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India’s renewable energy policies need amendments now to achieve the goals of 2022, says study

The push for renewable energy has been greater than ever in the recent past, thanks to the realisation of the fact that fossil fuels and other forms of energy wreak havoc on the environment. India, like many other countries, has ambitious goals for producing electricity using renewable sources for 2022. In our rush to chase this goal, how are our policies crafted? Are they a win-win situation for the producers and the customers? Or are they making renewable energy all the more expensive, thus defeating the purpose of the switch? A new study now examines how renewable energy policies are structured and recommends some changes to make them effective and help us reach our 2022 goals.

A 3D virtual laboratory to diagnose and fix electromagnetic anomalies

SimYog, a spin-off from the Indian Institute of Science and a private start-up providing electromagnetic diagnostics and services along with developing design and sign-off tools for automotive electronics. Their latest offering is Compliance scope - a virtual 3D laboratory that allows the user to immerse themselves in a virtual world and explore the electrical components and connections and went on to win the coolest demo prize at this edition of IEEE EMC conference

How knowing helps in searching

A new study has now revealed how knowing beforehand what to look for, helps in our visual search process. Previews – bits of information available in advance, are shown to accelerate our search process as the brain can differentiate and identify the object we are looking for, even among a large set of identical objects. This discovery throws some light on the neurological process responsible for visual search and recognition. 

Seeking alternate ways to do the same task may improve your learning, shows study

If you have read Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘Outliers,' then you might be well acquainted with the ‘10,000-hour rule’, which states that to master a new skill, such as playing the piano or knitting, one needs 10,000 hours of practice to become world-class. This long practice, studies show, facilitates ‘motor learning’ - a set of complex processes that occur in the brain in response to practice or experience of a certain skill, resulting in changes in the central nervous system.

 

Why women continue to be under-represented in academic careers?

1931 - A time when most women were aspiring to become a successful wife, mother or daughter, Dr. E.K. Janaki Ammal was already setting an example by being an early Indian woman doctorate in basic sciences from the University of Michigan. A competent botanist and geneticist, her seminal work on sugarcane varieties and genetics of flowering plants are recognised to this day. She was a fierce environmental activist and taught Botany at the Women’s Christian College, Chennai. In recognition of her contributions to the field of botany, she was elected as a Fellow of the Indian National Science Academy in 1957, was awarded the Padmashri in 1977, and was herself a founding Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences in 1935.She also served as the Director General of the Botanical Survey of India, and even has a flower named after her -- Magnolia Kobus Janaki Ammal! She was indeed a symbol of inspiration to many girls and women of her age.

 

Scientists observe structure within the pulses of a Millisecond Pulsar

Indian astronomers have detected microstructure emissions from a millisecond pulsar for the first time. Millisecond pulsars (MSP) are highly magnetized, rapidly rotating neutron stars that take as little as one-thousandth to one-hundredth of a second to rotate about its axis once. In a recently published study, scientists from the Department of Physics at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and the National Centre for Radio Astrophysics (NCRA), Tata Institute for Fundamental Research (TIFR), have discovered these microstructure emissions using the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT), an array of thirty antennae scanning the sky for radio sources. They are now uncovering the processes that produce these microstructure emissions. While similar emissions had been discovered from more slowly rotating pulsars, this is the first time they have been discovered coming from millisecond pulsars.

 

Scientists develop novel methodology to study temperature controlled gene function

Genetic research is at a colossal high today, and although we know a lot about our genes, the roles of more than 30% of the functional genes in the human body are not really understood. This number can be even lower for other members of the biotic world. Studies to determine gene function involve combinations of various experimental methods at biochemical, cellular, and organismal levels. One such method, that is popularly employed, uses temperature-sensitive mutant genes that behave differently at different temperatures. The process of identifying and generating mutated genes, however, is laborious, time-consuming and relies heavily on chance. It is at this juncture that Prof. Raghavan Varadarajan and his team from the Molecular Biophysics Unit, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, suggest an innovative, yet fairly straightforward, technique to study gene functionality, which would make one wonder how no one thought of this earlier!

Brain research in India gets a helping hand from a dying wish

Late Ms. Sharawaree Gokhale, IAS (Retd)

The Centre for Brain Research (CBR) at Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, received a generous endowment from former IAS officer Ms. Sharwaree Gokhale who passed away on 15th January 2016. In her will, Ms. Gokhale donated a major portion of her estate to CBR. Her contribution would help progress our understanding of the most complex organ that we know of - the human brain.

DNA damage in sperm alters Embryo Metabolism, finds study

Science has established that the father’s sperm, which fertilizes the mother’s ovum resulting in the formation of an embryo, decides the sex of an individual. So it’s only logical that if the ‘male factor’ of the sperm/ovum relationship is damaged, the product will be too. Now, a recent collaborative study by a team of researchers led by Prof. Hanudatta Atreya of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, and Prof. Satish Kumar Adiga of Kasturba Medical College, Manipal, has found that if the sperm, set to fertilize a particular ovum, has damaged DNA, it affects the metabolism of the embryo that it fathers. The study was conducted using samples of sperm and ova from couples undergoing Intra-Cytoplamic Sperm Injection (ICSI), a popular technique to help infertile couples conceive.

 

Prof. Prabeer Barpanda – A positively charged academician

Not many young professors are as driven as Professor Prabeer Barpanda who has been donned with an unbelievable streak of academic awards. A professor at the Materials Research Centre, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, Prof. Barpanda is the winner of the Indian National Science Academy Young Scientist Award, 2016. He became the first Indian to receive the Energy Technology Division Supramaniam Srinivasan Young Investigator Award – an annual award given by the Electrochemical Society (ECS), USA, for 2016. In addition, he is also the first Indian to receive the American Ceramics Society’s Ross Coffin Purdy Award, 2016 awarded in October.

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