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Jul 19

Increasingly, today’s youth of the country are blowing up their childhood in smoke, quite literally! A new study has revealed some shocking reasons behind the addiction to tobacco based products among the youth. The study calls out that parents, especially mothers, play a great role in increasing the probability of their kids getting addicted to tobacco, as much as three times! In spite of the anti-tobacco laws introduced by the government, families play a great role in dissuading the children from using tobacco, claim the researchers.

General, Science, Health, Society
Jul 19

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.

General, Science, Technology, Engineering, Society
Jul 18

Ever since Einstein’s theory predicted their existence, Black holes have captivated our imaginations. They are formed when sufficient mass collapses, whether through a supernova explosion or gravitational influence, to form a compact object, with gravity so high that not even light can escape its pull. Supermassive black holes are found at the center of most of the currently known galaxies and can weigh as much as a billion times more than our Sun.

General, Science, Technology
Jul 18

Science education opens up a new world of opportunities today across industry and academia. A career in Science, Technology, Engineering and Medicine (STEM) is rewarding for those minds that is inquisitive and wants to give back to the society in many different ways. In a recent conversation, the Research Matters team spoke to Prof. Brian Schmidt, a renowned cosmologist, winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics and the Vice Chancellor at the Australian National University on what he thinks about a career in science. Here is a summary of what Prof. Schmidt thinks of science education in today’s world

General, Science, Society
Jul 17

The human body harbours around 100 trillion microbes (bacteria, virus and others). While some harm us, others help us in different ways. A new study has now analysed the microbes present in our blood and has found that from an evolutionary perspective, they are related to each other, and strangely, even related to humans. This discovery has implications in drug discovery and designing therapies against harmful microbial infections.

General, Science, Health, Society
Jul 17

Since ancient times, India has had a rich culture of metallurgy as evidenced in the archeological finds from Indian Iron age. The vessels and ornaments found from this period show skilled metallurgy and craftsmanship in smelting metal. Now, Prof. Sharada Srinivasan, a Professor at the National Institute of Advanced Studies, has been studying these ancient traditions and skills in working with metal.

General, Science, Society
Jul 14

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.

General, Science, Engineering, Health, Society
Jul 14

NbelLaureate Prof. Brian Schmidt

Pursuing research is one of the aspirations of many young minds stepping out of their college. Unfortunately, for many, this aspiration remains largely a dream as costs of higher education are increasing day by day. But what makes higher education so expensive? In such scenarios, should students bear the cost of research? If not, then who should bear them and why? How can different beneficiaries of university research work to help students come out of the burden of education costs and serve society at large? In a conversation with the Research Matters team, the winner of 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics, and the current Vice Chancellor of the Australian National University, Prof. Brian Schmidt, shares his views on the topic of research funding.

General, Science, Society, Policy, Catching up
Jul 13

Prof. Sudhakar Rao's research team: Mogili Nitish V, Lydia Arkenadan & Ananth Nag.R (from L to R)

While open defecation has well known health risks, toilets with sewage pits come with their own drawbacks. One of them is the contamination of ground water due to sewage leachate -- the water that seeps into the soil from the pit and has extremely toxic levels of nitrates, ammonium and organic carbon. These toxins are known to contaminate ground water making it unfit for drinking. Now scientists have designed a twin-pit toilet system that reduces the levels of nitrates, ammonium and organic carbon in the sewage water before it is being absorbed by the ground. This treated water, the researchers say, have low levels of toxins, making it safe and saving water bodies from contamination due to sewage.

General, Science, Technology, Health, Society
Jul 13

Bamboo is one of the most easily identifiable grasses, with people readily recognizing the long, smooth tube shaped trunks. It is also one of the most widely used grass with several implements being made using bamboo, like ladders, chairs and even entire houses. In the scientific community, however, there is confusion, largely due to the lack of data about various aspects like ecology and distribution, of these grasses.

General, Science