(To Separate words use + sign)
July 20, 2018 (New Delhi)
The Indian Space Research Organisation's (Isro's) satellite centre, the Isro Satellite Centre (ISAC), has signed an agreement with a consortium led by Alpha Design Technologies Pvt Ltd, Bharat Electronics Limited and the Tatas to assemble satellites.
This will be the first set of agreements signed by Isro, which is trying to rope in private partners to overcome its own constraints. The space agency is encouraging private players to form a small consortium to undertake satellite and rocket manufacturing work so that it can remain focused on research and development.
After signing the agreement, Alpha Design Technologies chairman and managing director H S Shankar said that his company is the only organisation that has, under guidance from Isro, already assembled, integrated and tested the high-end 1.65 tonne IRNSS-1i successfully. The satellite was launched on April 12, 2018, and is functioning excellently in outer space.
The Alpha Design-led consortium consists of six small and medium-sized enterprises, including Newtech, Aidin, Aniera, DCX, Vinyas, and Exseed Speed.
Sources in the Isro said that the Alpha-led consortium, Tata, and BEL will work independently.
They are expected to build at least 7-9 satellites - divided equally between Alpha, BEL and Tata - per year. The agreement is for three years and is extendable for 2 more years.
The value of the satellites to be built was not shared by Isro or its new partners.
The satellites that are going to be built are between 1.5-3 tonnes and are meant for imaging, communication, and weather forecasting.
Sources said that all these satellites will be assembled at ISITE facilities - separate enclosures for all the companies under ISAC/ISRO.
Earlier, Alpha Design had said that it had plans to build its own facilities in the next 3-5 years. It is also scouting for investors and planning for an initial public offering to mobilise funds to back the plan.
Industry representatives have said that for medium and big satellites, the present requirements projected by Isro are that 7-9 per year might be sufficient for the next 3 years.
However, this requirement is expected to increase to 12 per year. To address this, each of these organisations would require around 500 engineers/diploma holders/skilled technicians during the 3 years.
July 20, 2018 (New Delhi)
Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) - diseases related to the heart and blood vessels are the number one cause of death in the world. In India, CVDs account for close to 25% of the total deaths - higher than tuberculosis and respiratory diseases combined, which are second and the third cause of death. Health officials predict that the risk of CVDs is only going to increase with changing lifestyle, higher levels of obesity, unhealthy diets, lack of physical activity, and overuse of tobacco and alcohol. So, who is at a higher risk of having a cardiovascular disease in their lifetime?
A recent study by researchers at the Harvard University and Harvard Medical School (USA), University of Goettingen (Germany) and the Indian Institute of Public Health (India) have examined the risk of CVDs across India based on the geographical and sociodemographic information. The study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, has analysed data of over 7,97,540 adults between the ages of 30 and 47, from 27 states and five union territories in India.
The researchers used data from the Annual Health Survey and District-level Household Survey from 2010-2014 to collect information about a person's health and sociodemographic information. Factors like body-mass index (BMI), high blood glucose level, blood pressure and smoking habits, which contribute to the risk of CVDs were collected along with their residence location. The risk factors helped the researchers calculate the risk of an individual developing a fatal or nonfatal cardiovascular disease in the next ten years.
The study found that at a national level, the prevalence of a high CVD risk of greater than 30% in the next ten years, was twice as higher in men as compared to women. Based on the geography, it varied from 10.2% among females in Assam to 24.2% among males in Nagaland and Himachal Pradesh. The average 10-year risk of a fatal or nonfatal CVD event varied widely among states in India, ranging from 13.2% in Jharkhand to 19.5% in Kerala. The risk of CVD was highest in North India, Northeast, and South India.
The study also found that adults living in urban areas, as well as those with a higher household wealth or education, tended to have a higher CVD risk. It found that smoking was more prevalent in poorer households and rural areas, whereas body mass index, high blood glucose, and systolic blood pressure - risk factors for CVD - were higher among wealthier families in urban areas. In fact, men had a substantially higher smoking prevalence (26.2%) compared to women (1.8%) and also higher systolic blood pressure than women.
With India's rapid economic growth leading to higher standards of living, and with it, increasing prevalence unhealthy lifestyles, there could be many more who are 'urbanised' and have a high risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
July 18, 2018
Airplanes and birds are soon to be joined by unmanned aerial vehicles over Indian skies. With the Civil Aviation Ministry working to put in place a regulatory framework, drones for civilian purposes may soon be a reality .
The sale and purchase of drones in currently restricted by the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in India.
Civil Aviation Secretary R N Choubey, told PTI, the ministry is working on putting in place a system wherein registration and flying permission for civilian drones are done online.
In November 2017, the ministry came out with draft norms for operating drones for civilian purposes.
According to the draft regulations, drones would require unique identification numbers while nano drones - those weighing below 250 grams - would be exempt from seeking one time approval.
Various restrictions have been proposed to ensure that the drones are used only for valid purposes. There would be 'no drone zones' that includes 50 kilometres from the international border.
A 13-member task force, headed by Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha, is in the process of preparing a road map for the implementation of unmanned aerial vehicle technology.
The task force would prepare a road map, including "outcomes, time lines, implementation & review mechanism and measurable metrics" for the implementation of UAV technology. Besides, the role of the industry would be clearly delineated, the ministry had said in a release in April.
July 17, 2018 (New Delhi)
An agreement was today signed between IIT Delhi and the All India Institute of Ayurveda (AIIA) under which projects would be launched that would aim to give "scientific validation" to the ancient medical science and integrate it with technology.
The projects would be funded by the Ayush Ministry.
Under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), the faculties of IIT Delhi and AIIA will work together in the projects to look at ways to integrate technology with Ayurveda.
The MoU is an attempt to give scientific validation to Ayurveda, said V R Rao, IIT Delhi Director , who signed the agreement along with Tanuja Nesari, AIIA Director .<>"Ayurveda is often associated with religion, where in reality, they have nothing to do with it. Ayurveda is a science and the agreement signed with IIT Delhi is an attempt to integrate it with technology," he said.
Shripad Yesso Naik, Ayush Minister, underlined the need to work towards promoting the benefits of Ayurveda to a worldwide audience.
He also expressed hope that the agreement would integrate technology in the Ayurveda sector.
The agreement was signed at a conference of the heads of National Ayush Institutes who would brainstorm on ways to induce modernity in Ayurveda.
Representatives of IIT and IIM Ahmedabad and AIIMS would also look at ways to improve the Ayurveda education.
July 17, 2018 (Hyderabad)
Agastya International Foundation (Agastya) and Honeywell India's Science Experience Centre have been now expanded to Hyderabad wherein students and teachers from government schools will do experimental science programmes. This programme is being run in Bengaluru, Gurugram and Pune which will foster Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) education which has expanded in Chennai, Madurai, and Mysore, apart from Hyderabad.
As part of the programme, Honeywell's not-for-profit entity Honeywell Hometown Solutions India Foundation (HHSIF) is supporting 25 science centres, 35 mobile science labs, and 3,000 student mentors, benefitting more than 1,35,000 students and 783 teachers across all these cities as well as Bengaluru, Gurugram, Delhi, and Pune. Honeywell Science Experience targets middle and high school students and teachers in government schools.
Speaking at the programme expansion on Tuesday, Jayesh Ranjan, IT Secretary said: "We are living in the fourth industrial era where application-based education will have a more profound impact on students, making them skilled citizens of tomorrow. Experiential learning improves critical thinking and helps students apply classroom concepts to real-world challenges." The programme aims to foster child and teacher participation in experiential learning, and boost science education through its uniquely scalable, hands-on teaching-learning methods.
K Thiagarajan, Chief Operating Officer, Agastya International Foundation said: "Telangana has been an important area in delivering Agastya?s vision and mission. The Government institutions have been encouraging and endorsing our outreach programmes in several locations. Today, we are reaching out to more than 200 schools through our diverse set of programmes. We are aspiring to set up a Creativity Campus in Telangana in the next two to three years."
July 16, 2018(Chennai)
The Indian space agency will have a busy year-end with several rocket launches planned from its rocket port at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, said a top official.
The GSAT-11 satellite, which had been recalled from Arianespace's rocket port in French Guiana for further tests, is also expected to be put into orbit by Arianespace's rocket Ariane by the year end, the official said.
"The calendar year end will be a busy one for ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation), launching satellites with our three rockets - Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV Mk II and Mk III).
"Starting September there will be rocket launches with Indian as well as foreign satellites," K. Sivan, ISRO Chairman said on Monday.
According to Sivan, in September ISRO will fly a PSLV rocket with two foreign satellites, earning revenue for the country.
In October, another PSLV rocket will fly with an Indian remote sensing satellite and several foreign satellites.
October will also see India's heaviest rocket 640-ton GSLV Mk III flying up with GSAT-29 with Ka x Ku multi-beam and optical communication payloads. The mission targets Village Resource Centres (VRC) in rural areas to bridge the digital divide.
In November, ISRO will fly a GSLV Mk II rocket to put into orbit GSAT-7A, to be used by the Indian Air Force (IAF). Earlier, ISRO had launched GSAT-7 or Rukmini satellite for the Indian Navy.
Queried about the 5.8-ton GSAT-11, a communication satellite that was recalled from French Guiana this April, Sivan said: "We expect the satellite to be launched before the end of this year. Discussions with Arianespace are on regarding the time and date of the satellite launch."
July 16, 2018(New Delhi)
The missile was fired from a mobile autonomous launcher at 10.17 a.m. from the Integrated Test Range at Balasore, Odisha. The supersonic cruise missile BrahMos was successfully test-fired on Monday, under extreme weather conditions, as part of the service life extension programme for the Army.
"The missile followed the designated trajectory and the key components functioned perfectly. BrahMos has again proved its all-weather capability, flying in sea state 7, with waves as high as nine metres," the Defence Ministry said in a statement. (Sea state is the degree of turbulence at sea, generally measured on a scale of 0 to 9 according to average wave height).
The missile was fired from a mobile autonomous launcher at 10.17 a.m. from the Integrated Test Range at Balasore, Odisha.
BrahMos, a joint venture between India and Russia, has been demonstrated in various configurations in land-attack, anti-ship and from the air. The Army and the Navy have already inducted the missile, while the air launched variant is undergoing trials.
It has a strike range of around 290 km and is described as the world's fastest supersonic cruise missile.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman congratulated the scientists, officials of Brahmos and the Army for the successful test firing of the missile. Senior Army officials and scientists from DRDO and Brahmos witnessed the trial.
"Brahmos missile has established itself as a major force multiplier in modern-day complex battlefields with its impeccable land-attack, anti-ship capabilities with multi-role and multi-platform abilities," the Ministry said.
July 11, 2018(Mumbai)
Indian museums house an enviable range of collections of art and cultural objects spanning the vast history of India. Such collections, however, are poorly documented making them vulnerable to possibilities of theft or illicit culture trafficking. The recent case of the Chola Bronze of dancing Shiva which was stolen and smuggled out of India, and then sold to the National Gallery of Australia is a case in point. The statue has since been returned after India established its provenance and requested the government of Australia. Application of new technological tools to document museum collections can help a great deal in establishing art authenticity.
Improper documentation is a major concern for safety and security of cultural objects. There is an urgent need to document all the collections in multifaceted forms including the use of appropriate scientific and technological tools, so that it helps in provenance establishment. A range of technological tools which harvest the entire electromagnetic spectrum, are available to document museum objects. This is necessary because forgeries have become a menace for museums.
In India, most museums rely on domain experts for authenticity of art objects. No one is infallible. Experts can go wrong. Therefore, relying exclusively on an expert?s knowledge (mostly restricted to the physicality of what human eyes can see) in art authenticity may not be the best practice.
Multidisciplinary studies involving collaboration between art and natural sciences are helping curators, archaeologists and scientists to establish cooperation between museums, archaeology, art history and conservation-restoration on one hand and physics, chemistry and biology on the other. Scientific developments are helping to both accurately date objects and analyse their material composition and in art authentication. The Rembrandt Research Project of the Netherlands is an example of such multidisciplinary approach.
Material analysis is increasingly becoming important with the ever improving analytical tools and techniques that have resulted in introduction of new instruments for micro analysis of objects without taking original sample material and in-situ applicability for artefacts. X-ray fluorescence analysis (XRF) is non-destructive and non- invasive. Miniaturisation is making x-ray tubes and detectors slimmer and lighter. These small devices can be transported to museums or archaeological sites or art galleries for analytical investigations of objects.
Scientific analysis of data relating objects and their documentation can come handy if and when an investigation is necessitated. A museum curator is required to identify which properties of an artefact might yield clues to its origin and this can be done using non-destructive techniques. Many materials characterization techniques like X-ray radiography, optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and energy dispersive X-ray fluorescence (ED-XRF) are highly useful in museum laboratory during such investigations.
The surface of an object often gives an indication of how it was made. An investigator can relate this information to when and where an artefact was made, since the technical processes available to various civilizations are well documented. The fabrication processes of an object provide tell-tale marks such as casting, forging, smelting or turning by lathe, which leaves concentric lines, as does a pottery wheel. If sheet metal was starting material, there may still be marks from the hammer used to beat it into shape. The surface details of objects not visible to the naked eye can be seen through optical microscope or SEM for proper attribution.
The Smithsonian Institution, which most museum professionals admire for its canonical stature, uses scientific tools in its analytical laboratories. For example, they are using the Nanoscale Scanning Electron Microscope (NanoSEM) for evaluating mineral composition of rocks and meteorites and also in determining authenticity of ancient Mesoamerican artefacts. NanoSEM has the ability to function over a range of pressures, allowing analysis of samples without the coating of electrically conductive materials like carbon, which would be impossible to remove from the specimen.
Another new technology that has made its debut in art authenticity is ?Space and Art Technology?, which is based on a technique that NASA uses for radiation detection on the International Space Station (ISS). It combines a new imaging and measuring technology with the accuracy that only robots can offer. It gives unique and unprecedented flexibility in changing between viewing and measuring at the same time, thus bringing precision to working on basis of scientific standardised repeatable protocol for condition and authentication research of art objects.
Museums across the developed world are networking with scientists and harvesting technological tools in establishing art authenticity. Most museum professionals in India do not fully subscribe to the idea of using technological tools for establishing authenticity. They feel that experts alone can handle this task. While no one can advocate replacing human experts with technological tools, it is also true that technology can very well be used to supplement and aid experts. It is just like the role diagnostic tools in aiding doctors to accurately diagnose and prove effective in improving health. Diagnostic tools have certainly not replaced doctors.
The author is Director, Nehru Science Centre, Mumbai and Director, National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai.
July 9, 2018 (New Delhi)India and South Korea on Monday signed five Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) in the field of Science and Technology, an official release said here.
The MoUs were signed by the Union Minister for Science & Technology, Dr Harsh Vardhan and his South Korean counterpart Mr You Young Min.
Three MoUs are for Programme of Cooperation 2018-21, Establishment of Future Strategy Group, and Cooperation in Biotechnology and Bio-economy.
The MoU on Establishment of Future Strategy Group was signed by Science & Technology and Commerce Ministers, while on the Korean side, it was signed by Science and ICT and Trade Ministers.
Two other MoUs were signed between Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), and South Korean National Research Council for Science and Technology and IIT Mumbai and Korea Institute of Science and Technology,to further accelerate future-oriented cooperation in their respective sectors.
These MoUs were signed at the conclusion of the 4th India-Korea Science and Technology Ministers Steering Committee Meeting.
Mr You Young Min is part of the official delegation accompanying South Korean President Moon Jae-in who arrived in New Delhi on Sunday on a three-day visit.India,South Korea sign five MoUs in Science & Technology