Monday, November 24, 2014



Four day workshop on model rocketry was held at Science City, Chennai for the teachers and science communicators of Southern states of India. The programme was conducted by the Vigyan Prasar and Tamil Nadu Science and Technology centre. On 17th November 2014 at 10 am the programme was inaugurated by Sri. P Vijaya Sarathy, Group Director, MSA, SDSC, Sri Harikkotta on the function which is presided by Dr. P. Iyamperumal, Executive Director, TSTC, Chennai.
The welcome speech was by Dr. S. Soundararajaperumal, Joint Director, Periyar Science and Technology Centre, Chennai, and Dr. R. Srinivasan, Scientific Officer had the vote of thanks.
A lecture on the topic 'Satish Dhavan Space Centre, SHAR – the space port of India ' was done by Sri Vijaya Sarathy after the inauguration. 40 participants from southern states participated in the workshop.
In the next session the Sri. Murari conducted the hands on training on model rocketry. After a lecture, he demonstrated how to make strong rocket, with all scientific principles, using paper.
The next day the participants made their own rocket. On the afternoon they have launched the rocket to the atmosphere. Sri. B.K.Tyagi from Vigyan Prasar and Dr. R.Varaprasad from SDSC,SHAR came at this time and they too launched the rocket. After that there was lecture by Dr.R.Varaprasad on the topic 'Indian Space Programme – A Glance'. After the session Sri.Tyagi started the focus group discussion about Role of Science Club.
Third day there was a field visit to Satish Dhavan Space Centre, Sri Harikkotta. All the organisers of the programme were also accompanied. The field visit was a great experience to all participants, which they have thrilled to see the mission control centre, launching pad and the whole island.
The fourth day the discussion about the science club, science education and science communication were done by the leadership of Sri. B.K.Tyagi. All the participants give the details regarding the Role of Science Club in every field. After the discussion a class by Dr. T. Muruganandan, Aerospace dept, IIT Madras were done on the topic Physics of Rocketry. After the lecture, the valedictory function started. One participant from each state shared their experience about the programme. The certificates were issued in this event.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

India Makes History

Scripting space history, India on Wednesday successfully placed its low-cost Mars spacecraft in orbit around the red planet in its very first attempt, breaking into an elite club of three nations.

The Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) spacecraft kept its tryst with the red planet after the hibernating main 440 Newton Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM) and eight thrusters on board were ignited for 24-minutes from 7.17am that slowed its benumbing speed to be smoothly captured into the Martian orbit.

The make-or-break tricky manoeuvre carried out with clockwork precision on the refrigerator sized spacecraft as planned was watched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who exultantly described it as "a historic occasion", saying the country has achieved the "near impossible".

Saturday, September 20, 2014

IYL - 2015

On 20 December 2013, The United Nations (UN) General Assembly 68th Session proclaimed 2015 as the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies (IYL 2015).

This International Year has been the initiative of a large consortium of scientific bodies together with UNESCO, and will bring together many different stakeholders including scientific societies and unions, educational institutions, technology platforms, non-profit organizations and private sector partners.

In proclaiming an International Year focusing on the topic of light science and its applications, the United Nations has recognized the importance of raising global awareness about how light-based technologies promote sustainable development and provide solutions to global challenges in energy, education, agriculture and health. Light plays a vital role in our daily lives and is an imperative cross-cutting discipline of science in the 21st century. It has revolutionized medicine, opened up international communication via the Internet, and continues to be central to linking cultural, economic and political aspects of the global society.
An International Year of Light is a tremendous opportunity to ensure that international policymakers and stakeholders are made aware of the problem-solving potential of light technology. We now have a unique opportunity to raise global awareness of this.
-John Dudley, Chairman of the IYL 2015 Steering Committee

Sunday, August 17, 2014

How Does the Universe Work?

How does the universe work? Understanding the Universe's birth and its ultimate fate are essential first steps to unveil the mechanisms of how it works. This, in turn, requires knowledge of its history, which started with the Big Bang.
Previous NASA investigations with the Cosmic Microwave Background Explorer (COBE) and the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) have measured the radiation from the Universe when it was only 300,000 years old, confirming theoretical models of its early evolution. With its improved sensitivity and resolution, ESA's Planck observatory probed the long wavelength sky to new depths during its 2-year survey, providing stringent new constraints on the physics of the first few moments of the Universe. Moreover, the possible detection and investigation of the so-called B-mode polarization pattern on the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) impressed by gravitational waves during those initial instants will provide clues for how the large-scale structures we observe today came to be.
Observations with the Hubble Space Telescope and other observatories showed that the Universe is expanding at an ever-increasing rate, implying that some day - in the very distant future - anyone looking at the night sky would see only our Galaxy and its stars. The billions of other galaxies will have receded beyond detection by these future observers. The origin of the force that is pushing the Universe apart is a mystery, and astronomers refer to it simply as "dark energy". This new, unknown component, which comprises ~68% of the matter-energy content of the Universe, will determine the ultimate fate of all. Determining the nature of dark energy, its possible history over cosmic time, is perhaps the most important quest of astronomy for the next decade and lies at the intersection of cosmology, astrophysics, and fundamental physics.
Knowing how the laws of physics behave at the extremes of space and time, near a black hole or a neutron star, is also an important piece of the puzzle we must obtain if we are to understand how the universe works. Current observatories operating at X-ray and gamma-ray energies, such as the Chandra X-ray Observatory, Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, XMM-Newton, are producing a wealth of information on the conditions of matter near compact sources, in extreme gravity fields unattainable on Earth.

(From :

Thursday, May 22, 2014

World Environment Day

Celebrate the biggest day for positive environmental action!


World Environment Day (WED) is the United Nations’ principal vehicle for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the environment. Over the years it has grown to be a broad, global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated by stakeholders in over 100 countries. It also serves as the ‘people’s day’ for doing something positive for the environment, galvanizing individual actions into a collective power that generates an exponential positive impact on the planet.
In support of the UN designation of 2014 as the International Year of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), WED this year will adopt SIDS in the broader context of climate change as its theme. Our objectives are to help build momentum towards the Third International Conference on SIDS in September and encourage a greater understanding of the importance of SIDS and of the urgency to help protect the islands in the face of growing risks and vulnerabilities, particularly as a result of climate change. We believe WED will be an excellent opportunity to raise a call for solidarity with the islands.
"Planet Earth is our shared island, let us join forces to protect it."
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the launch of the 2014 International Year of Small Islands and Developing States

Every Action Counts

WED is the opportunity for everyone to realize not only the responsibility to care for the Earth and to become agents of change.

WED 2013 generated global coverage and publicity with about 200,000 blog posts and more than 26,000 articles published on WED between 1 and 10 June 2013 alone. Our videos on WED were viewed by close to 120 million people on digital screens in Times Square in New York, Piccadilly in London, and at Live Windows (Benetton stores) in Milan, London, Munich, Barcelona and Almaty. On social media, among Twitter’s reported 200 million active users, WED was among the top 10 most talked about topics in at least 15 countries on 5 June,  with an estimated 47.6 million impressions on the Day itself.

Register Your Activity Today and Be Counted

How will you make your voice heard this year for the environment? The call this year is to recognize that we all face the same challenges and are connected and united by our common goal of a sustainable and prosperous life for all on this planet. The call is to raise our voice in solidarity with one another, particularly with the citizens of the small island states. Whether it is to  organize clean up campaigns, food waste reduction initiatives, walk-to-work days, plastic bans, art exhibits, tree-planting drives, concerts, dance recitals, recycling drives, social media campaigns and different contests  - every action counts. When multiplied by a global chorus, our individual voices and actions become exponential in its impact.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Why "Science in Society"?

Science is part of almost every aspect of our lives. Although we rarely think about it, science makes extraordinary things possible. At the flick of a switch, we have light and electricity. When we are ill, science helps us get better. It tells us about the past, helps us with the present, and creates ways to improve our future. Scientific endeavour is as much about us as it is for us. Its place in society, therefore, is not to unfold quietly at the sidelines but to become a fundamental part of the game. Now more than ever, science must engage with us, and we must engage with science.
There are times when science can seem to lose its connection to society and its needs, and sometimes its objectives are not fully understood, even if they are well intended. The lack of a common language and rapid progress in many areas of research has increased the public's concern or contributed to ambivalence about the role that science and technology play in everyday life. But science cannot work in isolation, and advances in science and technology are not an objective in their own right.

Build gateways with the public

Of course, while new developments can improve our quality of life and understanding of the world, scientists and policy makers may not always properly assess the potential risks or take full account of the public's concerns. Opportunities must be created for scientists and the general public to exchange views in a two-way dialogue of mutual respect and trust.

Inspire the next era of scientists

With the pace that the world keeps and the speed with which technology advances, an understanding of science is a crucial part of a rounded education. Moreover, Europe needs more scientists and more people skilled in science and technology in order to compete in the global arena. It is, however, becoming increasingly difficult to attract young people to science careers. There is also a clear gender imbalance in science, engineering and technology: while 59 % of graduates in EU universities are female, only 18 % of professors are women.

Integrate science into the mix

The Science in Society (SIS) Programme addresses societal engagement from many perspectives, such as encouraging dialogue between scientists and other members of the public, by promoting an adherence to ethical standards, and by developing better ways for the results of research to be accessed by all. The SIS Programme also supports new ways to interest young people in science and in research careers, and new ways to achieve greater gender equality in science.
The SIS Programme has also been charged with the responsibility of supporting the following specific research activities: the connection between science, democracy and law; ethics in science and technology; the reciprocal influence of science and culture; the role and image of scientists; gender aspects; science education methods; and science communication.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Sasthra Deepthi- FM

Sasthra Deepthi- FM

Simple test for cancer and heart disease

Heart disease and cancer are the two leading causes of death in the United States and many other developed countries. Unfortunately, both diseases can be difficult to diagnose. Because these conditions reflect changes deep inside the body, they just aren’t that easy to detect from the outside. But that could change, thanks to a new type of test.
With only two steps, it promises to be fast, cheap and easy. First, a doctor gives a patient an injection. Later, the patient urinates on a special strip of paper. The paper will change color if a disease is present.
“It works exactly the same as a pregnancy test,” Andrew Warren told Science News. A biomedical engineer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in Cambridge, his group helped design the new test along with researchers at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. So far, the test has been used only with laboratory mice.
But other researchers praise the test for its simple and smart approach.
A paradigm (PAIR uh dime) is an idea or theory about how something should be done, made or even thought about. Andres Martinez describes the new test as “brilliant work — a totally different paradigm for detecting disease.” A chemist at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Martinez was not involved in creating the new test.
One common type of diagnostic test looks for any telltale molecules that a sick person’s body naturally releases into the blood. Not this new test. It instead relies on synthetic molecules. It also takes advantage of existing knowledge about the behavior of cancer and a disorder called thrombosis. Thrombosis causes blood clots and often gets worse with heart disease.
The researchers knew that both diseases rely on proteases (PRO tee AY sis). These chemicals act like tiny scissors. In the case of cancer, they snip through proteins to clear the way for growing tumors. In thrombosis, proteases help turn on a chain reaction that can end up forming blood clots. The new test relies on the snipping behavior of proteases. It puts them to work on synthetic molecules injected into the body.
In the first part of the test, doctors inject nanoparticles shaped like little fuzzy worms into a patient’s blood. (A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter. These nanoparticles were mostly between 50 and 80 nanometers long.) The main “body” of each particle consists of tiny balls of rust. Then the researchers coated each particle’s body with a “fur” made from proteins.
The idea is to see whether the injected nanoparticles, as they circulated through the bloodstream, encountered the specific types of proteases associated with some particular disease. Those proteases would set to work snipping away at the protein fur. Once cut free, those protein fragments float freely through the body. Eventually, the body would excrete them in urine.
The second part of the test relies on a type of paper that can detect those released “fur” bits in urine. The paper contains special molecules that grab the protein bits. Adding a special solution to the paper highlights their presence by causing a red line to appear.
In laboratory experiments, the new test detected those bits in mouse urine. By doing so, it correctly identified animals with either blood clots or cancer. Warren’s group described its success February 24 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The test shows good potential as a screening tool in humans, says James Brooks. A biomedical researcher, he works at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif. He thinks, however, that the technique might work better for thrombosis than for cancer. There are more than 100 different types of cancer. And many may not produce as much protease as the cancerous tumors that were screened for in the mouse trials.
Still, the study left him impressed. “It's a very clever technique for detection.”


Saturday, February 22, 2014

Powerful artificial muscles made from fishing line and sewing thread

An international team led by The University of Texas at Dallas has discovered that ordinary fishing line and sewing thread can be cheaply converted to powerful artificial muscles.

The new muscles can lift a hundred times more weight and generate a hundred times higher mechanical power than the same length and weight of human muscle. Per weight, they can generate 7.1 horsepower per kilogram, about the same mechanical power as a jet engine.
In a paper published Feb. 21 in the journal Science, researchers explain that the powerful muscles are produced by twisting and coiling high-strength polymer fishing line and sewing thread. Scientists at UT Dallas's Alan G. MacDiarmid NanoTech Institute teamed with scientists from universities in Australia, South Korea, Canada, Turkey and China to accomplish the advances.
The muscles are powered thermally by temperature changes, which can be produced electrically, by the absorption of light or by the chemical reaction of fuels. Twisting the polymer fiber converts it to a torsional muscle that can spin a heavy rotor to more than 10,000 revolutions per minute. Subsequent additional twisting, so that the polymer fiber coils like a heavily twisted rubber band, produces a muscle that dramatically contracts along its length when heated, and returns to its initial length when cooled. If coiling is in a different twist direction than the initial polymer fiber twist, the muscles instead expand when heated.
Compared to natural muscles, which contract by only about 20 percent, these new muscles can contract by about 50 percent of their length. The muscle strokes also are reversible for millions of cycles as the muscles contract and expand under heavy mechanical loads.
"The application opportunities for these polymer muscles are vast," said corresponding author Dr. Ray Baughman, the Robert A. Welch Distinguished Chair in Chemistry at UT Dallas and director of the NanoTech Institute. "Today's most advanced humanoid robots, prosthetic limbs and wearable exoskeletons are limited by motors and hydraulic systems, whose size and weight restrict dexterity, force generation and work capability."
Baughman said the muscles could be used for applications where superhuman strengths are sought, such as robots and exoskeletons. Twisting together a bundle of polyethylene fishing lines, whose total diameter is only about 10 times larger than a human hair, produces a coiled polymer muscle that can lift 16 pounds. Operated in parallel, similar to how natural muscles are configured, a hundred of these polymer muscles could lift about 0.8 tons, Baughman said.
On the opposite extreme, independently operated coiled polymer muscles having a diameter less than a human hair could bring life-like facial expressions to humanoid companion robots for the elderly and dexterous capabilities for minimally invasive robotic microsurgery. Also, they could power miniature "laboratories on a chip," as well as devices for communicating the sense of touch from sensors on a remote robotic hand to a human hand.
The polymer muscles are normally electrically powered by resistive heating using the metal coating on commercially available sewing thread or by using metal wires that are twisted together with the muscle. For other applications, however, the muscles can be self-powered by environmental temperature changes, said Carter Haines, lead author of the study.
"We have woven textiles from the polymer muscles whose pores reversibly open and close with changes in temperature. This offers the future possibility of comfort-adjusting clothing," said Haines, who started his research career in Baughman's lab as a high school student doing summer research through the NanoExplorers program, which Baughman initiated. Haines earned an undergraduate physics degree from UT Dallas and is now a doctoral student in materials science and engineering.
The research team also has demonstrated the feasibility of using environmentally powered muscles to automatically open and close the windows of greenhouses or buildings in response to ambient temperature changes, thereby eliminating the need for electricity or noisy and costly motors.

Story Source:
The above story is based on materials provided by University of Texas at Dallas. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.