27 July, 2021

On A Sci-High

A science-loving couple use some Marathi and simple analogies to explain Nobel Prize-winning discoveries

Abhijit Bhatlekar
On A Sci-High
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
Pairing cutting-edge scientific research with Laurel and Hardy? Or Sherlock Holmes? Surely not. But like a good scientist, Sudhir Thattey brings together the unlikeliest ingredients to create a concoction of full-throttle mystery, surprise and scientific discovery.

A scientist in the Laser and Plasmatechnology division of Bombay’s Bhabha Atomic Research Institute, Thattey presses new-age Detective Holmes into service to uncover a national terrorist network. Holmes gets the police to cordon off the network but the terrorists can cross through. It turns out this is an internal agent who had crossed over. This may sound like a good potboiler but it exactly mirrors the discovery of prion or the disease-causing protein by Stanley Prusiner, which won him the 1997 Nobel Prize for Medicine. While conventional wisdom suggested that bacteria, virus and fungi caused disease and proteins were good for the body, Prusiner, tipped by the unexplained death of a patient, found that a protein with the wrong structure can cause disease. He said that proteins could be very similar but have...

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