Book Review: The Double Helix by James D. Watson

The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA is an autobiographical version of James D. Watson in the race for DNA. The story of the discovery of the structure of DNA is quite a read but I feel really sorry for Rosalind Franklin. Without her contribution, the men (James Watson, Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins) wouldn’t have received the Nobel Prize. Defaming her and other women under the hood of casual misogyny in almost entirety of the book is deeply unsettling. And by shedding…

Read More

Compact Cas7-11 Enzyme for RNA Editing: CRISPR-Cas System

The CRISPR CAS9 system famously known as genetic scissors was discovered by Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna in 2012. And since then, the new tool has been studied extensively across global academia. Initial studies of the genome editing tool altered only the DNA. However, lately the CAS system is also studied for editing RNA. What is CRISPR-CAS system? CRISPR-CAS system is an adaptive immune system of bacteria, which protects it from invaders. Also, it defends the bacterial host from renewed infection as it memorizes previous infections. DNA has the fingerprint.…

Read More

Interview: Dr Federico Paolucci, Research Scientist at Superconducting Quantum Electronics Lab, Italy

Dr Federico Paolucci is a Research Scientist at Superconducting Quantum Electronics Lab (SQEL) nested in Pisa, Italy. He has co-authored papers like Electrostatic field-driven supercurrent suppression in ionic-gated metallic Josephson nano transistors, Bipolar Thermoelectric Josephson Engine and Thermal superconducting quantum interference proximity transistor to name a few. His recent research involves tuning the thermal properties of a superconductor by controlling its spectral characteristics. And this made me intrigued to get in touch with him and requested him to squeeze-in some time from his busy schedule for an interview. Nothing excites…

Read More

Book Review: A Crack in Creation by Jennifer A Doudna and Samuel H Sternberg

A Crack in Creation: Gene Editing and the Unthinkable Power to Control Evolution is a powerful book on advances in gene editing research and history by Jennifer A. Doudna and Samuel H. Sternberg. It puts forward the timeline of a genome-editing tool known as CRISPR, or “Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats.” The book starts with examples where natural changes in the genome lead to randomly cure patients of genetic diseases. 2013 was the year of medical mystery at the National Institutes of Health, when the scientists were dealing with…

Read More

New Microbot Scuttle like a Crab: Biomimicry

Engineers at Northwestern University have developed nano-scale robots that scuttle like small peekytoe crab. The tiny crab-bots measure around half-millimeter wide. Like the decapod crustaceans, the bot can bend, twist, crawl, walk, turn and even jump. Not only the nano crab like devices, engineers have also created same sized robotic inchworms, crickets and beetles. Researchers envision that their technology will explore practical tasks inside tightly confined spaces.

Read More

Ceramic based Micro Glucose Fuel Cells: Implantable Power Sources

In the coming two decades, nanotechnology will surely touch the lives of nearly all people across globe. As technology progresses, we will experience next generation sensors embedded in all things that we use, including our clothes, kitchen and within ourselves. Yes, IoT is coming here to stay. So, the next question is what will be the efficient power source for these devices, especially the implantable sensors and drug-delivery systems? Researchers at MIT have paved a way for glucose powered medical implants. With their newly designed glucose fuel cell, they are…

Read More

Moon Soil Can Grow Terrestrial Plants: Tiny Lunar Garden

For the first time in human history, space scientists were able to grow plants in the soil from the moon. With the plants sprouting from the moon soil, lunar exploration seems pretty incredible. University of Florida researchers were able to prove that moon soil – also called as lunar regolith – can grow terrestrial plants. They also investigated that for the plant it wasn’t an easy journey. Nevertheless, this effort is the first step towards understanding how plants respond biologically to the Moon’s soil. This insight will surely help NASA’s…

Read More

Tattoo like Sensors to Reveal Blood Oxygen Levels: Silk based Biomaterials

Soft skin sensors are beginning to transform the health care industry. We can surely predict that within a decade, people will be wearing skin sensors to detect the blood glucose level, oxygen level and to track other different blood components which currently require an incision. Researchers at Tufts University have developed a tattoo-like sensor that glows when exposed to light. The degree of brightness depends on the level of oxygen in blood. Silk fibroin hydrogel The sensor is made up of silk fibroin hydrogel. Fibroin is an insoluble protein that…

Read More

Book Review: Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari

Dataism is the new religion! – is the motif running across Harari’s Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow. As with its predecessor, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, the book deals with evolution and the abilities that humans acquire as we move along the evolutionary scale. And how we process these capabilities only to fabricate a world where there is no place for us.

Read More

Interview: Dr Arthur Suvorov, An Astrophysicist at The Manly Astrophysics, Australia and Uni. of Tübingen

Dr. Arthur Suvorov is an astrophysicist at The Manly Astrophysics in Australia.  He did first class honors degree at Monash University, in a double-dose of mathematics with physics on the side. Followed by his PhD from Melbourne Uni. His areas of interest include various aspects of neutron star. Lately, he collaborated with Universidad de Murcia, Spain in a project entitled “Magnetically supramassive neutron stars”, paper of which is also published in Physical Review Letters (DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevD.105.L061302).   Dr. Suvorov is also the recipient of one of the most prestigious Humboldt…

Read More

China’s Particle Collider to Gear up: A Future Higgs Factory

To explore more exotic particles, Beijing Electron Positron Collider (BEPC), the particle-physics lab, is undertaking a major re-equipping. The work is expected to complete by 2024. Dubbed as BEPCII-U, the new version will not only triple the current collision rate but it’ll also extend the maximum collision energy to 5.6 GeV from the existing 2–5 GeV. With the plans underway for next-generation collider, China might head the world in high-energy physics research.

Read More

Two Rocky Worlds Orbiting M Dwarf Star: The HD 260655 System

Astronomers at NASA have identified two rocky alien worlds hovering around M dwarf star called HD 260655. M stars have faint glow and they look red to our eyes with temperature ranging from 2,500 Kelvin to 3,500 Kelvin. These stars account for nearly 75% of the stars in our stellar neighborhood, which implies they can be easily observed from Earth due to its abundance. As per Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), the newly discovered exoplanets are about two times more massive than the Earth.

Read More

SQuRO, Quadruped Robotic Rat: Biomimicry

Nature has always inspired robotics engineers to design bots with the same agility and efficiency. And this is also one of the reasons why researchers look up to biomimicry to solve human design challenges. When it comes to navigate tight and congested arenas wouldn’t rodents be the best options to design a device? Researchers at Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT) thought the same. According to Qing Shi, a Professor at BIT, legged robots have limitations when operating in narrow spaces. Micro quadruped robots too can face performance issues due to…

Read More

Book Review: The God Equation by Dr. Michio Kaku

Dr. Michio Kaku is a well-known figure in science academia. He is a master story teller. His super power is, he can make science graspable for non-science people like myself. In The God Equation: The Quest for a Theory of Everything, Dr. Kaku talks about three things: physics from creation to present, the effort put behind in unifying all known physical forces and the theory of dimensions, string theory.

Read More