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Jul 4

Rare-earth elements, despite their names are quite common on the earth’s crust, but are often difficult to find, as they tend to clump together to form minerals. They are a group of seventeen elements including Scandium, Cerium and Neodymium, which share chemical properties. The rare-earth elements form the backbone of many of modern machinery like lasers, aerospace components, magnets and capacitors. Until 1948, India was one of the leading producers of rare-earth elements, but currently however, China produces close to 90% of the world’s rare-earth elements.

General, Science, Society
Jul 4

The body’s immune system is one of the robust defense mechanisms. Now, scientists are exploring to use our immune system to fight some of the deadliest diseases including cancer by understanding how immunotherapy works and how drugs that are based on immunotherapy help our body fight cancers. In a recent study, researchers are working on understanding how Yervoy, a common immunotherapy drug against cancer, works in fighting against the disease. They are also looking at manufacturing similar cost-effective drugs that promise to bring down the cost of cancer drugs.

General, Science, Health, Society, Featured
Jun 28

Prof. Vasant Natarajan, Dept. of Physics, IISc

Malaria, a deadly mosquito borne disease, kills about half a million people around the world, every year. Developing countries face a challenge in accurately diagnosing malaria in early stages due to the need of sophisticated diagnostic devices and skill. A new study at IISc has developed a technique to test for malaria with very small quantities of blood samples using laser light. By holding a single RBC using a pair of 'optical tweezers', this technique can detect malarial parasites in the RBCs even at an early stage, say the researchers. The researchers claim this technique can help save many lives if commercialised on a larger scale. 

Science, Engineering, Health, Society
Jun 27

With the advent of Big Data and Artificial Intelligence, there are numerous technologies built today that help us live ‘smart’ and have revolutionized many fields. Transportation is one such field where numerous solutions are available that make it safe and reliable. But how do these systems collect the data required to turn them smart? Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, have found an answer in crowdsourcing.

Science, Technology, Society
Jun 26

Indian Institute of Science (IISc) is regarded as the premier research institution in the country and a place where most of the cutting edge research happens. But have you wondered how the institution got to where it is today? Dr. Surja Datta, a senior lecturer at Oxford Brookes Business School, tries to answer this question through the lens of history.

General, Society, Policy
Jun 26

Here is some caution for those struggling to kick the butt and give up smoking. The Global Burden of Disease Study 2015, has found that the number of smokers all over the world has increased in the last decade (2005-2015) as compared to 1990-2005. The Republic of Congo and Azerbaijan topped the list with the most increase for men, and Kuwait and Timor-Leste for women. It also notes that in 2015 alone, 11·5% of global deaths (6·4 million) were attributable to smoking, of which 52·2% were in China, India, USA and Russia.

Science, Health, Society
Jun 21

Yoga is considered to be India’s gift of goodness and health to the world. With millions of people around the world having benefitted by regular practice, yoga indeed has changed several lives for the good. On this International Day of Yoga, here is all you need to know about the history, the scientific basis for Yoga and some of the benefits realised by those who practice Yoga regularly. 

General, Science, Health, Society
Jun 20

Technology has provided the best solutions for many of our problems. One such day-to-day problem faced by civic authorities is estimating the number of people in a crowd or a gathering so that they can manage the crowd better without any incidents. A new study by researchers has proposed a novel  crowd counting technique using the concepts of neural networks. This algorithm, the researchers claim, can count crowds that swell in a short period or those that have varying number of people spread out.  

General, Science, Technology, Society
Jun 19

The problem of waste management is ubiquitous. With growing cities and exploding populations, the amount of waste that today’s cities generate is at unprecedented levels. Since most of urban waste ends up in open landfills, there is a need to relook and contemplate on better, greener ways of handling waste. In a new study, researchers explore alternatives to disposing domestic waste and utilizing their by-products. By doing so, we could also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help keep the Earth green, the researchers claim  

General, Science, Society, Policy
Jun 8

The oceans make up 75% of our Earth and is home to a wide range of plants and animals that thrive in marine ecosystems around the world. Thanks to human actions, these ecosystems face a mounting threat, far too inconspicuous, for us to observe. Ocean pollution, raise in its temperature and rampant overfishing have threatened many species and have pushed them to the brink of extinction. On World Oceans Day, perhaps it is time to reflect what roles these oceans play in helping life on the land and think about how our activities have disturbed the fragile balance nature maintains in the deep blue seas.

General, Science, Ecology, Society, Featured