Skip to content

Category Archives: science

science news

A Day of Lectures in Physics

We held a day of lectures in Physics for MSc Physics students today (July 29, 2013) at the FMKMC College. The original plan was to hold the lectures at the CREATE site, but due to incessant rains in the Madikeri area, it was uncomfortable to begin with and the roof was deemed unsafe, so the […]

What if? [Q&A]

I had previously mentioned a technique called order-of-magnitude estimation that scientists of all stripes find extraordinarily useful, and Atul of Canara College asked me what that meant. One of the most important characteristics of doing science is that scientists look to work on problems that can be solved. There is no point in wasting years […]

ಶುಕ್ರ ಸಂಗಮ

೨೦೧೨ನೆಯ ಜೂನ್ ೬ನೆಯ ಬೆಳಿಗ್ಗೆ, ಭಾರತದಲ್ಲಿ ಸೂರ್ಯ ಹುಟ್ಟುತ್ತಿರುವಾಗ, ಒಂದು ಅಧ್ಭುತ ದೃಶ್ಯ ಕಾಣಿಸುತ್ತದೆ. ಸೂರ್ಯನ ಮೇಲೆ ಒಂದು ಚಿಕ್ಕ ಚುಕ್ಕೆ. ನೋಡು ನೋಡುತ್ತಿದ್ದಂತೆಯೇ ಸೂರ್ಯನ ಮುಖದ ಮೇಲೆ ಜಾರುತ್ತದೆ. ಸುಮಾರು ೧೦:೩೦ ಗಂಟೆಗೆ ಪೂರ್ತಿ ಹೊರಟುಹೋಗುತ್ತದೆ. ಇದು ಶುಕ್ರ ಗ್ರಹ. ಭೂಮಿ ಮತ್ತು ಸೂರ್ಯರ ಮಧ್ಯೆ ಅಡ್ಡ ಬಂದು ಹೋಗುತ್ತದೆ. ಇದೂ ಒಂದು ತರಹದ ಸೂರ್ಯ ಗ್ರಹಣ, ಆದರೆ ಸೂರ್ಯ ಪೂರ್ತಿ ಮುಚ್ಚಿಹೊಗಿರುವುದಿಲ್ಲ. ಇದನ್ನು ಟ್ರಾನ್ಸಿಟ್ (ಎಂದರೆ ಮುಂದಿನಿಂದ ಚಲಿಸುವುದು) ಎನ್ನುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಹಿಂದೊಮ್ಮೆ ೮ ವರ್ಷಗಳ […]

Ludi Saeculares: the Transit of Venus

On June 5 (or June 6, depending on which time zone you are in) of 2012, Venus will be seen from the Earth passing over the disk of the Sun. This is not only a rare event, but also one which has been of great historical importance in figuring out how big the Solar System […]

Space Math [try it]

I came across this brilliant collection of math problems in a variety of practical settings in the context of space exploration and astronomy. It is a fantastic resource for teachers setting up realistic math problems. The site is called Space Math @ NASA. There is even a page with the problems sorted by NASA missions […]

But what is the Universe expanding into? [Q&A]

It is probably the most common question astronomers encounter: “Fine, you say that the Universe is expanding. OK, I buy that. But what is it expanding into?” There is really no good way to answer this because the correct answer, that it is not expanding into anything, that there is no outside to the Universe, […]

The shoulders of giants [news]

The Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, dating all the way back to 1662, are now viewable by anyone with an internet connection and a web browser. The world’s first science journal. These guys figured out how to do science, which in a sense is harder than actually doing science.

Rocketship [space]

Jonathan McDowell is an enthusiastic speaker and highly knowledgeable about the worldwide history of space programs. Here he gives an excellent summation of the impact of the Shuttle program and what the future holds in this talk at the Boston Skeptics in the Pub. BSitP – Jonathan McDowell – Elegy for a Spaceplane from Maggie […]

carbon dating [Q&A]

A student from Bhandarkar’s College asks, what is radio-carbon dating? There is an isotope of Carbon, 14C, that is radioactive. Chemically, there is a certain probability that it is included in living tissue and the relative proportions are maintained during the life of the organism (be it plant or animal). After the organism dies, the […]

far sight [Q&A]

When it comes to telescopes, a question that astronomers get asked with some regularity is, how far does it see? Abraham Lincoln was once supposedly asked how long his legs were, to which he is said to have answered, “long enough to reach the ground.” Same here. How far can the Hubble see? Far enough […]