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Mar 8

The Internet has revolutionised our way of life, enabling things that were hard to imagine earlier. With the Internet, one can work sitting at home, doctors can treat patients anywhere in the world, and with the advent of smartphones, simple activities like commuting has a whole new meaning. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have redefined communication and made reaching out to a large number of people very easy. Any of us can be an ‘influencer’ with the potential to be heard by millions of people.


General, Technology, Policy, Society, Featured
Mar 6

Prof. C. V. Vishveshwara, Photo Courtesy: ICTS

If you have ever visited the Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium (JNP) in Bengaluru, you are sure to be mesmerized by the art of story telling in the recorded videos played during the shows and the cartoons on display. If there is one person that has to be credited to introducing this uniqueness to the planetarium, it is definitely Prof. C V Vishveshwara, famously called the ‘black hole man of India’.

Science, Featured
Mar 3

The 3rd of March every year was declared World Wildlife Day by the United Nations General Assembly to mark the signing of the landmark Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1973. Aimed at celebrating and raising awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants, the day is a chance for us to think about the major threats to wildlife including habitat change, over-exploitation and illicit trafficking.


General, Science, Ecology, Society, Featured
Feb 28

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.


General, Science, Technology, Engineering, Society, Featured
Feb 28

ISRO hit a century of sorts with its launch of 104 satellites in one go. This has been a world record and everyone is proud of ISRO for what it has achieved. Have you wondered what enabled this scientific and technological achievement? Much of the ground work happened at Indian Institute of Science in primarily three scientific and engineering departments - aerospace, materials and electrical communication engineering. Aerospace Engineering helped in building and launching the satellites. Materials Engineering, then Metallurgy helped in arriving at the right composites, alloys and materials for the outer cover for launch vehicles and satellites that helped them to weather extreme conditions. The Electrical Communication Engineering Department helped with the technology to control and communicate with the satellites. It is interesting to note that all three were established during 1940s and before India became independent in 1947. In many ways from the science and technology to building capacity, IISc has been playing a key role. 

General, Science, Society, Featured
Feb 28

India celebrates National Science Day today in memory of the day when Nobel Laureate Sir C V Raman discovered a fundamental principle of light, which was named the “Raman Effect.” It is the day to celebrate the spirit of science - the same spirit, with which Dr. Raman pursued his research and believed in his words - “the essence of scientific spirit is to look behind and beyond…”


General, Science, Society, Featured
Feb 27

Protein Synthesis Machinery in an Eukaryotic Cell

Scientists have unearthed a natural biochemical entity from our own body, called microRNAs that could soon become a coveted tool in our disease-fighting arsenal. With the dawn of the genomic era, our fight against major diseases is increasingly getting channelized towards acquiring a fresh perspective of disease metabolism and consequently devising newer molecular strategies to combat these diseases. MicroRNAs (or miRNA) are one such new kid on the block, which have completely changed our perspective towards designing disease therapeutics. MicroRNAs are tiny RNA molecules that were once thought to be a waste product of our protein-producing machinery. Made of the same building blocks as our DNA, these pygmy RNA molecules could very well be the answer to curing diseases like cancer, diabetes, viral infections, genetic defects & many other metabolic disorders.

General, Science, Health, Featured
Feb 23

When the European Space Agency (ESA) released a catalogue containing precise positions and brightnesses of 1142 million stars of the Milky Way on September 14, 2016, it was a treasure trove of information for astronomers. Gaia, a space-based telescope launched on December 19, 2013 by the ESA, is on its mission to study the evolution of our galaxy.  As of today, it is observing approximately one billion celestial bodies including stars, planets, comets, asteroids and quasars in the Milky Way, building the most accurate three-dimensional map of our galaxy we have till now. A billion celestial bodies make just one percent of our galaxy’s population – a scale unimaginable by most of us. Nevertheless,  the tremendous data generated by Gaia will be used for determining the positions and motions of stars (astrometry), measuring the colours of the stars (photometry) and measuring the radial velocity (spectroscopy) and studying the constituents of stars.


General, Science, Featured
Feb 11

Prof. Rohini Godbole, CHEP, IISc

1931 - A time when most women were aspiring to become a successful wife, mother or daughter, Dr. E.K. Janaki Ammal was already setting an example by being an early Indian woman doctorate in basic sciences from the University of Michigan. A competent botanist and geneticist, her seminal work on sugarcane varieties and genetics of flowering plants are recognised to this day. She was a fierce environmental activist and taught Botany at the Women’s Christian College, Chennai. In recognition of her contributions to the field of botany, she was elected as a Fellow of the Indian National Science Academy in 1957, was awarded the Padmashri in 1977, and was herself a founding Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences in 1935.She also served as the Director General of the Botanical Survey of India, and even has a flower named after her -- Magnolia Kobus Janaki Ammal! She was indeed a symbol of inspiration to many girls and women of her age.

General, Science, Policy, Society, Featured
Feb 9

Butterflies found in Gubbi

“Where are house sparrows these days? They have just become extinct!”, is a common rhetoric we hear these days in the cities. Yet, it is impossible to scientifically assert that they are dwindling in numbers, since there has not been any systematic observation or data gathered about them.

The case of the ‘vanishing’ sparrows in cities like Bengaluru throws light on an important issue associated with biodiversity – the lack of data. Old-timers across the city are able to recall a time when sparrows were ubiquitous and also observe them diminish by the day. To add to this, there has been significant drop in the tree cover and the number of insects and birds in our neighbourhood. But, to objectively answer any questions like the change in the numbers of any species, the total number of species present and the effects of a vanishing species on an ecosystem, rigorous observations, documentation and research is a necessity. In the lack of these, it is simply impossible to infer or conclude that there has been a change, let alone the decline or disappearance of certain species. This drives us to reconsider the strategies of understanding biodiversity.

General, Science, Ecology, Society, Featured