family in Ernakulam in Kerala, helplessly watched his mother being sent to Andhra Pradesh’s Madanapalle sanatorium, one of the few such medical facilities in the country created to […]

Why You Should Work Out for a Healthy Brain

American neuroscientist Michael Zigmond’s research shows that physical exercise could go a long way in fighting Parkinson’s disease Michael Zigmond is a believer. “I don’t know why anybody wouldn’t want to be a neuroscientist,” quips the IISc-DST Centenary Chair Professor. Notwithstanding his evangelism about the virtues of a career in neuroscience, Zigmond found his own […]

Science in the Age of AI and Big Data

AI is propelling science in unexpected directions, but it still needs scientists at the steering wheel Artificial Intelligence, or AI, has penetrated every corner of our digital world. From aiding email servers identify spam, to helping websites recommend movies and GPS apps map out the quickest route through traffic, we increasingly depend on algorithms that […]

How Mathematical Modelling Helped Control AIDS in India

The limited success of National AIDS Control Programme (NACP) I and II set up in the 1990s meant that the government had to something different to control HIV spread: India had roughly one-eighth of the world’s HIV burden. And in 2002, the US National Intelligence Council projected that by 2010, about 20-25 million people will […]

The ABC of X and Y

Jennifer Graves is Distinguished Professor at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia. Her groundbreaking investigations into how genomes are organised in Australia’s unique fauna have yielded insights into our understanding of evolutionary genetics, particularly the function and evolution of mammalian genomes. She is also well known for her influential studies on human sex chromosomes and […]

G Padmanaban on the Way Forward for Indian Science

Govindarajan Padmanaban is a celebrated biochemist and biotechnologist, known for his work on malaria. In a career spanning 50 years, he has mentored several students, helped establish start-ups and several research institutes. Recently, Padmanaban turned 80 and on 23 March 2018, the Director, Anurag Kumar, released the second volume of his memoir, titled Doing Science […]

Satish Dhawan: The Father of Experimental Fluid Dynamics in India

It was in 1946 that Dhawan arrived at the Guggenheim Aeronautical Laboratory of the California Institute of Technology (GALCIT, now Graduate Aerospace Laboratories), wanting to work with Hans Liepmann. But the Indian students Liepmann had worked with until then had given him the impression that “perhaps the select group that came to Caltech from India […]

Structures in Turbulence: An interview with Garry Brown

Garry Brown is professor emeritus at the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Princeton University. He is a distinguished fluid dynamicist, well-known for his work with Anatol Roshko where they found unexpected order within turbulent flow. He was at IISc in late 2017, teaching a course on shear turbulence with his friend Roddam Narasimha. Excerpts […]

Meet Lakshmi Sita, the biotech pioneer who mass-produced sandalwood trees from test tubes

The former IISc professor’s plant tissue culture lab attracted visitors such as Prince Charles and Ratan Tata   In the summer of 1976, a young scientist named Lakshmi Sita joined IISc as a post doctoral fellow. She had just completed her PhD after working on growth substances and tissue culture of sweet corn from Victoria […]