What is Cryptography and Why do we Need it?

A look at an evolving technology that has been changing how we communicate It was February 2009. A 560 kg satellite named Iridium 33, whirling around the planet in the low earth orbit 789 km above the Taymyr Peninsula in Serbia, met a fatal end. It clashed with the defunct 900-kg Russian satellite, Kosmos 2251. […]

How a Village School in Karnataka is Tackling its Wastewater

A unique pilot project helmed by a team of scientists from India and Scotland Berambadi (Photo: Rohini Krishnamurthy) About 200 km southwest of Bengaluru is Berambadi, a village nestled between mountains, swathes of agricultural fields, the Hirikere lake, and the Bandipur National Park. This verdant countryside with tidy roads that borders Karnataka’s neighbours Kerala and […]

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 […]