January 2009

Bees in the Evening

It is almost the end of the month of January. Though, in the North of India, it is very cold with winter at its zenith, weather in Mumbai is quite hot in day time. Due to this, biological clocks of the trees and plants here run ahead of their counterparts in the North. I discovered this through the bees. Since, last many days, in the evening, there are few bees buzzing and hitting the wire mesh of the windows, trying to reach the light inside the room.The reason dawned on me one day when I was looking at the tree… Read More »Bees in the Evening

Shaft of Light

Today I rose unusually late. It was around half past seven in the morning when I went out for walk. Though, it is Saturday, holiday for us, but this is no excuse for rising late and generally I stick to my morning time as I am out at about quarter to six. I also changed my beaten track and went to campus of our colony on the other side of Mumbai–Pune highway which separates our colony and these offices. Crossing the highway, even in the morning is a task, which demands your mental faculties to be working at the peak… Read More »Shaft of Light

Stephen Jay Gould

Stephen Jay Gould born on September 10, 1941  and died May 20, 2002 was a prominent American paleontologist, evolutionary biologist and historian of science. He was also one of the most influential and widely read writers of popular science of his generation. Gould spent most of his career teaching at Harvard University and working at the  American Museum of Natural History in New York. In the latter years of his life, Gould also taught biology and evolution at New York University near his home in SoHo. His most important contribution to science was that the evolution proceeded in punctuated manner… Read More »Stephen Jay Gould

Brain Functions Distribution

By 19th century, from the studies of people with brain injury, that the different areas of brain are responsible for performing different kind of tasks. For example, the “language center” resided in the left hemisphere of the brain. The people with brain injuries who were found to have lesions in certain areas of brain lost their faculty of speech. But, Doctor Roger Sperry, was confirm and demarcate different area functions of the brain in left and right hemisphere. He arrived at this conclusion based on experiments on split brain people. People suffering from epilepsy in 1960 have no cure except… Read More »Brain Functions Distribution

Pavlovian Conditioning

Sometimes, a discovery seems too simple to believe its applications. This is the case with Pavlovian conditioning named after the doctor Ivan Pavlov. He was a doctor and besides his research  on the secrets of digestive system, he was interested in knowing what signals triggered the related phenomena such as secretion of saliva. We know that saliva is secreted whenever food is presented before animals. This is called drooling. In us humans, an enzyme called Amylase is present in the saliva which breaks down the starch we eat into lower sugars which are sources of energy for sustaining our bodies.… Read More »Pavlovian Conditioning