The Intersection

The Intersection Podcast - Padmaparna Ghosh & Samanth Subramanian

Every fortnight, The Intersection narrates stories that meld culture, science and history in India. Through interviews, anecdotes and original research, Padmaparna Ghosh and Samanth Subramanian bring alive the rich breadth of human imagination and knowledge, making for a riveting listening experience. The incessant punning — well, that’s just a bonus.

38. Aliens on the Radio #Wow, via Big Ear

How a 72-second burst of radio waves stimulates our curiosity about extra-terrestrial civilisations.

37. Measuring Happiness: My GNH Is Bigger Than Yours

Unlike economic parameters like GDP, can happiness be truly measured?

36. A Cold-War Spy Story, From the Sixties

An abandoned spy mission from 50 years ago, complete with action, suspense, drama and lost plutonium.

35. Tinder for Vegetables? How Plants Communicate With Potential Mates

Communication is essential as a precursor to reproduction. Even for plants.

34. YInMn: A New Kind of Blue

A story about how modern science finds new colours.

33. How We Are Failing to Respond to Climate Change

On this special episode, renowned author Amitav Ghosh talks about the lack of urgency in addressing climate change issues and its very serious repercussions.

32. Vanishing Voices: What We Lose When We Lose a Language

The second part traces the efforts of a few people who are working hard to document, study and preserve rare Indian languages and dialects.

31. Mission Impossible: Surveying Indian Languages and Dialects

Two men, a century apart, took up the Herculean task of recording all Indian languages.

30. How Metallurgy is Helping Us Piece Together Our Past

Chola idols that may have been over a thousand years old have been retrieved, but how do you tell if they are real?

29. Tick-Tock, Tick-Tock, say hello to the Doomsday Clock

The human race is contributing to its own self-destruction, meet the scientists measuring how soon.

28. The fault in our Taj

The iconic Taj Mahal is known for its perfect design but Dr. Dilip Ahuja noticed there was a fundamental error. Did Emperor Shah Jahan know about it?

27. Snakebites, anti-venom and a country that lets the problem slither away

The correct protocol after a snakebite does not involve ‘cutting out’ the bite or ‘sucking out’ the venom. Caution, observation, diagnosis and access to medical facilities can save your life!

26. On Biomimicry: How scientists observe nature for inspiration

Several utility items and gadgets we use today are actually inspired by designs and systems already found in nature, Samanth and Padmaparna investigate.

25. A Scientific Take On The Indian National Identity: Mahalanobis’ Profiloscope

P.C Mahalanobis’ instrument attempted to assimilate India on the basis of national identity, but in a scientific manner.

24. Birder, Swindler, Soldier, Spy: Colonel Meinertzhagen’s ornithology fraud

The Colonel and the con: A science-detective story about the biggest scam in the world of ornithology.

23. A New Window To The Universe: The Discovery of Gravitational Waves

A century after Einstein’s prediction of gravitational waves, Ligo’s discovery, potentially revolutionizes not just the world of astrophysics, but science itself.

22. Move Over, GPS! A Desi Navigation System Is On Its Way

ISRO recently launched the 5th of 7 satellites that would replace GPS in our country, forever. Find out about the history of this mission and the need for an indigenous navigation system.

21. Heart to Heart: Transporting & Transplanting a Heart

The Intersection finds out about the almost rudimentary coordination setup that organises a top-end medical procedure: heart transplants.

20. From the Lab to the Kitchen: Resurrecting Indus Valley’s Proto Curry

What does it take to recreate a dish that’s over 4000-years-old… a dish for which there isn’t a recipe you can refer to?

19. Special: The 7 Most Intriguing Facts from 2015

On this year-end special, Samanth counts down the most fascinating facts discovered on the episodes of The Intersection in 2015.

18. All We Want for Christmas Is Air We Can Breathe

Armed with low-cost sensors, some people are trying to keep a check on the quality of air around them. Personal benefits aside, can this technology help combat pollution on a larger level?

17. These Feet are Made for Walking

Around 1.9 million years ago, human beings became fully bi-pedal – able to walk on two legs, instead of four. We may have mastered walking, but do we understand it?

16. Ig Nobel: Celebrating the Quirky Side of Science

For over two decades, the Ig Noble Prize has been honouring unusual scientific achievements. But do these seemingly silly studies have any real scientific utility?

15. War and Peas – The Science behind the Indian Army’s Diet

The unique challenges of feeding an army, and how World War II kick-started food research that changed what and how the Indian army eats.

14. The Woman Who Saved a Hill

Childhood nostalgia and a love for nature come together in this episode about a woman who managed to arrest the rapid depletion of flora and fauna on a hill in Mussoorie.

13. India’s Timekeepers – Putting the S in the IST

In this special, on-site episode, Padmaparna & Samanth visit the National Physical Laboratory’s room 35 – the spot where Indian Standard Time is calculated.

12. The Infinite Beauty of Pi

A fascinating number that crops up everywhere in our universe, pi has mystical and almost philosophical properties. Why is this unending number so important?

11. Life’s Too Short to Spend it Asleep?

Sleep is vital for our physical and mental health. But, are we needlessly sacrificing a third of our life just to sleep? Is there a way to sleep less and well?

10. The Parsis and a cure for migraine

Curing migraines has proved to be an arduous task. But, the endogamous Parsi community may provide some vital clues.

9. The journey to Pluto – It all began with a postage stamp

The story of a 29-cent US Postal Service stamp that inspired scientists to undertake the journey to Pluto.

8. Unlocking the universe’s mysteries with neutrinos

India is poised to help physicists achieve a clearer understanding of our universe. But first, science needs to overcome politics.

7. Pacu – the aggressive immigrant fish

Could this invasion in Indian waters threaten our ecology?

6. Was the tumour inside her brain her twin?

The medical mystery of a PhD student’s tumour that may have been her twin.

5. Unearthing mysteries of the Harappan civilization

Science and history come together to recreate a culture that existed 4000 years ago.

4. The strange and mysterious science of twin births.

Why are there some places with a statistically higher incidence of twin births? Much higher! Is it the water, the air, or could it be the yam?

3. The science and sorrow of Nepal’s Earthquake

In this episode, The Intersection examines the reasons for earthquakes in the Himalayas, and discovers that a bigger quake may yet be due in this region.

2. Frog Spotting in the Western Ghats

In 2014, forty-one new species of frogs were discovered: not in the world, not in India, but in the western ghats alone.

1. Bombay Blood Group

Only 4 in one million people have it worldwide, but it is a lot more common in India. Find out all about this rare blood group on this episode of The Intersection.

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