Stories about science

The flaws in our education: Why are Pakistani students struggling with mathematics?

Mathematics is perhaps the most powerful instrument of knowledge in the world. History proves that all ancient civilisations emphasised the importance of maths, and it is the one science that seeks to improve one’s ability to perceive and think. Maths may not help teach us how to love someone or how to forgive an enemy, but it gives us reason to hope that every problem must have a reasonable solution. Consequently, maths plays an important role in the development of countries because of its ability to penetrate into all sorts of human affairs, whether social or economic. Students are often weak in maths as ...

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Sky is the limit: My journey from Sargodha to the University of Oxford

When I was 12-years-old, I remember hearing about an institution known as the University of Oxford, but it felt too far away to ever become a reality. While I knew that if I worked hard I could probably get in someday, I never imagined the path life would take me through to finally get here. A path filled with adventures around the globe, and a chase towards learning from some of the world’s brightest minds. I am currently a PhD candidate at the University of Oxford, and received my Master’s through a program that allowed me to live in ...

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I resigned not because of my boss, but my co-workers

It is said that people do not quit their jobs; they quit their bosses. However, what I believe is that sometimes people quit not because of their boss, but due to a hostile work environment – or in my case, the bad attitude of some co-workers. Let me offer a disclaimer that I am not here to badmouth my former colleagues. Instead, I wish to share my experience, and my realisation that sometimes people are so competitive and callous in a workplace that they don’t realise how their bad attitude can affect a person’s mental health. It was last year ...

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5 reasons why ‘Homo Deus’ will get under your skin and make you question humanity’s future

If you are lucky, you may come across a book that challenges your assumptions, upends your convictions, and knocks down your indoctrination. If you are really lucky, then the said book may present an alternative and limitless world view of possibilities, generating a warm fuzzy feeling within; perhaps because your assumptions have been challenged, convictions upended, and indoctrination knocked down. I can safely say this has happened to me recently. After several years of sporadic reading of contemporary fiction, creative non-fiction and general non-fiction, I finally had the pleasure of reading Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah ...

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Farewell to our very own star on Earth, the extraordinary Stephen Hawking

“They’re named black holes because they are related to human fears of being destroyed or gobbled up. I don’t have fears of being thrown into them. I understand them. I feel in a sense that I am their master.” These are the words of Stephen Hawking who passed away on March 14th at the age of 76. He was not afraid of death. And why would he be? He was told, at the age of 22, that he was suffering from a rare motor neuron disease and was given only a couple of years to live. But nobody loved defying odds ...

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The faults in PEMRA’s decisions

Pakistan Electronic Media Regulation Authority – or PEMRA as we know it – is the body that aims to regulate and monitor content released in Pakistan on television and broadcasting networks.  This is their mandate: 1. Improve the standards of information, education and entertainment; 2. Enlarge the choice available to the people of Pakistan in the media for news, current affairs, religious knowledge, art, culture, science, technology, economic development, social sector concerns, music, sports, drama and other subjects of public and national interest; 3. Facilitate the devolution of responsibility and power to the grass roots by improving the access of the people to ...

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Would you like to have a child who is intelligent, athletic, good looking and genetically modified?

Would you like to have a child who is intelligent, athletic, good looking, and musically gifted? Designer babies are now possible as genetic enhancement projects are getting underway in China. Most Western countries are studying the development; with the exception of the United States, genetic modification of germline human cells is on hold. I remember when I was young, the first in-vitro fertilisation child born in Pakistan created a moral debate. For months, all across the country, people kept asking questions about the legitimacy of the IVF child. There was a strong resistance from conservatives which has disappeared; it is ...

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Listening to the whispers of merging black holes

A little over a billion years ago, two black holes were orbiting each other somewhere in a galaxy far, far away. At this time, life on Earth had just found a successful way to include more than one cell in a body. Indifferent to the happenings on the Earth, these black holes were locked in a spiral of death. One black hole had mass equivalent to 36 Suns. The other was 29 times as massive as our Sun. Nature had already sealed their fates. With a sudden gasp, the two black holes merged into one. This larger black hole had ...

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Science ka Adda Episode 1: Pluto – A New World

Is there life elsewhere in the universe? How did our Solar System form? Are there black holes at the centre of galaxies? How long do stars live? These are just some of the questions that ‘Science ka Adda’ (Cafe Scientifique) and its host, yours truly, seeks to address. Pluto was discovered in 1930. Up until 2015, we did not know much about this little planet in our Solar System. The flyby of The New Horizon spacecraft has revealed Pluto to be a fascinating object hosting tall mountains made of ice, smooth plains with nitrogen ice flows, and a big moon Charon that appears six times deeper ...

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Fantastic Four: When Fox Films tries to play Marvel and fails miserably

Fantastic Four starts with the same wonder and enchantment as films from my 80s’ childhood, like The Extra Terrestrial (ET) and The Goonies, but swiftly loses any further similarities to these classics and succumbs to an overly simplistic action-based plot that fails to take stock of what is important here – the characters (ironic seeing as this reboot is meant to be an origins story). As with many prequels, we think we are here to understand a little more about what drives these superheroes we have come to love while also exploring a journey that we should already feel a part of but instead we don’t get to fill in the ...

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