Skip to main content

Nithyanand Rao

Doctoral Student, Science Studies

I used to study physics. Now I study the practice of physics (particularly particle physics) and other sciences in India, and the stories that we tell, and are told, about science. In between, I spent some years writing stories about science in India.

I’m a PhD student in the Department of Communication and the Science Studies Program. I’m interested in studying astronomy/physics experiments and observatories that rely on their geographical location (or geological features) to produce science. Specifically, I’m interested in the science-state-publics relations that are involved in such projects; the labor that goes into producing the science; and how these sites fit within global science hierarchies, among much else. I am studying the controversies surrounding one such project, the India-based Neutrino Observatory, a proposed particle physics experiment in India. It’s a project that brings together two of my previous lives, as a physics student and then a science journalist.

More broadly, I’m interested in studying the practice of science in contemporary India and how the narratives surrounding science and technology influence our views -- of peoples, knowledges, and histories -- and how such narratives are mobilized for various ends. Of particular interest is studying how journalists write about science.