SCI-ART LAB

Science, Art, Litt, Science based Art & Science Communication

                                                                      Interactive science series


Q: You say science helped you in conquering the fear. How did it happen?
Krishna: According to science, 'Nothing in the universe is to be feared, it is only to be understood' . Once you understand how things happen, fear automatically disappears from your mind!
For instance during earlier times, people used to think two evil spirits gobbled up the sun and the moon during their respective eclipses and feared to come out of their homes thinking that these evil things would effect their lives too in a bad way.
After science and scientists had explained how eclipses happen, most of the people readily come out to watch the eclipses now. That is what we expect to happen when you follow the scientific route.
I take the help of scientific reasoning while dealing with each and every aspect of my life. And magic, magic, magic, magic! Fear has totally disappeared from my life!
That is why I love science so much!

Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less - Marie Curie

Q: Does table salt stop bleeding of clothes?

Krishna: These are old wives' tales about using salt to set the dye and stop dye bleeding of fabrics. Unfortunately, salt won't work that way on today's fabrics and dyes! 

People still get the same old tip from the media and if they think that something is going to bleed, they add salt to the water when hand washing the clothes to "set the colour". I also heard about other housewives who added distilled white vinegar to the wash or rinse water. Unfortunately, neither will work reliably on clothes or fabrics that have already been commercially dyed. Don't waste your time or resources.

I myself tested these things on clothes and found they cannot help in any way!

There is some science and history to the salt and vinegar stories. When you dye cotton yarn or fabrics, salt in the dye bath does help the dye absorb into the fibers instead of staying suspended in the water. For wool or nylon, vinegar does help the dye absorb into the fibers. But neither is a dye fixative for already dyed fabric or fibers.

Q: My people think epilepsy patients are possessed by devils and demons. Is there any truth in this belief?

Krishna: NO, definitely not! The idea of the epileptic personality is an ancient one. Thousands of years ago people with epilepsy were thought to be possessed by either divine beings or demons. In fact, the notion that a seizure represents a kind of communion with another spiritual realm still holds sway in some societies today. In more recent history, Westerners largely perceived epilepsy as a punishment for morally lax behavior. 

But the real causes for epilepsy  are: Causes of epilepsy vary by age of the person, many without a clear cause of epilepsy may have a genetic form, one-third of children with autism spectrum disorder may have seizures, infections are also common causes of epilepsy, seizures commonly begin in people over 65, stroke is one of the most frequent causes of seizures in seniors.

 What's true for every age is that the cause is unknown for about half of everyone with epilepsy.

  • Some people with no known cause of epilepsy may have a genetic form of epilepsy. One or more genes may cause the epilepsy or epilepsy may be caused by the way some genes work in the brain. The relationship between genes and seizures can be very complex and genetic testing is not available yet for many forms of epilepsy. 
  • About 3 out of 10 people have a change in the structure of their brains that causes the electrical storms of seizures.
  • Some young children may be born with a structural change in an area of the brain that gives rise to seizures. 
  • About 3 out of 10 children with autism spectrum disorder may also have seizures. The exact cause and relationship is still not clear. 
  • Infections of the brain are also common causes of epilepsy. The initial infections are treated with medication, but the infection can leave scarring on the brain that causes seizures at a later time. 
  • People of all ages can have head injuries, though severe head injuries happen most often in young adults.
  • In middle age, strokes, tumors and injuries are more frequent.
  • In people over 65, stroke is the most common cause of new onset seizures. Other conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease or other conditions that affect brain function can also cause seizures.
  • Idiopathic seizures are those whose cause is unknown. Unfortunately, about 6 out of 10 seizures are idiopathic.

Q: What are some scientific reasons behind Indian superstitions?

Q: Is there any scientific basis behind the Indian superstition of 'Nazar lag jana'?

Krishna: The words ‘scientific reasons behind superstitions’ are oxymoronic. Superstitions are baseless beliefs originated in fear, helplessness, low confidence, high confusion and chaos. Science is organized, a process of learning about things to understand them properly to conquer unrealistic fears and increase your confidence levels.

So there are no scientific reasons behind Indian or any superstitions. Oh, yes, you will find lots of pseudo-science when people try to authenticate their irrational behaviour using ‘science’ as a cover-up.

 

A believer’s interpretation of his superstition would be like… “I’m going to mischaracterize and misinterpret something using serious-sounding words so that you might believe me if you don’t know anything about it”.

Science's rules are unyielding, they will not be bent in any way fo...

Q: Why can science be frightening? Knowing certain scientific probabilities, it can be very scary. Examples: -That climate change is real, and it's getting exponentially worse
-That there is likely no afterlife
-That one day, the sun will explode and kill us all leaving no trace of our existence
Is it better to simply disregard this?

Krishna: Oh, yes, they say ignorance is a bliss, don’t they? :)

Science makes us realize reality so that you can prepare to tackle the problems in the right way with knowledge and courage and not to live in an ignorant bliss and pseudo and dreamy world forever. Knowledge strengthens your mind if you can use it properly.

Why can’t we take steps to stop damage to our climate or tackle the consequences if we cannot avoid them in a better way using science?

If there is no after life, there are several realistic routes to get comfort from : Science tries to strengthen our minds permanently by making us real...

We won’t be there when the life of Sun comes to an end, Why should we get bothered?

Science doesn’t scare the people of science. We love and adore it. In fact we draw courage and comfort from it!

Q: If all sciences and knowledge would be lost, what one sentence would you save?

Krishna: As long as people of science live, knowledge stored in the boxes above their bodies can never be lost in the first place. Science is the language with which this universe is written. It can never be lost as long as the universe is there.

Even if all the books and computer systems that store the scientific knowledge and living beings are lost due to some catastrophe, when life originates and evolves again, it can read the scientific knowledge written into this universe exactly like we did!

So, the sentence saved without anybody’s help would be:

Science is indestructible in the present Universe.

Q: A person standing nearby sometimes says the same thing one is thinking. Is there a scientific explanation for that?
Krishna: You might be discussing the same subject. Or you might be viewing the same object or people in front of you. The person who said the same thing you ‘re thinking might be your friend or relative and could have the same line of thinking as you go through guided by the same conditions and forces.
Even if he is a stranger, he might have the same thought process as you had and conditioned by the same elements as you are governed.
We call that co-incidence. A statistical fluke.

Q: What is the simplest answer to the question, "Why do you love science"?

Krishna: Because science gives me a never-ending thrill and realistic answers to several of my questions.

Q: Why were genius people like Issac Newton and Nikola Tesla against the development of women?

Krishna: These people were good at only in their subject. While facing the rest of the things they were just like ordinary human beings reflecting the thinking of times and worlds they lived in.

Science training teaches us to think critically each and every aspect that comes before us which include social, societal, religious, emotional and political features. But if you think that scientific training is just like training in car driving - you learn it on the road and forget it when you go home - you become a non-scientific character and make faults at every step of the way outside your lab. Then you are no genius in the real sense.

The artificial media hype might take you to pseudo-heights in the mind matters but your behaviour proves to the world who you really are in the world outside of your work place.

Q: How can science explain strange stars like Boyajian?

Krishna: First watch this video that explains why this star is strange:

Now, a useful clue towards solving this puzzle has been offered by Mohammed Sheikh, Richard Weaver, and Karin Dahmen from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign [1]. The researchers analyzed the spectrum of fluctuations in the flux from Boyajian’s star over four years, finding that it followed a universal power-law characteristic of systems close to the critical point of a phase transition. While this result does not reveal the physical processes driving the brightness variations, it suggests that they might be associated with nonequilibrium phenomena occurring within the star, rather than with external orbiting structures.

The large brightness variations cannot be explained with simple astrophysical models. Normal middle-aged main sequence stars do not exhibit large spontaneous brightness variations. While other stars have been seen to dim by comparable amounts and durations, they were all much younger—in or near the star-forming phase. Boyajian’s star would be a one-in-a-million anomaly. If what blocked the star’s light was an orbiting body, it would have to be comparable in size to the star itself. This rules out planets, whose radius is limited to 50,000 km. Stars can also be excluded because Boyajian’s star has no nearby companion. A diffuse structure, like a disk of dust and debris around the star, could also cause dimming. But such a structure would cause a characteristic infrared emission, which hasn’t been observed.

  Sheikh et al. consider the sequence of dimming events as a series of local signals, independent of their astrophysical nature. The authors calculate a number of statistical parameters of the dimming, such as the deviation in brightness from the median, the spectrum of fluctuations, and the slope of the log-log distribution of the duration and size of the dimming events. These parameters can be accurately fit with power laws. The analysis suggests that the flux dips are reminiscent of avalanches—sudden changes of a system under an external force. Avalanche statistics are observed in nonequilibrium systems undergoing internal dynamics near the critical point of a phase transition. This occurs, for example, in a ferromagnet close to its ordering temperature and in a magnetic field: when a spin flips to align with the field, it can trigger an avalanche of spin flips that causes a jump in the macroscopic magnetization. Avalanche statistics have been found in astrophysical phenomena, from stellar flares to gamma-ray bursts, and in many critical phenomena in biology and physics. Avalanche models predict a universal behavior for statistical parameters that relate the amplitude, duration, and probability of avalanches, such as the power spectral density function and the time profile of the avalanches. This is exactly what the authors find in the distribution of dimming dips.

The findings of Sheikh et al. are potentially important, as they may provide insight into the nature of the process that is driving the brightness fluctuations, even without revealing exactly what the process is. The authors conjecture that the avalanche statistics indicate an internal stellar process. They further suggest that this behavior may be due to the star approaching the critical point of a magnetic transition. Finding a new process that can drive strong variability in normal main sequence stars would be interesting and surprising, particularly on the time scales of these events, as the duration and interval between the dips are not on time scales natural to F stars (2).

Source of this research : a paper published in Physical Review Letters.

Q: Can't scientists explain Mpemba effect?

Krishna: These days it has become fashionable to say science can't explain a few things even though most of them have been explained. There are several reasons for this.

1. The media wants to keep the mystery alive so that it can attract more people to their articles that wrongly say science cannot explain certain things.

2. Religious leaders want to exploit people by keeping people in the dark.

3. Science communication failure.

4. People don't get recent updates in science and stick to old stories.

5. Science is an ongoing and lengthy process that cannot decide things in just a few seconds like people express opinions. You have to establish relative truths and facts by testing them over and over again. You will have various theories proposed by scientists to consider to establish the facts. Meanwhile people start ridiculing science and scientists.

Why some interesting things happen in Nature according to science

Science will answer your questions and solve your problems too!

Scientists have known for generations that hot water can sometimes freeze faster than cold, an effect known as the Mpemba effect.

Theories for the Mpemba effect have included:

faster evaporation of hot water, which reduces the volume left to freeze,

formation of a frost layer on cold water, insulating it

different concentrations of solutes such as carbon dioxide, which is driven off when the water is heated

The problem is that the effect does not always appear, and cold water often freezes faster than hot water.

Radiation safety officer with the State University of New York, James Brownridge, has been studying the effect in his spare time for the last decade, carrying out hundreds of experiments, and now says he has evidence that supercooling is involved. Brownridge said he found water usually supercools at 0°C and only begins freezing below this temperature. The freezing point is governed by impurities in the water that seed ice crystal formation. Impurities such as dust, bacteria, and dissolved salts all have a characteristic nucleation temperature, and when several are present the freezing point is determined by the one with the highest nucleation temperature.

In his experiments, Brownridge took two water samples at the same temperature and placed them in a freezer. He found that one would usually freeze before the other, presumably because of a slightly different mix of impurities. He then removed the samples from the freezer, warmed one to room teperature and the other to 80°C and then froze them again. The results were that if the difference in freezing point was at least 5°C, the one with the highest freezing point always froze before the other if it was heated to 80°C and then re-frozen.

Brownridge said the hot water cools faster because of the bigger difference in temperature between the water and the freezer, and this helps it reach its freezing point before the cold water reaches its natural freezing point, which is at least 5°C lower. He also said all the conditions must be controlled, such as the location of the samples in the freezer, and the type of container, which he said other researchers had not done.

Explanation Source: phys.org

Q: Is it true to say “through science we've gained an understanding of the world , and yet we don't understand why we understand it” .

Krishna: We can understand the world because our brains can systematically analyse things which process we call consciousness. 

Q: You stress the need for facts but some people say 'the aim of education is the knowledge not of facts but of values'.

Krishna: Who says facts cannot deal with values and impart values in students?  It is a wrong assumption that science that deals with facts doesn't deal with values. Like I mentioned in one of my articles science-and-spirituality ...

Anyone who knows how a nervous system works during pain processing can do no physical harm to any living being. And anyone who knows how the brain really works at the emotional level will never try to harass another living being. Any person who has seen how the scientific rules are followed universally in a given set of conditions, and understood its beauty can never think in local terms and can never come under the influence of artificially created races, castes, groups, communities or citizenships. He sees all the living beings as his own images - following universal rules of life and as citizens of this universe.

I learned all about human existence, morality, humane nature, universal brotherhood, secularism, tolerance, inner strength and everything a human being should be from science! It gave me answers to several of my questions - including the most testing ones like  - how to be calm in the most trying circumstances, how to have peace of mind when everything around you is falling apart ( Please read my poem based on this here:  http://kkartlab.in/group/theartofwritingpoems/forum/topics/staying-... ).

Unlike what several people think, science deals with moral ( derived from reasoning related to...empirical evidence) issues too and can be a good guide to life's journey through the  checkerboard of blacks and whites!- Krishna Kumari Challa

Science deals with both facts and values and therefore is one of the highest forms of knowledge.

Q: Why aren't there many female scientists?

Krishna: Who says there aren’t many female scientists? Now there are more women in science than ever before!

30% of the world’s researchers are women according to UNESCO (2014 report)!

I myself am a member of several women scientist groups where the numbers exceed 50,000.

Only thing is people and media don’t mention them often to make them famous. So the general public thinks there aren’t many female scientists. Don’t forget we are still living in patriarchal societies. Women don’t get recognition as much as men even if they are as bright as their male colleagues. They are not allowed in science policy decisions in most countries. I have read several articles where it was mentioned that women scientists were wilfully ignored by award giving committees despite their excellent work.

Now that you know the cause for this misunderstanding, try to mention about women scientists as much as possible to make them famous too.

Ten Historic Female Scientists You Should Know

The 50 Most Important Women in Science

India’s rocket women

Q: There are two books - one book has unlimited money and other book has unlimited knowledge. What's your choice and why?

Krishna: Instant answer: unlimited knowledge. Because with unlimited knowledge you can make lots of money. You can have best of both worlds.

What will you do with lots of money anyway?!

But with unlimited money you cannot have unlimited knowledge. Moreover, unless you yourself are a critical thinker you cannot enter the intellectual realm.

Q: Are scientists given enough respect?

Krishna: Some people do, while some don’t. Anyway, most scientists are too busy to even think and care about it.

 Q:Can scientists provide a rational explanation for why Hubert Schiffer survived the atomic blast at ground zero in Hiroshima? Believers say it is the hand of God that protected the survivors.

Krishna: When several factors decide outcomes, they follow the interplay of scientific rules and routes and exactly fit into the reaction realities.

There are three major immediate killing mechanisms near the epicenter of a nuclear explosion:

  • Thermal pulse
  • Prompt radiation
  • Blast effect

All of these can be mitigated by having something between you and explosion.  The margin between survival and immediate death can be a matter of a centimeters. Major churches would provide excellent opportunities to find spots where a lucky few could escape all three major killers. Anything opaque protects one from the thermal pulse. Thick stone walls are remarkably good shielding from gamma radiation. Blast effects are capricious things, and shock fronts can be deflected or distorted by chance alignments. 

How a person survives a catastrophe depends on the sum total outcomes of scientific factors occurring simultaneously. Other outside things have no effect whatsoever on it.

Science’s rules are unyielding - they will not be bent in anyway for anybody or anything : Science's rules are unyielding, they will not be bent in any way fo...

When you fail to realize these scientific factors you invoke God to fill the gaps.

Citations:

1. M. A. Sheikh, R. Weaver, and K. A. Dahmen, “Avalanche Statistics Identify Intrinsic Stellar Processes Near Criticality in KIC 8462852,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 117, 261101 (2016).

2. https://physics.aps.org/articles/v9/150

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