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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 17

Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) is a condition that affects the small intestine and found in those that suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome with diarrhea. Today, absence of an accurate diagnostic method prevents early detection and treatment of this condition. Scientists at the SN Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences and Dr. Sujit Chaudhuri from AMRI Hospital, Kolkata, have now developed an improvised accurate diagnostic method that proposes to measure the amount of hydrogen sulphide gas in a patient’s breath. Due to increased bacterial activity in the small intestine, hydrogen sulphide is produced in larger quantities in patients suffering from SIBO. This research hopes to help in early detection and treatment of SIBO, thus guaranteeing a better quality of life for those with IBS and diarrhea. 

General, Science, Health
Feb 16

Detecting leakage of hydrgoen gas has been a major challenge in using hydrogen as fuel for many applications. This is now made easier by a new study by researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee. They have used  nanotechnology based silicon carbide ‘cauliflowers’ to develop a simple, robust, and cost-effective sensor that can detect hydrogen gas at high temperatures and small quantities. This research is a small step that can make using clean and green hydrogen gas as fuel, replacing conventional fossil fuels. 

General, Science, Technology
Feb 15

Now, your laptop too can judge your dance performance and be your ‘Intelligent’ dance teacher

A new research has elevated self-learning to a whole new level by developing an intelligent “judge” who can predict the expertise of a Bharatnatyam dancer. Prof. Dinesh Babu Jayagopi and his team at the International Institute of Information Technology, Bangalore, have designed Machine Learning based software that predicts a dancer’s expertise by observing his/her poses and expressions during a dance performance. Such a software can also be used to automatically tag videos and analyse its contents in a video database like YouTube, thus simplifying video search.

General, Science, Technology
Feb 14

India's crop yields being affected by 'bad' ozone

Tropospheric ozone is one of the most critical secondary air pollutant that is toxic to plants and causes substantial losses in crop productivity. The continuous rising trend of ozone concentration in India due to the country’s rapid phase of industrialization, pollution and climatic conditions that are conducive for its formation pose a serious threat. Professor S. B. Agrawal and Dr. Aditya Abha Singh present the pattern and prevalence of ground level ozone concentration, its important precursor like oxides of nitrogen and the related crop losses and the magnitude of alterations in the seed quality, which may help the policy makers to check emissions of ozone precursors.

General, Science

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