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Apr 19

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. 

 

General, Science, Engineering, Society, Featured, Catching up
Apr 18

Forests are home to a wide variety of plants and animals. But what decides the distribution of this rich flora and fauna? How do some species of trees end up in selected pockets of the forest? In a recent study, scientists have examined this connectedness in patchy shola forests of the Western Ghats and have given some insights into what dictates tree distributions in such patchy forests and what connects these patches. This study, the researchers say, provides key details on the micro and macro ecology of the forests.

General, Science, Ecology
Apr 17

What is the price of development? It is a tricky question to answer, especially for a country that is growing at its fastest pace with ambitious goals. But who actually pays this price and how? A recent study has tried to answer this touchy question in the context of small-scale hydropower projects that are increasing their presence in one of the ecologically sensitive area - the Western Ghats and points out how local communities are losing this one-sided game.

General, Science, Society, Policy
Apr 13

When Charles Darwin put forth his theory of natural selection, he argued that all species of life evolved by adapting to their environments to survive. Most of such adaptations are evident in those life forms living in their natural habitat. But what about those that are locked up in laboratories and used as ‘model organisms’ in experiments to understand biological systems? How are their natural habitats and what kind of adaptations have they developed to survive in these habitats? A series of studies by scientists have now thrown some light on these questions in the life of zebrafish, a commonly used fish in laboratories.

General, Science, Ecology
Apr 12

Relationships between various organisms stem to achieve an ultimate objective - survival. In mutualistic relationships, all involved in the relationship help each other survive, whereas in parasitic relationships, only one of those have an upper hand. But in spite of this chaos, how does nature maintain a balance? In a new study, scientists have studied examples of such relationships between termites and fungi - both mutualistic and parasitic - and have uncovered some interesting strategies adopted by these fungi to survive and thrive.

General, Science, Ecology
Apr 10

Science realises its complete potential when it is applied for the betterment of our lives. As a testimony to this, a group of researchers from the Indian Institute of Science have developed innovative technologies that benefit milk producers and silk growers. Their innovations, which recently won the prestigious Gandhian Young Technological Innovation award, uses nanotechnology to detect melamine, an adulterant, in milk and image processing techniques to detect the quality of silk.

General, Science, Technology, Health, Society, Featured
Apr 7

Several studies in the recent years have focused on the health hazards of chemicals and pesticides used by farmers to protect their crops and improve their yields. Among the cocktail of poison, a controversial herbicide paraquat dichloride, marketed as Gramoxone, is infamous for its link to  accidental poisoning and suicides. Now, researchers have developed a new sensor using nanotechnology that not only detects paraquat, but also estimates its amount. This innovation can help save many innocent lives that grow our food.

General, Science, Technology, Society
Apr 6

This year’s World Health Day focuses on Depression, a serious mental health condition that can damage a person’s quality of life, productivity, relationships, and worse - make them suicidal. India is one of the countries with the largest number of depressed people. Here is all you need to know about depression and the severity of the disease in the Indian context. With social awareness and timely help, there is hope to bring some cheer on the face of people with this mental condition.

General, Health, Society, Featured
Apr 4

A new study by researchers have now discovered the mechanism behind how statins, drugs used to treat high cholesterol in blood, could trigger insulin resistance and hence, diabetes. This study shows that statins increase the amount of fat stored in our cells that interferes with the functioning of insulin, the hormone responsible for absorbing glucose from food. The research opens up avenues for developing “super statins” without undesirable side effects.

General, Science, Health, Society
Apr 3

Nature has bestowed each organism the ability to adapt and evolve with time and each such adaptations strengthens the ability of the organism to flourish. The story of carpenter bees, a close relative of honey bees and bumblebees, is no different. In a research study, scientist have observed how different adaptations of males of three different species of carpenter bees influence their ability to find a mate.

General, Science, Ecology

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