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NavIC aims to provide reliable location services in the Indian sub-continent and provides an alternative to other services like GPS or GLONASS.

 The American ‘Global Positioning System’ (GPS) has become synonymous with the concept of location tracking and navigation, much like ‘Xerox’ is with photocopying or ‘Google’ is with internet searches. First deployed over 42 years ago and with 31 satellites currently in orbit, GPS is definitely the most prominent and commonly used location service but is far from the only.

There exist a plethora of location services, both regional and international such as Russia’s ‘Global Navigation Satellite System’ (GLONASS), China’s ‘BeiDou Navigation Satellite System’ (BDS), The European Union’s ‘Galileo’ and Japan’s ‘Quasi-Zenith Satellite System’.

The latest entry in the location tracking and navigation scene has been India’s own satellite navigation system, the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS). NavIC, which is an acronym for ‘Navigation with Indian Constellation’ is the operational name given to the IRNSS. NavIC is also a play on the word ‘navik’ which translates to ‘sailor’ or ‘navigator’ in Sanskrit.

The need for such a system was born out of the realisation that in the case of a hostile situation, a foreign Government may prevent access to their location technology or use the data to their advantage.

With this, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) began development with the first satellite being launched into space in July 2013, and was set to have NavIC functional by 2015, however the program was delayed. The last launch took place in April 2018 and the system is now operational with regional coverage over India and an area of 1500km beyond its borders. There have been nine launches of NavIC satellites, however one of them,‘IRNSS-1H’ was unsuccessful as the heat shields failed to separate from 4th stage of the rocket and the satellite could not reach orbit.  While there are currently 8 satellites in orbit, there is a plan to increase its constellation size to 11.

The ISRO website describes the objective of NavIC as to ‘provide reliable position, navigation and timing services over India and its neighbourhood, to provide fairly good accuracy to the user’. NavIC provides a standard positioning service for common users with a 5-20 metre accuracy as well as an encrypted, restricted service to authorised authorities with an accuracy of 0.5 metres. NavIC is not India’s only foray into satellite navigation with the ISRO working alongside the Airport Authority of India (AAI) to establish the ‘GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation’ (GAGAN) system that aims to improve satellite accuracy and reliability for civil aviation needs. Of the eight NavIC satellites that are currently in orbit, three satellites are in ‘Geostationary Orbit’ (GEO) while the remaining satellites are in ‘Geosynchronous Orbits’ (GSO) that maintain an inclination of 29° to the equatorial plane.

While adoption of NavIC has been gradual, ‘Qualcomm Incorporated’, a semiconductor manufacturer whose chips power most modern smartphones, has signed an agreement with ISRO and launched three new chipsets, the ‘Snapdragon’ 720G, 662 and 460 with compatibility with NavIC. Another push came in April 2019 with the Government making Automotive Industry Standards (AIS) compliant, NavIC based trackers a mandatory feature in all commercial vehicles. This came as an implementation of a mandate from the Nirbhaya case verdict to install tracking systems and panic buttons in all commercial vehicles. In terms of accuracy, NavIC has an edge over GPS owing to its regional nature, slower orbiting satellites and higher orbital altitude that prevents obstructions caused by elevated landforms.

The ISRO has been a pioneer in the aerospace field and NavIC is only its latest push in its illustrious history that ranges from ‘Aryabhata’, India’s first satellite launched in 1975 to the recent missions in space exploration and technological advancements. With the adoption of NavIC in smartphones, we should see it become mainstream and provide enhanced tracking and navigation in India and its neighbouring countries.

Feature Image Credits: The Better India

Tashi Dorjay Sherpa

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It is a common misconception held by many that India has been the land of only sages and peers who composed and studied mythological texts and stories. But, on the contrary, the historic Indian civilization has had a very vibrant and comprehensive tradition of science and technology since ancient times.

As historian James Grant Duff once wrote- “Many of the advances in the sciences that we consider today to have been made in Europe were in fact made in India centuries ago.” It is true India was a land of sages and priests, but what is also important to acknowledge is that they doubled up as great thinkers and scientists too. Almost all the prime aspects of human knowledge like Mathematics, Astronomy, Physics, Chemistry, and the practical procedures in which this knowledge was put in practice like surgery, architecture, shipbuilding, etc were covered in great detail by science and technology prevalent in ancient India. Intrinsic fundamental principles of modern sciences have been provided a foundation by the numerous postulates and scientific methods discovered by the Avant garde ancient Indians. While some of these important contributions have been acknowledged, there are many that remain unknown. Here are some ancient Indian contributions in the field of science and technology:

1. The Binary Numerical System

Binary numbers that are used as a language to write computer programmes are basically a set of two numbers- 1 and 0 called Bits and Bytes respectively. They were mentioned by Pingala in his work “Chandah??stra”, a treatise on prosody. Pingala is credited with using binary numbers in the form of short and long syllables, a notation similar to Morse code.

2. The Concept Of Zero

The Indian contribution in introducing the concept of Zero is relatively well known. It was formulated by the mathematician Aryabhatta. This invention is of great importance as it enables one to write numbers no matter how large, by adding zeroes at the end. A. L. Basham, an Australian Indologist writes- “…The world owes most to India in the realm of mathematics..”

3. Theory Of Atom

Famous English chemist, John Dalton is now credited with the development of the atomic theory. However, a theory of the atom was formulated centuries ago by Indian sage Acharya Kanad who speculated the existence of small, indestructible particles called “Anu” strikingly similar to an Atom.

4. Plastic Surgery and Cataract Surgery

Ancient Indian physician, Sushruta had composed in the 6th century BCE, the Sushruta Samhita – one of the mostdetailed books on surgery which mentioned complex techniques of plastic surgery like Rhinoplasty as well as surgery to cure cataract amongst thousands of other procedures and medicines to cure illnesses.

5. Heliocentric Theory

Aryabhatta, the man credited with discovering 0 (zero) had also made other contributions to the field of science like propounding the curvature of the Earth as well as the fact that it rotates on its own axis around the sun. The mathematical genius also made predictions of solar and lunar eclipses, the duration of a day as well as the distance between the celestial bodies of the Earth and Moon.

6. Theory of Gravity

When we think about the concept of gravity, most of us may be aware of the story of how Issac Newton was inspired to formulate the “Universal Law Of Gravitation” when an apple fell from the tree he was sitting under. The world believes that gravity was discovered by Newton, however ancient Indians knew of gravity way before him. India’s familiarity with gravity began with Varahamihira (505-587 CE), an Astronomer who thought of the concept of gravity. He claimed that there must be a force which might be keeping bodies stuck to the Earth, keeping heavenly bodies at specific places.

Feature Image Credits: i Am Healthcare

Abhinandan Kaul

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Many students have seen their peers or themselves face parental pressure about studying Science, we look at why the older generation has a bias for the Sciences and whether it is valid.

Many of us have come across phrases such as “Acche marks aaye 10th mai, Science lelo” (you got good marks in 10th, take Science), “Humanities wala hai, pakka padhayi nahi karta hoga” (they are from Humanities, they must not study), and so on. In Indian middle-class society, the classification of those who pursue humanities as intellectually inferior to those who are in Science is constant.

While Science is an essential part of human life, there are many fallacies one can point out in the Indian education system even in the Science stream, the hyper-competitive nature of it being the very obvious call out, with children being enrolled in coaching and preparing for entrance exams from a very early age. The other being how the learning administered in many colleges does not make graduates employable. A report by India Today in 2019 stated that out of 1.5 million engineering graduates every year, around 80% of them are unemployable. The basic reasoning which one can gather behind this preference for sciences is that people look at it as the safe option, one through which they can find a steady career and future. We have heard older generations say, “Hamare time pe options siraf doctor, engineer, aur lawyer thhey” (the only options we had were doctors, engineers, and lawyers). This mindset still plays a vital role when parents and their children decide which stream to pursue, with many parents still asking and/or forcing their children to take science.

Miley, a second-year student from Lady Shri Ram College (LSR), whose parents told her to take science said, “My parents felt the only reason to not take Science as if you were not smart enough and it’s supposed to be a trophy for them. They cared little if I pursued a career in Science, I just wanted everyone to know that I was “smart enough” if I wanted to. I ended up doing Honors in English from one of the best colleges and yet all they think I do is a B.A.” Shivam, a student preparing for his JEE Mains said, “My parents always wanted me to take Science, and it’s something which I have always wanted too, so I would not say it was forced. Yes, preparing for competitive exams takes a lot of time and dedication but it’s time I am willing to put in to secure my future.” Now while Shivam and many like him strive to break into the topmost colleges in their streams, the stereotype of humanities kids being their opposites falls flat. To get into Delhi University (DU) and many other universities, students have to compete against extremely high cut-offs and unpredictable board examinations. The This obsession of Indians with science leaves one with the following conclusion, just because something is followed by the majority, does not mean it’s in everyone’s best interest. There’s no Mantra that can guarantee you success, but doing something out of pressure for the sake of approval definitely won’t help. And this kind of obsession is certainly unhealthy and will become problematic in the long run, given the current economic conditions of our country. It’s high time that we introspect our basis of decision-making, because even if this obsession with science helps someone achieve success, it doesn’t guarantee happiness that was lost along the way. idea of Humanities being for those who slack off or are not willing to work as much as other streams immediately takes a hit. In the end, one can see that the stream does not decide a person’s employability or worth, and the larger problem itself lies with the education system in India. A system which places rote learning and education without questioning as its foremost agenda, a system in which arguably the very idea of knowledge is lost in the quest to gain that extra percentage points or a higher rank than others, a system which prefers pitting students against each other and propagating ideas of intellectual superiority on the basis of streams rather than allowing students to learn from each other.

Feature Image Credits : Arre

Prabhanu Kumar Das

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In conversation with Ms Susmita Das, Physics PhD student, University of Delhi (DU), to decode the struggles of pursuing science research in contemporary India. Her specific area of research is Astronomy and Astrophysics, with broader emphasis on variable stars that is, stars that change their brightness over detectable periods of time.

Image Credits: Manav Ahuja for DU Beat
Image Credits: Manav Ahuja for DU Beat

Chhavi: Science for the longest time had been a predominately male field, so, from Class 11th, where you first made the decision to pursue it, were there any struggles you faced as woman? Either from family or people in your close proximity?

Susmita: No, in that sense I feel very fortunate. We are a family of three daughters and my parents have always pushed us towards education. My family has been very encouraging. From my friends and professors, I haven’t felt any gender discrimination throughout my academic career, whether it be during school, bachelor’s, master’s or even now during research. In fact, I’ve been extremely motivated by my high school Physics teachers, Mrs. Bratati Roy Choudhury and Mr. P. C. Sarkar, among many others to pursue a career in Physics.

Chhavi :That’s so great.

Chhavi: Even in fields of science, there has always been a stereotype where astrophysics is not considered a women centric field, like most people pursue medical as one. Does that stereotype still exist and have you faced that?

Susmita: I wouldn’t say it’s a predominantly male centric field because there have been a few pioneers in astronomy who are women. As an example in the field of my research, we have a very important period-luminosity relationship which has been named after Henrietta Leavitt. However, there are few women if you compare the numbers. Of course, the institutes all over the world try to bridge the number gap between men and women nowadays- so it’s a very good time for women to be in science! A very interesting fact here is that we have the Astronomical Society of India and the current president of ASI is Dr. G. C. Anupama, a woman from IIA. It’s a female president leading the Astronomical Society of India right now, which is inspiring in itself!

Chhavi: Astronomy consists of night observations, field trips and much more that might hamper your safety. Have there been any measures to make it a more female friendly field in general?

Susmita: So, the thing about night observations is that you’re usually provided in-campus accommodation, so if you have any observation scheduled for the night, you also have the accommodation close by. And it is the same for both males and females wherever we go. However, suppose we are doing general PhD work (not night observations), say right here in Delhi University, maybe carrying out analysis in our data. When it’s night, you know it’s time to go back to the hostel, even though you may be in the momentum of getting some good work done. But then again, this is more the issue of whether we have out of campus accommodation or an in-campus accommodation. In institutes with in-campus accommodation, we wouldn’t have the constraint of leaving at say, 9PM from the lab.

Chhavi: Often women are discouraged for science research as it involves extensive years of study, and by that age they are expected to get married, with taunts like “Shaadikabkaroge?” have you faced that?

 Susmita: Yes, these questions are fairly common especially during family functions. More than my immediate family, it would be other people around generally asking this question. I’m very grateful to my parents- I’ve just turned 29 but they have never pushed me to get married. Of course, my mother enquires if I have a boyfriend, if it’s stable relationship-wise and so on; it helps to have a bestfriend in my mother in that aspect! I’m from Guwahati, Assam and I think it’s not just a special case for me- I’m sure my friends from back home would agree that the focus has always been primarily on education, irrespective of gender and there has never been a pressure to get married “early”.

Chhavi: How did you feel when people ask you this question; you did an observation and on the brink of something great and people just want to know when you’re getting married?

Sushmita: When people ask me, I usually smile politely and reply that I need to get my PhD done first because I don’t want my married life to be interfering with my studies. Of course, that’s my personal opinion- I wouldn’t necessarily say that getting married during PhD is a bad idea. I have many friends and seniors who had been married and also had children during the course of their PhD, while all the time managing their professional life really well. It all depends on the person in question and how comfortable she is in balancing the different aspects of her life.

Chhavi:How do you think young women should approach their parents, wanting a career where they spend their next 7-8 years in extensive research?

Susmita: I believe having a female role model who is relatable to your own life may help. She could be, in some way, the person who leads the path. It would also be much easier to share her story as an example to your parents to convince them that she has been so focused in her academics and she’s doing really well now on her own.

Chhavi: I agree, but don’t you think it’s time that parents encourage their daughters for science research?

Susmita: Yes, yes but I think this is also changing with time. Parents are becoming more accommodating with the age their daughter is expected to get married; they don’t push that hard. Also, it’s not the case of choosing either your personal or professional life, you can choose both and maintain both in balance. I think it’s very important to balance your life well, in general. Parents are very encouraging when it comes to academics but they also worry about the future stability of their daughter, which is quite expected. However, with the changing times, parents understand (and their daughters can convince them of this well) that a stable future does not necessarily come from marriage. It’s the education that has the power to provide their daughters a stable future. If young women were to focus more on their own education, it automatically paves to a path of a much secure future.

Chhavi: Talking about representation of women in Science. Which is the female role model  that you look up to or you were inspired by in the field?

Sushmita:All through childhood, I’ve been inspired by Marie Curie. My father is the kind of person who motivated me through biographies of female scientists and it started from Marie Curie. However, every child knows about Marie Curie and Einstein. But as you study deeper, you have so many more role models coming in. Like Henrietta Leavitt who has given us the period-luminosity relation or Jocelyn Bell Burnell who discovered the first radio pulsars, it’s so impressive. My role model keeps changing with time.

Chhavi: Now that you are part of this field, have you ever faced any kind of sexism?

Susmita: Personally no. but I have heard about female students who are PhD scholars and might not be very comfortable with professors. I have heard stories but personally I have not faced them.

Chhavi: What’s your opinion on the notion of “being beautiful takes away from your intelligence”?

Susmita: Do you remember the hashtag about women scientists? #distractinglysexy in response to the surprisingly sexist comment by Tim Hunt, a  Nobel Laureate. I believe the women in science came together wonderfully well in protest of his unfair opinion. I think it’s really unfair if you’re expected to choose one of the two options: that you can either dress well or work well. Over the last few years, I’ve met a few incredible women scientists who are also the most beautiful or well-dressed women I’ve ever met. I’m sure people with these stereopyed thoughts are more the exception, than the norm.

Chhavi: Adding to that, Have you ever faced that you won’t be taken serious, because you are beautiful?

Susmita: No, I don’t think so. I think that is also a very generalized notion. Sure, there may be cases where people assume but never confront. But again, I’m sure there would only be a handful of people who may not consider you smart only because you’ve dressed a certain way. Suppose you give a scientific talk in front of an audience from your research field, I’m sure they’d be more interested in the science aspect rather than how you’ve dressed. That way, I don’t think it’s ever been a case.

Chhavi: What is that one big factor that you would everybody consider when they are with science as a career, especially young women who want to be a part of this field? What is one thing they should keep in mind?

Susmita: Throughout my PhD life, all I’ve learnt is that you have acceptances and rejections from the multitude of applications and proposals you keep submitting. It’s always a ride of success and failure. Of course, when you have a successful application, you are really happy and then the rejection gets you down. So, the thing is through the ups and downs, you need to keep your calm because it all averages out. We may also have many more rejections than successful applications but we shouldn’t lose hope during those times. That’s what I keep telling myself, every time I get a rejection letter. I try to think about all the successful applications I’ve had so far to keep my motivation up.

11th February is recognised as International Day of Women and Girls in Science by UN Women and UNESCO. To celebrate the integral role of women in Science and Technology, DU Beat had the privilege to interview Mrs Richa Kundu, currently pursuing PhD from Department of Physics and Astrophysics, University of Delhi.

Image Credits: Surbhit Rastogi for DU Beat.
Image Credits: Surbhit Rastogi for DU Beat.

Avni: You’re doing PhD in Science and Research, what were your qualifications prior to this that got you here?

Richa: I did my Masters, MSc in Physics from Delhi University only. Then I cleared the NET JRF Exam, which is for the fellowship. Initially, I was a Junior Research Fellow and was funded by Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), MHRD and two years later, I was promoted to Senior Research Fellow.

Avni: 11th February is known as International Day of Women and Girls in Science, do you feel giving this name to a particular date, benefits women out there and promotes this area?

Richa: All that can definitely help, but to promote such things, women should actually be encouraged, because when I was in MSc., 70% of my class was female students, but as I went through Masters, I felt that mostly men are there as women in India are actually not really encouraged to pursue further research, most of my female classmates from MSc are teachers right now. After a particular age, there’s society and family pressure and they are discouraged from pursuing further studies. That mindset should change and giving a day won’t change that. Making people aware and treating women equally are the kinds of things that will change things.

Avni: There definitely exists gender disparity in your field, how have you been able to cope-up with it or manage it so far?

Richa: Personally, I haven’t encountered any such thing but I get a lot of international exposure, so I don’t see these things on international platforms, but if we consider India only, we can say that this is true for India as there’s a taboo that women should get married and have children, so the main thing is to change the point of view of people. Personally, I haven’t encountered any such thing as I am also married. I got married last year during my PhD and my in-laws and family are very supportive of my studies. I have to go to Chile for the next 10 months and my family is perfectly fine with it.

Avni: What are you currently working on in your research?

Richa: I am working on the extra-tidal region of stellar clusters. Stellar clusters are made up of thousands of stars that seem like a single star in the night sky. All the stars in a cluster were formed at the same time typically 12-13 billion years ago.

Avni: What are your plans after you complete your PhD?

Richa: I don’t have a set goal, but I have two things in mind. After this, I will apply for teaching jobs, but if I don’t get one, given the situation of India right now, I will apply for postdoctoral somewhere out of India to gain experience.

Feature Image Credits: Manav Ahuja for DU Beat

Interview by Avni Dhawan and Chhavi Bahmba 

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Transcribed by Aishwaryaa Kunwar

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Students of the prestigious University of Delhi institution, Miranda House, feel like there are a lot of differences in the so-called Arts and Science blocks of the college.

Miranda House is an Arts and Science college in North Campus. It offers eleven B.A. (Honours) courses, a B.A. Programme course, five  B.Sc. (Honours) courses and two B.Sc. Programme courses. The college building is broadly divided in such a way that the right blocks have labs and classes for students pursuing Science courses are conducted there, while classes for students pursuing Arts courses are conducted in the left block. 

Recently, a new building was constructed, which is also termed as the “Science Block” by the students. The building is equipped with better infrastructure and more facilities, as compared to the Arts block. Elevators are installed, as are sensor-driven taps which speak of better infrastructure. Science students are more than those pursuing Arts, and that their events are given more priority. 

Another fact pointed out by many students is ‘the Science canteen’. A comparatively small canteen near the front-gate of the college called the science canteen is located close to the Science block. There is another main canteen and other cafes in the college, but there is no such place called the Arts canteen in the college. However, the so-called Science canteen can be accessed by all the students, but the name given to it by the students is enough to raise a question.

A student of B.A. (Honours) Political Science said, “The Arts and Sciences divide becomes very visible by things like infrastructure and facilities in the buildings. While there is a lack of basic facilities like properly functioning fans in classes for Arts students which aren’t looked at even after repeated complaints, there are several rooms in the science block which are equipped with air conditioners also.”

The Wi-Fi network is another issue. It is the strongest in the science block while there is negligible to none network in other areas of the college. Wi-Fi works in almost all the rooms where science classes are conducted, and near the Physics Department where the network is the strongest. A recent survey conducted on the college campus for testing the quality of drinking water revealed that the Science block had the most suitable water for drinking, as compared to other places. 

Mani, a third-year student of B.Sc. (Honours) Physical Sciences said, “There are many instances which show this bias. The theme of ‘Tempest 2018’ was based on the technology where robots and gadgets adorned the campus. Many big scale events and competitions of the Physics Department are organized by D.S. Kothari Centre, which witnesses high footfalls and requires more space. Science Conclave, which is a three-day event with various competitions and international speakers sees mass participation. While there are no such events for the Arts department.”

Another student of B.A. (Hons) History who wished to remain anonymous said, “A general bias can be seen in the facilities for Arts and Science students. However, according to me the reason for this bias is the academic background and inclination of our ex-principal, Dr. Jolly. As she was a Science faculty, more preference was given to events conducted by science departments, and this could also be the reason for better infrastructural facilities in their department. However, with the appointment of Dr. Bijayalaxmi Nanda as the acting Principal, there are chances of change in the situation.”

All these instances make the differences between Arts and Sciences in Miranda House evidently foregrounded. A number of these issues were also put forward during the manifesto reading, but the Student’s Union hasn’t addressed any of them yet. The President of Miranda House Students’ Union (MHSU) has also denied speaking on the issue.


Image Credits: shiksha.com

Priya Chauhan

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Celebrating the 100th birth anniversary of the Father of Indian Space Programmes, in light of the recent successful launch of the Chandrayaan 2.


On 12th August 2019, India and her space industry celebrated the 100-year birth anniversary of Dr Vikram A Sarabhai, the founding father of ISRO, and a rare combination of scientist, innovator, industrialist and visionary.

An alumnus of Cambridge University, Sarabhai founded the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) in Ahmedabad followed by the Space Applications Centre in Ahmedabad, and spearheaded the establishment of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).

Not only this, Dr Sarabhai realized the need for an institution of management and initiated the establishment of the second Indian Institute of Management (at the time) in India in Ahmedabad (IIM-A).

Sarabhai, a man beyond his times, was often questioned about the relevance of space exploration by a developing country, one that was still struggling to feed its masses; to which he replied by saying, “There are some who question the relevance of space activities in a developing nation. To us, there is no ambiguity of purpose. We do not have the fantasy of competing with the economically advanced nations in the exploration of the moon or the planets or manned space-flight. But we are convinced that if we are to play a meaningful role nationally, and in the community of nations, we must be second to none in the application of advanced technologies to the real problems of man and society.”

In 1974, a moon crater was named the Sarabhai crater by the International Astronomical Union in Sydney, Australia. It is a small, circular crater with an 8 km diameter, located on the northeast part of the moon.

Earlier last month, the ISRO launched its first lander-rover mission from India to land on the moon, study it and relay information back to India. The lander that is carrying the rover has been named ‘Vikram’ after the ISRO founder.

Every student has a great deal to learn from the philosophy and path-breaking vision of Sarabhai; more so from his famous quote, “He who can listen to the music in the midst of noise can achieve great things.”

Feature Image Credits: The Hindu

Bhavya Pandey

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Despite having extraordinary achievements
in STEM, women scientist remain unacknowledged and forgotten.

A few weeks ago, the prestigious Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for Science and Technology were awarded collectively for 2016, 2017, and 2018. Amongst the 33 winners, only one was a woman (Dr. Aditi Sen De). At the onset the of lack of female winners might seem to stem from the general lack of women in science, but a close analysis of sexism in the fields speaks volumes about how women have been systematically sidelined. 

American astronomer, Vera Rubin, who provided the evidence of the existence of dark matter, was turned from the astronomy program at Princeton because they didn’t allow women. Miles away from America, Kamala Sohonie, a biochemist whose discoveries played a pioneering role in
tacking malnourishment in India, was declined admission in Indian Institute of Science by Nobel Prize winner, C.V. Raman simply because of her gender. Sohonie, who topped the Bachelor of Science course, had to stage a Satyagraha in Raman’s office for him
to take her in. This attitude of not accepting women in science prevails today as well.

According to a study at the University of
Wisconsin-Madison, titled “No gender differences in math performance” modern-day parents are less likely to encourage their daughters’ mathematical and scientific abilities, as compared to their sons’, despite them both having identical scores.

Women, historically, throughout the world, have been associated with a life of immanence, as opposed to the transcendence of male labour. To understand the disallowance of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), in the words of an average misogynist will be- “Women are too emotional for science.”

So, when women’s achievements in science proved otherwise, the circumstances became a threat to the consolidation of patriarchal social order. Erase them, if you can’t silence
them- this is the strategy adapted by patriarchal history-keepers, as the contributions of Rosalind Franklin, Kamala Sohonie, B. Vijayalakshmi, and multiple women have been concealed behind Watson’s, Raman’s, Chandrasekhar’s, and other men’s.

Amrita Vasudhar, a graduate of Physics from Miranda House and a student of the Indian Institute of Science, notes, “There are layers to discrimination. The society says- Okay, go ahead, pursue science, but make sure it’s
biology because women understand the theoretical subjects better.” Male scientists have found a way to deny women their rightful access to the discipline.

Women scientists, innumerable times, have found a way of non-conformation to live their love for science. Thus, the next time we use an equation or the refrigerator, we should pause and wonder how many women have had to fight to contribute to it, or more frighteningly, to not be forgotten for it. As a tribute to those smart-fierce women we must remember the names like Asima Chatterjee, Charusita Chakravarty, Janaki Ammal, and Chien Shiungwee.

Image Credits: Wired

Anushree Joshi

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Science has always been about quenching the curiosity and putting the derived knowledge into applications. This dynamic field of study has limitless boundaries. The more knowledge we get, the more ignorant we feel. The process of acquiring scientific knowledge goes beyond the limit of four walls of our classrooms and beyond the scope of limited syllabi. To augment the scientific knowledge, a science student must go out of his syllabus and read more books authored by acclaimed scientists.

It’s hard to say what anyone shouldn’t read, but the following books are the most recommended books of all time.

  1. A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes: Authored by British Physicist, Stephen Hawkings,  this is the most popular science book of all time. Hawkings simplifies cosmology, which includes the structure, origin, development, and eventual fate of the universe using non-technical terms. The book gives an insight into mysterious cosmological phenomena like Black holes and the Big Bang. It tries to explain the Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity. “How did the universe begin—and what made its start possible? Does time always flow forward? Is the universe unending?” – all your questions will be answered.
  2. On the Origin of Species: This is one of the most engrossing and controversial science book ever published. Written by Charles Darwin in 1859, this book laid the foundation of evolutionary biology. It presented a body of evidence gathered during his voyage of Beagle and proved that the diversity of life arose by a common descent through the branching pattern of evolution. He established that  Natural Selection is the force behind the evolution. This book revolutionised the course of science.
  3. The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark: In this book author Carl Sagan tried to ingrain a habit of questioning the scientific theories in the common man. The author explained the way of establishing the difference between myths of pseudoscience and testable hypotheses of valid science. The author very surgically busted the myth revolving around science. This 1995 book propagated that any new idea should be treated with skepticism and should be grilled with vigorous rounds of questioning.
  4. Physics of the Impossible: Here theoretical physicist, Michio Kaku, demonstrated what our current understanding of the universe’s physical laws may allow in the near future.  The book dealt with the scope of time travel, invisibility, and lasers.  It also explained the obstacles and technical issues in realising these science fiction concepts as reality.

Feature Image Credits: AZ Quotes

Sandeep Samal

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The advancement in neuroscience and continuous research proved that the brain erases a lot of stuff.  Here is a take on how to do it voluntarily.

The results of science and technology are no less than fascinating. The brain is one of the most complex organs to be studied, and scientists have not known a lot about it leading to intensive and continuous research in neurology. Finally, experiments and studies have finally revealed that our brain has a “delete button” which all of us can access.

A report published in Daily Amaze talks about how the brain functions and as a process of its functioning, it erases memories. The cells that remove waste from the brain by glial cells. These cells are also the very cells that speed the signals between neurons. The report emphasised the importance of sleep. While we are asleep, the brain cells shrink  their size by more than 50% enabling these glial cells to create space, i.e., remove waste from the brain. An exhausted and sleep-deprived brain would mean that the glial cells won’t be able to remove waste and add to the misery.

So, what does this mean? Well, it certainly would make all the sleep lovers happy and probably encourage to sleep for as long as possible. This article does provide scientific reasons to encourage sleeping though. But, the important point here is that we need to maintain a balance of sleep in our brain. We need to ensure that our brain needs to remove waste and this would require sleeping. So yes, you might need to think before planning to study overnight before exams hoping you will make through. This is also the very reason power naps are recommended while studying. Also, the other important thing which this study implies is once we wake up from sleep, we will be fresher, more observant and more grasping. It will be because we will have enough space in our brain to learn. Not to mention, it will also be more efficient meaning it will work better making us a bit sharper mentally.

Now, the best part of the story. How to control it? Well, there’s a simple solution to it mentioned in the report. The less you think of something, the higher are the chances of  that thought fading away from your brain. Well, this isn’t the most tempting answer to the question but accept it or not, this is what is actually happening inside our minds. The major concern here is that we have difficulties in letting go of something because it has such a huge impact on us. Naturally, we would want to delete something that is negative and not something we want to be reminded of. Again the question, how do let go of such thoughts?

We can’t control what comes in our minds but we can control what do we want to think of? It’s easier said than done,but  that’s the challenge. How can we feel a great impact on ourselves if it isn’t challenging enough? There’s no rocket science involved in bringing a change in ourselves. It’s not a difficult math question involving formulas to find the answer. All it takes is our willingness and patience to wait until we experience a change. We have been hearing these things now and then. These scientific conclusions confirm that these “teachings” actually work. Eventually, it just comes to us and we need to decide whether we are capable enough of inducing a change in ourselves or not.


Image Caption: The brain has a delete button and there’s way to use it

Image Credits: HEALAM


Karan Singhania

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Are you a science student but don’t want to be scientist or a teacher? Do you want to try your hand at something totally different and yet stay connected to your science roots? Science journalism may be the thing for you.

Science journalism is about reporting about science to the public. The field typically involves interactions between scientists, journalists, and the public. Science journalism, like the Science and Tech page in The Hindu, simplifies the very detailed, specific, and often jargon-laden information produced by scientists into a form that non-scientists can understand and appreciate, while still communicating the information accurately.

The National Association of Science Writers fights for the free flow of science news. The Indian Journal of Science and Technology accepts research based articles from students studying at various levels. Various other publications like Indian Journal of Scientific Research and Indian Journal of Science by Discovery prove helpful to those who look to broaden their perspectives about their respective research fields.

It’s not just about research though. Science journalism, or science media if we broaden it, is vast. From interviewing various smart heads to being a brainy radio jockey, the opportunities are endless for those who want to continue with science and yet don’t want to become Einstein. Maybe we could be looking at the next David Saltzberg, the science advisor to The Big Bang Theory. After all, it takes smart people to actually understand the depths of Sheldon’s jokes. And it takes even smarter people to actually use all the scientific knowledge in the world to sit and crack jokes on such matters.

Penny: So what do you say Sheldon, are we your X-men?

Sheldon: No, the X-men were named for the X in Charles Xavier. Since I am Sheldon Cooper, you will be, my C-men.

Yes, it’s a nerd joke. And yes, it’s definitely funny.

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