Field of Science

Macromolecules from miniature templates

From my article in Chemistry World:

UK researchers have designed a new highly effective method to construct large molecules of a defined size using simple templates.Recent approaches to the construction of nanomaterials have made use of advanced methods such as living polymerisation and self-assembly, but these techniques often produce a mixture of products. Taking inspiration from nature, which uses sophisticated templates such as the ribosome to make precise complex molecules, Harry Anderson's group at the University of Oxford has developed a new strategy to synthesise macromolecules with precise lengths using basic more.

Using fruit flies' sweet tooth

From my article in Chemistry World:

Australian researchers have used fruit flies' sweet tooth to help in attempts to develop new sugar alternatives.The Drosophila melanogaster species of fruit fly has marked similarity to humans in its choice of sweeteners, a fact exploited by a team led by Anne Rae at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation in Queensland to aid the search for new sweeteners as demand for healthier sugar alternatives more.

We need all the support we can get

I rarely 'reblog' but these are powerful words from Seth's blog. They deserve your attention.
Society changes when we change what we're embarrassed about. In just fifty years, we've made it shameful to be publicly racist. In just ten years, someone who professes to not know how to use the internet is seen as a fool.

The question, then, is how long before we will be ashamed at being uninformed, at spouting pseudoscience, at believing thin propaganda? How long before it's unacceptable to take something at face value? How long before you can do your job without understanding the state of the art?

Does access to information change the expectation that if you can know, you will know?
We can argue that this will never happen, that it's human nature to be easily led in the wrong direction and to be willfully ignorant. The thing is, there are lots of things that used to be human nature, but due to culture and technology, no longer are.

Today, on the Curious Wavefunction you will find a lengthy blog post about the state of Indian science. It was written after a set of articles that appeared in last week's Science titled India Rising. In the few pages of Science there were more arguments to convince the reader about the potential of Indian Science that there were in a whole book written by Angela Saini (Geek Nation: How Indian Science is Taking Over the World). Even then, there was a lot that was left out. Ashutosh attempts fill in those gaps and points out the faults in the roots of the system that make it difficult to do great science in India.

I also have to agree to Ashutosh's prediction that the kind of transformation that Indian Science needs will take a long time, maybe 20 years or more. Seth's blog post gives me hope though. We have achieved extraordinary things in the past as a group. If we are really serious about doing something to change the state of Indian science, I know that we have the capacity to it soon. What we lack right now is the wide-spread desire to do so.
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