Kabir Firaque

Kabir Firaque is a civil engineering graduate-turned-news journalist with an interest in recreational mathematics and cinema. His interactive blog on puzzles, ‘Problematics’, appears weekly.

Articles By Kabir Firaque

The mysterious golden ratio: why is it everywhere, now in human skull?

The golden ratio appears in the work of artists and designers from Da Vinci to Corbusier, and also shows itself in nature in pineapple scales, rose petals and many more places.

What we know about the universe — the science behind Physics Nobel Prize

Canadian-American cosmologist James Peebles, 84, won one-half of the Prize for his theoretical work helping us understand how the universe evolved after the Big Bang.

Could Planet Nine be a black hole? A new theory, and the case around it

Over the years, scientists have sought to explain several puzzling aspects of the Solar System by attributing these to the influence of Planet Nine.

Politics after NRC threatens to change old framework of Assamese nationalism

In the wisdom of the 1980s, “Assamese first” was the identity we wore on our sleeve. A logician might find the idea questionable — each one of us was all his identities simultaneously — but what the phrase conveyed was tied with emotion.

Explained: How a 65-year-old maths problem was solved

An algorithm, a supercomputer, 2 mathematicians, unused power from 5 lakh home PCs: for ‘fun and philosophy’.

Identity Crises 

An important book that situates Assamese identity within the politics of its times, then and now

Explained: How to read leaked NRC data

Data released by Assam government caused a storm in Assembly but NRC process stays on schedule. What trends was the govt trying to highlight, and what is their demographic and political significance?

Explained: Can India really deport illegal immigrants after the final NRC list?

Assam NRC explained: The final NRC is scheduled on August 31. Those left out will have a series of options for appeal, which is a long haul. Only after that will the question of deportation come up, if at all.

Explained: What is Ramanujan Machine, and why is it named after the Indian mathematician?

Throughout his life, Ramanujan came up with novel equations and identities —including equations leading to the value of pi — and it was usually left to formally trained mathematicians to prove these.

Where to plant a trillion trees to save planet Earth? A study maps all the land that’s available

Researchers have quantified how much land around the world is available for reforestation, as well as the extent of carbon emissions these would prevent from being released into the atmosphere.

Record temperatures: Trend projected to continue, what it will take to check it

From the findings, it can be inferred that India too is projected to experience the frequent occurrence of unprecedented high temperatures over the next 20 years, study author Scott Power of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology told The Indian Express by email.

In Assam numbers, how BJP gained from demography, CAB and seat selection

How did BJP gain when it had faced so much anger over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill being pushed by its government at the Centre? When the BJP’s vote share in Assam has fallen fractionally from 36.86% in 2014 to 36.05% in 2019, how did that translate into two additional seats?

Explained: How the kilogram has changed, why your body mass has not

The kilogram is no longer what it used to be. How has the definition changed? Will it affect the way we measure body mass or weigh our groceries?

Are spoilers Endgame for enjoyment? How viewers feel, what studies found

Do spoilers ruin one’s viewing experience, or do they enhance it? There is no clear answer, given that viewers themselves disagree. So do the findings of research.

In Abel Prize triumph, a statement against gender gap in mathematics

History has several examples of outstanding women mathematicians. Hypatia (370-415) of Alexandria remains legendary even though her entire work is lost.

Dear MS: The legacy of Mindsport and its affable, ingenious maker, Mukul Sharma

Fans like us will remember MS for Mindsport, his biggest legacy. It was Nandy’s idea, after he had taken over as IWI editor.

Prafulla Kumar Mahanta: ‘We haven’t discussed going back to BJP… It depends on what they decide on the Bill’

Prafulla Kumar Mahanta talks about citizenship Bill, says AGP can’t morally align with the Congress, and warns of polarisation.

How bots spread fake news: Study throws light on tweeting strategy

Bots tend to get involved at particular times, trends for sharing showed. Once an article is published on Twitter, likely bots are more prevalent in the first few seconds than at later times. After that, humans do most of the retweeting.

How much is a kilogram? Here comes a new way to measure it

So far, the mass of a metal cylinder locked away in France. Now, being redefined on the basis of a physics constant.

Should India have two time zones? National timekeeper adds new arguments

The researchers estimated energy savings at 20 million kWh a year based on a formula explained in the article. They also analysed the importance of synchronising office hours — as well as biological activities — to sunrise and sunset timings.