Explained: The discovery that led to organocatalysis gold rush

Catalysis is a term used to describe a process in the presence of a substance (the catalyst) controls and influences the rate and/or the outcome of the reaction. The substance — the catalyst — which helps in achieving this remains intact is not consumed during the reaction and neither becomes a part of the final … Continue reading Explained: The discovery that led to organocatalysis gold rush

Nobel Prize for simple but brilliant discovery of asymmetric organocatalysis

An efficient, “precise, cheap, fast and environmentally friendly” way to develop new molecules using a simple yet novel concept of catalysis — asymmetric organocatalysis — has won this year’s Nobel Prize for chemistry. An efficient, “precise, cheap, fast and environmentally friendly” way to develop new molecules using a simple yet novel concept of catalysis — … Continue reading Nobel Prize for simple but brilliant discovery of asymmetric organocatalysis

Nobel Prize for sensing heat

This year’s Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine has been jointly awarded to David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian from the University of California, San Francisco and Scripps Research in La Jolla, California, respectively for their seminal work in identifying the gene and understanding the mechanism through which our body perceives temperature and pressure. This year’s … Continue reading Nobel Prize for sensing heat

Medicine Nobel Prize: Decoding how cells sense oxygen

In the case of health people who have normal red blood cell count, the use of external erythropoietin is highly likely to make the blood viscose leading to increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and cerebral or pulmonary embolism. This year, the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine was awarded to three scientists — William … Continue reading Medicine Nobel Prize: Decoding how cells sense oxygen

Scientists vote to recognise Anthropocene as a new epoch

A 34-member panel of the Anthropocene Working Group voted to designate Anthropocene as the new geologic epoch. The vote signals the end of the Holocene Epoch which began 11,700 years ago. The focus is now on identifying a definitive geologic marker or golden spike to signal the beginning of the Anthropocene Epoch. On May 21, … Continue reading Scientists vote to recognise Anthropocene as a new epoch

Talks at the Indian Science Congress need to be vetted by serious committees, says Venkatraman Ramakrishnan

Nobel Laureate Prof. Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, who attended the Indian Science Congress held in Mumbai in 2015 and called it a “circus” as very little science was discussed, is annoyed at the outrageous statements made by a few speakers at the Congress held in Jalandhar this year. In an email interview, he talks about the steps needed … Continue reading Talks at the Indian Science Congress need to be vetted by serious committees, says Venkatraman Ramakrishnan

Indian Science Congress sans drama from 2020?

The Indian Science Congress Association has finally decided to bring some respectability to the Congress by deciding to do precisely what the Nobel Laureate Prof. Venkatraman Ramakrishnan had suggested in an email to me. With the government funding the Congress in a substantial way and patronising it with its presence, was the Association compelled to … Continue reading Indian Science Congress sans drama from 2020?

Why I disagree with Nobel Laureates when it comes to career advice for scientists

Merlin Crossley, UNSW The measures by which we judge scientists are always under intense scrutiny. For those who hit the peak of their field, there’s the Nobel Prize. But across all levels of career progression, we publish research papers in journals whose importance or rank can be communicated via a number known as the Journal … Continue reading Why I disagree with Nobel Laureates when it comes to career advice for scientists

India should show sustained commitment to science: Venkatraman Ramakrishnan

In an hour-long interview, Nobel Laureate Prof. Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, President of the Royal Society, who called the Indian Science Congress a “circus”, discussed the implications of some of the Indian government policies on science and technology. He summarily rejects the idea of scientists needing permission from directors before discussing the results of a public-funded, published … Continue reading India should show sustained commitment to science: Venkatraman Ramakrishnan

Nobel Prizes – The lure of the exotic and esoteric

If “wonderful discoveries happening in biology” had acted as a trigger for Nobel Laureate Venkatraman Ramakrishnan to switch from physics to chemistry, the nearly matured and well-established field of chemistry failed to enthuse Yoshinori Ohsumi, and he shifted to biology. Autophagy — a fundamental process for degrading and recycling cellular components — was known long … Continue reading Nobel Prizes – The lure of the exotic and esoteric