My science stories come in various forms and under various themes! Instead of meandering in the potpourri of my writings, how about choosing the topic that might interest you better? Well, go ahead and do that! [The sub-menu on the left could help too]

  • I love animals and their quirkiness hold a special place in my heart. Is that then surprising that I also write about their behaviour? Here's all my writings on animal behaviour!
  • What's the use of science if it does not help our society? Here are some of my writings that lie at the interface of science and society.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how important studying public health is. Here are some stories highlighting studies on public health in India. 
  • Climate change, global heating, habitat destruction, and everything in between are changing our environment as we know it. Why not take a deep dive into some specific environment stories?
  • Blue sky research is at the heart of many inventions around us today. Here are my takes on physics, astronomy and technology.
  • Running short of time? Catch some science snippets that I wrote for Deccan Herald's science supplement during my time at Research Matters. 

Don't miss some of my favourite writings featured below.

As sea lice feast away on dwindling salmon, First Nations decide the fate of salmon farms

VANCOUVER, Canada — Alongside the millions of Atlantic Salmon clustered in the open net pens that dot the waterways around Broughton Archipelago’s over 200 islands, sea lice, a tadpole-shaped parasite, feast on the fish. In the zeal to establish a salmon market northwest of Vancouver, Canada, many aquaculture companies set up open net pens—cage-like structures where a layer of fishnet separates the farmed salmon from those in the wild—in the 1980s. They were also, however, creating conducive co

2022: The year in science

For millennia, art has been a pursuit unique to humankind. This year, however, machines have made their mark, and probably tease us with their interpretation of art. In April, artificial intelligence company OpenAI released DALL-E 2, a software that can generate digital images from word descriptors called “prompts”. In the following months, similar software took the art world by storm: while some were awed at these machine-generated art pieces, others questioned if it was the end of art as we kn

Learn to Grunt and Growl like an Antarctic Minke Whale

Scientists didn’t know Antarctic minke whales existed until the 1990s. Before then, these elusive whales, which lurk beneath the cold sea ice and gulp down krill in the Southern Ocean, were often confused with their far more familiar cousin, the common minke whale. Although scientists know very little about the species, a new study led by Ari Friedlaender, a marine mammal ecologist at the University of California, Santa Cruz, has offered an unprecedented look at one of the whale’s most fundament

When microplastics flood rivers

The Pitcairn Islands, a group of four volcanic islands, lie smack in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean, between South America and Australia. In 2019, when scientists visited Henderson Island, one of the islands with no people, they were baffled to find over four billion plastic pieces on the pristine beaches! With plastic comprising over 80% of the ocean litter, it’s no surprise they found their way to the island, hitchhiking on the waves. But, how do plastics from land come to the oceans?

Satellites show high methane emissions from Indian landfills

Our muck stinks. We grip our noses tight to avoid the stench and throw our garbage far away, hoping the odour doesn’t trace its way back. Sadly, there’s no escaping the muck monster as it comes back at us in unexpected ways, like climate change. Without good waste segregation practices, more than half of our garbage ends up in landfills—mountains of garbage lining the perimeters of our cities. Landfills contain a melange of our household waste—wet, organic waste like kitchen scraps, dry recycla

Green and blue milestones of independent India

The history of modern India's forests, water and soil is full of stories, life, resistance and hope. 1973: Chipko Movement, the first people-led environment conservation movement in independent India When deforestation was rampant, a group of women in the Himalayan region of today’s Uttarakhand hugged trees to prevent loggers from cutting them, giving life to the iconic Chipko Andolan. Under the guidance of Sunderlal Bahuguna, a Gandhian activist, the movement adopted the non-violent form of

When bee dance inspires robot design

Honeybees are incredible in many ways. Swooshing at over twenty kilometres per hour, they fly a whopping 90,000 kilometres—a distance equal to going around the world 2.2 times—to make half a kilogram of honey. There’s a strategy behind the success: instead of all the workers aimlessly wandering in search of pollen and nectar, a forager bee first ventures out in pursuit of food. When she finds a bounty, she returns to the hive and recruits an army of her kin to bring it all. But there’s a catch—

Authorities and Yobin communities clash as deforestation spikes in Indian national park

In the sprawling Himalayas, amidst snow-peaked mountains, is a vast swathe of evergreen forest home to majestic tigers, elusive clouded leopards, charismatic hornbills, mystical giant squirrels, enchanting butterflies and bizarre orchids. Comprising some 1,900 square kilometers (734 square miles) in the state of Arunachal Pradesh in Northeast India, Namdapha National Park is India’s third-largest national park and is considered one of Asia’s last large wildernesses as well as a biodiversity hots

How Air-Conditioning Creates a Climate Conundrum

Summer is here in North America, which means in many places it’s too hot for comfort. To escape the sweltering heat, birds pant, take a dip in the water, and hide from the sun. Humans have an additional edge over biology: air-conditioning. With access to electricity, we are able to alter the air temperature itself. Air-conditioning is expensive: It costs U.S. homeowners a whopping $29 billion each year. But it saves lives. In summer 2021, a heatwave sent the mercury soaring to record temperatur

When famine turns deadly for elephants

As a natural phenomenon, droughts are remarkable; they shape landscapes and civilisations and etch their mark on our societies. Studies show that megadroughts in Africa, which occurred between 135,000 and 90,000 years ago, forced humans to spread out of the continent to other parts of the world. In the Arabian peninsula, droughts in the sixth century paved the way for the formation of Islam as a religion. While humans can cope with drought to some extent, the worst affected are animals in the w

Canada mining push puts major carbon sink and Indigenous lands in the crosshairs

Since the last ice age, wide rivers have meandered toward the southern shores of Hudson Bay in Canada, to join its salty waters. On their way, they’ve created swaths of wetlands, filled with carbon-packed peat bog. The Cree Indigenous people who have lived here for millennia call these peatlands Yehewin Aski, or “the Breathing Lands,” for they believe these wetlands act as the lungs of Mother Earth. “It’s such a watery landscape,” says Lorna Harris, a peatland ecosystem scientist at the Wildlif

Indigenous oyster fisheries were ‘fundamentally different’: Q&A with researcher Marco Hatch

In the 18th century, when European ships sailed into the Strait of Juan de Fuca on the Northwest coast of the Atlantic Ocean, they raved about the “wilderness” of the coast. The enormous natural wealth they saw—the wood from forests and the fur on animals—lured them into setting up a flourishing trade that would last centuries and script a new chapter in history. The visitors thought the coast as pristine and untouched by humans. However, it was home to many Indigenous peoples, including the Nu

The backstory of a bird paradise in Andaman and Nicobar

Cyclones, floods, landslides, earthquakes, volcanoes and massive tsunamis— the Andaman and Nicobar Islands have endured it all for millennia. However, the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, which originated in northern Sumatra, Indonesia, stands out as one of the deadliest natural disasters to hit the archipelago in recent times. The tremor shook the land for a good ten minutes. About 50 metres deep inside the ocean, the Burma Plate and the Indian Plate broke apart, rupturing the ground for about 1,

Lessons from panda conservation could help Asia’s other, overlooked, bears

Serving as the mascot of a world-renowned conservation organization, building diplomatic relationships between China and the world, playing protagonists in blockbuster movies — giant pandas have done it all. The public attention and adulation these animals garner make them star attractions at zoos and have helped pump billions into tailor-made conservation programs that have successfully brought the species back from the verge of extinction. “They hit the lottery,” says Willam J. McShea, a wild

Climate crisis forecasts a fragile future for wildflowers and pollinators

Think of climate change, and you’ll probably picture devastating floods, raging wildfires, or parched earth. For the environmentally savvy, coral bleaching or masses of refugees may also make it to the list. Not many of us would think of the vibrant wildflowers in nearby meadows as victims of climate change. But the future of these pretty blooms could be gloomy in the face of a warming planet, suggests a recent study published in the journal Frontiers in Plant Science. This first-of-its-kind st

Farms With Natural Habitat Gain More Benefits From Birds

Birds can be a mixed blessing for farmers. Sometimes birds increase yields by gobbling crop-eating insects and rodents. But they may also devour crops, ingest beneficial bugs, or harbor pathogens that pose a risk to human health when they show up in food. “We really have to think of [birds] as a package deal, with all of the different ways that each species interacts with the farm,” says Elissa Olimpi, a conservation biologist at Virginia Tech. For two years, Olimpi spent her spring and summer

Climate change set to upend global fishery agreements, study warns

Unlike boundaries on the land, the ocean is contiguous — fish move and transcend international waters as they please, without bothering about jurisdictions. As long as ocean temperatures remain generally stable, the fish remain in their known habitats and all is well. But as climate change heats up oceans rapidly, fish are on the move, upsetting fishing treaties between nations that stipulate who can catch how much fish in shared waters. “Many of the fisheries management agreements made to regu

New assessment finds dragonflies and damselflies in trouble worldwide

Dragonflies, as depicted in this haiku, have held a special place in Japanese culture for millennia; so much so that among the country’s names is Akitsushmi, or Dragonfly Island. As well as being deemed a harbinger of autumn, these insects symbolize happiness, strength, courage and success in Japan, while the island nation’s art has often portrayed them frolicking around ponds, cheerful and lively. Other cultures variously hold up dragonflies as symbols of good or evil. But no matter the cultur
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