For over a century, India has nutured a host of science and technology based institutions. We capture the timeline of these institutions as they were established.
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Smart adaptive actuators are sought after for a variety of mechanical and aerospace applications. Commonly used piezoceramic and shape memory alloy actuators produce small displacements, and hence require motion amplification mechanisms. However, these mechanisms are prone to mechanical play, and are susceptible to wear and tear.
The Indian Institute of Technology’s (IIT) are autonomous public institutions of higher education, offering undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral courses in engineering and related domains. IIT Kharagpur was the first institute to be set up, followed by in Bombay, Madras, Kanpur and Delhi. Today, there are a total of 23 IIT’s across the country and many of these premier institutions are placed high up in institutional rankings in the country.
In 1959, Luna 1, a Soviet Union mission to the moon, successfully landed on the surface of the moon, kickstarting the space race between America and the Soviet that lasted for decades. Today, many countries are looking beyond our moon, and at moons of other planets like Jupiter and Saturn. Although, twelve astronauts have walked on its surface, manned missions to the moon came to a close in 1972. But the urge to study our closest neighbor never receded.
Space missions come with an unprecedented excitement of open a Pandora’s box of unknown facts, mysteries and phenomenons. It is hardly a surprise that New Horizons, NASA’s mission to explore Pluto and beyond has caused a great excitement in the field of planetary science. Launched in 2006, New Horizons has already provided mankind with the most intimate images of Pluto till date and is now cruising towards the Kuiper Belt beyond our Solar System. Read all that you should know about this space mission, its latest findings and its future stops as it progresses toward new horizons of space in an interview with Prof. Henry Throop.
The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE), a joint mission of NASA and German Aerospace Center, was launched in 2002 and has been making a detailed map of earth’s gravity field anomalies. By studying these anomalies, one can show how mass is distributed on the planet’s surface. This allows researchers to map the different features on the surface of the planet, natural and man-made ones, in great detail, while also allowing us to monitor the changes in these features.
Today, India’s space programs command the world’s respect for a multitude of things -- our Mangalyaan mission was the cheapest ever, we recently launched about 108 satellites into space with a single rocket, our Chandrayaan mission is making fantastic discoveries on the Moon, we launched our own space based observatory with Astrosat...the list goes on. But when the country started its space program, it had very humble beginnings that are hard to believe. It required the courage and determination of many intellectuals and Prof. U R Rao is one of those who scripted a new chapter in India’s history of space research. Here is an orbituary piece dedicated to the life of a great visionary that we just lost amongst us.
What if a shoe could save your life when you are stuck in a building that is burning down? Though it sounds like a science fiction, the OpenShoe project aims to do exactly that! Built on a novel navigation technology called Inertial Navigation System (INS), researchers have built a minute navigation module that can be plugged into a shoe to track every step to the accuracy of a centimeter! Such foot-mounted systems help in tracking objects in the absence of satellite based navigation and would complement the widely used satellite based navigation systems, say the researchers.
Nanotechnology is the study of objects whose size varies in the range of nanometers--that is a billion times smaller than a meter. Although humans have been known to use nanotechnology since the ninth century, its role became prominent with the rise of information technology, with most of our current technologies like the smart phones, satellites and rovers on mars, depending on nanotechnology. We have just started uncovering the properties of the different elements and molecules at this scale, giving rise to new technologies as we do.
Uric acid is a compound made of carbon, nitrogen and oxygen, and is one of the components in urine. High amounts of uric acid in the blood could lead to many debilitating medical conditions such as diabetes and gout. However, detecting the compound in living cells without damaging the cells can be quite a challenge. Now, scientists from Visva- Bharati Santiniketan, West Bengal, Indian Institute of Engineering, Science and Technology, Howrah and University of Calcutta, Kolkata have devised a novel way of detecting uric acid without disrupting the cell.