Science & Technology - General awareness questions on current affairs

1)   Which company is the world's largest vaccine manufacturer by number of doses produced and sold globally?
- Published on 26 Apr 17

a. Serum Institute of Asia Pvt Ltd
b. Serum Institute of India Pvt Ltd
c. Sanofi
d. Glenmark
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Serum Institute of India Pvt Ltd

Cyrus Poonawala led Serum Institute of India Pvt. Ltd. (SII), world's largest vaccine manufacturer by number of doses produced and sold globally, has acquired Czech Republic based biopharmaceutical development and manufacturing firm Nanotherapeutics.

The acquisition is for 72 million Euro, making SII the largest injectable Polio vaccine manufacturer in the world.

This acquisition will add to SII group injectable Polio capacity, increasing it by 4 times to a total of 200 million doses by 2019. We will be investing another 45 million Euros in upgrading the facility.

The company is also building a greenfield facility in Pune with investments of INR 2000 crore to further consolidate it global positioning in the sector.

Nanotherapeutics has manufacturing capabilities for biologic products that will provide the department of defence and US government with ability to rapidly respond to emerging disease threats and chemical, biologic, radiological and nuclear events.

The current acquisition by the company is the second one overseas since 2012 when it bought a plant in Holland.

SII: Know More

  • SII, Pune is currently one of the largest manufacturers of MMR group of vaccines and Pentavalent group of vaccines in the world.
  • It is present in 147 countries.
  • With manpower of 5000 employees in SII, Pune, the company plans to add around 200 employees in the next 2-3 years in Czech Republic.

2)   Google has created which new technology to translate between English and 9 Indian languages?
- Published on 26 Apr 17

a. Neutral machine translation technology
b. Neural machine translation technology
c. Natural machine translation technology
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Neural machine translation technology

Google unveiled a new set of products and features for Indian languages to better serve the needs of Indians who were coming online rapidly.

Google Translate will use a new ‘neural machine translation technology’ to translate between English and nine widely-used Indian languages. These include Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam and Telugu. Other languages are Hindi, Punjabi, Bengali, Marathi and Gujarati.

The firm indicated neural translation offered a huge improvement over the old phrase-based system, translating full sentences at a time instead of pieces of a sentence.

This change improves the quality of translation in a single jump than seen in the last ten years combined.

Sharing insights from the joint report “Indian Languages - Defining India’s Internet” - by Google and consulting firm KPMG India, the company stated the country had 234 million Indian language users who were online compared with 175 million English web users.

Google aims for another 300 million Indian language users to come online in the next four years.

The extension of neural machine translation to Chrome browser’s built-in auto-translate functionality to web content would make full-page translations more accurate and easier to read.

The content ranges from song lyrics to cricket discussions.

The new translation capability will also be available to users on Google search and Maps to aid discovery of new places such as cafes and hotels with translations of local reviews on Google Maps, both on mobile and desktop.

Extending support to cover all 22 scheduled Indian languages, Google also rolled out new Gboard, a keyboard for Android unveiled in launched in December 2016.

It has transliteration support for languages.such as Urdu, Tamil, Hindi and Bengali.

With Google Search built right into the keyboard, Gboard will allow users to ‘search’ and use Google Translate right on their keyboard.

For users who often switch back and forth between Hindi and English, they will also be able to use ‘Hinglish’ language option with new text editing tool.

3)   India has entered an elite club of nations with the firing of which missile?
- Published on 25 Apr 17

a. Agni
b. Brahmos
c. Varun
d. Arjun
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Brahmos

The Indian Navy successfully test- fired the land-attack version of Brahmos supersonic cruise missile on 21st April, 2017.

The test-firing of the missile took place in the Bay of Bengal and it was very successful.

Land attack version of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile was fired for the first time from an Indian Navy’s stealth frigate, off the eastern coast, at a land target.

So, far only anti-ship version of BrahMos had been fired by Indian Navy.

Land Attack Brahmos: Know More

  • The land-attack version of BrahMos has been operationalised in the Indian Army since 2007.
  • The BrahMos missile, with a range of 290 km and a Mach 2.8 speed, is capable of being launched from land, sea and sub-sea pads against sea and land targets.
  • BrahMos, jointly developed by India and Russia, is considered the only supersonic cruise missile in the world.
  • The missile was first inducted in the India Navy in 2005. India is developing 450 km and 800 km range BrahMos missiles and an air launched version, designed to be delivered from Su-30 jets.
  • It is also in the development phase.

4)   How many launches per year is ISRO trying to achieve?
- Published on 25 Apr 17

a. 12
b. 10
c. 8
d. 5
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques


The Indian Space Research Organisation is trying to increase its capacity to deliver by scaling up the frequency of launches to 12 per year from the seven at present.

This is building more satellites and lowering the cost of access to space.

ISRO is trying to go up to 8-9 PSLV per year, two GSLV-Mk II and one GSLV-Mk III. Total about 12 per year,.

ISRO is trying to increase its capacity to deliver by scaling up the frequency of launches by building more satellites, lowering the cost of access to space and also to do heavier satellite launches.

The space agency is in the process of constructing a second vehicle assembly building to improve the turnaround time and throughput for the PSLV so that with the same launch pad ISRO can do more launches, he said.

ISRO plans to undertake the Chandrayaan-2 mission in the first quarter of the next calendar year.

ISRO has identified its next steps in terms of air-breathing propulsion system.

5)   Which ISS commander surpassed the record of 534 days, 2 hours and 48 min for most time in space by an American?
- Published on 25 Apr 17

a. Peggy Whitson
b. Kalpana Chawla
c. Sunita Williams
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Peggy Whitson

The International Space Station's commander Peggy Whitson surpassed the record of 534 days, two hours and 48 minutes for most accumulated time in space by an American.

Whitson already was the world's most experienced spacewoman and female spacewalker and, at 57, the oldest woman in space.

By the time she returns to Earth in September, she'll have logged 666 days in orbit over three flights.

The world record, 879 days, is held by Russian Gennady Padalka.

Whitson broke the NASA cumulative record set last year by astronaut Jeffrey Williams; Scott Kelly holds the US record for consecutive days in space, 340.

Whitson is also the first woman to command the space station twice and the only woman to have led NASA's astronaut corps.

NASA astronaut Jack Fischer, who arrived at the space station last week and took part in Monday's call, said the space station is "by far the best example of international cooperation.''

Whitson told the president that spaceflight takes a lot of time and money, so getting to Mars will require collaboration from other countries to succeed.

NASA is building the hardware right now to test a new rocket that will carry astronauts farther from Earth than ever before, she said.

6)   ISRO has launched an Android app for computing _____ energy potential of a place.
- Published on 25 Apr 17

a. solar
b. wind
c. thermal
d. coal
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: solar

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) today said its Ahmedabad-based Space Applications Centre has developed an android app for computing the solar energy potential of a place.

Developed at the behest of the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, the app is considered to be a "very useful" tool for installation of photovoltaic (PV) solar panels that is used for tapping solar energy.

The ISRO said the app provides monthly and yearly solar potential and the minimum and the maximum temperatures at any location.

It also displays the location of a place on the satellite image as well as the day's length there during different periods in a year.

According to ISRO, features of the app include providing of solar energy potential at any given location, the required location can be keyed in or can be obtained through GPS.

It said it also gives monthly and yearly solar potential processed using Indian Geostationary Satellite data (Kalpana- 1, INSAT-3D and INSAT-3DR), and also offers monthly minimum and maximum temperature to calculate the realistic solar potential.

The obstruction of sunlight due to terrain is also calculated using Digital Elevation Model (DEM) with the help of the app which also suggests optimum tilt angle for the solar PV installation

7)   Which new mega app incorporates railway apps and is set for release in June 2017?
- Published on 24 Apr 17

a. HindRail
b. MeriRail
c. Erail
d. MyRail
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: HindRail

In June, train travel- related queries will be answered through one mega application, likely to be named HindRail, which incorporates in it most of the existing railways' apps.

The Indian Railways is developing the new app to work as a full-fledged inquiry system providing information on arrivals, departures, delays, cancellations, platform number, running status and berth availability.

Besides, it will also offer booking of taxis, porter services, retiring rooms, hotels, tour packages, e-catering and other travel-related needs.

IR will offer all these services on a revenue- sharing model with the service providers.

Thus, the app will serve as a revenue-earning platform for the public transporter and is slated to have a business potential INR 100 crore every year.

The new app will be launched in June and it will not only give you information, you can also track trains through it.

Currently, there are several apps operated by the Indian Railways which provide various kinds of services. These include the CMS App for complaint management system.

The National Train Enquiry System (NTES) app provides inquiry facility. There are apps for booking reserved and unreserved tickets. There is another app managed by the IRCTC for the e-catering services.

All these will be integrated in the proposed app.

Other suggested names were MeriRail, ERail, MyRail and Rail Anubhuti.

8)   Which material is now being used to print 3D objects that can be used to make small computer optical components?
- Published on 24 Apr 17

a. Glass
b. Steel
c. Graphene
d. Polymers
Answer  Explanation 


Scientists have developed a novel way to 3D-print objects using glass, an advance that could be used to make very small optical components for complex computers.

Researchers mixed nanoparticles of high-purity quartz glass and a small quantity of liquid polymer and allowed the mixture to be cured by light at specific points — by means of stereolithography.

The 3D-printed glass can be used for many applications, including data technology.

The next plus one generation of computers will use light, which requires complicated processor structures, 3D technology could be used, for instance, to make small, complex structures out of a large number of very small optical components of different orientations.

What Is Stereolithography?

  • Stereolithography is a form of 3D-printing technology.
  • It is used for creating models, prototypes, patterns and production parts in a layer by layer fashion
  • It uses photo-polymerisation, a process by which light causes chains of molecules to link, forming polymers.
  • The material, which remains a liquid, is washed out in a solvent bath, leaving only the desired cured structure.
  • The polymer still mixed in this glass structure is subsequently removed by heating.
  • A variety of 3D-printing techniques available so far have been used on polymers or metals, but rarely on glass.
  • Where glass was processed into structures, for instance by melting and application by means of a nozzle, the surface turned out to be very rough, the material was porous and contained voids.
  • Researchers presented a new method, an innovation in materials processing, in which the material of the piece manufactured is high-purity quartz glass with the respective chemical and physical properties.
  • The glass structures show resolutions in the range of a few micrometres — one micrometre corresponding to one thousandth of a millimetre.
  • However, the structures may have dimensions in the range of a few centimetres, researchers said.

9)   Which company of the Tesla Group is working to link the human brain with a machine interface by creating micron sized devices?
- Published on 24 Apr 17

a. Neuralink Corp
b. Solar City
c. Tesla Energy
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Neuralink Corp

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk's Neuralink Corp is working to link the human brain with a machine interface by creating micron-sized devices.

Neuralink is aiming to bring to the market a product that helps with certain severe brain injuries due to stroke, cancer lesion etc, in about four years.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning will create computers so sophisticated and godlike that humans will need to implant "neural laces" in their brains to keep up.

There are a bunch of concepts in your head that then your brain has to try to compress into this incredibly low data rate called speech or typing.

If one has two brain interfaces, one could actually do an uncompressed direct conceptual communication with another person.

The technology could take about eight to 10 years to become usable by people with no disability, which would depend heavily on regulatory approval timing and how well the devices work on people with disabilities.

Tesla: Know More

  • Industry: Automotive/Energy Storage
  • Founded: July 1, 2003; (as Tesla Motors)Delaware, U.S.
  • Founders: Elon Musk, JB Straubel, Martin Eberhard, Marc Tarpenning and Ian Wright
  • Headquarters: Palo Alto, California, U.S.
  • Area served: Worldwide

10)   What is the Connshing Syndrome associated with?
- Published on 24 Apr 17

a. Overproduction of adolsterone
b. High levels of stress hormone cortisol
c. Hypertension in 10% of the cases
d. All of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: All of the above

Scientists have discovered a new cause of high blood pressure which could lead to better ways of managing the disorder.

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, often goes unnoticed but if left untreated can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.

However, it is known that in up to 10 per cent of hypertensive patients the overproduction of the adrenal hormone aldosterone, a condition known as primary aldosteronism or Conn syndrome, is the cause of disease.

Researchers found that a large number of patients with Conn syndrome do not only overproduce aldosterone but also the stress hormone cortisol.

Scientists have decided to name this new cause of hypertension–the combined overproduction of aldosterone and cortisol–as Connshing syndrome.

At present, many Conn syndrome patients are treated with drugs that are directed against the adverse effects of aldosterone.

However, this leaves the cortisol excess untreated, researchers said.

These previous studies had found increased rates of type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and depression in Conn patients–problems typically caused by overproduction of cortisol, also termed Cushing syndrome, and not by too much aldosterone.

Patients will now need to undergo more detailed assessment to clarify whether they suffer from Conn or Connshing syndrome.

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