Scientists discover five new sub-atomic particles

  1. Scientists using the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator have discovered a new system of five particles all in a single analysis
  2. The uniqueness of this discovery is that observing five new states all at once is very rare
  3. The new particles were found to be in excited states — a particle state that has a higher energy than the absolute minimum configuration (or ground state) — of a particle called Omega-c-zero
  4. Excited states: It is a baryon, a particle with three quarks, containing two “strange” and one “charm” quark
  5. Omega-c-zero decays via the strong force into another baryon, called Xi-c-plus, (containing a “charm”, a “strange” and an “up” quark) and a kaon K-
  6. Then the Xi-c-plusparticle decays in turn into a proton p, a kaon K- and a pion p+
  7. From the analysis of the trajectories and the energy left in the detector by all the particles in this final configuration, the LHCb collaboration could trace back the initial event — the decay of the Omega-c-zero — and its excited states
  8. These particle states are named, according to the standard convention, Oc(3000)0, Oc(3050)0, Oc(3066)0, Oc(3090)0 and Oc(3119)0
  9. The numbers indicate their masses in megaelectronvolts (MeV), as measured by LHCb
  10. The next step: Will be the determination of the quantum numbers of these new particles — characteristic numbers used to identify the properties of a specific particle — and the determination of their theoretical significance
  11. Significance: This discovery will contribute to understanding how the three constituent quarks are bound inside a baryon and also to probing the correlation between quarks
  12. It plays a key role in describing multi-quark states, such as tetraquarks and pentaquarks
  13. The LHCb experiment: It is one of seven particle physics detector experiments collecting data at the Large Hadron Collider accelerator at CERN (European Organisation for Nuclear Research)
  14. The collaboration has announced the measurement of a very rare particle decay and evidence of a new manifestation of matter —antimatter asymmetry, to name just two examples

Note4students:

  1. Useful for prelims. The details of discovery and the mechanism excited states are not important. Just know the basics of the discovery.
  2. Recently, India became associate member at CERN. Know about it here. Know about CERN and India’s association with it. Important for prelims and mains both.

Back2basics:

1. The LHCb (standing for “Large Hadron Collider beauty”) experiment is one of seven particle physics detector experiments collecting data at the Large Hadron Collider accelerator at CERN. It can help to explain the Matter-Antimatter asymmetry of the Universe.

2. A quark is an elementary particle and a fundamental constituent of matter. Quarks combine to form composite particles called hadrons, the most stable of which are protons and neutrons, the components of atomic nuclei.

3. A baryon is a composite subatomic particle made up of three quarks (a triquark, as distinct from mesons, which are composed of one quark and one antiquark). Baryons and mesons belong to the hadron family of particles, which are the quark-based particles. The name “baryon” comes from the Greek word for “heavy” because, at the time of their naming, most known elementary particles had lower masses than the baryons.

What is hyperloop? When can we see it?

  1. The term hyperloop has suddenly taken the India by storm, with everybody having an opinion on the best route in India to deploy the futuristic transportation system. But the question remains: what is a hyperloop and when can we get one?
  2. What is a hyperloop? It was entrepreneur Elon Musk who came up with the idea for a hyperloop
  3. It is a system where magnetically levitating capsules are sent at high speeds through low-pressure tubes, thereby potentially reducing transport time — of people and goods — by more than 80%
  4. Such a system is now being developed to connect Abu Dhabi and Dubai
  5. Why so much excitement? Hyperloop One, the company developing the technology, has begun an online vote for people to suggest and choose the best route to deploy a hyperloop in their countries
  6. It said the Hyperloop One Global challenge received 2,600 registrants from 90 countries
  7. It then selected 35 semi-finalists from across the world, five of which are from India
  8. The route choices for India are: Bengaluru-to-Chennai (334 km in 20 minutes), Bengaluru-to-Thiruvananthapuram (736 km in 41 minutes), Delhi-to-Mumbai via Jaipur and Indore (1,317 km in 55 minutes), Mumbai-to-Chennai via Bengaluru (1,102 km in 50 minutes), and Bengaluru to Chennai (334 km in 20 minutes)
  9. When can we see it in action in India? Hyperloop One has announced its intentions to begin operations in India by 2021
  10. There are also reports that the company has already begun talks with the Indian government to see how to make this possible, and how to combine this with the Make in India mission by sourcing the necessary material locally
  11. Pros: If approved, such plans would enable India to jump forward in its transport infrastructure and could revolutionise the way business is conducted
  12. Businesses are likely to pay for the premium charged to be able to schedule meetings and presentations cities apart, all in the same day
  13. And this doesn’t even factor in the potential benefits to the goods transport industry
  14. Cons: But in a country like India, the flip side of such a system is also clearly visible
  15. At a time when railway infrastructure is abysmal and the airline industry is priced beyond the abilities of most of the populace, can India really afford another transport system only to be used by businesses and businesspeople?

Note4students:

Very important- for prelims as well as mains. It has also been in the news many times. So if you have been reading the news regularly and revising, there should not be much new information here.

Computer OS, short movie successfully stored in DNA

  1. Scientists have successfully stored a computer operating system, a short movie along with other data in DNA
  2. This may usher in the next generation of ultra-compact, biological storage devices which will last hundreds of thousands of years
  3. Files encoded into DNA: a full computer operating system, an 1895 French film, “Arrival of a train at La Ciotat,” a 50 USD Amazon gift card, a computer virus, a Pioneer plaque and a 1948 study by information theorist Claude Shannon

The study:

  1. By: Researchers from Columbia University and the New York Genome Centre (NYGC) in the U.S.
  2. What? An algorithm designed for streaming video on a cellphone can unlock DNA’s nearly full storage potential by squeezing more information into its four base nucleotides
  3. They also showed that the technology is extremely reliable

Potential of DNA:

  1. DNA: It is an ideal storage medium
  2. Potential: It is ultra-compact and can last hundreds of thousands of years if kept in a cool, dry place
  3. DNA won’t degrade over time like cassette tapes and CDs, and it won’t become obsolete
  4. Durability: Demonstrated by the recent recovery of DNA from the bones of a 4,30,000-year-old human ancestor found in a cave in Spain

Storage process

  1. They compressed the files into a master file, and then split the data into short strings of binary code made up of ones and zeros
  2. Using an erasure-correcting algorithm called fountain codes, they randomly packaged the strings into so-called droplets, and mapped the ones and zeros in each droplet to the four nucleotide bases in DNA: A, G, C and T
  3. The algorithm deleted letter combinations known to create errors and added a barcode to each droplet to help reassemble the files later

Highest data- storage density ever

  1. The researchers showed that their coding strategy packs 215 petabytes of data on a single gram of DNA
  2. Researchers believe this is the highest-density data-storage device ever created

Note4students:

The details of study are too technical and may not be important. But know all other important facts mentioned in the news card for prelims point of view. Needless to say, such points can be added into essay on technology as the one seen in 2016 mains.

Bangalore-Chennai in 20 minutes or Mumbai-Chennai in 50? Vote on India’s first Hyperloop route

  1. News: Hyperloop One, which builds high-speed transportation between cities, has opened a vote on five potential routes in India
  2. The five routes have been planned by teams from India who participated in the Hyperloop One Global Challenge
  3. It invited teams from across the world to submit viable transport plans for their regions that would benefit millions

Note4studens:

Important for prelims- know what is hyperloop and the proponent. See b2b for details.

Back2basics:

Hyperloop technology

  1. Hyperloop is a technology that was proposed by inventor and businessman Elon Musk, who is behind the electric car company Tesla and the commercial space transport company SpaceX
  2. It involves sending magnetically levitated pods through low-pressure tubes at very high speeds, carrying goods or people
  3. Hyperloop One is currently developing such a system between Abu Dhabi and Dubai

India building a supercomputer juggernaut

  1. India will likely unveil its most powerful supercomputer in June
  2. Top 10: If its processors operate at the full capacity of 10 petaflops, it could earn a place among the world’s top 10 fastest supercomputers
  3. 10 petaflops: (1 followed by 15 zeroes of floating point operations per second) a clock speed a million times faster than the fastest consumer laptops
  4. EKA: Though India has built or hosted supercomputers since the 1990s, it held a ‘top 10’ spot only once, in 2007, with the EKA built by the Computational Research Laboratories, which is part of the Tata group
  5. This position was lost, though several ultra-fast machines exist in Indian academic institutions; they feature in the 100s or 200s in global rankings
  6. The as-yet-unnamed machine will be jointly hosted at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune and the National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting at Noida in Uttar Pradesh
  7. For the first time, colleges and other research institutions can log in and harness its power to address problems, ranging from weather modelling to understanding how proteins fold
  8. The processing speed of supercomputers is only one of the factors that determine its worth, with power usage and arrangement of processors, being other key metrics that determine the worth of a system

Note4students:

Very important for prelims. What is the worlds most powerful supercomputer? Click here.

Green tea-laced capacitor to power wearable devices

  1. News: Scientists have used green tea compounds to develop a new flexible and compact rechargeable energy storage device
  2. The device may power more comfortable wearable electronics such as heart rate monitors
  3. The most prominent versions of wearable electronics are sold in the form of watches or sports bands
  4. More comfortable products could become available in softer materials made in part with an unexpected ingredient — green tea
  5. Challenge: Powering soft wearable electronics with a long-lasting source of energy remains a big challenge
  6. However, most supercapacitors are rigid, and the compressible supercapacitors developed so far have run into roadblocks
  7. Supercapacitors have been made with carbon-coated polymer sponges, but the coating material tends to bunch up and compromise performance
  8. The new supercapacitor made from green tea demonstrated power and energy densities of 2,715 watts per kg and 22 watt- hours per kg — enough to operate a heart rate monitor, LEDs or a bluetooth module

Note4students:

Not very important. Can be a minor prelims tit-bit on what is a supercapacitor.

Back2basics:

Super capacitor:

  1. Also called electric double-layer capacitor (EDLC), or supercap, ultracapacitor or Goldcap
  2. It is a high-capacity capacitor with capacitance values much higher than other capacitors (but lower voltage limits) that bridge the gap between electrolytic capacitors and rechargeable batteries
  3. They typically store 10 to 100 times more energy per unit volume or mass than electrolytic capacitors, can accept and deliver charge much faster than batteries, and tolerate many more charge and discharge cycles than rechargeable batteries
  4. Supercapacitors are used in applications requiring many rapid charge/discharge cycles rather than long term compact energy storage: within cars, buses, trains, cranes and elevators, where they are used for regenerative braking, short-term energy storage or burst-mode power delivery
  5. Smaller units are used as memory backup for static random-access memory (SRAM)
  6. Supercapacitors do not use the conventional solid dielectric of ordinary capacitors
  7. They use electrostatic double-layer capacitance or electrochemical pseudocapacitance or a combination of both

[pib] What is Geo-Spatial Technology

Context:

  1. Under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA), a Web Based School Geographical Information System (GIS) application has been initiated for seamless visualization of school locations across the country

Working:

  1. Geographic location of schools collected by the various School Education Departments of the states has been collated and mapped on GIS Platform established by National Informatics Centre
  2. Further, these school locations have been interlinked with the school report cards based on Unified District Information System for Education (U-DISE) database, developed and hosted by National University of Educational Planning and Administration (NUEPA)
  3. In this web application, base map services like street maps, and high resolution satellite images are available for better understanding of the topography/ terrain of the location
  4. This web service application comprises of administrative boundaries up to village level and location information up to habitation level along with basic GIS functionalities and measurement tools which will help to improve the quality of planning and better utilization of resources available under the schemes

Mobile App:

  1. In the centrally sponsored scheme of Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA), the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has developed a mobile application for uploading geo-tagged photographs and associated details captured by the educational institutions, on Bhuvan-RUSA portal as a part of implementation of RUSA funded works in States
  2. This application for geo-tagging of institutions under RUSA is a location based service
  3. The mobile geo tagging App of RUSA covers the following attributes: construction work or equipment, institution name, new or upgraded work, type of work, current stage of work, percentage completed, completion date, bank name, account number, amount released and amount utilized
  4. The key stakeholders in Bhuvan RUSA are: Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development; National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) of Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO); State Governments and institutions of the States/UTs funded under RUSA

Note4Students:

The information is important for Prelims. This can also be quoted in mains as a use of technology for better implementation of schemes.

PIB

Is Boron the next wonder material?

  1. What? Boron may become the nano-material of the century
  2. How? The two-atom-wide ribbons and single-atom chains of the element possess unique properties
  3. Properties: For example, if metallic ribbons of boron are stretched, they morph into anti-ferromagnetic semiconducting chains, and when released they fold back into ribbons
  4. 1-Dimensional: Labs are making progress in synthesising atom-thin and fullerene-type boron, which us think that 1-D boron may eventually become real as well

 

Metal that conducts electricity but not heat found

  1. Finding: Electrons in vanadium dioxide can conduct electricity without conducting heat.
  2. Significane: It is an incredibly useful property which may pave the way for systems that convert waste heat from engines and appliances into electric power
  3. The findings could lead to a wide range of applications, such as thermoelectric systems that convert waste heat from engines and appliances into electricity
  4. The usual course: For most metals, the relationship between electrical and thermal conductivity is governed by the Wiedemann-Franz Law
  5. The law states that good conductors of electricity are also good conductors of heat. But that is not the case for metallic vanadium dioxide
  6. Vanadium dioxide is already noted for its unusual ability to switch from an insulator to a metal when it reaches 67 degrees Celsius

Note4students:

Very important for prelims.

India becomes Associate member of CERN

  1. News: India became an Associate member of CERN with the Indian government completing its internal approval procedures in respect of the agreement it had signed with CERN on November 21, 2016
  2. Benefits to India: As an Associate member India will have full access to all data generated at CERN
  3. When we were not an Associate member, India could data only from those experiments where we were participating
  4. As an Associate member, India can participate in all experiments
  5. Whenever any CERN facilities get upgraded and go through maintenance, it will provide opportunities for Indian industries to participate
  6. Indian industry will be entitled to bid for CERN contracts, which will allow it to work in areas of advanced technology. So the Make in India will get a boost due to CERN
  7. Since Indian scientists will become eligible for staff appointments, it will enhance the participation of young scientists and engineers in operation and maintenance of various CERN projects
  8. Indian scientists and engineers working in CERN will learn how to operate and maintain the facilities. So when they return it will be useful for India

Note4students:

This is an important issue for prelims as well as mains. For prelims, basics about CERN, India’s membership, various experiments in CERN can be asked.

Back2basics:

About CERN

  1. CERN stands for Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire or the European Organization for Nuclear Research
  2. The CERN convention was signed in 1953 by the 12 founding state
  3. Currently, CERN has 22 member states
  4. Israel is the only non-European country granted full membership.
  5. Founded in 1954, the CERN laboratory sits astride the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva. It was one of Europe’s first joint ventures.

Physics@CERN

  1. At CERN, physicists and engineers are probing the fundamental structure of the universe
  2. They use the world’s largest and most complex scientific instruments to study the basic constituents of matter – the fundamental particles
  3. The particles are made to collide together at close to the speed of light
  4. The process gives the physicists clues about how the particles interact, and provides insights into the fundamental laws of nature
  5. The instruments used at CERN are purpose-built particle accelerators and detectors
  6. Accelerators boost beams of particles to high energies before the beams are made to collide with each other or with stationary targets
  7. Detectors observe and record the results of these collisions

WWW@CERN

  1. CERN is also the birthplace of the World Wide Web
  2. The main site at Meyrin has a large computer facility containing powerful data processing facilities, primarily for experimental-data analysis
  3. Because of the need to make these facilities available to researchers elsewhere, it has historically been a major wide area network hub

India & CERN:

  1. India has been actively involved in CERN’s scientific activities for over 50 years
  2. Indian physicists, engineers and technicians have made substantial contributions to the construction of the LHC accelerator and to the ALICE and CMS experiments, as well as to accelerator R&D projects
  3. In 1991, India and CERN signed a Cooperation Agreement, setting priorities for scientific and technical cooperation
  4. India and CERN have signed several other protocols since then
  5. Researchers from TIFR (Mumbai), Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology (Indore) and other institutes built components for an accelerator (LEP) and detectors (L3, WA93 and WA89)
  6. India was granted Observer status to the CERN Council in 2002

One hundred years of the ‘bond’

  1. Context: The chemical bond has just crossed a century
  2. In a celebrated paper in the Journal of the American Chemical Society in 1916, G. N. Lewis introduced the electron pair bond
  3. He proposed that two atoms may share from one to six electrons forming single, double or triple bonds
  4. He introduced the cubical atom and six postulates to understand their chemical behaviour
  5. The ‘bond’ has been central to science, second only to atoms perhaps, both of which together make the physical world
  6. In the past hundred years, the bond has been manipulated in numerous ways, which made drugs, polymers, plastics, dyes, detergents, agrochemicals, liquid crystals, and many others possible and in the process, the world around us has changed irreversibly
  7. We synthesised over nine million compounds, making the chemical industry the largest in the world, second only to energy

Note4students:

Remember basics about chemical bond, G N Lewis for prelims.

Now, a robot to assist you at HDFC Bank; first humanoid in India’s banking

  1. What? HDFC Bank, the country’s second-largest private one, will be using robots at its branches, to assist customers
  2. This is part of an Artificial Intelligence (AI) project it began last year, to improve its technological capability
  3. The bank is looking at using AI to better its customer service, beside marketing, process automation and other aspects
  4. It is also looking at using these methods to drive growth in rural areas, for which it is open to partnering with financial technology entities working in these places

Note4students:

Not so important card but could be a minor tit-bit for prelim and a point in Artificial intelligence or technology related essay as seen in Mains 2016.

ICGEB finds distinct biomarkers for dengue, chikungunya

  1. Who: Researchers at Delhi’s International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB)
  2. What: They have identified specific metabolites that can potentially be used as biomarkers for distinguishing dengue and chikungunya infections and co-infection by these two viruses
  3. Both these virus infections exhibit similar and overlapping symptoms in patients because of which making differential diagnosis becomes challenging
  4. It gets further complicated in the case of a co-infection

Back2basics:

1. Metabolites – are the intermediate products of metabolic reactions catalyzed by various enzymes that naturally occur within cells. This term is usually used to describe small molecules.

2. Biomarkers (short for biological markers) are biological measures of a biological state. Biomarkers are the measures used to perform a clinical assessment such as blood pressure or cholesterol level and are used to monitor and predict health states in individuals or across populations so that appropriate therapeutic intervention can be planned. Biomarkers may be used alone or in combination to assess the health or disease state of an individual.

What is Antrix?

  1. Antrix Corporation Limited will be completing 25 years next year in marketing niche products and services from India’s satellites and launch vehicles
  2. It is a mini ratna under the Department of Space/ISRO
  3. The turnover of Antrix for 2015-16 was Rs.1,920 crore. About 70-75% of this comes from the satcom (satellite communications) business

Note4students:

Antrix keeps coming in the news from time to time. Students tend to ignore such things, but they are important from a prelims perspective.

Bullish investors back Team Indus moon shot

  1. Three major investors in the stock market have picked up a stake in Team Indus
  2. Team Indus is a start-up that plans to send India’s first privately-funded spacecraft to the moon next year
  3. The start-up is the only Indian aspirant and among the four from across the world that plan to send spacecraft to soft-land on the moon before December 2017
  4. It will deploy a rover on the moon and send back lunar pictures
  5. Last year, it won a $1 million milestone prize from Google Lunar X Prize for completing the viable concept of its moon lander
  6. The final prize amount stands at $ 30 million
  7. The company is poised to start building its 600-kg-plus moon lander. It plans to launch it on a hired PSLV rocket of ISRO

India begins to drill into the Antarctic ice

  1. What: An Indo-Norwegian project to understand the response of Antarctic ice shelves to the global warming has begun
  2. Where: In the less-studied areas of East Antarctica, especially the Dronning Maud Land (DML)
  3. DML is characterised by loosely-connected ice shelves along the 2000-km-long coast
  4. Who: The National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR), Goa, is one of the co-leaders of the team for 2016-17 field campaign
  5. Maitri, India’s Antarctic research station, will serve as the logistic support base
  6. The scientific programme isjointly funded by the Ministry of Earth Sciences, India and the Research Council, Norway

Scientists produce electricity from water without using energy

  1. Team: Scientists at Delhi’s National Physical Laboratory (NPL) have developed a novel way of producing electricity from water at room temperature
  2. Advantage of method: The new method does not use any power or chemicals
  3. Nanoporous magnesium ferrite was used to split water into hydronium (H3O) and hydroxide (OH) ions
  4. Additionally, silver and zinc were used as electrodes to make a cell that produces electricity

Kolkata celebrates botany legend Janaki Ammal

  1. Event: Exhibition celebrating the contribution of E.K. Janaki Ammal
  2. Her achievements: She organised the Botanical Survey of India (BSI) 60 years ago
  3. One of the first women scientists to receive the Padma Shri way back in 1977. Her example is important since India is focusing on educating girls
  4. She is credited with putting sweetness in our sugarcane varieties, speaking against the hydro-electric project in Kerala’s Silent Valley
  5. She also did a phenomenal study of chromosomes of thousands of species of flowering plants titled The Chromosome Atlas of Cultivated Plants, co-authored with biologist C.D. Darlington

[op-ed snap] The ethics of our AI-enabled future

  1. Theme: Ethical implications of future advancement in artificial intelligence.
  2. Concerns of data privacy: For consumer AI to offer the ease of use, it must offer as close a facsimile of having a conversation with another person as possible.
  3. That requires two components: sophisticated algorithms and vast amounts of data. And that includes every scrap of personal data possible raising the concerns of data privacy.
  4. Other ethical questions posed: The trade-off between protecting users’ data and governments’ demand for access to user data for legal purposes; as seen recently in case of Apple.
  5. Also, the use of artificial intelligence in future can pose a wide range of ethical questions. Imagine, for instance, a bank using AI to recommend or screen loan applicants, and the algorithm using causal relationships to discriminate on the basis of gender or caste or race.
  6. Or, the multiple implications of AI deployed in a military context or controlling driverless vehicles—or the issue du jour, employment.
  7. Steps taken by the industry to address these concerns: Amazon, Facebook, Google’s DeepMind division, IBM and Microsoft have recently founded a new organization called the Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to Benefit People and Society that aims to initiate a wide dialogue about the nature, purpose and consequences of AI.
  8. A similar organisation ‘OpenAI’ aimed at addressing such issues was founded last year.
  9. The way ahead: The rise of AI cannot be left to the industry; it demands the involvement of everyone from social scientists to ethicists and philosophers.

China to build deepest, largest high-speed rail station at Great Wall

  1. What? China will build the world’s deepest and largest high-speed railway station at a popular section of the country’s Great Wall
  2. Why? This is a part of its preparations for the 2022 Winter Olympics
  3. The station will be at Badaling, the most visited section of the Great Wall which lies about 80 km (50 miles) northwest of Beijing
  4. It will be located 102 metres (335 feet) below the surface, with an underground construction area of 36,000 square metres (387,501 sq feet)
  5. This is equal to five standard soccer fields, making it the deepest and largest high-speed railway station in the world

A new handheld device to detect melamine in milk

  1. The detector is developed by researchers at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore
  2. This has made detecting melamine in milk extremely easy, quick and inexpensive
  3. Leaf extract of a commonly seen weed parthenium along with silver nitrate is used for detecting the presence of melamine in milk
  4. It can be detected at room temperature within a few seconds through a change in colour

IIT-M develops a lab-on-a-chip diagnostic device

  1. The device: A simple, self-powered, lab-on-a-chip
  2. Could enable diagnoses of several diseases, which is both affordable and accessible even in resource-constrained settings
  3. Has successfully passed preclinical trials
  4. Does not require any external or internal power as it relies on capillary force to draw blood
  5. Also the separation of plasma from blood cells is achieved through differential wetting behaviour of the microchannel walls

How FAST has and will affect lives?

  1. The telescope requires a radio silence within a five-km radius, resulting in the relocation of more than 8,000 people from their homes in eight villages to make way for the facility
  2. Reports in August said the villagers would be compensated with cash or new homes from a budget of about $269 million from a poverty relief fund and bank loans.
  3. China has also completed the construction of tourist facilities such as an observation deck on a nearby mountain
  4. Such facilities can be a draw for visitors — the one in Puerto Rico draws about 90,000 visitors and some 200 scientists each year

Let’s know more about FAST

  1. Measuring 500-meters in diameter, the radio telescope is nestled in a natural basin within a stunning landscape of lush green karst formations in southern Guizhou Province
  2. It took five years and $180 million to complete
  3. It surpasses that of the 300-meter Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, a dish used in research on stars that led to a Nobel Prize
  4. Researchers quoted by state media said FAST would search for gravitational waves, detect radio emissions from stars and galaxies and listen for signs of intelligent extraterrestrial life
  5. The ultimate goal of FAST is to discover the laws of the development of the universe

World’s largest radio telescope begins operations


  1. Aperture Spherical Telescope, or FAST, the world’s largest radio telescope has begun functioning
  2. The project demonstrates China’s rising ambitions in space and its pursuit of international scientific prestige
  3. Beijing has poured billions into such ambitious scientific projects as well as its military-backed space programme, which saw the launch of China’s second space station earlier this month

Stephen Hawking warns against contacting aliens

  1. News: British physicist Stephen Hawking has warned against announcing our presence to any alien civilisations, especially to those more technologically advanced than humans
  2. Our first contact from an advanced civilisation could be equivalent to when Native Americans first encountered Christopher Columbus and things didn’t turn out so well
  3. They will be vastly more powerful and may not see us as any more valuable than we see bacteria

CSIR scientists must strive for time bound delivery of technology: Modi

  1. Context: The 75th anniversary of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)
  2. PM: The CSIR labs have immensely contributed to developing affordable technology- from tractors to diabetic drugs, for the country
  3. However, it needs to ensure that there was no duplication of research efforts
  4. There should be a platform such that scientists learn what’s happening in one lab and then orient themselves to new challenges

Sugarcane waste yields carbon for use in batteries

  1. Who? Researchers from Pune’s National Chemical Laboratory (NCL) and Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER)
  2. What? They have used a simple, cost-effective and quick process to convert sugarcane bagasse into anode-grade porous, conducting, activated carbon material for use in Li-ion batteries
  3. Benefits: The process time and the electrical energy input to get anode-grade carbon are cut down dramatically
  4. Making anode-grade carbon is currently very expensive and time-consuming

Microsoft develops AI to help cancer doctors find the right treatments

  1. New data & researches: There are hundreds of new cancer drugs in development and new research published minute to minute
  2. These are helping doctors treat patients with personalized combinations that target the specific building blocks of their disease
  3. Problem: There’s too much to read and too many drug combinations for doctors to choose the best option every time
  4. Solution: A Microsoft Research machine-learning project, Hanover
  5. It aims to ingest all the papers and help predict which drugs and which combinations are most effective

IIT-M’s cheap solution to make brackish water potable

  1. Researchers at IIT-Madras have found a way to convert brackish water into drinking water at about 12 paisa per litre right on the kitchen table by using a potential difference of just 1.8 volts
  2. Sustainable: The water wastage is only 25% & it can work independent of the grid using solar energy
  3. Usual reverse osmosis is energy intensive and causes 65-70% of water to be rejected as waste

Indian-American scientist bags innovation award worth $500,000

  1. What? An Indian-origin scientist has bagged the prestigious Lemelson–MIT Prize worth $500,000
  2. Who? Nasik-born Ramesh Raskar, 46, is founder of the Camera Culture research group at the MIT Media Lab and an Associate Professor of Media Arts and Sciences
  3. Why? For his groundbreaking inventions, commitment to youth mentorship, and dedication to improving our world with practical yet innovative solutions
  4. Has more than 75 patents to his name, and has written more than 120 reviewed publications
  5. The co-inventor of radical imaging solutions including Femto-photography- an ultra-fast imaging system that can see around corners
  6. Also, low-cost eye-care solutions for the developing world & a camera that allows users to read pages of a book without opening the cover

China has world’s longest bullet train network

  1. News: China’s high-speed railway has completed over 20,000 kms of track network in the country, becoming the world’s longest bullet train network
  2. Context: A high-speed railway linking Zhengzhou in China’s central Henan Province with Xuzhou in eastern Jiangsu Province opened recently
  3. The 360-km line connects high-speed railway in the west with two major north-south lines, helping cut travel time between the west and east

Let’s know more about CFL technology

  1. Tungsten lamp: Energy is lost due to the heating required by the tungsten filament
  2. CFL lamp: Needs a switch as opposed to tungsten lamp & works through a gas discharge
  3. IGBT: Used to generate the gas discharge, which lights up the bulb
  4. Advantages: Allow for electronics to fit into the small volume of the base below the gas tube
  5. Reduced size & cost of CFL lamps & improved lighting efficiency by 75%
  6. Footprint: Use of CFLs instead of traditional lighting, in the last 25 years, has saved the world 73,000 Terawatt-hours of energy and almost 5.7 trillion litres of gas, and has helped decrease carbon dioxide emissions by 49.5 billion metric tonnes

Man with the largest negative carbon footprint in the world


  1. Jayant Baliga: Indian-born American electrical engineer & an alumnus of IIT, Madras
  2. IGBT: Invented of the insulated gate bipolar transistor (IGBT)- a device that enabled the electronics in the now ubiquitous CFL lamp
  3. Accolade: The global energy prize in 2015

Intel unveils Merged Reality with Project Alloy device

  1. Merged reality: A new way of experiencing virtual reality and real world together, using cutting-edge technology, which is more dynamic and natural, and allows people to do things that are now impossible
  2. Beyond virtual reality: Digitises the real world and allows people to experience the virtual world without coming into conflict with the real world
  3. Example: Playing two musical instruments at the same time- a virtual piano with one hand and a cello with the other
  4. Project Alloy: A device that creates merged reality
  5. It is a headset that uses the RealSense technology enabling people to use their hands to interact with elements of the virtual world

A background on Airlander development

  1. The aircraft was initially developed for the U.S. military
  2. But the U.S. blimp program was scrapped in 2013
  3. Since then Hybrid Air Vehicles, a small British aviation firm that dreams of ushering in a new era for airships, has sought funding from government agencies and individual donors
  4. The vast aircraft is based at Cardington, where the first British airships were built during and after World War I
  5. That program was abandoned after a 1930 crash that killed almost 50 people

Let’s know more about Airlander

  1. A hybrid of blimp, helicopter and airplane, it can stay aloft for days at a time
  2. Can reach 16,000 feet, travel at up to 148 kmph and stay aloft for up to two weeks
  3. Nicknamed the flying bum because of its bulbous front end
  4. Designed to use less fuel than a plane, but carry heavier loads than conventional airships
  5. Developer: Hybrid Air Vehicles

Giant hybrid airship takes off for first time

  1. News: Airlander has flown for the first time with a short but historic jaunt over an airfield in central England
  2. Airlander: A blimp-shaped, helium-filled airship, considered the world’s largest aircraft
  3. It’s a British innovation

 

What is Quantum communication?

  1. It is based on the idea that information science depends on quantum effects in physics
  2. It has ultra-high security as a quantum photon can neither be separated nor duplicated
  3. Hence it is impossible to wiretap, intercept or crack the information transmitted through it
  4. It holds enormous prospects in the field of defense

Let’s know about QUESS satellite

  1. In its two-year mission, QUESS is designed to establish ‘hack-proof’ quantum communications by transmitting uncrackable keys from space to the ground
  2. It will enable secure communications between Beijing and Urumqi
  3. Urumqi: The capital of China’s violence-prone far western region of Xinjiang, where China is battling an Islamist insurgency
  4. The satellite marks a transition in China’s role- from a follower in classic information technology development to one of the leaders guiding future achievements

China launches ‘hack-proof’ communications satellite

  1. News: China launched the world’s first quantum satellite, which will help it establish hack-proof communications between space and the ground
  2. Priority: President Xi Jinping has urged China to establish itself as a space power, and apart from its civilian ambitions, it has tested anti-satellite missiles
  3. Satellite: The Quantum Experiments at Space Scale, or QUESS, satellite, was launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in the remote northwestern province of Gansu

Cyborg stingray swims toward light, breaks new ground

  1. Harvard University researchers created a translucent, penny-sized stingray with a gold skeleton, silicone fins and the heart muscle cells of a rat
  2. It’s remote-controlled, able to move toward pulses of blue light
  3. The creation could spark new research into autonomous, part-living machines or machines powered by living cells

China’s lunar rover Jade Rabbit retires

  1. News: China’s Jade Rabbit lunar rover has whirred its last
  2. Achievement: It was designed for a lifespan of a mere three months but it surveyed the moon’s surface for 31 months and became a national icon
  3. Background: The rover was part of the Chang’e-3 lunar mission
  4. It began its adventure on December 2013, sending back photographs of the lunar surface and gaining huge popularity with Internet users along the way
  5. Not long after landing its legend grew after a mechanical control abnormality forced it offline, prompting anxiety from its many supporters
  6. The rover later turned dormant and stopped sending signals during the lunar night, which lasts for two weeks and sees temperatures plummet
  7. But it made a dramatic recovery later on

New Chinese system named world’s top supercomputer

  1. News: Sunway TaihuLight, a new Chinese computer system has claimed the top spot on “TOP 500”, a list of 500 of the world’s most powerful supercomputers
  2. The supercomputer can make 93 quadrillions calculations per second
  3. Developed by the National Research Centre of Parallel Computer Engineering and Technology (NRCPC) and is installed at the National Supercomputing Centre in China
  4. Displaced Tianhe-2, an Intel-based Chinese supercomputer that claimed the leader spot earlier
  5. Trend: For the first time, China leads the TOP 500 list with 167 systems and the US is second with 165 systems

Monsoon forecasting to get a high-tech makeover

  1. Context: Indian Meteorological Department is spending $60 million on a new supercomputer
  2. Aim: To improve the accuracy of one of the world’s most vital weather forecasts in time for next year’s rains
  3. The new system is based on a U.S. model tweaked for India & requires immense computing power to generate three-dimensional models to help predict how the monsoon is likely to develop
  4. Benefits: Better forecasting could help India raise its farm output by nearly 15%
  5. How? By helping farmers tweak the best time to sow, irrigate or apply fertiliser to crops and if rains fail plan state-wide measures
  6. Currently: A statistical model is used for forecasting which was introduced under colonial rule in 1920s

What is virtual reality?

  1. Virtual reality is an artificial environment that is created with software and presented to the user in such a way that the user suspends belief and accepts it as a real environment
  2. On a computer, virtual reality is primarily experienced through two of the five senses- sight and sound
  3. The simplest form of virtual reality is a 3-D image that can be explored interactively at a personal computer
  4. More sophisticated efforts involve such approaches as wrap-around display screens, actual rooms augmented with wearable computers, and haptics devices that let you feel the display images
  5. It is also known as immersive multimedia or computer-simulated reality

Breakthrough as new form of light discovered

  1. Context: Scientists have discovered a new form of light
  2. New form of light: The angular momentum of each photon (a particle of visible light) takes only half of this value
  3. Earlier: In all forms of light, the angular momentum would be a multiple of Planck’s constant
  4. Planck’s constant: The physical constant that sets the scale of quantum effects
  5. Experiment by: William Rowan Hamilton and physicist Humphrey Lloyd
  6. Effect: Creates impact on fundamental understanding of light, enable strange new possibilities of particles whose quantum numbers were fractions of those expected

Chinese firm plans space expedition in a balloon

  1. Context: First space parachute suit developed by China
  2. Develop by JHY Space Technology Co Ltd (Space Vision)
  3. Aim: Send people into space using a high-tech balloon
  4. They will come back to earth by parachute
  5. The adventures will soar into stratosphere
  6. Features: A radar, space-ground communications system and an image transmission system

Sticky coating to glue pedestrians to cars if hit

  1. Context: A new patent of Google for sticky coating
  2. When car having adhesive layer of sticky glue hits a pedestrian, the pedestrian will remain with car till it stops
  3. Application: To prevent pedestrians from injury when hit by car

Hologram for better fraud protection

  1. Context: Secure holograms for better fraud protection developed by a US researcher
  2. Nanotechnology is used
  3. Working: Holograms will be programmed by polarisation
  4. By using nanostructure that are sensitive to polarisation they produce images
  5. Images are produced depending upon polarisation of incident light
  6. Features: Compact, more efficient, very little light is lost to create the image

World’s first holographic flexible phone is here

  1. Holoflex: World’s first holographic flexible Smartphone
  2. Equipped with a bend sensor that allows user to bend phone
  3. 3D printed flexible micro lens array to project the pixel box
  4. Pixel box gives view of 3d object from any point
  5. Features: A high-definition Flexible Organic Light Emitting Diode touch-screen display
  6. Benefits: User can see 3d images and videos without using headgear or glasses, facilitate with editing of 3D models

‘Noise net’ could save birds and aircraft

  1. Context: Introduction of a new technique called Noise Net
  2. Noise net: A controlled air around the aircraft is filled with acoustic noise
  3. It will make the area much riskier for birds to occupy
  4. It can reduce the number of birds to 80% near the aircraft
  5. Hence, it will save many birds by avoiding collision of birds and aircraft

Scientists record heat travelling through materials

  1. Context: Scientists have, for the first time, recorded how heat travels through materials at the speed of sound
  2. Device: It was possible with the aid of an ultra-fast electron microscope
  3. Benefit: It provides unprecedented insight into roles played by individual atomic and nanoscale features
  4. It could aid in the design of better, more efficient materials with a wide array of uses, from personal electronics to alternative-energy technologies

What is graphene?

  1. Graphene is one of several forms of carbon known as its ‘allotropes’
  2. What are allotropes?  Allotropes are structurally different forms of the same element, in which the same atoms bond together in different ways
  3. Graphene is one of the strongest materials known
  4. It conducts heat better than diamond, and may conduct electricity better than silver

Graphene may help generate solar power even when it rains

  1. How? Raindrops are not pure water. They contain salts that dissociate into positive and negative ions
  2. In aqueous solution, graphene can bind positively charged ions with its electrons
  3. Graphene coating over the solar cells will help generate a potential difference enough to produce a voltage and current

New technology helps understand genomes

  1. Context: Scientists have developed a novel technology that allows them to read and interpret the human genome
  2. Benefit: Help researchers connect mutations in the so-called genomic ‘dark matter’ with the genes they affect
  3. It may pave the way for new drug targets to treat many genetic diseases
  4. TargetFinder: It is the computational method that can predict where non-coding DNA interacts with genes

Encyclopedia on Srinivasa Ramanujan


 

  1. Context: An encyclopedia of Srinivasa Ramanujan and his mathematics is being launched by Springer, a US Maths Journal
  2. What? A comprehensive reference book that will contain information on all the mathematical contributions of Ramanujan
  3. Will also contain his impact on scientific fields, important aspects his life, important individuals in his life and work

Scientists develop green technology for water purification

  1. News: Scientists have made a biopolymer from shellfish using nanotechnlogy, which could help in water-softening and water-purification applications
  2. Agency: Institute of Advanced Study in Science and Technology, Assam
  3. Significance: This natural material is the first of its kind with potential to act as a biodegradable and green material for water-softening applications

Indian and Belgian PM jointly launch Asia’s biggest telescope

  1. News: They remotely launched Asia’s biggest telescope built with Belgian assistance
  2. The telescope with a 3.6-metre-wide primary mirror located is at Devasthal near Nainital in Uttarakhand
  3. Agency: The Aryabatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences
  4. Purpose: It will be used to study star structures and magnetic field structures of stars

Ladakh to get world’s largest telescope

  1. Context: Hanle in Ladakh has been short-listed as a prospective site for world’s largest telescope
  2. Telescope: The $1.47-billion Thirty Metre Telescope (TMT) International Observatory
  3. India is already building edge sensors, actuators and system support assemblies & contributing to the software of TMT

What is Photodynamic therapy (PDT)?

  1. About: New mode of cancer treatment
  2. Context: It depends on the retention of the photosensitizers in the tumour cells followed by their selective activation under red light in presence of molecular oxygen
  3. About Photosensitizers: Light-sensitive compounds that cause localized oxidative damage within the target cells upon irradiation

IISc scientists find a novel method to kill cancerous cells

  1. News: A novel way to kill cancerous cells by using iron-based compounds “decorated” with organic groups
  2. Which Therapy Used? Photodynamic therapy (PDT)
  3. How it works? Red light acts as a switch that turns these compounds on and off
  4. Like a Trojan horse, the organic molecule directs compound into the mitochondria of cancerous cells
  5. Light-sensitive iron-based compound generates reactive oxygen species when exposed to red light
  6. Reactive oxygen species so generated destroy the mitochondria, thus killing the cancerous cells
  7. Why targeting mitochondria? Unlike nuclear DNA that repairs itself when damaged by drugs, mitochondria have no repair mechanism, So cells die once the mitochondria are damaged

What is Molybdenum disulphide?

  1. About: Molybdenum disulphide is in a class of materials known as chalcogenide glasses that have flexible electronic characteristics that have made them popular for high-tech components
  2. Context: Molybdenum disulphide crystal’s refractive index, the property that quantifies the strength of a material’s effect on light, has a high value of 5.5
  3. For comparison: Diamond, whose high refractive index causes its sparkle, is only 2.4, and water’s refractive index is 1.3
  4. It survives at high temperatures, is a lubricant, a good semiconductor and can emit photons too

World’s thinnest lens developed

  1. News: Australian scientists have developed world’s thinnest lens which is 2000 times thinner than human hair
  2. Context: Newly developed lens is 6.3 nanometres thick. Previous versions of lenses were 50 nanometers thick
  3. Scientists have used a crystal of molybdenum disulphide as a special ingredient in this lens
  4. Applications: In medicine, science and technology and bendable tv and computer screens
  5. Properties: Single layers of molybdenum disulphide, 0.7 nanometers thick, had remarkable optical properties, appearing to a light beam to be 50 times thicker, at 38 nm
  6. This property, known as optical path length, determines phase of light and governs interference and diffraction of light as it propagates

New mini fuel cell powers drones for over an hour

  1. News: Scientists developed a miniaturised fuel cell that can power drones for more than 1 hour and may lead to smartphone batteries that require charge only once a week
  2. About Solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC): Developed by researchers in South Korea, may replace lithium-ion batteries in smartphones, laptops, drones
  3. SOFC, referred to as a third-generation fuel cell, has been intensively studied since it has a simple structure and no problems with corrosion or loss of the electrolyte
  4. About Fuel cell: converts hydrogen into electricity by oxygen-ion migration to fuel electrode through an oxide electrolyte
  5. Fuel cells are made by a combination of tape casting-lamination-cofiring (TLC) techniques that are commercially viable for large scale SOFC

Learn about TIFAC

  1. Acronym: Technology Information Forecasting and Assessment Council
  2. Basics: TIFAC is an autonomous organization set up in 1988 under the Department of Science & Technology
  3. Mandate: To examine and evaluate existing state of art technology and directions of future technology developments
  4. It makes effort for technology development of the country by using technological innovation in close association with academia and industry

Meta-Skin, Truly Cloaks Objects From Radar

Invisibility-cloak-youve-been-waiting-for-670-jpg


  1. News: Scientists have developed a new flexible, stretchable and tunable meta-skin
  2. Significance: Can protect objects from radar detection, and may help develop next generation of stealth aircraft or even invisibility cloaks
  3. How it Works? By stretching and flexing the polymer meta-skin, it can be tuned to reduce the reflection of a wide range of radar frequencies
  4. The stretchable polymer skin doesn’t visually hide objects, but makes them invisible to radar
  5. Rows of small, liquid-metal devices effectively trap radar waves, rendering the cloak and the cloaked undetectable

A simple recipe for light

  1. News: Researchers from Indian Institute of Science (IISc) have developed an eco-friendly lamp that runs entirely on salt water
  2. Context: Salt water-run battery is as powerful as four AA batteries, and can power an LED lamp for 1,500 hours (or a little more than 2 months) at a stretch
  3. Barely half a litre of water and 2 spoons of salt is the recipe for light
  4. Concept: Electricity can be produced when 2 electrodes (one that can readily give away its electrons, and another to accept them as easily) are dipped in an electrolyte

What are the benefits of Li-Fi?

  1. Visible light spectrum: Available in plenty, unlicensed and free to use
  2. Double benefit: bulb giving us light as well as internet access
  3. Low interference: leads to very high data speed
  4. Li-Fi works under water as well
  5. Not harmful unlike RF: that can interfere with electronic circuitry
  6. Light won’t pass through walls: making eavesdropping nearly impossible
  7. LED illumination: efficient and data transmission needs very little additional power
  8. Data density: 1,000 times of Wi-Fi, since light can be contained in an area

What is Li-Fi?

  1. Context: Light-Fidelity is a new technology that uses light waves, instead of radio frequency waves, as a medium to carry data.
  2. An improvised LED bulb functions as a router
  3. Relevance: An ordinary off-the-shelf LED bulb connected to a device, which in turn is connected to the Internet
  4. How stuff works? The Internet data flows in via the device into the bulb, and is carried by light waves
  5. At the other end, light waves carrying the Internet data falls on a receiver or a dongle which is connected to the computer

LED bulb could connect you to Internet

lifitechnology


  1. Context: A bulb would help us access the Web might not be too far away, if a new technology called Li-Fi (or Light-Fidelity) goes mainstream
  2. Inventor: Prof. Harald Haas of the University of Edinburgh, who coined the term Li-Fi in 2011
  3. The News: He streamed a video from the Internet on a laptop using light from an LED bulb to access the Web
  4. Significance: Li-Fi was a disruptive technology that could transform business models, create new opportunities, and was poised to be a $113 billion industry by 2022
  5. Relevance: RF (radio frequency) spectrum would not be enough considering the rate of growth of wireless data communication.
  6. Internet in Night: The stream of photons can be reduced to a minimal level that won’t produce visible light but enough to carry data

What is FAST?

  1. Context: FAST is a radio telescope under construction located in a natural basin, in Guizhou Province, southwest China
  2. History: First proposed in 1994 and was approved by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) in In July 2007
  3. Importance: It will be the world’s largest and most sensitive radio telescope and three times more sensitive than the Arecibo Observatory

China to relocate 9,000 for world’s largest radio telescope

CHINA-SCIENCE__2739329f


  1. Context: will relocate over 9,000 people residing within the 5-km radius of the world’s largest radio telescope
  2. Why relocation? To create a sound electromagnetic wave environment
  3. Background: 5-hundred-metre Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST) will be the world’s largest radio telescope after its completion
  4. Overtaking the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico which is some 300m in diameter
  5. Objective of FAST: To help us to search for intelligent life outside of the galaxy

What are the Neutrinos?

  1. Context: Neutrinos are fundamental particles belonging to the lepton family
  2. Types: They come in three flavours, one associated with electrons and the others with their heavier cousins the muon and the Tau
  3. Relevance: According to standard model of particle physics, they are mass less
  4. Recent Experiments: Indicate that these charge-neutral fundamental particles, have finite but small mass which is unknown

Learn about Indian Neutrino Observatory (INO) project?

  1. Context: INO is a particle physics research project under construction in a 1,300 meters deep cave under Ino Peak near Theni, Tamil Nadu
  2. Goal: To study neutrinos and to provide a precise measurement of neutrino mixing parameters
  3. Importance: The project is a multi-institute collaboration and one of the biggest experimental particle physics projects undertaken in India

What is e-beam lithography?

  1. Practice of scanning a focused beam of electrons to draw custom shapes on a surface covered with an electron-sensitive film called a resist (“exposing”).
  2. The electron beam changes the solubility of the resist, enabling selective removal of either the exposed or unexposed regions of the resist by immersing it in a solvent (“developing”).
  3. The purpose, as with photolithography, is to create very small structures in the resist that can subsequently be transferred to the substrate material, often by etching.
  4. This form of maskless lithography has high resolution and low throughput, limiting its usage to photomask fabrication, low-volume production of semiconductor devices, and R&D.

IISc’s invention powers up nanoelectronics industry

When it becomes a prototype for commercial use it can break into the billion-dollar sector.

  1. An invention by Bengaluru-based scientists at IISc is all set to make inroads into the billion-dollar nanoelectronics industry.
  2. This is disruptive because the technology can drastically reduce the cost of the existing state-of-the-art e-beam lithography and optical lithography.
  3. Invention is a new way to etch thin lines on a substrate using electrodes, termed electrolithography.
  4. This will come in very useful in inscribing, for instance, nanometer-scale circuits which make up IC chips, minute transistors among others.
  5. This would come in useful not just in the industry but in academia, too, with more colleges being able to afford research in nanotechnology.

Let’s know about Photonics?

  1. Photonics is the science of light (photon) generation, detection, and manipulation through emission, transmission, modulation, signal processing, switching, amplification, and detection/sensing.
  2. It will exploit high-speed Silicon photonics to improve data transfer between the core and the memory exponentially.
  3. It would exponentially improve the power of microprocessors.
  4. A single optical fibre has the capacity to carry three million telephone calls simultaneously.
  5. Possible photonic applications are photonic switching, silicon photonics, photonic networks, and the photonic computer.

Photonics to drive terabit chips

  1. Scientists from the Centre for Nano Science and Engineering (CeNSE) at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bengaluru are working on two projects in the area of photonic integrated circuits.
  2. Researchers and scientists at CeNSE are building a next-generation processor, in which each unit is still electrical.
  3. The processor has millions of transistors connected with copper lines.
  4. Researchers are planning to replace the copper lines with photonic components.
  5. This is being tried under a project supported by the Defence of Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
  6. Under this project, scientists are trying to develop indigenous technology for high-speed optical interconnect technology.

What is Augmented Humanity ?

  1. Augmented Humanity is a phrase that was coined in 2010 by ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt.
  2. It defines the use of technology to both aid, and replace, human capability in a way that joins person and machine as one.
  3. This is the next stage of our reliance on technology, where wearable devices begin to pre-empt what we want through our mood, heart rate and body temperature.
  4. This augmentation also defines machinery used to replace or enhance parts of the body.

The age of augmented humanity

  1. The next stage of our reliance on technology has devices that pre-empt what we want.
  2. It’s clear that consumer technology has taken a huge leap forward.
  3. Video games that get harder as your heart rate rises, headwear which gives you “superhuman” vision and other devices which promise to deliver results based on the way we think, feel and act.

What is cloning?

  1. Cloning is the process of creating genetically identical copies of biological matter.
  2. This may include genes, cells, tissues or entire organisms.
  3. The term clone, invented by J. B. S. Haldane.
  4. Simply, it refers to processes used to create copies of DNA fragments (molecular cloning), cells (cell cloning), or organisms.

Hisar institute becomes second centre to clone buffalo

With this achievement, CIRB becomes the world’s third and India’s second institute to produce cloned buffalo.

  1. Scientists at the Central Institute for Research on Buffaloes (CIRB) in Hisar, Haryana claimed to have successfully produced a cloned buffalo offspring ‘Cirb Gaurav’.
  2. As this is produced from cells of ventral side of tail of superior bull buffalo.
  3. This part is least exposed to sunlight and may have less mutation rate, and can be a good choice for isolation of donor cells to produce healthy clones.
  4. National Dairy Research Institute in Karnal was the first to produce a cloned calf in India.
  5. This achievement has been made under the project entitled – Cloning for conservation and multiplication of superior buffalo germplasm.

Four new elements added to periodic table

  1. The periodic table now has its seventh row completed with the introduction of four new chemical elements: 113, 115, 117, 118.
  2. These are the first to be added to the table since 2011. Discovered by scientists in Japan, Russia and US.
  3. The new additions were formally verified by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC).
  4. New elements can be named after a mythological concept, a mineral, a place or country, a property or a scientist.
  5. The names will be finalised after divisional acceptance and two letter symbols being presented for public review are given go ahead by the Council (highest body of IUPAC).

Let’s know about CO sequestration?

  1. It is the process involved in carbon capture and long-term storage of atmospheric CO2.
  2. CO2 sequestration has potential to significantly reduce the level of carbon that occurs in the atmosphere as CO2.
  3. It reduce the release of CO2 to the atmosphere from major stationary human sources, including power plants and refineries.

Indian scientists discover three bacterial clusters

Among the three new LOHAFEX clusters that were discovered, the first was related to class of Bacteroidetes while the second and third belonged to Firmicutes.

  1. The discovery happened during LOHAFEX (Loha means iron in Hindi while Fex is an acronym for fertilisation) experiment in the Southern Ocean, Antarctica.
  2. Aimed at increasing CO sequestration through ocean iron fertilisation as part of studies on global warming mitigation.
  3. Both biotic (grazing of phytoplankton by microzooplankton) and abiotic factors (deficiency in the micronutrient iron) could decrease the levels of CO sequestered.
  4. If iron deficiency is overcome by exogenous addition of iron, it would facilitate a phytoplankton bloom and thus lead to CO sequestration.

Let’s know more about ATLAS ?

  1. ATLAS (A Toroidal LHC ApparatuS) is one of the 7 particle detector experiments (ALICE, ATLAS, CMS, TOTEM, LHCb, LHCf and MoEDAL)
  2. Constructed at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a particle accelerator at CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) in Switzerland.
  3. The experiment is designed to take advantage of the unprecedented energy available at the LHC.
  4. To observe phenomena that involve highly massive particles which were not observable using earlier lower-energy accelerators.

What is Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS)?

  1. The CMS experiment is one of 2 large general-purpose particle physics detectors built on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN in Switzerland and France.
  2. To investigate a wide range of physics, including the search for the Higgs boson, extra dimensions, and particles that could make up dark matter.

Has LHC discovered a mysterious new particle?

Once verified, the intriguing signal will mean a new particle has been found.

  1. Members of the CMS (Compact Muon Solenoid) and the ATLAS detectors working with the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland.
  2. They have independently identified signals that could lead to the discovery of a new fundamental particle of nature.
  3. Both experiments have observed an excess of pairs of photons which could arise from the decay of heavy particles created during the collision.
  4. Physics would have a new elementary particle about 6 times as massive as the Higgs boson which explains why other particles have mass.

Lets know about Shinkansen Technology

Shinkansen literally means new trunk line that refers to the high-speed rail line network in Japan.

  1. Shinkansen uses a range of advanced technology which helps the trains attain high speed without compromising on safety and comfort.
  2. Shinkansen routes are strictly off-limits to any other kind of traffic, unlike conventional rail lines which are built without road crossings.
  3. These high-speed train network uses tunnels and viaducts to go through and over obstacles rather than around them.
  4. Shinkansen trains are electric multiple units, offering fast acceleration, deceleration and reduced damage to the track because of lighter vehicles.

IISc develops solar hybrid desalination system

The system met the major objectives of desalination system: low lifespan cost and performance.

  1. With desalination, that involves converting saline seawater to potable water being out of reach currently for the shallow pockets of the government.
  2. Researchers of Indian Institute of Science (IISc) have hit upon the idea of utilising copious solar energy in the South to reduce the costs of the process.
  3. This system works for both saline and brackish water.
  4. The process include Low Carbon Technologies shows that at its peak (27 degree C) could the system can purify nearly 6.5 litres of saline water per sq.m. of the instrument in 6 hours of use.

This system shows promise that the problem of clean drinking water can be solved in any coastal area where seawater and sunlight are available freely.

Tesla’s technology reinvented

flyte_bulb


  1. Flyte Levitating Light combines Tesla’s technology with magnetic levitation to offer wireless power via induction.
  2. The result was a completely new way of looking at light that came forth in the form of Flyte Levitating Light.
  3. Flyte has been designed in Sweden and does not need any batteries. It powers light in the air via induction.
  4. The base is made out of sustainably- sourced oak, ash, or walnut, and the light bulb uses LEDs that are energy efficient and are rated at 50,000 hours.
  5. This means that the levitating light will keep your desk or study illuminated for 12 hours each day for 11 years.

Neutrinos: Oscillations and open questions

Austrian physicist Wolfgang Pauli postulated the existence of Neutrinos particle.

The IceCube neutrino observatory located in the south pole detected neutrinos coming from outer space. Photo: Special Arrangement


  1. Neutrinos come in three flavours, electron neutrino, muon neutrino and tau neutrino.
  2. Super-Kamiokande detector from Tokyo built to detect Cosmic neutrinos.
  3. Observed that the muon neutrinos were “oscillating” into a different type and suspected that the muon neutrinos were actually changing into Tau neutrinos.
  4. The Sudbury Neutrino Observatory, is built to study Solar neutrinos, neutrinos created deep within the Sun.

Now, some questions still remains ?

  1. Difference between masses of the three types of neutrino are known, the absolute mass of the lightest is not?
  2. Would the electron neutrino be heavier than the Tau and muon neutrinos, or vice versa ?
  3. Similarly, would neutrino have an antiparticle which is different from itself or is each neutrino its own antiparticle?

May be, another Nobel will reveal the answers ?

Indian scientists solve a century-old light puzzle

For the first time in history, our experiment validates the century old Minkowski theory near Total Internal reflection

  1. Debatable question between scientists Hermann Minkowski and Max Abraham, finally sees the answer recreated in a lab in Mohali.
  2. An indigenous experimental set-up, researchers from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Mohali.
  3. Experiment shows, Minkowski was right , light does gain momentum as it enters another medium.
  4. This novel sensitive technique can be used to precisely measure properties of light non-invasively.

‘Psychic Robot’ System Guesses Intentions From Your Movements

  1. Bioengineers have created a “psychic robot” that can see what humans intend to do even if they don’t do it.
  2. The algorithm could eventually power the cars and prosthetics of the future, allowing them to understand what their owners are trying to do with them, even if they get stopped mid-way.
  3. The invention will allow robots to become much more understanding of humans, by replicating the way that we respond to events in the real world.

DRDO sets up world’s highest terrestrial centre in Ladakh


 

  1. The region is a frozen desert with temperatures hovering around -40 degrees Celsius.
  2. The centre will serve as a natural cold storage for preserving rare and endangered medical plants for generations to come.
  3. A large number of Life Sciences activities are proposed to be undertaken at this centre.
  4. DRDO has been rallying for more defence research budget as China spends almost 20% of their defence budget for R&D.

DRDO sets up world’s highest terrestrial centre in Ladakh

World’s highest terrestrial centre at 17,600 feet above sea level at Changla near Pengong lake in Ladakh

  1. The centre will serve as a natural cold storage for preserving rare and endangered medical plants for generations to come.
  2. The centre will act as an important utility for research work in frontal areas of food and agriculture and bio-medical sciences.
  3. Used for well being of the soldiers deployed in high altitude cold desert.
  4. A large number of Life Sciences activities are proposed to be undertaken at this centre.

Union Government gives nod to IAF’s IACCS

Approval for implementation of Integrated Air Command & Control System (IACCS) project of Indian Air force (IAF) 

  1. IACCS is an automated Air Defense command and control center for controlling and monitoring of Air Operations by Air Force.
  2. It provides an appropriate solution to identify the track information in the Air.
  3. It enables surveillance of national airspace for Air Traffic operations and overall airspace safety.
  4. It facilitates real-time transport data, images and voice amongst aircraft, satellites and ground stations.

Four new isotopes discovered

Manipal university professor is part of the team that made this discovery.

  1. The burgeoning periodic table will see four more isotopes being added to its fag end.
  2. H. M. Devaraja from the Manipal Centre of Natural Sciences at Manipal University, Karnataka – who was a part of an international collaboration.
  3. These are one isotope each of the heavy elements berkelium (Bk, atomic number 97) and neptunium (Np, 93) and two isotopes of the element americium (Am, 95).
  4. Deep inelastic multinucleon transfer method succeeded to used in generating many different atomic nuclei at once.
  5. This becomes important for the study of super-heavy elements.
  6. The collaboration is seeing the development of the next generation separator “SuperSHIP” (which can record decay reactions of up to 100 nano seconds – that is, 0.01 micro seconds), which will enable detection of far more isotopes.

Indigenous anti-tank missile Amogha-1 test-fired

  1. Developed by Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL), successfully test-fired an indigenously developed Amogha-1.
  2. It is second generation, 2.8 km range, anti-tank guided missile.
  3. This is the first ever design and developmental effort in respect of missiles by BDL, Hyderabad. Amogha-I missiles will be offered to the army after due qualification and validation trials.

Pentagon creates India Rapid Reaction Cell

  1. The Pentagon has established a first-ever country India Rapid Reaction Cell (IRRC) to speed up its defence ties with India.
  2. It accelerate the process of co-development & co-production of hi-tech military equipment in the country.
  3. India is the only country to have a specific cell of its kind inside the Pentagon.
  4. The purpose of IRRC is to work all the initiatives that under (India-US) Defence Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI).

Udaipur Is Now Home to India’s Largest Solar Telescope


 

  1. India will now be able to capture high resolution three dimensional images of the sun.
  2. The Udaipur Solar Observatory witnessed the inauguration of India’s biggest multi-application solar telescope (MAST).
  3. Udaipur is the second place in the world, after China, to have the unique telescope.
  4. MAST will also capture high resolution 3D images of solar activities like solar blast and flares which will now be easier to understand.


:( We are working on most probable questions. Do check back this section.







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