Our need for energy is growing at an unprecedented rate and we have tried every source of energy to quench our thirst. We have almost used up all our fossil fuels and have tried to harness as much as renewable sources of energy like solar, wind, water and nuclear power. Inefficiency and high cost involved in harnessing these renewable sources have now forced us to look at other approaches. In a recent study, scientists have tried to mimic what plants do best -- convert sunlight and carbon dioxide into food and oxygen! By building artificial photosynthetic systems, the researchers claim to have a unending flow of clean and green energy for the future.
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Human hair has become all the more valuable, according to a spate of recent studies finding diverse applications of keratin, a protein found in our hair, in tissue engineering and stem cell research. Gone are the days when discarded hair was used for wigs, making fertilizers or in construction materials. Now, researchers have demonstrated the use of keratin derived from human hair as a scaffold to grow cells in bioengineering. The easy availability o f human hair and keratin makes research in tissue engineering very inexpensive, claim the researchers.
Missions to the outer space always bring a sense of excitement in the scientific community and hope to find answers to one haunting question - do aliens exist? The Cassini-Huygens mission, launched to orbit Saturn and study its moon - Titan, is no different. Although it has not yet found a convincing answer to the question, it has revealed various facets about the majestic planet, its spectacular rings and the splendid moons. And of course, the possibility of finding life based on many earth-like conditions in the atmosphere of one of Saturn’s moons. Come September, the glorious journey of this spacecraft comes to an end after two eventful decades. Here is a wishing Cassini-Huygens a long goodbye.
Researchers at the Center for Nanoscience and Engineering (CeNSE) at IISc, in collaboration with Iowa State University and Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, have developed a novel device that can simultaneously measure the electrical and mechanical properties of a cell. Using a technique called Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy (EIS), they have successfully measured the electrical properties of a cell by passing it through two electrodes while applying an external electric field. They then calculated the the resistance offered by the cell.
Today is World Bicycle Day, a day celebrated to commemorate the joy of cycling. In a country like Netherlands, almost every person owns a cycle, and 99.1% are cyclists! But a city like Bengaluru -- almost thrice as big and with 12 times more population -- loses hands down to Amsterdam, in citizens choosing to cycle. Why is that so? And what can be done to make people here fall in love with their bikes? The Research Matters team caught up with Prof. Ashish Verma, an Associate Professor at the Department of Civil Engineering, at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru.
The public transport system of Bengaluru is plagued by delays and inefficiencies that have resulted in huge losses to BMTC, the operator, and lack of quality services to the common people. Now, scientists from the Indian Institute of Science have proposed a new model of transport that aims to increase bus efficiency, reduce or eliminate delays and save money for both the transport corporation and its users - the people. The new model, researchers claim, could be a win-win situation for both and could revive the appeal of public transportation.
This 22nd of March, on the occasion of World Water Day, Research Matters caught up with Prof MS Mohan Kumar, a Professor at the Department of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru. He is also the Chairman of the Indo-French Cell for Water Resources and an Associate Faculty at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Water Research (ICWaR) at IISc and an ex-Secretary of the Karnataka State Council for Science & Technology. Apart from his role at the institute, Prof. Kumar has also extensively worked with government bodies such as the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB), Karnataka Urban Water Supply and Drainage Board (KUWSDB) and Bangalore Development Authority (BDA).
In 1948, celebrated physicist and Nobel laureate, Richard Feynman introduced what came to be called Feynman diagrams. These were a pictorial representation of mathematical equations and served as a powerful tool in understanding and visualizing complex interactions between sub-atomic particles like protons and electrons. But this simplistic tool could not handle complex problems, where particles underwent many interactions, but instead produced incomprehensible and confounding answers, like infinities.
This year’s National Science Day, celebrated to commemorate the discovery of Dr. C V Raman’s ‘Raman Effect’, is themed around ‘Science and Technology for Specially Abled Persons’. One billion people, or 15% of the world’s population, experience some form of disability today, and the prevalence of disability is highest in developing countries like India. A report by World Bank estimates that about 110-190 million of them experience significant disabilities. ‘Persons with disabilities’ or PwDs include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which may hinder their full and effective participation in the society.
Many lifesaving medical devices such as urinary catheters, pacemakers, intrauterine devices and voice prosthesis, which are usually inserted into some part of the body, are plagued by a common problem – ‘bacterial biofilms’. These ‘biofilms’ grow on the surfaces of these devices and may cause infections. They are harder to treat than individual bacteria and need about 1000 – 10000 times stronger dose of antibiotics. But this may no longer be the case, as a group of scientists led by Prof. Dipshikha Chakravortty and Prof. Jagadeesh Gopalan from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, have found a novel method to fight biofilm infections.