Puzzles Editor Kabir Firaque is the author of the weekly column Problematics. A journalist for three decades, he also writes about science and mathematics.
Articles by Kabir Firaque
Problematics | One step at a time on Metro escalator
It would be a stretch to describe what follows as an original puzzle, but I have tinkered with a couple of existing forms of puzzles and merged them into one using my own variables.
Updated on Oct 31, 2022 03:02 PM IST
Decoding the science behind genetically modified mustard
To modify any variety of a crop so that it incorporates the desirable qualities from another variety, the obvious approach is to breed one with the other.
Updated on Oct 27, 2022 01:23 AM IST
Brain cells play a game: Are they 'conscious'?
To better understand how the brain works, scientists have now cultured human and mouse neurons in a dish and trained them to play a computer game outside the body.
Published on Oct 25, 2022 06:31 PM IST
Problematics | Poker cards with a dash of chemistry
This week’s puzzles remain mildly challenging, like most of the previous ones.
Published on Oct 25, 2022 02:55 PM IST
Explainer: The chemistry of green crackers work, and how they help
Green crackers seek to produce the same light-and-sound effect as conventional crackers but emit lower amounts of pollutants. To know what ingredients they use, it is necessary to first understand what goes into a conventional cracker.
Published on Oct 24, 2022 04:01 PM IST
Problematics | From Wonderland, without Alice
Apart from his stories, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson aka Lewis Carroll, the author of Alice in Wonderland, created a number of delightful puzzles, one of which I have loosely adapted for you.
Published on Oct 17, 2022 03:44 PM IST
Problematics | Once upon a time in the wheels
There is a gem of a puzzle hidden in old cinema shots of a moving stagecoach.
Published on Oct 10, 2022 12:34 PM IST
Nobel for finding the perfect molecular click
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry, awarded on Wednesday, honours three scientists “for the development of click chemistry and bio-orthogonal chemistry”. These innovative chemistries provide efficient ways to build new molecules that have significant uses, particularly in pharmaceuticals.
Updated on Oct 06, 2022 12:33 PM IST
Deciphering quantum secrets leads to a Nobel
It is for their work on quantum entanglement that Alain Aspect, John Clauser and Anton Zeilinger shared the Nobel Prize in Physics announced on Tuesday.
Updated on Oct 05, 2022 11:42 AM IST
How Nobel winner tracked human evolution, interactions with extinct relatives
What makes human beings human? What makes us different from our closest relatives, the now extinct Neanderthals and Denisovans, and what do we have in common with them?
Updated on Oct 05, 2022 10:46 AM IST
Problematics | Operation dessert mix
This week, there are only three elements and still no compulsion, but I give you A, B and C all the same. I picked these words out of three different dictionaries. Here are the puzzles:
Updated on Oct 03, 2022 01:45 PM IST
Problematics | Spot the cheetahs at the roundtable
This puzzle involves eight big cats released into a national park.
Published on Sep 26, 2022 12:42 PM IST
Problematics | Scores to settle on cricket pitch
This week on, everyone who solved one or both of last week’s puzzles gets acknowledged here, in the online version of Problematics, while the print version lists those who solved both. Here are this week's puzzles:
Updated on Sep 19, 2022 06:43 PM IST
Where the cheetah’s speed comes from
What is it that enables the fastest land mammal to reach a top speed above 100 kilometres per hour (in short bursts), accelerating from 0 to 70 in just 2.5 seconds? It is a question that continues to intrigue scientists.
Updated on Sep 17, 2022 10:45 AM IST
The science behind e-scooter fires
As with any electrical device, an electric vehicle comes with its own inherent risks, but is considered safe as long as it has been tested properly and is maintained well and not abused.
Updated on Sep 15, 2022 05:29 AM IST
Problematics | Births and dates with new puzzles
We are familiar with mathematical tricks in which you think of a number and I tell you what it is. In this variation, let’s use dates instead of numbers.
Updated on Sep 12, 2022 12:08 PM IST
World’s oldest known amputation from 31k years ago, and the myths it busts
In 2020, archaeologists excavated a skeleton from a burial site in Borneo and were struck by the fact that the lower left leg was missing, the wound having healed in a way that indicated a surgical amputation.
Published on Sep 09, 2022 06:51 PM IST
Problematics | When nobody gets to work from home
Can’t wait for your next article in Problematics, Sunaina Shivrain tells me from Faridabad. Mondays will be less mundane, writes Nupur Joshi from Faridabad. Thank you for your response, and let’s keep this going. This week’s puzzles coming up:
Updated on Sep 05, 2022 04:13 PM IST
Problematics I Let the puzzles, games begin
Every week, we bring you one or more mildly challenging puzzles, which means they are neither too easy nor too hard
Updated on Sep 05, 2022 12:26 PM IST