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The Pests of Pests: Relationships between Termites, Parasites and Mutualists

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

Redrawing the Bus Routes of Bangalore City

The public transport system of Bengaluru is plagued by delays and inefficiencies that have resulted in huge losses to BMTC, the operator, and lack of quality services to the common people. Now, scientists from the Indian Institute of Science have proposed a new model of transport that aims to increase bus efficiency, reduce or eliminate delays and save money for both the transport corporation and its users - the people. The new model, researchers claim, could be a win-win situation for both and could revive the appeal of public transportation. 

Bringing Science to the society - IISc develops innovative technologies for quality assessment of Silk and Milk

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

Vitamin C hits hard when bacteria is under stress, finds study

Vitamin C, present is citrus fruits like lemons and oranges, is known to boost immunity and prevent our body from bacterial infections. But how does it do it? A new study by researchers from the Indian Institute of Science has now elucidated the mechanism behind why Vitamin C inhibits bacterial infections. This research also opens up possibilities for using Vitamin C in various therapeutic applications.

Contacts to blame for noise in Graphene Transistors, shows research

Graphene, also called a “wonder material” is increasingly being used in the field of electronics due to its lightweight and electrical properties. Now, researchers at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, have identified a potential drawback in graphene transistors that have metal contact leads. The metal atoms in the contacts react with graphene atoms, creating an unwanted disturbance or noise in the electronic circuit. This discovery may have major implications on using graphene for futuristic electronic applications.  

Bangalore scientists discover a rare gene causing anencephaly, a brain disorder

In a pathbreaking research on anencephaly, a fatal birth defect where a baby is born without a major part of the brain and the skull, researchers from IISc and BMCRI have identified a genetic mutation that is responsible behind this condition. Technically called Tripartite Motif Containing 36 (TRIM36), this gene is responsible for the development of the nerve cells in a foetus. A modification to this, the scientists say, is to be blamed for anencephaly. 

World Water Day: A fireside chat with Prof. M S Mohan Kumar

This 22nd of March, on the occasion of World Water Day, Research Matters caught up with Prof MS Mohan Kumar, a Professor at the Department of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru. He is also the Chairman of the Indo-French Cell for Water Resources and an Associate Faculty at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Water Research (ICWaR) at IISc and an ex-Secretary of the Karnataka State Council for Science & Technology.  Apart from his role at the institute, Prof. Kumar has also extensively worked with government bodies such as the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB), Karnataka Urban Water Supply and Drainage Board (KUWSDB) and Bangalore Development Authority (BDA).

Women in Bengaluru choose a workplace nearby and prefer to commute in own vehicles, finds IISc study

Scientists at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, have conducted a study analyzing the influence of socio-demographic factors on the commuting habits of people in Bengaluru. The findings of the team, led by Prof. Ashish Verma from the Centre for Infrastructure, Sustainable Transportation and Urban Planning (CiSTUP), can be implemented in metropolitan cities to ease traffic congestion and pollution by opting for alternative and eco-friendly modes of transport.

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.

 

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