Archive for August 2009
By Quaid Najmi
31 August 2009
MUMBAI: A young Mumbai scientist claims to have disproved a theory that living bacteria from space called ‘Cometary Panspermia’ could have led to the origin and spread of diseases like SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) that ravaged many countries in early 2000.
In his article, ‘Critique on Vindication of Panspermia’, 31-year-old Pushkar Ganesh Vaidya of the Indian Astrobiology Research Centre (IARC), has challenged the theory that three micro-organisms – two bacteria and one fungus – captured from around 41 km above the earth by a team comprising renowned astrophysicist Jayant Narlikar were of cometary origin.
Vaidya’s paper has been published in the latest issue of the well-known, peer-reviewed Canadian scientific journal Apeiron. (Apeiron, Vol. 16, No. 3, July 2009).
………Meanwhile, Narlikar told IANS that their research was “not intended as a theory but a suggestion for further exploration into this aspect.”
“We intended that there should be more research and studies on this subject. If somebody has done it, it is good,” he said.
However, in a separate written reaction, Narlikar said that he had seen Vaidya’s paper and found it “somewhat superficial in its reasoning.”
“One important aspect missed by the author is that these micro-organisms have not come directly from a comet. They were trapped in the Earth’s atmosphere and would take some weeks to remain there as argued by the (late Sir Fred) Hoyle-Wickramasinghe theory of panspermia,” he said, adding the micro-organisms would get used to gravity.
“Arguments against panspermia used to be made on the grounds that they would not survive in the hostile radiation in the interstellar space. Experiments at the Hyderabad-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) have however shown that under doses of radiation like UV, X-rays and gamma rays, bacteria mutate and learn to survive…..Read complete article……
By K S Sudhi
30 August 2009
KOCHI: Butterflies, plants and whale sharks, like the consumables in a supermarket, could soon be identified with a bar code scanner.
Scientists are working on projects for sequencing the DNA of a wide variety of trees, fish and animals as part of a project for bar coding life.
The researchers of the Kerala Forest Research Institute (KFRI) Peechi, Thrissur, are working on projects to barcode oak leaf butterflies (satyrid butterflies) and plants belonging to the genus dalbergia, which include rosewood. The identification using bar code readers would be possible for the species for which the DNA has been sequenced. Once the sequence of a species is obtained, it can be compared with the available sequences to ascertain the species.
The bar coding would be helpful in identifying the species from even a tiny bit of tissue. It will also serve as a quick, cheap and unambiguous means of distinguishing between species, according to researchers.
……..The National Institute of Plan Genome Research, New Delhi, and the National Chemical Laboratory, Pune, are the other two agencies involved in the project……Read complete news item…
29 August 2009
HYDERABAD:A set of programmes intended to boost the scientific spirit among schoolchildren was held at the National Geophysical Research Institute on Friday.
The highlight of the day-long set of events was the ‘meet the scientists’ programme where the children, drawn from 25 schools interacted with three scientists, one each from National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA), National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) and Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB).
Friday’s events were part of the ongoing celebrations of National Technology Day. Although May 11 has been celebrated as National Technology Day, the celebrations are spread out over four-five months. The ‘Meet the scientists’ programme was held at NGRI and after the scientist-student interaction the students visited the campuses of NGRI and CCMB to get a feel of scientists at work. The event was organised by the Planetary Society of India in association with AP State Council of Science and Technology and the Union Department of Science and Technology. Read complete news item….
29 August 2009
NEW DELHI: The MCD is now looking at German technology to deal with potholed roads. At a meeting of the United Traffic & Transport Infrastructure (Planning & Engineering) Centre, the civic body on Friday unveiled its plan to launch a pilot project this November for constructing concrete roads by using the bitumen foam technology.
The technology, it’s claimed, assures a lifespan of 10 years for bitumen roads and 20 for concrete roads. The corporation has involved Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) and Shri Ram Laboratary for third party checks.
“MCD will for the first time use the widely-accepted German technology for construction of concrete roads to ensure longevity, smoothness and pothole-free surface for a period of more than 20 years,” announced MCD, director, press & information, Deep Mathur..Read complete news item…
28 August 2009
PUNE: A major disaster was averted at the country’s premier chemical lab, the National Chemical Laboratory (NCL), on Thursday as the fire brigade acted swiftly to remove sodium bottles from one of the chemical labs that had caught fire in the morning.
The fire started at the clinical laboratory in room no 248 located on the first floor of G-2 building at NCL at 8.14 am. The NCL initially pressed into service its own fire brigade with the help of some of its employees, but the efforts did not yield results. The NCL then alerted the Aundh fire brigade sub-station which immediately rushed to the spot.
Seeing the raging flames, three more fire tenders were called from the central fire brigade in Timber Market along with a water tanker. Luckily, no casualties were reported, the fire brigade officials said…Read complete news item..
By Praduman Choubey
27 August 2009
DHANBAD: More information will soon be available on usage of high ash Indian coal for various purposes, thanks to the Digwadih campus of the Central Institute of Mining and Fuel Research (CIMFR).
Funded by Central Mine Planning and Design Institute Limited (CMPDIL), the institute is conducting a study on different types of high ash coal to offer suggestions on handling particular coal types, including those causing pollution.
A “pressurised bed gasification pilot plant” has been set up at the institute for carrying out the study. The scientists are focussing on problems faced during gasification — the process of extracting energy — from coal. After analysing the problems, they will suggest a technology to handle particular coal types…Read complete news item..
27 August 2009
KANPUR: A ten-day national workshop on ‘Earthquake Engineering Literature Survey’ organised by the National Information Centre of Earthquake Engineering (NICEE) commenced at the IIT-Kanpur on Thursday.
A total of 60 students (of Mtech and Phd) from 25 various colleges of the country participated in the workshop on the day one. The workshop has been sponsored by Computers and Structures (CSI), Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and Poonam and Prabhu Goel Research Foundation at IIT-Kanpur…Read complete news item..