Marginalia: Romila on textbooks, Rapido ad, Nobel nonsense

We may go on deleting sections of our history but in the world outside where there are multiple centres of research into the Indian past, and many scholars, there these expunged sections from books used in India will continue to be studied. They will be subjected to new methods of analyses, will be commented upon, …

The question of Abdus Salam ‘deserving’ his Nobel

Peter Woit has blogged about an oral history interview with theoretical physicist Sheldon Glashow published in 2020 by the American Institute of Physics. (They have a great oral history of physics series you should check out if you’re interested.) Woit zeroed in on a portion in which Glashow talks about his faltering friendship with Steven …

Charles Lieber case: A high-energy probe of science

There’s a phenomenon in high-energy particle physics that I’ve found instructive as a metaphor to explain some things whose inner character may not be apparent to us but whose true nature is exposed in extreme situations. For example, consider the case of Charles Lieber, an American chemist whom a jury found guilty earlier today of …

Why are the Nobel Prizes still relevant?

Note: A condensed version of this post has been published in The Wire. Around this time last week, the world had nine new Nobel Prize winners in the sciences (physics, chemistry and medicine), all but one of whom were white and none were women. Before the announcements began, Göran Hansson, the Swede-in-chief of these prizes, …