Science And Technology

  • Crusaders of science

    Crusaders of science

    A conference for the common good the mainstream media ignored

  • CU chosen for science network

    KOLKATA, Feb. 11: The department of Radiophysics and Electronics of Calcutta University will function as a networking centre of University Grant Commission (UGC) in Physical Science. The decision was taken at a meeting of the UGC held in New Delhi last week. UGC will provide Rs 5 crore in five years to set up the centre. The ministry of human resources development department (MHRD) had asked the UGC to set up 10 networking centres all over the country to carry out research work in physical science, chemical science, life science, material science and mathematical science.

  • Transcending geographic boundaries with GPS-based system

    Mating of the mobile with location sensing devices may launch the next big wave in personal appliances Way to go: The first GPS enabled phone for pedestrians. From the star of Bethlehem that guided the three Magi to the manger where Christ was born to John Denver's soulful ballad which went, "Country road, lead me home!,' location sensing and guidance has remained high on our wish list of fervently sought-after technologies. But wishing does not always mean getting and navigation: celestial, maritime or personal, has remained a complex and often exacting science.

  • Beating the heat with a home-made AC

    In an age where open-source technologies such as Wikipedia and Linux are re-defining the world, seasoned journalist M. B. Lal has come up with a simple non-patented invention that aims at helping people keep cool during the sizzling hot summers

  • Sagarika missile test-fired successfully

    India joins select club in underwater missile capability India on Tuesday proved that it had the capability to launch missiles from underwater by test-firing successfully the Sagarika missile from a pontoon off the coast of Visakhapatnam. The pontoon simulated the conditions of a submarine. Shortly after noon, the missile's booster ignited and Sagarika rose from the pontoon. Then in a spectacular display of firepower, it cleaved out of the waters of the Bay of Bengal and tore into the atmosphere as the air-booster erupted into life. It impacted the sea over 700 km away.

  • Scientists discover new way to store information via DNA

    New york: : Researchers at the University of California claim to have discovered a new system to encode digital information within DNA. According to the researchers, this method relies on length of the fragments obtained by the partial restriction digest rather than the actual content of nucleotide sequence, the Langmuir medical journal has reported. "What we developed is a method to encode a message in DNA in a way that does not require an expensive sequencing machine. The decoding still requires a wet lab procedure, but the experimental procedure is significantly easier,' said lead researcher Prof Stefano Lonardi. But, why is this discovery important? Well, the human genome consists of the equivalent of approximately 750 MB of data

  • Poor patent score

    If the number of patent applications filed under the World Intellectual Property Organisation's (WIPO) Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) is any indication, India appears to be a laggard among the knowledge- and innovation-driven economies. That the country is way behind developed nations like the US and Japan in seeking patent safeguards for inventions, is understandable. What is more noteworthy is that it compares poorly even with a much smaller economy like South Korea, as also the much bigger China. The data put out by WIPO show that only 686 patent applications were filed from India in 2007, against 7,061 from Korea and 5,456 from China. And while the rate of patent filings is growing steadily elsewhere, it is on the slide in India. The number of applications in 2007, as a result, was the second-smallest in the last five years. However, single-number comparisons of complex processes can be deceptive. So it is worth pointing out that any comparison based merely on the number of patent applications could be misleading, and other relevant factors also need to be taken into the reckoning. A comparison of India with China must be weighted for the fact that the sectors that drive economic growth are different in the two countries. While software and services predominate as Indian growth engines, Chinese growth is coming in substantial measure from new, mass-scale manufacturing activities. In the Indian software sector, research and development (R&D) activity is controlled largely by the big global companies, with headquarters elsewhere, and they treat India as an offshore R&D hub to make use of its low-cost, scientific and engineering talent pool. The patents filed on the basis of such work will mostly be done in the company's country of origin, so it will not show up in India's number. Also, there is little scope for patenting when it comes to software services. And where the life-science and pharmaceutical industry is concerned, investments in in-house R&D are a recent phenomenon. As this trend picks up, one should expect patent filings to increase. That said, the importance of patenting has come slowly to Indian companies. This could be because of a slow awakening to globalisation, and because India is a signatory to a large number of global pacts and protocols that provide automatic intellectual property protection to innovations in different fields in all the member countries. China, on the other hand, has not been as open to embracing knowledge protection obligations through such treaties. In any case, the Chinese track record in respecting intellectual property has been dismal and many global companies have suffered on this account. Though India's record in this respect may also not be perfect, it has taken two key steps through the amendment of the Patent Act in 2005 to align it with the international agreement on trade-related intellectual property rights (Trips), and the enactment of a law on sui generis plant variety and farmers' rights protection. Nevertheless, even after considering these factors, the truth is that India does not score very well on the R&D front. The positive change is that, even in manufacturing industries like automobiles, Indian companies now show signs of doing serious R&D work.

  • Kapil Sibal seeks area in seafront for national ocean technology institute

    GREETING: Union Minister of State for Science and Technology and Ocean Development Kapil Sibal with Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi at his residence in Chennai on Monday. Minister of State for Science and Technology and Ocean Development Kapil Sibal called on Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi at his Gopalapuram residence to seek a "large area in the seafront in Tamil Nadu to carry out research activities such as deep sea mining' and "coastal management.' "We want to carry on more activities in Tamil Nadu. So I requested the Chief Minister to look into a proposal by the Ministry to give a large area in the seafront in Tamil Nadu for carrying on research activities such as deep sea mining and others. As you know the Cabinet has in principle accorded approval to the setting up of a maritime university in Tamil Nadu and we hope that the setting up of the university and the grant of a seafront to us to carry out research and development would go hand in hand. This will enable us to invest more money in research activities in Tamil Nadu along the coast,' he said. Asked about the reaction of Mr. Karunanidhi, he said the Chief Minister told him that he would consider the issue very seriously. When it was brought to his notice that a parliamentary committee was looking into the issue of setting up of maritime university, he said that it was only concerned about the methodology and "how it is to be done.' Asked about the location of the university, he said: "We are setting up a maritime university. It will be located somewhere near the coast of some particular State.' Asked if there would be two maritime universities, he said he did not know about that. "It is not under my domain. I only know that in principle it has been agreed to. The location is yet to be decided and wherever it is, it has to be near the coast. And wherever it is, now with Information Technology you can do a lot of activities.' D. Rajasekhar, head of the Vessel Management Cell at the National Institute of Ocean Technology, said the area the Minister sought was for his institute, which is located in Pallikaranai. "We have to use Chennai Port for our berthing facilities

  • India gets hi-tech offshore lab for Rs 232 crore

    On Board Sagar Nidhi: It's an acquisition that would make India's deep-sea research scale new heights and the grit of scientists from National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) indicates they are raring to put the Rs 232-crore

  • BrahMos test-fired

    BrahMos, the supersonic cruise missile, on Wednesday lifted off from the Indian Naval ship "Rajput' speeding in the Bay of Bengal and destroyed a target on an uninhabited island in the Nicobar group of islands situated in the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago. It was the 15th launch of BrahMos but this was the first time that the missile was fired from a ship towards a target on land. "We kept a target on the sand dunes of the island. It was hit. It was a precision-mission. This is an important mission for us because the Navy is acquiring the capability, with the same BrahMos, to destroy targets on the coast,' said A. Sivathanu Pillai, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, BrahMos Aerospace Private Limited. The previous 14 flights of BrahMos were from ship to ship, land to ship, and from land to land. Dr. Pillai, who spoke from the Campbell Bay island, called it "a fantastic test.' The launch was executed by trained Naval personnel on board the Rajput. The test-firing took place at 10.30 a.m. BrahMos travels at a speed more than three times that of sound and can hit targets 290 km away. It is a joint product of India and Russia. Dr. Pillai said Defence Minister A.K. Antony phoned him up to congratulate the missile technologists of BrahMos Limited, the Defence Research and Development Organisation and Russia on the success. Mr. Antony said it was a major breakthrough in enhancing the capability of BrahMos.

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