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Bengaluru Thursday, 12 July, 2018 - 14:52

When a disaster strikes, every moment that is saved could help save a few precious lives. Now, a recent study by researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur has proposed a mechanism in which faster, cheaper and personalised response could be provided to the victims during disasters with the use of Wireless Body Area Networks (WBANs).

A wireless body area network is a network of sensors connected to the human body, which generate a variety of data related to one’s health, including pulse rate, blood pressure, temperature and other vitals at periodic intervals. The collected data is then transmitted to a centralised processing system that can analyse and can direct health-care professionals to take appropriate actions. 

In a post-disaster scenario, where immobilised victims are typically concentrated in crowded relief camps, multiple medical signals transmitted by WBANs could congest the network. As a result, the healthcare professionals attending these victims remotely would lose out on getting accurate readings from many patients. 

The researchers of the study suggest creating disease-specific groups of patients based on the medical data to address the above challenge. They have used models from social network analysis which can group and divide people based on the kinds of diseases prevalent and the likelihood of them spreading. The suggested mechanism works well in containing the spread of communicable diseases like cholera which are common in the post-disaster period due to the non-availability of clean water.

The proposed improvisation helps healthcare workers cater to the most critical groups first, and based on their expertise these workers can be connected to the neediest patients. For example, a cardiac specialist can address the group having the highest incidence of heart-related issues, and an orthopaedic could treat the group with patients suffering from blood loss or trauma. 

Through simulations, the researchers have also shown that the proposed model is cost-effective with minimum delay, and has higher network reliability than existing models.
 

Section: General, Science, Technology, Society, News Source:
Mandi Thursday, 12 July, 2018 - 08:10

Chikungunya fever is a major public health issue that infects many during the monsoon season. The most recent outbreak in India was in 2016, and in the last three years, the number of chikungunya cases in India has increased by a whopping 390 per cent. Caused by a mosquito-borne virus, there are no vaccines or specific treatments for this disease at the moment. Now, researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Mandi have been studying regions of the Chikungunya virus proteome—the entire set of proteins that can be expressed by an organism—in the hopes of designing a vaccine or a drug against it.

‘Chikungunya’ is a Makonde (a Tanzanian ethnic tribe) word which means ‘the one which bends up’. The symptoms of the disease include fever and severe joint pains. While the illness usually lasts for about five to seven days, in some cases, the patient may continue to suffer from severe joint pains for up to a month, giving the disease its name. The chikungunya virus is small and spherical and is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes.

In a study published in the journal Nature, the researchers looked at how often intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) and their regions (IDPRs) were found in the Chikungunya virus proteome. These proteins are a part of the ‘Dark Proteome’ about which not much is known. Scientists believe that they are either a set of many peptide segments or a whole protein that doesn’t have a unique three-dimensional structure within a cell but performs many biological functions, like cell cycle regulation, controlling signal pathways and the maintenance of viral proteomes.

“We have analysed the abundance and functionality of IDPs/IDPRs in the Chikungunya virus proteins that are involved in the replication and maturation of the virus. It is likely that these IDPs/IDPRs can serve as novel targets for disorder based drug design”, says the researchers on the goal of their study.

Since some proteins in the Chikungunya virus are a part of the Dark Proteome, which does not have a three-dimensional structure, they can’t be studied using conventional methods like X-Ray crystallography (bouncing x-rays off the crystalline structure to determine its shape) or using an electron microscope. Instead, the researchers used the polypeptide sequence from an African strain of the Chikungunya virus to find disordered proteins that make up the dark proteome. They studied this strain because it is the most viral Chikungunya strain.

Intrinsically disordered proteins are hydrophilic and are more attracted to water than proteins that have a defined three-dimensional structure—a likely reason why they are disordered. They are promiscuous binders and can be involved in numerous interactions with many partners. They act as an essential hub in protein-to-protein interaction networks that can regulate multiple signalling pathways at a time. These disordered regions represent new and attractive targets for drug design.

“Several reports suggested that IDPs/IDPRs play a central role in various molecular recognition events and protein-protein interaction networks. Some IDPs/IDPRs can undergo at least partial disorder-to-order transitions, and form a specific three-dimensional structure when they get involved in interactions with specific binding partners that are needed for recognition, signalling, control, and regulation”, explain the researchers. The specific binding property of the Dark Proteome is so exciting because the unique structure that is formed can be used as a target site for a new Chikungunya drug.

The study found that the outer covering of the virus, called the capsid protein, is entirely disordered. Changes in two proteins, E1 and E2, of the dark proteome that were caused by mutations has helped the virus to propagate much better in the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. Since the role of IDPRs is well understood in the regulation of the life cycle of viruses, research has moved towards the development of disorder-protein based drug discovery strategies.

The study suggests that intrinsically disordered protein regions play an essential role in the flexibility of the proteome structure and the diversity of its functions. “The disordered side of the proteome may provide a new angle to study pathogenic characteristics and to understand the virus-host interaction mechanism”, remark the authors of the study.

Section: General, Science, Health, News Source:
Mumbai Wednesday, 11 July, 2018 - 17:54

एक अध्ययन में दर्शाया गया है कि क्रिस्टलीकरण से कैसे किसी पदार्थ का आकार  बदला जा सकता है। 

लचीली सतहें जैसे पत्तियाँ और पंखुड़ियाँ, हर ओर नज़र आती हैं। जैसे जैसे वे पनपती हैं, सपाट नहीं रहतीं बल्कि सिकुड़ जाती हैं या टेढ़ी मेढ़ी हो जाती हैं। ऐसा इसलिए होता है कि पत्तों या पंखुड़ियों को सपाट रखने में कहीं ज़्यादा ऊर्जा लगती है बजाय मोड़ने के। वाहनों में लगने वाली धातु की चादर जैसी कई वस्तुओं के लिए  सिकुड़ापन और टेढ़ा मेढ़ा पन अनुपयुक्त होगा, पर कई दूसरे इस्तेमालों के लिए ऐसे टेढ़े और सिकुड़ेपन की ही आवश्यकता हो सकती है। नेचर कम्युनिकेशन्स नामक जर्नल में, भारतीय विज्ञान संस्थान (IISc), भारतीय प्रौद्योगिक संसथान (IIT) मुंबई और रामन रिसर्च इंस्टिट्यूट (RRI) के शोधकर्ताओं के द्वारा किये गए अनुसंधान से  पता लगाया गया है कि कैसे पदार्थ इस तरह से विकृत हो जाते हैं और किस प्रकार से नियंत्रण करके वांछित गुणों के पदार्थों का निर्माण किया जा सकता है।  

अनुसंधानकर्ताओं ने छड़ों  के आकार के वायरस का अध्ययन किया जो अपने आप पास में आकर एक मोनोलेयर (एक इकाई मोटाई यानी एक माइक्रोन की  एक महीन चादर का  तकनीकी नाम) बन जाते है।  आरम्भ में यह छड़ियाँ मोनोलेयर के अंदर कहीं भी इधर उधर आ जा सकती हैं जिससे ‘कोलाइडल मेम्ब्रेन’ बन जाता है। तापमान घटाने से मोनोलेयर घनीकृत होकर क्रिस्टलीय स्वरूप ले लेते है। मगर बजाय इसके कि मोनोलेयर एक चिकनी और सपाट सतह बनायें, वे एक खुरदुरी और वक्र सतह बनाते हैं। ऐसा तब होता है जब मूल इकाई (वायरस), कायरल हो। कायरल उस वस्तु को कहते हैं जो अपने और दर्पण के अपने ही प्रतिबिम्ब से अलग थलग पहचाना जाये, जैसे कि अपना हाथ। दाहिने और बाएँ  हाथों को दर्पण के सामने रखने पर भली भाँति पहचाना जा सकता कि कौन सा बायाँ है और कौन सा दायाँ।

भारतीय विज्ञान संस्थान (IISc) की डॉ प्रेमा शर्मा ने  प्रयोगात्मक कार्य करने वाले इस दल का नेतृत्व किया है। उनका कहना है कि हमारा काम बुनियादी है और अलाइन्ड नैनोरॉड्स (aligned nanorods) के मोनोलेयर बनाने के काम से सम्बन्ध रखता है। भारतीय प्रौद्योगिक संस्थान  (IIT) मुंबई के डॉ अनिर्बान साईं  के नेतृत्व की एक टीम ने इस परिणाम का सैद्धांतिक मॉडेलिंग किया है  जिससे इन प्रायोगिक नतीजों को समझने और उनकी व्याख्या करने में मदद मिली है।

अनुसन्धानकर्ताओं को पता चला कि क्रिस्टलीकरण से रचित खुरदुरापन और वक्रता को जितना चाहो उतना  ठीक  किया जा सकता है। ये दोनों अभिलक्षण इस चीज़ पर निर्भर करते हैं कि कितने न्यूक्लिएशन  साइट्स (nucleation sites) (कोलॉइडल मेमब्रेन्स  के  घनीकरण होने की जगह) हैं। “हम प्रत्यक्ष रूप से न्यूक्लिएशन सेंटर की संख्या नहीं नियंत्रित कर रहे हैं। मगर बड़े कोलॉइडल मेम्ब्रेन्स के कारण अधिक न्यूक्लिएशन सेंटर बनते देखे गए हैं। न्यूक्लिएशन सेंटर नियंत्रित करने का दूसरा तरीका  है कि सुपरकूलिंग के परिमाण को नियंत्रित करें, अर्थात ये नियंत्रित करें कि तरल मेम्ब्रेन्स को क्रिस्टलीकरण के तापमान से  कितना नीचे लाया जाए।”, डॉ शर्मा कहती हैं।

प्रयोगों से प्राप्त और परिणामों को समझने और विवेचना करने के लिए भारतीय प्रौद्योगिक संस्थान (IIT) मुंबई  के डॉ साईं के अनुसन्धान दल ने इस प्रणाली का कम्प्यूटर अनुकरण किया। एक परत के रूप में  व्यवस्थित छड़ सरीखे परमाणुओं का एक द्वि आयाम का मॉडल बनाया और उन्हें परस्पर प्रतिक्रिया करने दिया गया। ये निष्कर्ष निकला कि छड़ों की सम व्यवस्था अस्थाई होती है और इस तरह डॉ शर्मा के प्रयोगात्मक परिणामों को सफलतापूर्वक प्रतिपादित कर सके। डॉ साईं कहते हैं, “हम मेमब्रेन्स के घनीकरण से बनने वाले किसी भी ढाँचे के विशिष्ट स्वरूप की प्रतिलिपि की  रचना कर सकते हैं।”

द्रव से क्रिस्टलीकरण की अवस्थान्तर के अध्ययन में यह अनुसन्धान वैज्ञानिक दृष्टि से सहायक सिद्ध होगा। “नैनो रॉड्स के संयोजन से मनचाही गुणोंवाली परतों के बनाने की संभावित तकनीकी उपयोगों के क्षेत्र में भी ये काम आएगा। सौर सेल और LED जैसे उपकरणों में नैनोरोड अरे ज्योमेट्री काफी प्रचलित है अतः इन क्षेत्रों में कुछ अप्रत्यक्ष दूरगामी प्रभाव भी हो सकते हैं।”, डॉ शर्मा कहते हैं। वे आगे कहते हैं, “मगर ध्यान रहे कि अभी तक हमारे काम का सौर सेल पर  प्रत्यक्ष प्रभाव नहीं  देखा गया है।” 

Section: General, Science, Technology, Deep-dive Source:
Mumbai Wednesday, 11 July, 2018 - 14:33

In a new study, researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, have designed a biosensor using gold nanoparticles that can identify the presence of a protein called alpha-synuclein.  The newly developed biosensor uses optical fibres to identify these proteins even in very low concentrations and can do so in just 15 minutes of time.

Alpha-synuclein is a protein found in our brain and is associated with the neurons that control our body movement. Studies indicate that abnormal deposition and aggregation of these into its amyloid fibrils, which are insoluble protein fibres, can cause neurodegenerative conditions like Parkinson’s disease. Hence, early, accurate and easy detection of alpha-synuclein amyloid fibrils is essential to prevent the progression of the disease.

A biosensor uses a biological component, like an enzyme, or a protein receptor, or an antibody that can selectively bind or react with the target molecule which is to be detected or estimated. In the newly developed fibre-optic biosensor, an optical fibre is used to transmit incident light from the source to the biological component and the emitted light is detected by a detector. In this study, published in the journal Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical, the researchers have developed a U-shaped biosensor that comprises of a layer of gold nanoparticles on which chitosan—a carbohydrate molecule—is attached. Chitosan can selectively bind with alpha-synuclein monomers and the fibrils.

The gold nanoparticles used in the study contain free electrons that oscillate and form an electron wave on interacting with incident light. When the frequency of electron wave oscillation matches with the frequency of the incident light radiation, specific wavelength from the incident light is absorbed by the metal, which is recorded. When alpha-synuclein molecules bind with chitosan molecules, the resonant frequency and the wavelength of the absorbed light changes, thus enabling their detection.

Although both the monomer and the fibril bind with chitosan, their resonant frequency, the corresponding wavelength of absorption and the amount of absorption are different. Further, the study shows that the rate of binding of the monomer is faster than that of the fibril. When the researchers plotted the amount of light absorbed against time, they saw a sharp rise for the monomer, indicating that the monomer binds with chitosan quickly. When they plotted the same graph for the fibril, they observed a gradual increase, which made it evident that the fibril binds slowly with chitosan. Thus, the difference in the amount of light absorbed and the rate of absorption helps to tell the two apart. The biosensor also works even when the concentration of the protein is as low as 70 nM.

This study can help in the detection and diagnosis of neurodegenerative diseases, thereby, aid in improving the quality of life for the many who are suffering from such conditions.
 

Section: General, Science, Technology, Health, News Source:
Bengaluru Wednesday, 11 July, 2018 - 07:29

Researchers develop a highly effective solution for recovering green sand in small and medium foundries.

About 70% of the cast metal objects around us, from bathroom taps to automobile gearboxes, are manufactured in foundries using a method called sand casting. Molten metal is poured into moulds made from green sand---a mixture of sand (about 80%) and clay (about 10%). At high temperatures of about 1500℃ required for casting, clay forms a coating on the sand particles, and the sand becomes unusable for further casting. The disposal of such sand has severe environmental and cost implications, particularly for small foundries. In a new study, researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT Bombay) have demonstrated a practical and economical way to reuse this green sand.

Although existing methods for reclaiming green sand are capable of processing many tons of sand per hour, they are expensive. Since about 80% of the 4600 foundries in India are of small and medium scale, these methods are unaffordable for them as these foundries can reclaim only about 1000 kg of sand per day. The only viable solution then is to dispose of the green sand by dumping them in water bodies and land. Since used green sand contains heavy metals like lead and tin, which leach into the ground causing water pollution, environmental laws restrict such dumping. On the other hand, buying fresh sand is now expensive since sand mining is banned in most states, further increasing the cost for small and medium scale foundries. Thus, reclaiming used green sand in a cost-effective and scalable approach turns out to be an attractive proposal.

In this study, researchers led by Prof. Sanjay Mahajani of IIT Bombay have proposed mechanical methods to reclaim the sand as opposed to the expensive heat treatment method at 800℃. The team has developed a better, economical and efficient approach to remove the clay using an abrasion and sieving unit.

The key to reclaim the sand is to remove the layer of clay deposited on the sand particles. The team explored various methods to remove the clay deposit mechanically. In the first method the researchers placed the sand in a vertical tube and used a supply of compressed air to enable rubbing of sand particles against each other. In the second case of a horizontal tube is used instead of the vertical tube. This enables additional rubbing of the sand against the walls of the container. Another method made use of small weights to increase the rubbing action or abrasion and a sieve to separate the removed layer of clay. The researchers evaluated the cost and noted the percentage of clay after reclamation for each of the methods.

The researchers found that the best option was the one that used abrasion and sieving. Prof. Mahajani suggested a two stage method where the sand particles are rubbed in the against pebbles in the first stage and sieved in the second stage to separate the clay particles. The sand to be reclaimed is placed in a rotating drum and pebbles of a hard stone such as agate are used for rubbing the clay off the sand particles. The weight of the pebbles needs to be chosen carefully so that clay is removed but the sand particles are not crushed. Pebbles weighing around 40g were found suitable. The second stage uses a rotating drum with a 50 micron (about the thickness of human hair) mesh that acts as a sieve. The sand particles rub against each other in this stage. Since clay particles are smaller in size than sand particles, they pass through the sieve and are collected and disposed of, leaving behind the reusable sand.

In some cases, if the green sand has a substantial moisture content, the efficiency of reclamation is reduced. Hence, the unit has a heater and blower system which first dries the sand before the reclamation process starts.The study found that the rotation speed of the device, the weight and size of agate pebbles, the moisture content of sand and the temperature were some of the factors that can influence the performance of the device.

So how efficient and economical is the proposed new method? The researchers found out that only 2.2% clay remained after the proposed two stage  method at the cost of Rs. 550 per ton, while the corresponding numbers were 4.4% at Rs. 2700 per ton for the vertical tube method and 2.2% at Rs. 5600 per ton for the horizontal tube  method. Although the setup and installation cost of the proposed two-stage unit is more than other conventional setups, the operating cost is much lower.  The process results in a massive 83% savings over buying fresh sand, which costs about Rs 3200 per ton.

The researchers have set up a working prototype of the proposed unit which is capable of processing 100 kg of green sand per hour. "The two-stage device has been installed in the Government Polytechnic College, Kolhapur, Maharashtra", says Prof. Mahajani, talking about the success they have seen so far. "Kolhapur is a large foundry cluster, and many small foundries are operational in this area. We are collecting the waste green sand from small-scale foundries and reclaiming using this prototype. As far as field trial results are concerned, they were found to be satisfactory. They appreciated our work and also started to use our reclaimed sand", he adds.

The study, published in the Journal of Materials Processing Technology, brings in an invention that caters to the needs of small and medium scale foundry owners, who can now abide by the environmental laws and obtain reusable, clean sand with minimal impacts on the environment. The researchers are now improvising on this innovation. "We are working on a hybrid unit which facilitates both thermal and mechanical reclamation. We are also trying to prevent the heat loss as much as possible to reduce the processing cost", shares Prof. Mahajani before signing off. 

Section: General, Science, Technology, Deep-dive Source:
Bengaluru Tuesday, 10 July, 2018 - 08:56

What do we mean when we say we wish to ‘cool’ something down? In day to day life, we simply mean, that its temperature be reduced or heat from the material should be removed. But what actually happens inside the material being cooled? How much heat can we remove from a material? Can we reach temperatures almost equal to absolute zero i.e. 0 Kelvin? We know that all matter is made up of large number of atoms which are in a state of incessant back and forth motion. This energy due to motion, or kinetic energy, is perceived as temperature. Cooling any material essentially means reducing the kinetic energy of the atoms in the material. When a system is sufficiently cold, the kinetic energy is negligible. In this case, the potential energy, which in dilute gases of atoms is very small, starts to determine interaction among the atoms, and so plays a major role in deciding the properties of the material. As this happens, very basic quantum properties which would otherwise be masked at higher temperatures reveal themselves. Cooling systems to such regimes is therefore of critical importance for many physics experiments, and often the biggest challenge to overcome. 

Researchers Sourav Dutta and Sadiq Rangwala at the Raman Research Institute (RRI), Bengaluru have developed a novel method of cooling ions based on a phenomenon called resonant charge exchange (RCE). “What we demonstrate in this work from RRI is a novel and very efficient way of cooling ions by pick-pocketing the electron from the atom. New cooling mechanisms are very rare and have ramifications for future advances,” says Prof. Sadiq Rangwala, who is  an author of this study. Their study, published as a Rapid Communication in the journal Physical Review A, was supported by DST, under the DST-INSPIRE Faculty Award, and Indo French Centre for the Promotion of Advanced Research (CEFIPRA). 

As the atoms and ions in the gaseous phase tend to fly apart, even when very cold, chances of studying their interaction is greatly reduced. Thus if one wishes to study an atom-ion interaction for a longer time, some form of geometric confinement of the ions and atoms, in other words “trapping” is required. Usually, trapping is done using a combination of electric, magnetic and light fields. In the RRI experiments, this led to two, co-centred globes of trapped ions and atoms, millimetres in extent, suspended in very high vacuum at the centre of a steel experimental chamber with many windows.

Once the motion of the ion is restricted to the volume of the trap, the ion/atom are conventionally cooled by two methods. The first approach relies on “laser cooling” where, particles of light or photons from a laser are scattered by the atom/ion, undergoing multiple absorption and emission. The multiple collisions result in a recoil for each absorption and emission in a very specific way, leading to atom/ion cooling. The second approach relies on “sympathetic cooling”, where atoms which are already laser-cooled to a lower temperature collide with a higher temperature ion, thus reducing the ion’s kinetic energy. Over the course of multiple collisions, the ion loses most of its kinetic energy. However, both of these processes require multiple collisions since each collision only removes a fraction of the kinetic energy from the ion.

In contrast, in this new cooling method based on RCE, almost the entire kinetic energy of the ion is removed in a single collision between a colliding ion and the parent atom. “Cooling by resonant charge exchange is essentially a ‘swap cooling’ mechanism where an electron is transferred to a fast ion from a pre-cooled parent atom held essentially at rest. This results in an ion that is almost at rest. The mechanism works in homo-nuclear ion-atom systems i.e. when the ion and the atom are of same species, such as the Cesium-Cesium+ combination”, says Dr. Sourav Dutta, who was a DST-INSPIRE funded Faculty fellow at RRI. He is currently an Assistant Professor at the Department of Physics, IISER Bhopal. The swap cooling technique is found to be more efficient than other conventional methods, since a single collision produces a cold ion. Under similar experimental conditions, the per-collision cooling via RCE mechanism was found to be about 100 times higher than cooling via elastic collisions.

Experiments across the world are attempting to study ultracold collisions for the combined ion-atom system which has so far been elusive. According to the authors, this study underlines the importance of RCE as a mechanism in ion-atom systems and is an instrumental mechanism for ion-atom experiments in the ultracold regime.

Section: General, Science, Deep-dive Source:
Mumbai Monday, 9 July, 2018 - 06:53

The variability of monsoon rains due to climate change affects Marathwada and Vidarbha regions the most, says a district level study.

India is ranked 6th in the list of countries most vulnerable to climate change, according to Global Climate Risk Index and it is evident from the frequent occurrence of extreme weather events like floods, cyclones and droughts. Climate change affects the monsoon rains that drive agriculture in India. Though many studies have tried to assess the impact of climate change at a regional level, the policies based on such studies fail to address the grievances of agriculture and farming sector at smaller, district levels. In a study, researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT Bombay) have investigated the impact of climate change on agriculture in the districts of Maharashtra.

The seasonal monsoon winds, blowing from the south-west and the north-east directions, are moisture-laden and bring in the yearly monsoon rains. These rains are critical to almost 60% of India’s rain-fed agriculture and the timely arrival and adequacy of monsoon winds plays a vital role in our farming practices. These winds vary across seasons, across years and also across decades, and this variation is commonly known as monsoon variability.

The study, published in the journal Science of the Total Environment, has tried to understand monsoon variability in the context of the changing climate. The study analysed daily rainfall data collected from 34 districts of Maharashtra for 62 years between 1951 and 2013. It took into account the increase in the number of consecutive days with no rainfall (dry spells) and a decrease in the successive days where rainfall exceeded the minimum required amount (wet spells) during this period. It also noted the fluctuations in the daily rainfall patterns; including extreme rainfall events, characterised by heavy and very heavy rainfall.
Based on these data points, the researchers calculated a ‘monsoon variability index’ for each of the districts studied. “The study tries to understand how monsoon variability indices are impacting the productivity of major crops in the highly vulnerable districts of Maharashtra. The methods used in this study can be adopted by administrative units across the world”, says Prof. Devanathan Parthasarathy from IIT Bombay, who led the study.

The researchers found that all the districts considered in the study had an increase in the number of dry spells over the years. However, they observed significant differences in other monsoon variability indicators like extreme rainfall events, the number of wet spells and the fluctuations of the rain pattern.

The researchers then ranked the districts based on the monsoon variability index and found that the regions of Vidarbha and Marathwada were most vulnerable to climate change. It is of little surprise that these two regions also have the highest farmer suicides in the state. The researchers point out that monsoon variability leads to a reduction in the average yield of crops and crop failures.

“Lack of irrigation facilities, climate variability, inefficient agricultural markets, and low awareness of government schemes or programs are the other major reasons for low productivity in these regions”, remarks Ms Deepika Swami, an author of the study.

The researchers also emphasise the need to assess the differences in climate variability of different regions and to follow agricultural practices based on these conditions. Currently, the State Action Plan on Climate Change (SAPCC) formulates agricultural-based policies at a state level. However, with distinct differences at a regional level, a more comprehensive action plan on climate change needs to be formulated, say the researchers.

“To adapt to the changing trends in climate variability, we first need to look at the situation of each region independently. We should not propose adaptive measures applicable to the entire state or a larger area”, says Dr Parthasarathy, talking about how we could tackle the adverse effects of climate change on agriculture.

The results of the study also identified crops that are most affected by the changing climate. Traditional crops of the region such as sugarcane, sorghum ,and groundnut were found to be the most affected due to monsoon variability. On the other hand, the productivity of cotton and pigeon pea were seen to be the least affected.

The researchers share some suggestions on how we could protect the interests of our farmers. “A shift from current agricultural practices to alternate ones, shift in sowing/harvesting dates, expanding diversity of seeds, alternate means of irrigation, alternative livelihood options, and regulation of crop markets are few of the provisions that can be followed in order to adapt to changing trends in climate variability”, signs off Dr. Parthasarathy.

Section: General, Science, Ecology, Society, Deep-dive Source:
Mumbai Friday, 6 July, 2018 - 07:45

Researchers from IIT Bombay use simulations to predict future shoreline changes in Paradip Port of Odisha, India.

Among the many impacts of human-induced climate change is that it may change the shorelines across the world. Change in the intensity and pattern of winds, waves, tides, and currents threaten many cities that were once proud of their coasts. But, how exactly does climate change affect the ports on these shores, and what can port authorities do to be prepared for these changes? Using climate modelling experiments, researchers from Indian Institute of Technology Bombay have simulated what was, and what can be the state of shorelines, focusing mainly on the Paradip Port of Odisha. They have predicted an increase in the wind speed, wave height and transport of sand along the coast.

Paradip Port is a deep-water port on the east coast of India and is situated between the cities of Kolkata and Visakhapatnam. Once a mangrove swamp that was used by locals for fishing and wood collection, it is now India’s eighth major port. In the last 60 years since it started operations, the port and the coastline have been stable. However, in the recent years, they seem to be facing higher levels of erosion and deposition of sand, primarily due to climate change. Climate change refers to the change in the average weather condition over a relatively longer period of time i.e. longer than 10 years. This includes changes in sea and land temperatures, intensity and patterns of wind and rainfall.

“The impact of climate change is highly site-specific or region-specific. Whatever happens in coasts of England or Dubai will not necessarily be valid in Indian coasts. We have about 7000 kilometres of coastline, and it is not likely that the impact of climate change will be the same throughout the coastline”, remarks Prof. Deo.

The researchers of the study used a climate model resulting from the ‘Coordinated Regional Climate Downscaling Experiment’ (CORDEX), developed by the World Climate Research Program. They simulated waves in two-time slices, from 1981 to 2005 and from 2011 to 2035, and thereafter they estimated the sediment transport and shoreline changes during these time periods. The study assumes no construction or developmental activities on the coastline for the next 25 years and does not account for the increase in sea-levels due to global warming which was found to be very small in some of the previous studies. Hence, the predictions are the ‘bare minimum’ changes that can be expected at the Paradip Port.

“Impact of climate change on shorelines is not necessarily restricted to ocean parameters alone. We also have to study socio-economic parameters such as a rise in the future human population living along coastlines, evolving road networks, infrastructure, tourism, etc.”, points out Prof. Deo on the scope of the study.

The study predicts that Paradip Port may see an increase of 19% in mean wind speeds and 32% in mean wave heights in the next 25 years. Going forward, we could observe many tall waves compared to shorter waves, along with a change in their direction of attack, say the researchers. They also predict that littoral drift—the transport of sand particles towards the shores due to waves—may increase by 37% and 24% on the net and gross volumes. 

In many ports across the world, a structure to reduce the intensity of wave action and thereby reduce coastal erosion, called breakwater, is built. Paradip also has two breakwaters; one to the north with a length of about 500 metres, and another to the south which is about 1200 metres long. The researchers predict that due to climate change, the shoreline to the south of the breakwaters will face a greater extent of erosion, which may go up by 4 to 8 metres compared to the current levels. 

In Paradip, the port authorities are already building an offshore breakwater that is 1600 metres long to counter the current erosion. The results from this study may help them to budget and strategise the construction by making it futureproof, the researchers believe. They soon plan to discuss the predictions with the authorities of Paradip Port.

The researchers also suggest alternative strategies to minimise the effects of climate change on our shorelines. Restricting human intervention in these areas to the minimum, balancing the need for developmental activities and conservation, and following the coastal zone regulation norms goes a long way in safeguarding our coasts, they say. Also, assessing the impacts of proposed irrigation projects that could cause water-logging and intrusion of salinity, and planning for activities like beach nourishment, dune restorations, afforestation, mangrove conservation could also help.

“People must know that climate will not remain the same in the future, it will change. Most probably, it will result in intensified climatic conditions, and hence future planners of the coastal ecosystem should take into account the changing climate and devise the mitigation strategies accordingly, rather than basing strategies on past climatic conditions”, suggests Prof. Deo.

Section: General, Science, Engineering, Deep-dive Source:
Bengaluru Thursday, 5 July, 2018 - 09:02

Climate change and global warming are poised to impact every aspect of our planet—the food that we grow, the air that we breathe, the forests and even the remote ice caps in the poles. Studies all over the world have pointed out that the changing climate is disastrous not only for humans, who are mainly responsible for it but also for the billions of other life forms—both on land and in water. One such collaborative study that included researchers from the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), has analysed how climate change could affect the habitats of the Nilgiri Tahr in the years to come.

The Nilgiri Tahr (Nilgiritragus hylocrius) is an endangered, hoofed mammal (ungulate) endemic to the Western Ghats. Once found in plenty in the montane grasslands and the Shola forests, they are now reduced to a meagre 3000 due to rampant hunting and loss of habitat. In fact, over the years, their habitat has been reduced to just one-tenth of their original range.

The current study, published in the journal Ecological Engineering, is the first to look at the effect of climate change on these elegant mammals. It predicts that most of the existing habitats of the Nilgiri Tahr in the Western Ghats will become unsuitable as global warming intensifies.

Why did the researchers choose to study the Nilgiri tahrs?

“Even though tahr populations in the Eravikulam National Park is well monitored and managed, the small populations (of size ranges between 8-30) in different parts in the southern Western Ghats did not receive attention. We realised that it is important to look at these small populations and the effects of climate change since they are more vulnerable to local extinction”, says R K Sony from ATREE who is also an author of the study.

The researchers conducted their study in ten Tahr habitats including the Periyar Tiger Reserve, Neyyar wildlife sanctuary and Silent Valley National Park, during 2010-2011. For the first time, the study used the ecological niche model—an ecological model that uses the relationship between a species and its habitat to identify potential species distribution. They predicted the species distribution of the Tahr in varying climate scenarios over the course of three timeframes—the 2030s (2021–2050), 2050s (2040–2069) and 2080s (2070–2099).

The future climate projections in the study were based on two scenarios. The first scenario represented an optimistic emission rate, with the peaking of emissions by 2040, while the second scenario represented a continuous rise in emissions all through the 21st century.

The results of the study showed a drastic loss of habitat in all future time scenarios. It predicted a maximum habitat loss of 61.2%, 61.4% and 63% for 2030, 2050 and 2080 respectively if the current rate of emissions did not reduce.

The projected loss in the habitat of the Nilgiri Tahr

The projected loss in the habitat of the Nilgiri Tahr

The researchers identify the rising temperature to be the main culprit causing the havoc.

“The loss of habitats is mostly driven by temperature variables. Even though the models suggests the importance of precipitation variables, but there are uncertainties associated with them; especially, the future rainfall projections may not be always accurate. A majority of the current climatically-suitable habitats of the Nilgiri Tahr are predicted to become unsuitable when global warming intensifies”, explains Sandeep Sen, a co-author of the study, also from ATREE.

The reduction in the habitats is of grave concern in conserving these mammals from the brink of extinction.

"In the absence of the data on the movements of these animals between the high-altitude forest grasslands separated by thick forest barriers, the possible impacts on the habitat suitability are increasing the chances of local extinction," says Dr. Jayahari KM, an author of the study.

Are we too late to then save these large mammals from the impending habitat loss? Not yet, say the authors, who point out that conservation and management of suitable habitats outside the existing ones will be helpful to curb the effect of climate change on the Tahr as well as its associated species.

The study unearths the possibilities of severe threat to the natural habitats of these species, which demands a comprehensive species management plan. The authors stress the need for detailed, habitat-based ecological observations and genetic studies to develop such management strategies.

Section: General, Science, Ecology, Deep-dive Source:
ಬೆಂಗಳೂರು Thursday, 5 July, 2018 - 07:50

ಖಗೋಳ ಜಗತ್ತು ಯಾವಾಗಲೂ ವಿಸ್ಮಯಕಾರಿ ಹಾಗೂ ಕುತೂಹಲಕಾರಿ. ಇದರೊಳಗಡಗಿರುವ ಅನೇಕ ರಹಸ್ಯಗಳು ಇಂದಿಗೂ ನಿಗೂಢ. ಇಂದು ಡಾರ್ಕ ಮ್ಯಾಟರ್ (ಕಪ್ಪು ದ್ರವ್ಯ), ಡಾರ್ಕ ಎನರ್ಜಿ (ಕಪ್ಪು ಶಕ್ತಿ) ಹಾಗೂ ಕಲ್ಪನೆಗೂ ನಿಲುಕದ, ಖಗೋಳವನ್ನು ಆವರಿಸಿರುವಂತಹ ಶಕ್ತಿ ಕಣಗಳು - ಇವೆಲ್ಲ ಇಂದಿಗೂ ಕೂಡ ವಿಜ್ಞಾನಕ್ಕೆ ಪ್ರಶ್ನಾರ್ಹ ರಹಸ್ಯಗಳು. ಬೆಂಗಳೂರಿನ ರಾಮನ್ ರಿಸರ್ಚ ಇನ್‍ಸ್ಟಿಟ್ಯೂಟ್‍ನ ವಿಜ್ಞಾನಿಗಳು ರಷ್ಯಾ ದೇಶದ, ಮಾಸ್ಕೋದ ಲೆಬೆಡೆವ್ ಫಿಸಿಕಲ್ ಇನ್‍ಸ್ಟಿಟ್ಯೂಟ್‍ನ ವಿಜ್ಞಾನಿಗಳ ಜೊತೆಗೂಡಿ ಈ ರಹಸ್ಯಗಳ ಬುಟ್ಟಿಗೆ ಹೊಸದೊಂದು ವಿಸ್ಮಯಕಾರಿ ದ್ರವ್ಯವನ್ನು ತುಂಬಿದ್ದಾರೆ.

‘ಆಸ್ಟ್ರೋಫಿಸಿಕಲ್ ಜರ್ನಲ್ ಲೆಟರ್ಸ್’ ನಿಯತಕಾಲಿಕೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಪ್ರಕಟವಾಗಿರುವ ಸಂಶೋಧನಾ ಲೇಖನದಲ್ಲಿ ವಿಜ್ಞಾನಿಗಳು ಸ್ಲೋನ್ ಡಿಜಿಟಲ್ ಸ್ಕೈ ಸರ್ವೆಯ ಸಹಾಯದಿಂದ ತೆಗೆದುಕೊಂಡಂತಹ ರೋಹಿತದ ಮೂಲಕ ಈ ವಿಸ್ಮಯಕಾರಿ ದ್ರವ್ಯದ ಇರುವಿಕೆಯನ್ನು ಊಹಿಸಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ನಮ್ಮ ಆಕಾಶಗಂಗೆ ತಾರಾಮಂಡಲದ ಪ್ರಭಾವಲಯದಲ್ಲಿ ಈ ದ್ರವ್ಯಾನಿಲ ಇರಬಹುದು ಎಂಬುದು ಗಮನಿಸಬೇಕಾದ ವಿಷಯ.

ಶಾಲಾ-ದಿನಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಮಾಡಿದ ಪ್ರಯೋಗ ನಮಗೆಲ್ಲ ನೆನಪಿರಬಹುದು. ಅಶ್ರಗ ಅಂದರೆ ಪ್ರಿಸ್ಮ್ ಅನ್ನು ಬಳಸಿ, ಅದರ ಮೂಲಕ ಬೆಳಕನ್ನು ಹಾಯಿಸಿದಾಗ, ಅದು ಏಳು ಬಣ್ಣಗಳಾಗಿ ಚದುರಿ ಗೋಚರ ಬೆಳಕಿನ ರೋಹಿತ ದೊರೆಯುತ್ತದೆ. ಈ ರೋಹಿತದ ಸಹಾಯದಿಂದ ಖಗೋಳಶಾಸ್ತ್ರದಲ್ಲಿ ಅನೇಕ ಸಂಗತಿಗಳನ್ನು ಕಂಡುಹಿಡಿಯಬಹುದು. ಬೆಳಕಿನ ಮೂಲ, ಆ ಮೂಲ ವಸ್ತುವಿನ ಗುಣ-ಲಕ್ಷಣ, ಬೆಳಕು ಸಾಗಿ ಬಂದ ಮಾಧ್ಯಮ ಹೀಗೆ ಅನೇಕ ವಿಷಯಗಳನ್ನು ರೋಹಿತದ ಮೂಲಕ ಕಂಡುಹಿಡಿಯಬಹುದು. ಬೆಳಕು ನಕ್ಷತ್ರ ಅಥವಾ ತಾರಾಮಂಡಲದಿಂದ ಸಾಗಿ ತುಲನಾತ್ಮಕವಾಗಿ ತಂಪಾದ ಪ್ರದೇಶವನ್ನು ತಲುಪಿದಾಗ, ಆ ಮಾಧ್ಯಮದಲ್ಲಿರುವ ಅನಿಲದ ಕಣಗಳು ಬೆಳಕಿನ ಕೆಲವು ಪುನರಾವರ್ತನಗಳನ್ನು ಹೀರಿಕೊಳ್ಳುತ್ತವೆ. ಇದರ ಪರಿಣಾಮವಾಗಿ ರೋಹಿತದಲ್ಲಿ ರೇಖೆಗಳು ಮೂಡುವುದರಿಂದ, ರೇಖೆಗಳ ಸ್ಥಾನವನ್ನು ಪರೀಕ್ಷಿಸಿ ಆ ಮಾಧ್ಯಮದಲ್ಲಿ ಯಾವ ಅನಿಲವಿದೆಯಂದು ಪತ್ತೆಹಚ್ಚಬಹುದು. ಈ ತರಹದ ರೋಹಿತವನ್ನು ಶೋಷಕ ರೊಹಿತ ಎನ್ನುತ್ತಾರೆ.  ಇದರ ಸಹಾಯದಿಂದ ನಕ್ಷತ್ರದ ಗುಣ-ಲಕ್ಷಣ, ಸಂಯೋಜನೆಯನ್ನೂ ಸಹ ಕಂಡುಹಿಡಿಯಬಹುದು.

2017 ರಲ್ಲಿ ಅಮೇರಿಕಾದ ಅರಿಜೋನಾದ ವಿಜ್ಞಾನಿಗಳು ಸುಮಾರು 700,000 ಹೆಚ್ಚು ತಾರಾಮಂಡಲಗಳನ್ನು ಅಭ್ಯಸಿಸಿ, 15 ವರ್ಷಕ್ಕೂ ಮಿಗಿಲಾದ ಅಧ್ಯಯನದ ಅಂಕಿ ಅಂಶಗಳನ್ನು ಕಲೆಹಾಕಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಈ ಅಧ್ಯಯನವು ಸ್ವಯಂಚಾಲಿತ ದೂರದರ್ಶಕದ ಸಹಾಯದಿಂದ ನಡೆದಿದೆ ಎನ್ನುವುದು ಗಮನಾರ್ಹದ ಸಂಗತಿ. ಈ ಅಧ್ಯಯನದಲ್ಲಿ ವಿಜ್ಞಾನಿಗಳಿಗೆ 6565 ಆಮ್‍ಸ್ಟ್ರಾಂಗ್ (1 ಮೀಟರ್ = 10 ಬಿಲಿಯನ್ ಆಮ್‍ಸ್ಟ್ರಾಂಗ್) ತರಂಗದೂರದ ಸ್ಥಾನದಲ್ಲಿ ರೇಖೆಗಳು ಕಂಡು ಬಂದಿದ್ದು, ಬೇರೆ ತಾರಾಮಂಡಲಗಳಿಂದ ಹೊರಸೂಸಿದ ಬೆಳಕು ನಮ್ಮ ತಾರಾಮಂಡಲದ ಅನಿಲಗಳ ಮೂಲಕ ಹಾದು ಹೋಗುವ ಸಂದರ್ಭದಲ್ಲಿ ಈ ರೋಹಿತವು ಲಭಿಸಿದೆ. ಈ ರೇಖೆಯ ಸ್ಥಾನದ ಮೇರೆಗೆ ಜಲಜನಕದ ಅಸ್ತಿತ್ವವನ್ನು ತಾರಾಮಂಡಲದ ಪ್ರಭಾವಲಯದಲ್ಲಿ ಗುರುತಿಸಬಹುದು. ಆದರೆ ರೇಖೆಯ ತೀವ್ರತೆ- ಅಗಾಧ ಪ್ರಮಾಣದ ಜಲಜನಕವನ್ನೂ, ಇದರಿಂದ ಉತ್ಪತ್ತಿಯಾಗಿರುವ ಹೊಸದೊಂದು ಕಂಡು-ಕೇಳರಿಯದ ವಿಶಿಷ್ಟ ದ್ರವ್ಯದ ಇರುವಿಕೆಯನ್ನು ಸೂಚಿಸುತ್ತಿದೆ. 

ಅಧ್ಯಯನದ ಮುಖ್ಯ ಸಂಶೊಧಕರಾಗಿರುವಂತಹ ಆರ್. ಆರ್. ಐ.  ನ ಪ್ರೊ. ಶಿವ ಸೇಥಿ ಹಾಗೂ ಇವರ ಸಹ ವಿಜ್ಞಾನಿಗಳು ಈ ಫಲಿತಾಂಶದ ಆಧಾರದ ಮೇಲೆ ಅಂತರತಾರಾ ಮಾಧ್ಯಮದ ಮಾದರಿಯನ್ನು ರೂಪಿಸುವ ಕಾರ್ಯಕ್ಕೆ ಕೈಹಾಕಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಅಂತರತಾರಾ ಮಾಧ್ಯಮದ (ಇಂಟರ್ ಗಲ್ಯಾಕ್ಟಿಕ್ ಮೀಡಿಯಂ - ISM) ಮಾದರಿಯು ನಕ್ಷತ್ರಗಳ ನಡುವೆ ಯಾವ ರೀತಿ ಈ ಜಲಜನಕದಿಂದ ಉತ್ಪತ್ತಿಯಾಗುವ ಹೊಸ ಅನಿಲ ಇರಬಹುದು ಹಾಗೂ ಇದು ಯಾವ ರೀತಿ ಉಳಿದ ದ್ರವ್ಯಗಳ ಜೊತೆಗೆ ವರ್ತಿಸುತ್ತದೆ ಎಂಬುದನ್ನು ವಿವರಿಸುತ್ತದೆ.

ವಿಜ್ಞಾನಿಗಳ ಈ ಸಂಶೋಧನೆ ನಿಜಕ್ಕೂ ಆಶ್ಚರ್ಯಕರವಾದುದು.

“ನಮಗೆ ಈ ಫಲಿತಾಂಶವನ್ನು ಮಾದರಿಯ ಮೂಲಕ ವಿವರಿಸುವುದು ಅಸಾಧ್ಯ ಎಂಬ ಸತ್ಯ ತಿಳಿಯಿತು. ಏಕೆಂದರೆ ಈಗಿರುವ ISMನ ಮಾಹಿತಿಯ ಪ್ರಕಾರ ರೋಹಿತದಲ್ಲಿ ಈ ತರಹದ ರೇಖೆ ಮೂಡುವುದು ಅಸಮಂಜಸ” ಎನ್ನುತ್ತಾರೆ ಪ್ರೊ. ಸೇಥಿಯವರು.

ಈ ತರಹದ ತೀವ್ರತೆಯುಳ್ಳ ರೇಖೆ ಮೂಡಬೇಕಾದರೆ ಕನಿಷ್ಟ ಪಕ್ಷ ಅತಿನೇರಳೆ ಕಿರಣದ ಪುನರಾವರ್ತನ (ಗೋಚರ ಬೆಳಕಿಗಿಂತ ಹೆಚ್ಚಿನ ಪುನರಾವರ್ತನಗಳು)ಗಳ ಕಾಂತಿಯಾದರೂ ಆಕಾಶದಲ್ಲಿರಬೇಕಾಗುತ್ತದೆ. ಆದ್ದರಿಂದ ವಿಜ್ಞಾನಿಗಳು ಅತಿ ಹೆಚ್ಚು ಕಾಣಸಿಗಬಹುದಾದ, ಉಳಿದ ಧಾತುಗಳಾದ ಇಂಗಾಲ, ಆಮ್ಲಜನಕ, ಸಾರಜನಕದ ಇರುವಿಕೆಯ ಬಗ್ಗೆಯೂ ಅಧ್ಯಯನ ಮಾಡಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಆದರೆ ಗಣಿತೀಯವಾಗಿ ಈ ಅನಿಲಗಳ ಮೋಡವಿದ್ದದ್ದೇ ಆದರೆ ಅದು ತಾರಾಮಂಡಲದ ಪ್ರಭಾವಲಯಕ್ಕಿಂತಲೂ ದೊಡ್ಡದಾಗಬೇಕಾಗುತ್ತದೆ, ಆದ್ದರಿಂದ ಇದರ ಸಾಧ್ಯತೆ ಕೂಡ ಕಡಿಮೆಯೆ.

“ಸಾಮಾನ್ಯವಾಗಿ ಖಗೋಳಶಾಸ್ತ್ರದಲ್ಲಿ ಗಮನಿಸಿ, ಅಭ್ಯಸಿಸಿದ್ದನ್ನು ನಾವು (ಸೈದ್ಧಾಂತಿಕ ವಿಜ್ಞಾನಿಗಳು) ವಿವರಿಸುತ್ತೇವೆ. ಆದರೆ ಇಲ್ಲಿನ ದೃಷ್ಟಾಂತ ಬೇರೆಯದೇ ಆಗಿದೆ. ಈ ದ್ರವ್ಯವನ್ನು ವಿವರಿಸಲು ಸಾಧ್ಯವಾಗುತ್ತಿಲ್ಲ. ಗಮನಿಸಿದ್ದೇ ತಪ್ಪು ಎಂದು ಹೇಳುವುದು ಕೂಡ ಅಸಾಧ್ಯವೆ. ಏಕೆಂದರೆ ಕಣ್ಣಿಗೆ ಕಾಣುವಂತಹ ಫಲಿತಾಂಶಗಳನ್ನು ತಪ್ಪು ಎಂದು ಸಾಧಿಸುವುದು ಸುಲಭದ ಮಾತಲ್ಲ”, ಎನ್ನುತ್ತಾರೆ ಪ್ರೊ. ಸೇಥಿ.

ಸಂಶೋಧಕರ ವಾದವೇನೆಂದರೆ, ರೋಹಿತದಲ್ಲಿನ ರೇಖೆಗಳು ಸಂಕೀರ್ಣವಾದಂತಹ ಪಾಲಿಸೈಕ್ಲಿಕ್ ಆರೋಮೆಟಿಕ್ ಹೈಡ್ರೋಕಾರ್ಬನ್ (PAH) ಅಣುವಿನ ಕಾರಣದಿಂದ ಮೂಡಿವೆ. PAHಗಳು ಸಾವಯವ ರಾಸಾಯನಿಕಗಳಾಗಿದ್ದು, ಇಂಗಾಲ, ಜಲಜನಕದ ಧಾತುಗಳನ್ನು ಹೊಂದಿರುತ್ತದೆ. ಇಂಗಾಲದ ಧಾತುಗಳ ಉಂಗುರಾಕಾರದಲ್ಲಿ ಜೋಡಣೆಗೊಂಡಿರುತ್ತವೆ. ಪ್ರಯೋಗಾಲಯಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ನಡೆಸಿದ ಪ್ರಯೋಗಗಳ ಪ್ರಕಾರ PAHಗಳಾದ ಪೈರೀನ್ ಹಾಗೂ ನ್ಯಾಪ್ತಾಲೀನ್ ಅಣುಗಳು 6565 ಆಮ್‍ಸ್ಟ್ರಾಂಗ್ ತರಂಗದೂರದ ರೇಖೆಗಳನ್ನು ತೋರಿಸಿವೆ. ಈ ಮಾಹಿತಿಯ ಪ್ರಕಾರ ವಿಶಿಷ್ಟ ಅನಿಲದ ಗುರುತನ್ನು ಊಹಿಸಬಹುದಾದರೂ, ನಿಖರವಾಗಿ ಇದನ್ನು ಕಂಡುಹಿಡಿದು, ಸಾಧಿಸುವುದು ಮುಂದಿನ ದಿನಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಸಾಧ್ಯವಾಗಬಹುದು.

PAHಗಳು ನಮ್ಮ ತಾರಾಮಂಡಲದ ಅನೇಕ ಕಡೆಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಪತ್ತೆಯಾಗಿವೆ. ಶನಿಗ್ರಹದ ಉಪಗ್ರಹವಾದ ಟೈಟನ್‍ನಲ್ಲಿ ಕೂಡ ಪತ್ತೆಯಾಗಿದೆ ಎನ್ನುವುದು ಕುತೂಹಲಕಾರಿ ಸಂಗತಿ. ಇವುಗಳು ಜೀವರಾಶಿಯ ಉತ್ಪತ್ತಿಗೆ ಮೂಲಕಾರಣಗಳು ಎಂದು ಹೇಳಲಾಗಿರುವುದರಿಂದ ಇವುಗಳ ಅಧ್ಯಯನ ಅತ್ಯಂತ ಮಹತ್ವದ್ದಾಗಿದೆ.

“ಖಗೋಳಶಾಸ್ತ್ರದಲ್ಲಿ ನಾವು ಈ ತರಹದ ಅನೇಕ ಅದ್ಭುತಗಳನ್ನು ನೋಡಬಹುದು”, ಎಂದು ಹೇಳುತ್ತಾ ಪ್ರೊ. ಸೇಥಿ ನಮ್ಮಲ್ಲೊಂದು ಕುತೂಹಲದ ಬೀಜವನ್ನು ಬಿತ್ತುತ್ತಾರೆ. “ಈ ವಿಶಿಷ್ಟ ಫಲಿತಾಂಶವು, ಅಧ್ಯಯನ ನಡೆಸಬೇಕಾದರೆ ಆಗಬಹುದಾದ ಮಾಪನ-ದೋಷಗಳ ಕಾರಣದಿಂದಲೂ ಬಂದಿರಬಹುದು ಎಂದು ಅಮೇರಿಕಾದ ಸಹ ವಿಜ್ಞಾನಿಗಳು ಸಲಹೆ ನೀಡಿದ್ದಾರೆ”, ಎನ್ನುವುದು ಅವರ ಎಚ್ಚರಿಕೆಯ ಮಾತು. “ಈ ಕ್ಷಣದಲ್ಲಿ ನಿಖರವಾಗಿ ಈ ಫಲಿತಾಂಶವನ್ನು ಸ್ಪಷ್ಟಪಡಿಸಲಾಗದು, ಆದರೆ ಕೆಲವೇ ದಿನಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಈ ಸಮಸ್ಯೆಗೆ ಕೂಡ ಪರಿಹಾರ ಸಿಗಲಿದೆ.”, ಎಂಬ ಭರವಸೆಯ ಆಶಾಕಿರಣದೊಂದಿಗೆ ಪ್ರೊ. ಸೇಥಿ ತಮ್ಮ ಮಾತಿಗೆ ಪೂರ್ಣವಿರಾಮ ನೀಡುತ್ತಾರೆ.

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