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Bengaluru | Jan 31, 2020
Decoding dried stains

Researchers show that the shape of dried paint or ink deposit is related to the concentration and size of particles in these colloids.

Ever wondered why we use only specific inks for the inkjet printer? Why not any random dye? The wrong ink may result in non-uniform and patchy printing. Printing inks are colloids—tiny solid particles suspended in a liquid. The size and the concentration of the solid particles in ink specified for printers are designed to deposit uniformly on paper.

General, Science, Technology, Engineering, Deep-dive
Bengaluru | Jan 24, 2020
What causes tau to tangle?

In a recent study, researchers at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Mohali, have studied the mechanism behind the phase separation of the tau protein fragment that forms characteristic aggregates associated with Alzheimer's disease.

General, Science, Technology, Health, Deep-dive
Bengaluru | Jan 23, 2020
Scanning electron microscope image of Nano Carbon Florets. Image credit: IIT Bombay.

Nanomaterials are revolutionising the way we do things with applications in medicine, electronics and biocompatible materials, to name a few. Scientists are studying various nanoforms of carbon—nanotubes, nanocones, nanohorns, two-dimensional graphene and even carbon onions! Now, researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay have added a new form to this list called nano carbon florets. These nano-sized florets, shaped like marigold flowers, have much more than just good looks to flaunt; they can help keep the environment clean by removing harmful heavy metal pollutants from industrial effluents. In a study published in the journal ACS Applied Nano Materials, Prof C Subramaniam and his team from the Department of Chemistry have designed nanocarbon florets that can remove up to 90% of pollutants containing arsenic, chromium, cadmium and mercury.

General, Science, Technology, Engineering, Deep-dive
Bengaluru | Jan 21, 2020
Machine Learning for Faster Drug Discovery

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine-learning (ML) approaches are the present-day buzzwords finding applications in a host of domains affecting our lives. These approaches use known datasets to train and build models that can predict, or sometimes, make decisions about a task. In one such case, researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT Bombay), Mumbai, have in a recent study, developed ML approaches using molecular descriptors for certain types of catalysis that could find use in several therapeutic applications.

General, Science, Technology, Engineering, Deep-dive
Bengaluru | Jan 20, 2020
Study cautions about the use of designer receptors to control the brain

Chemogenetics is a technique that uses chemicals to understand how neurons are activated. It manipulates genes to place the neurons under the control of special receptors called DREADDS. Short for Designer Receptors Activated by Designer Drugs, these receptors only bind to an inert chemical called Clozapine-N-Oxide (CNO). In a recent study, researchers from the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai, and Jawaharlal Nehru Center for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), Bengaluru, point out specific flaws in this technique.

General, Science, Technology, Health, Deep-dive
Bengaluru | Jan 15, 2020
IISc researchers show that Indian monsoon has a 67-year cycle, link it to the global sea surface temperature cycle

Researchers from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore; Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune; and Florida State University, USA; have mathematically computed a multidecadal variability in the Indian summer monsoon rainfall and the global sea surface temperature. They have established that Indian monsoon rainfall exhibits a 67-year oscillation and is closely linked to the sea surface temperature cycle, which also shows a similar 67-year swing. The study also shows that 80% of all droughts have occurred in the rainfall cycle’s ‘negative phase’, associated with a below-average rainfall; whereas 60% of all floods have occurred in the positive phase, marked with above-average precipitation. Their findings have been published in the Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society.

General, Science, Technology, Deep-dive
Bengaluru | Jan 8, 2020
Seawater intrusion threatens drinking water source along India's coast

The impacts of climate change on coastal areas are severe than inland as they are vulnerable to flooding and extreme weather phenomena like cyclones, tornadoes etc. As the climate crisis deepens, a quarter of India's population, who live along the coasts, have another issue to worry about – availability of freshwater. Due to unchecked pumping of groundwater for daily use and rainfall variation, freshwater sources are being depleted. Besides, saltwater from the sea is unwittingly finding its way into local aquifers through a process called seawater intrusion. Although many independent studies, conducted at different locations, have observed depletion in freshwater sources along India's coasts, there is no comprehensive study yet. Now, researchers at Anna University, Chennai, have tried to address the extent of seawater intrusion in the Indian coastal regions in a study published in journal Environmental Science and Pollution Research. The study was funded by the National Centre for Earth Sciences Studies, Earth System Science Organisation, and the Ministry of Earth Sciences.

General, Science, Technology, Deep-dive
Bengaluru | Jan 6, 2020
An Inexpensive Approach to Patterning Cells in a Lab

Researchers from IIT Bombay propose cost-effective techniques of making microcontact printing stamps to print protein and grow cells.

General, Science, Technology, Deep-dive
Bengaluru | Dec 31, 2019
A journey through the year for science in 2019

As Newton’s famous quote, “standing on the shoulders of giants”, this year, science has made considerable advances, building on many feats achieved in the past years. New discoveries, insights and inventions in the areas of astronomy, biology, medicine, paleontology and physics marked the year. Here is a selected pick of ten such breakthroughs in science witnessed in 2019.

General, Science, Technology, Engineering, Ecology, Health, Society, Policy, Deep-dive
Bengaluru | Dec 30, 2019
India's year in Science 2019 - Editor's Picks

While looking forward to 2020, the editorial team at Research Matters looks back on some of the interesting stories that we published during 2019. There were many interesting ones ranging from the first photograph of a black hole to air pollution in Delhi to using vibrations for painless injections. Here is a list to highlight India's year in science during 2019. This is in no way ranked and the order is just incidental.

General, Science, Technology, Engineering, Ecology, Health, Society, Deep-dive
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