Science & Technology - Current Affairs for February, 2016

Science & Technology Current Affairs for February, 2016

Month wise coverage of Science & Technology Current Affairs helps you improve your general knowledge and prepare for all competitive exams like IBPS, Bank PO, SBI PO, RRB, RBI, LIC, Specialist Officer, Clerk, SSC, UPSC, Railway etc. This section is updated daily with the most important events.

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  • Month & Year   
▼ MIT scientists develop lightest flexible solar cells   [02-29-16]

MIT scientists have discovered the tiniest, most lightweight flexible solar cells to be produced on any material or surface including clothes, smartphones or soap bubble. Lab proof of concept shows new approach to creating solar cells that could power the next generation of portable electronic devices and the aim behind the new approach is to make substrate of the solar cell and protective overcoating from shielding in the environment along with the cell all in one go. A common flexible polymer called parylene has been used as a substrate and overcoating and organic material called DBP as primary light absorbing layer, Parylene is a plastic coating sued to protect implanted biomedical devices and printed circuit boards from environmental damage. To demonstrate the thinness and lightweightedness of the cells, researchers draped the working cell atop a soap bubble without popping the bubble. The solar cells including substrate and overcoating are 1/50th of the thickness of human hair and 1-1000th of the thickness of equivalent cells on class substrate yet convert sunlight into electricity as efficiently as glass rivals.

▼ Kerala declared first digital state of the country   [02-29-16]

God’s own country Kerala has been declared the first digital state of the nation. This state has many firsts on the human development index. President Pranab Mukherjee noted that Kerala has become digitally enabled, right from the launch of pilot Akshaya e-literacy project in Kerala’s Malappuram district.

▼ Scientists perform first uterus transplant in the US   [02-29-16]

Scientists perform first uterus transplant in the US. Surgeons at the clinic have performed the first uterus transplant on 24th February 2016. This transplant took 9 hours to perform. The recipient was 26 years old. The purpose of the procedure is to enable those without uterus or removed uterus to become pregnant and give birth. The team which performed the operation accompanied Dr. Andreas G. Tzakis who headed the group working with doctors from University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

▼ US launches Minuteman III, its second ICBM in a week   [02-29-16]

US military test fired its second intercontinental ballistic missile on 25th February, demonstrating its nuclear arms capacity at the time of rising tensions with Russia and North Korea. The Minuteman III missile was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. This send a message to rivals like China and Russia.

▼ BISAG launched by MHA Minister Shri Rajnath Singh   [02-29-16]

Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh inaugurated the IOCR or Integrated Operations Control Room at the BSF HQ. Within the new system, online data from field formation bonds with satellite images and projects on a 3D wall for better assimilation and collation. Singh also launched the BISAG (Bhaskaracharya Institute for Space Applications and Geo Informatics) project, which is a platform for satellite communication working specifically in Gujarat.

▼ Research identifies pancreatic cancer as 4 different diseases   [02-26-16]

Recent research has found that pancreatic cancer is not one, but 4 diseases watch with differing survival rates and genetic triggers leading the way for more accurate diagnosis and treatment of the same. University of Melbourne researchers have also found 10 genetic pathways at the core of transforming normal pancreatic tissue into cancerous tumours. Some of these processes are related to bladder and lung cancers, opening up the possibility of using treatments for these cancers to also treat pancreatic cancer. 32 genes have been identified from 10 genetic pathways mutated in pancreatic tumours, but further analyses showed 4 distinct types suggesting four different kinds of disease with differing treatments.

▼ Astronomical phenomenon occultation to take place   [02-26-16]

Moon will hide star Aldebaran or Rohini Nakshtra in March in a phenomenon known as occultation. While it is similar to an eclipse, only 37% of the moon will be illuminated through this phenomenon slated to take place on March 14. Aldebaran is in a cluster of stars nameless Hyades cluster and one may be able to see the darker side of the moon depending on local conditions. The darker side if the moon is that side which is not illuminated by sunlight, but rather by sunlight reflected by the earth.

▼ Wet penguins stay ice free because of feather microstructure: Scientists   [02-26-16]

A wet penguin in bone chilling air will ensure its feathers stay sleek and free of ice due to the unique microstructure of the feathers. Based on their findings, the scientists replicated the architecture in a nano fibre membrane that could be developed into an ice-proof material. Researchers examined Humboldt penguins from Peru to Chile using a scanning electron microscope. Feathers were found to be composed of barbs, wrinkled barbules and interlocking hooks. Hierarchical system with grooved structures is anti adhesive in addition to being hydrophobic. Scientists have discovered an ice phobic polyamide fibre menarche that could be used in electrical insulation applications.

▼ Scientists develop new method to treat cancer   [02-26-16]

In what is the first step of its kind, researchers have developed a method to turn skin calls into cancer hunting stem cells which can destroy glioblastoma/brain tumour. Survival rate beyond two years for a patient with glioblastoma is 30 percent because it is so difficult to treat. The new technique is based upon the most recent version of the Nobel Prize-winning technology from 2007, which allowed researchers to turn skin cells into embryonic-like stem cells. Researchers reprogrammed skin cells known as fibroblasts producing collagen and connective tissue become induced neural stem cells. Next steps will be using this finding to focus on human stem cells and test effective anti cancer drugs that can be loaded into tumour seeking neural stem cells.

▼ Space Cooperation between India and ASEAN nations on the anvil   [02-26-16]

As part of space cooperation between the nation and ASEAN or Association of South East Asian Nations, ISRO is working towards setting up of Satellite Tracking and Data Reception Station and Data Processing Facility in Vietnam for ASEAN member countries. Under this initiative, all ASEAN member countries, including Vietnam will be allowed to access processed remote sensing data pertaining to their country.

▼ Sea sponges predate Cambrian explosion: Researchers   [02-25-16]

The Cambrian explosion refers to an evolutionary period that began 540 million years ago when a huge number of new animal species emerged.  Sea sponges have been found to predate this explosion. MIT researchers found the right number of copies required of the SMT to produce molecule 24IPC a rare one, was only possessed by sea sponges long before algae, approximately 640 million years ago- the same time rocks containing 24-IPC were formed.

▼ Cloud Flare launches anti domain hijacking software   [02-24-16]

Cloud Flare has launched a new service aiming to protect users from domain hijacking which can lead to leakage of website’s traffic data and email hacks. Hackers have attempted to engage in domain hijacking and this marks the first time any company has created a product like this to counter it. To make the domain more secure, Cloud Flare needs three people to approve of any change been made to the DNS record. Company will also track suspicious requests by clients.

▼ DNA sequencing of peanuts done   [02-24-16]

Peanut was a result of hybridisation between two wild species and the hybrid was cultivated by ancient South American inhabitants. As ancestors were 2 different species, peanut is a tetraploid which means it carries A and B sub genomes or 2 separate genomes. Comparison of DNA sequence of wild species and cultivated peanut shows exactly the same sequencing which is 99.96% identical. IPGI is a multi national group of crop geneticists working with 39 scientists from 26 organisations in 6 countries including ICRISAT. New peanut genome will also help farmers to tackle climate change better. Peanut (Arachis hypogaea), is an important crop both commercially as well as nutritionally and around 25.7 million hectares of peanut is tended each year, producing about 42 million metric tons. Mapping the genome structure also required sequencing of two ancestral parents, because together they represent the cultivated peanut. The sequences provide researchers access to 96 percent of all peanut genes in their genomic context. ICRISAT is currently a member of the Peanut Genome Consortium.

▼ NASA has created public recording of mysterious outer space music heard in 1969   [02-24-16]

Apollo 10 mission astronauts have heard mysterious outer space music as their spacecraft flew to the far side of the moon in 1969. The transcript of the conversation between Apollo 10 astronauts Eugene Cernan and John Young mentioning the strange sound and the crew's response to the phenomenon were released in 2008. Michael Collins, pilot of Apollo 11 and the first person to fly around the side of the moon by himself also recalled hearing strange sounds when radios in both vehicles were turned on and in close proximity to one another.

▼ EPFL researchers develop low cost microfluidic device   [02-23-16]

Such devices can detect different biomarkers in small quantities of blood and have tremendous potential in the area of diagnostics. They are composed of silicone rubber with minuscule channels the width of a hair. The microfluidic portable device runs on battery power and is completely self-sustained. It operates seamlessly with inexpensive microscopes and provides very high levels of accuracy and detection.The device is special in that it is composed of both analog and digital detection mechanisms, while conventional devices hitherto only integrated one or the other.

▼ Swiss researchers develop portable diagnostic machine for detecting Ebola   [02-23-16]

This low cost machine can be used to monitor endemic, epidemic and pandemic disease outbreaks in resource-limited developing countries that need portable diagnostic equipment that functions outside the hospital. New tests and on site diagnostic testing will benefit from this.

▼ Chinese electronics giant Huawei has unveiled its first PC   [02-23-16]

Chinese electronics giant Huawei has unveiled the first personal computer, a convertible tablet aimed at premium business market that will compete with Apple and Microsoft products. The PC is known as MateBook and has a 12 inch pixel display battery. It has a battery life of 10 hours under standard use and weights just 640 gems.

▼ Mobile app Swachh Paryatan launched   [02-23-16]

This app was launched in cooperation between ministries of tourism and culture with the objective to ensure citizens’ participation in the protection and upkeep of heritage monuments in India. The app, available on Android Phones, will shortly be available on Apple and Microsoft. It will be monitored by the Project Monitoring Unit of Swachh Bharat Mission in Ministry of Tourism. 25 Adarsh Smarak Monuments such as Red Fort, Taj Mahal, Elephanta Caves, Qutab Minar Complex, have been identified for inclusion in the app, but it would be scaled up to include more monuments as the campaign expands.

▼ Internet users to reach 500 million by 2017: Google   [02-22-16]

Number of internet users in India will reach 500 million by the year 2017 with close to 400 million of them using mobile phones to get online, as per Google. There are 350 million internet users in India currently of which 152 million are mobile users.

▼ Scientists invent multi sensor artificial skin   [02-22-16]

Researchers have created multiple sensor artificial skin capable of sensing pressure, humidity, temperature, pH value, proximity and air flow. The artificial skin can respond to external stimuli and has key applications in medicine as well as robotics. This paper based skin is layered onto a post it note and has sensing components. It is created out of recyclable materials. This marks the first time a singular platforms showing milt-sensory functionalities akin to natural skin has been developed. It is being monitored or read simultaneously like the human skin.

▼ Pluto’s largest moon Charon has frozen subsurface ocean   [02-22-16]

Pluto’s largest moon Charon had a subsurface ocean frozen long ago and expanded, pushing the surface of the natural satellite and stretching it, causing massive fractures. Side of Pluto’s moon is viewed by New Horizon and has a system of pull apart tectonic faults expressed as ridges, scarps and valleys reaching more than 6.5 km deep. Outer layer of Charon is water ice whereby the layer was kept warm when Charon was young by heat generated by radioactive elements decay as well as the own internal heat formation of Charon. Scientists have opined that Charon could have enough warmth to cause water ice to melt, creating a subsurface ocean. As Charon cooled over time, ocean will be freezing and expanding lifting the outermost layers of the moon and creating a massive chasm.

▼ ASTRO-H Mission launched by JAXA   [02-22-16]

Japanese Aerospace Examination Agency has launched the ASTRO-H satellite onboard the H-IIA rocket known previously as NeXT or New X Ray Telescope. Mission involved a 2700 kg satellite equipped with 4 telescopes and a total of six detectors. It can study hard as well as soft x rays and gamma rays. Astronomy mission has been launched for studying x-rays from black holes and galaxy clusters. JAXA has partnered NASA, ESA, Canadian Space Agency, Netherlands Institute for Space Research and Japanese, European and US universities for this initiative.

▼ New Li-Fi technology to go mainstream   [02-22-16]

Li-Fi or Light Fidelity is a new technology going mainstream where LED will be used to access the Web and not just give light. The term Li-Fi was coined in 2011 by Professor Harald Haas of the University of Edinburgh. Li-FI is a technology which could revolutionise business models, create fresh opportunities and be a USD 113 billion industry by 2022. RF or radio frequency spectrum would not be enough for wireless data communication because visible light spectrum is much larger. Use of Light Spectrum for Li-Fi overcomes issues in traditional wireless communication such as spectrum shortage and network disruption on account of interference. Through Li-Fi, anyone who has access to light can remain online and access the Internet without losing network connections. Li-Flame described as the world’s first true Li-Fi system was displayed at Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress in March 2015.

About Li-FI

Light Fidelity is a new technology using light waves instead of radio frequency waves as a medium for carrying out data whereby improved LED bulb work as a router. Li-Fi works by connecting LED bulb to device which is in turn connected to the net. Internet data flows in through the device into the bulb and carried by light waves. At the other end, light waves carrying the net data fall on receive/USB connected to computer.

▼ WFIRST observatory to have a Coronagraph Instrument   [02-22-16]

The WFIRST observatory being developed by NASA will survey massive regions of the sky in near infrared light to answer basic questions about the evolution and structure of the universe. The observatory also aims to expand knowledge of planets beyond the solar system known as exoplanets. WFIRST carries a Wide Field Instrument for surveys and a CI designed to block glare of host stars and use the light of the planets orbiting around them to study the planets and chemically classify their atmosphere. Wide Field Instrument provides the telescope the ability to capture single image with depth and quality of Hubble but covering 100 times the area. It will capture the direct images of other gaseous worlds and SuperEarths

▼ NASA starts work on new WFIRST telescope   [02-22-16]

NASA has commenced work on a new telescope with a 100 times bigger view than Hubble Space Telescope to help explore possibility of alien life and the potential of dark matter. The Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope will help researchers to explore the cosmos evolution according to NASA. It will also help in discovering new worlds outside the solar system and advance research for worlds that can sustain human life. Mission was led by NASA’s Maryland Goddard Space Flight Centre. Its Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, CA will manage the 2.4 meter telescope of the mission. It will also deliver the coronagraph which is used to visualise and categorise planets across other stars. WFIRST has the same potential to discover the mysteries of the universe as Hubble and will be the next major observatory to be launched in mid 2020s since the setting up on the James Web Space Telescope in 2018.

▼ ISRO successfully completes hotbed test for cryogenic engine of GSLV Mark 3 rocket   [02-22-16]

Indian Space Research Organisation in a move to acquire heavier satellite launch capability has received a boost with the successful test of the cryogenic engine for the upper stage of the GSLV Mark 3 rocket. The test at the Mahendragiri ISRO Propulsion Research Centre lasted for around 640 seconds. Using Liquid Hydrogen at -253 degree C and Liquid Oxygen at -193 degree C as propellants, the CE20 or high thrust cryogenic engine developed at the Liquid Propulsion System centre has undergone 2 short duration tests for engine ignition and steady state performance. The first developmental flight of the GSLV Mark 3 will take place in December 2016. Mk3 is the biggest rocket made in India. It can launch satellites weighing 4 tonnes into geosynchronous orbit.

▼ Scientists discover 2D semiconducting material for electronics made of tin monoxide   [02-22-16]

Team led by US scientists have discovered a new 2D semiconducting material for electronics that paves the way for computers and smartphones which consume less power. Semiconductor is made up of 2 elements- tin and oxygen or tin monoxide(SnO) which is a layer of 2D material only one atom thick though electric charges move faster within it than 3D material such as silicon. Material can be used in transistors, computer processors and graphic processors. New 2D material will lead to manufacturing of transistors smaller and faster than those in use today.

▼ Microsoft launches group video calling feature in Skype   [02-22-16]

Microsoft has officially rolled out group video calling feature in Skype following a long wait and the company will add new features such as number of people (5-25) permitted for the video call. Skype will also offer a flexible UI for the video calling feature.

▼ Aadhaar to be used for authenticating Skype : Microsoft   [02-19-16]

Microsoft Corporation announced on 18th February 2016 that it will work towards integrating unique biometric ID system Aadhaar with the video calling service Skype. This is being done on a pilot basis initially

▼ Neanderthals mated with modern humans 100,000 years ago: Scientists   [02-19-16]

Neanderthals may have mated with modern humans 100,000 years ago associated with new study based on several DNA analysis methods. This is tens of thousands of years earlier than previously thought. This marks the first genetic evidence of a scenario in which early modern humans left the African continent and mixed with the now-extinct members of the human family prior to the migration of the ancestors of present-day non-Africans, less than 65,000 years ago.
This finding, the result of several kinds of advanced computer modelling algorithms comparing complete genomes of 100s of contemporary humans with complete and partial genomes of 4 archaic humans, has implications for human migration patterns. People of European, Eurasian and Asian descent have well-identified Neanderthal-derived segments in their genome.

▼ TATA Group company TAL to launch Tata Brabo, India’s first indigenous robot   [02-19-16]

TAL Manufacturing Solution, a TATA Group company will launch the first ever India made robot before May 2016 dubbed “Tata Brabo.” This robot has been showcased in the Make in India week in Mumbai and has been developed by a team led by TAL COO Anil Bhingurde. The robot will be developed for micro, small and medium enterprises which require cost-efficient robotic solutions for manufacturing purposes. Brabo will be priced at INR 3 Lakh for 2kg payload, and INR 6 Lakh for 10kh payload. The main advantage Tata will have is the localised manufacturing of the robot which will help it to price the robots lower than foreign players.

▼ Scientists discover new planet which sets record for longest eclipse   [02-19-16]

Every 69 years on this planet TYC 2505-672-1, the sun disappears in a total eclipse that lasts for three and a half years. This planet sets a new record for both the longest duration stellar eclipse and the longest period between eclipses in a binary system. Earlier record holder is Epsilon Aurigae, a giant star that is eclipsed by its companion every 27 years for periods ranging from 640 to 730 days.

▼ IPR Gandhinagar to build LIGO India system for detecting gravitational waves   [02-19-16]

Institute for Plasma Research at Gandhinagar is going to build the most advanced LIGO-India or Laser Interferometer Gravitational Observatory for detecting gravitational waves. This will be the third observatory of its kind in the globe. LIGO India aims to enhance identification of source of gravitational waves by as much as 5 to 10 times working in tandem with two US based detectors. The LIGO vacuum systems are among the largest in the world with a pump volume of 10 mega-litres sucked out to an ultra-high vacuum. The vacuum system -including beam tubes, the tanks and all the essential vacuum pumps -will be manufactured on site by the IPR.

▼ Railways installs first computer based signalling system at Khurja function   [02-19-16]

Indian Railways has installed the first ultra modern, computer based signalling system to ensure faster movement of over 250 trains at the Khurja junction between Kanpur and Ghaziabad. Train’s path will now be cleared by central operator working on a VDU/ Visual Display Unit. The cost of this project was INR 440 crore. Most of it came from the German Development Bank and system will lead to centralised traffic system for management and handling of traffic.

▼ Scientists discover 5 new Hot Jupiters   [02-19-16]

Scientists have discovered 5 new Jupiter like planets similar in features to the biggest planet in our solar system and very close to host stars. Researchers used the WASP South or Wide Angle Search for Planets-South instrument an array of 8 cameras observing selected regions of the southern sky to show 5 stars with planet like transits in their light curve. The 5 planets have been named WASP-119 b, WASP-124 b, WASP-126 b, WASP-129 b and WASP—133 b.The orbital periods of the planets vary from 2.17 to 5.75 days, and their masses range from 0.3 to 1.2 the mass of Jupiter, with radii between one to 1.5 Jupiter radius, researchers said.

Other Findings

  • WASP-119 b (which has a mass of 1.2 of the mass of Jupiter, and an orbital period of 2.5 days) is a typical hot Jupiter.
  • Its host star has a same type of mass like Sun’s but appears to be much older based on its effective temperature and density.
  • WASP-124 b, less larger than Jupiter (0.6 times Jupiter masses), has orbital period of 3.4 days and a much younger parent star.
  • WASP-126 b is the smallest-mass world found by researchers.
  • Its low surface gravity and a bright host star make the planet a target for transmission spectroscopy.
  • WASP-129 b, similar in size to Jupiter, has the longest orbital period. Its surface gravity is also high compared to other known ‘hot Jupiters’, researchers said.
  • WASP-133 b has the shortest orbital period of the exoplanets detected by researchers.

▼ WHO releases appeal for funding for Zika virus    [02-18-16]

WHO announced initial response to Zika virus outbreak, launching a funding appeal of 50 million euros for an operation to combat the outbreak. Zika was first discovered in 1947 in Uganda and has become a major health concern and has been implicated in Microcephaly and Guillain-Barre Syndrome. Brazil is the hardest hit by this virus.

▼ World’s first wireless flexible smartphone developed   [02-18-16]

This smartphone enables users to feel the buzz by bending apps. ReFlex is the world’s first wireless flexible smartphone which combines multitouch with bend input and allows users to experience physical tactile feedback when interacting with their apps through bend gestures.
Based on a high definition 720p LG Display Flexible OLED touch screen powered by an Android 4.4 “KitKat” board mounted to the side of the display, ReFlex also features a voice coil that allows the phone to replicate forces and friction through intricately detailed vibrations of the display.

▼ SAC, SFL collaborate to launch NEMO-AM satellite   [02-18-16]

Space Applications Centre of ISRO and Space Flight Lab of the University of Toronto’s institute for Aerospace Studies collaborated on the NEMO AM or Next Generation Earth Monitoring and Observation and Aerosol Monitoring satellite. This is one of the top performing nano satellite missions of the ISRO which will monitor suspended particles and aerosols in the air of the most polluted Indian cities. SAC will provide necessary software and the nano-satellite, which will be of 2x2x1 feet dimension and weight 15kg, will be placed 500 km above the earth. NEMO-AM will cover around 50,000 square km of the country’s 32.87 lakh sq km.

▼ New microbes that live without light or oxygen discovered   [02-17-16]

A global team of researchers have found new microbes that make a living within the deep subsurface of the planet in the absence of light or oxygen. Scientists hold that these organisms can survive many kilometres under the Earth’s surface using CO to gain energy. Microbes seen in the microscope have been named "Hadesarchaea", after the Greek god of the underworld. Researchers first discovered the organism from the South African gold mine at over 3 km. These microbes are located in considerably different aquatic and terrestrial environments whereby the deep mud of the temperate estuary in North Carolina was one while the hot springs at Wyoming’s Yellowstone National Park was another. Microbes living under the surface of the earth remain an important area of exploration. Hadesarchaea belong to the group of micro-organisms called the archaea. The latter group of microbes was discovered 40 years ago by American biologist Carl Woese.

▼ Scientists develop 3D Mini Brains mimicking brain’s structure and certain functionalities   [02-17-16]

Scientists have developed 3 dimensional versions of the mini brains that resemble human brains in structure and functionality apart from providing knowhow regarding diseases such as autism and Alzheimer’s. These mini brains are also used for testing the efficacy of medication. John Hopkins University researchers created the brains using what are known as induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs).The mini-brains are very small -at 350 micrometres in diameter (size of the eye of a housefly). They are visible to the human eye however.

▼ IndIGO in limelight following detection of gravitational waves   [02-16-16]

Ever since the detection of gravitational waves since their prediction in 1916 by Albert Einstein, IndIGO has been in news. This Indian Initiative in Gravitational Wave Observation has been set up for providing India the ability to excel in gravitational wave astronomy. This is one of the largest scientific projects of independent India. The waves were detected using the facilities at the existing three LIGO detectors that are located in Livingston, Louisiana and Hanford, Washington of the USA. The prime project under IndIGO is the LIGO India or Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory India.

▼ Nuclear reactor using EAST machine creates temperatures 3 times hotter than the sun   [02-15-16]

Nuclear reactor in China has created plasma at temperature of 90 million Fahrenheit for 102 seconds (around 49.999 million degrees C or 50 million Kelvins). Temperature is three times hotter than the sun’s core or a mid zed thermo nuclear explosion. This study was conducted at the Institute of Plasma Physics at Chinese Academy of Sciences in Jiangsu province. Research team maintained the high temperature for 1000 seconds or nearly 17 minutes.The EAST machine or Experimental Advanced Supercomputing Tokamak was used for this study. Plasma created is a super hot has formed from the heating of atoms in the magnetic EAST device. EAST experiment follows successful testing of German Wendelstein 7- stellarator fusion reactor earlier in the month for only a second.

▼ ESA’s Philae goes into hibernation   [02-15-16]

Since Rosetta has lost contact with Philae 7 months ago, it has been balancing science observations with comet landing finale even though the lander has remained quiet since July 2015. Insufficient light falling on Philae’s new home for charging its second battery is the reason this lander has fallen into hibernation.

▼ Scientists find proof of gravitational waves   [02-12-16]

Sound waves may exist but hearing the experience has proved to be unforgettable for physicists worldwide. Gravitational waves were first theorised by Albert Einstein in 1916 as part of the theory of general relativity. These are faint ripples in space time which are a forth dimension. What happens is that when massive yet compact objects such as black holes or neutrons combine through collision, gravity sends ripples across the universe. While the indirect proof of the existence of gravitational waves in 1970s led to the awarding of the 1993 Nobel Prize in physics, this announcement is considered a direct detection of the gravitational wave. Gravitational waves are the soundtrack of the universe and Einstein theorised that scientists would ever be able to hear them. Sensitivity is vital for the LIGO instrument detecting the waves as LIGO detects waves that stretch and squeeze the entire Milky Way galaxy by as little as the width of the thumb.Each LIGO has two giant arms more than 2 miles long which are perpendicular. A laser beam is split and travels both ways bouncing off mirrors to return to the arms' intersection. Gravitational waves stretch the arms to create an incredibly tiny mismatch infinitely smaller than a subatomic particle which is detected by LIGO.

▼ Albert Einstein’s gravitational waves predicted 100 years ago finally detected   [02-12-16]

In a discovery that has been lauded by scientist Stephen Hawking and the scientific world, scientists have detected gravitation waves as the ripples in the fabric of space time predicted by Einstein 100 years ago finally became confirmed. This moment has been likened to the time when Galileo took to the telescope to observe planets. Discovery of these waves formed by violent collisions in the universe opens new ways of observing the cosmos,, specifically its soundtrack. A USD 1.1. billion instrument Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, or LIGO, has been used to detect a gravitational wave from the distant crash of two black holes, one of the ways these ripples are created. This discovery is as big as the finding of the God particle.

▼ NAQUIM launched by GoI   [02-12-16]

Government of India has launched a project for Aquifer Mapping and Management. Aquifer mapping will help in preserving the quantity and quality of ground water levels. Country will also become resilient to climate change. The NAQUIM or National Aquifer Mapping and Management program is being undertaken by the CGWB or Central Ground water Board. Ground water can be predicted using this plan. This marks the first time that this type of mapping has been carried out on a larger scale by the country. The programme is in place to prepare management Plans to identify and replenish declining groundwater.

▼ Scientists discover hidden galaxies 250 million light years away from Earth   [02-11-16]

Global scientists have discovered hundreds of hidden galaxies some 250 million light years away from earth. This helps to explain the gravitational anomaly The Great Attractor Region. According to lead author professor Lister Staveley-Smith from University of Western Australia node of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR), the team found 883 galaxies, a third of which had never been seen before. On an average, a galaxy contains 100 billion stars.

▼ Gujarat to set up India’s first civil aviation park   [02-11-16]

The government of Gujarat has planned to establish India’s first civil aviation park in the state which will have a helipad as well as flight stimulator. Park will provide a platform for human resources as well as manufacturing activities pertaining to the industry. The first phase of this park will be operational from 2016 to 2017. Gujarat is currently home to India’s largest seashore and Asia’s biggest dairy.

▼ Researchers discover hydrozoa which emit fluorescence in Red Sea   [02-10-16]

Scientists have discovered a new species of hydroid polyps called hydrozoan which were founding emitting green fluorescent light in the Red Sea, in a manner akin to gastropod Nassarius margaritifer. These polyps are also referred to as hydrozoan and are a new species of Cytaeis, a genus whose body length is 1.5 mm. This polyps species was found in coral reefs of Farasan, Saudi Arabia south of the Red Sea.

▼ Scientists solve puzzle of how bacteria see   [02-10-16]

The question of how tiny bacteria see have puzzled scientists ever since Leeuwenhoek viewed them under his microscope 340 years ago. German and British researchers have found that bacterial cells are like the microscopic eyeball or the smallest and oldest camera eye. Bacteria can therefore see the world in the same way humans do. Scientists studied cyanobacteria found in water bodies. This type of bacteria evolved 2.7 billion years back. Energy is produced by this bacteria through energy from the sun. Cyanobacteria of a particular species Synechocystis, which is found naturally in freshwater lakes and rivers was studied. Current study shows bacteria contain photosensors which enable them to perceive position of light source and go towards it. This is because the cell body acts as a lens. Once light reaches the spherical surface, there is refraction into a point on the cell’s other side. A Synechocystis cell is about half a billion times smaller than the human eye. Angular resolution enables superior light perception in cyanobacteria.

▼ First machine harvestable chickpea variety launched by ICRISAT   [02-9-16]

ICRISAT or International Crops Research Institute for Semi Arid Tropics has announced the release of the first machine harvestable chickpea variety NBeG47 in AP. Normal process of harvesting 2.25 tonnes of chickpea takes a total of 3 days and will be harvested in 75 minutes by standard machinery. This is possible through a new taller chickpea variety suitable for machine harvest. This chickpea was funded by Department of Agriculture and Cooperation under National Food Security Mission of Union Ministry of Agriculture.

▼ Cold dust grains discovered in planet forming disc   [02-9-16]

International team of researchers have found cold dust grains in the planet forming disc named the Flying Saucer around 400 light years from earth. France’s team at the Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Bordeaux, measured the temperature of large dust grains around the young star named '2MASS J16281370-2431391' in the Rho Ophiuchi star formation region. Specific disc was seen on the edge and its appearance in visible light pictures has led to the coining of the moniker the Flying Saucer. Scientists came up with very sharp images and saw a negative signal which is normally physically impossible. The negative signal indicates parts of the disc are cooler than its background.

▼ Nanoparticles used in combination with x-ray can kill cancer cells : Scientists   [02-9-16]

Nanoparticles used in conjunction with x-rays are the perfect method for destroying cancer cells deep within the living body, according to a new study. Researchers from Australia’s CNBP or Centre for Nanoscale BioPhotonics are associated with successful quantification of singlet oxygen generated during photodynamic therapy for cancer. Single oxygen molecules are able to destroy or inhibit growth of cancer cells in the body on account of their toxicity. Photodynamic therapy occurs when light sensitive compounds are placed within close proximity of diseased cells. X-rays, a form of light were used for stimulating cerium fluoride CeF3 nanoparticles placed near group of cells. Findings are significant as this is the first time there has been correct quantification of singlet oxygen molecules produced in this kind of procedure.

▼ Sri Aurobindo International Centre for Education becomes India’s first completely solar powered institute   [02-8-16]

Sri Aurobindo International Centre for Education in Puducherry has become the first Indian educational institution to be fully solar powered. Institute thrives on thrice the electricity it consumes through star power plants. This institute has had energy self reliance since September in 2014.

▼ PM-30, new variety of mustard released by IARI   [02-8-16]

PM-30 a mustard developed by IARI scientists will enhance productivity and benefit health on account of low erucic acid. High erucic content is associated with myocardial fibrosis in adults and lipidosis in children. As against normal mustard which has more than 40% of erucic acid, PM_30 has lower than 2% of this avid using conventional breeding methods.

▼ New black tarantula species named after Johnny Cash   [02-8-16]

Scientists who found a new kind of black tarantula known as Aphonopelma johnnycashi is all black, the way Cash often dressed when he strummed his guitar and sang songs like 'The Man in Black' and 'Folsom Prison Blues’, in field research carried out in Folsom, California. The tarantula is one of the 14 new spider species found in southwestern US.

▼ Scientists find mammals with dinosaur like features   [02-8-16]

This shows a convergent evolution across millions of years between two distinctly related species. The scientists collected the fossil of wildebeest animals from Australia’s Bovid Hills in New South Wales. Most of the fossils belong to the lesser known species Rusingoryx atopocranion. It was in 2011 that University of Minnesota researchers found many skeletons of the ancient animal in one spot. Based on their anatomical investigations together with acoustical modelling, researchers think the trumpet-like nasal tube may have allowed Rusingoryx to deepen its normal vocal calls.

▼ Elevated methylation signature which is biomarker of 5 different types of cancer found   [02-8-16]

A tell tale marker of 5 different types of cancer was discovered by NIH researchers from the US, increasing chances of diagnosing cancer with a simple blood test. Scientists also found evidence that a methylation signature like this may be present in many more types of cancer. This specific signature occurs as DNA from cancer undergoes chemical modification through a process known as methylation. This controls the functioning of specific genes such as a dimmer on a light switch. Greater amounts of DNA methylation are present in some DNA tumors, decreasing the activity of the gene. Elevated methylation signature around the gene known as ZNF154 unique to tumors was found by the scientists.

▼ New Horizons captures frozen floating hills in Pluto   [02-8-16]

NASA’s New Horizons has captured images of frozen nitrogen glaciers on Pluto with plenty of floating hills which could be water ice fragments, providing insight into the abundant geological activity of the dwarf planet. Hill measures 1 to 7 kilometers and the hills are in the cast ice plain celled Sputnik Planum within the heart of Pluto, which is a miniature version of the larger mountains on the western border.

▼ Artificial graphene invented   [02-5-16]

Scientists at University of Arkansas have created an artificial material with structure akin to wonder material graphene. Invented in the year 2004, graphene is a thick sheet of graphite which is as thick as one atom. Graphene transistors are more heat resilient than silicon transistors and may also increase the efficiency of computers. The first artificial graphene like structure with transition metal atoms instead of carbon atoms was created.

▼ NASA’s Jupiter bound solar powered spacecraft adjusts its flight path   [02-5-16]

NASA’s Jupiter bound solar powered Juno spacecraft has executed a manoeuvre for adjusting the flight path, setting the stage for a meeting with the largest planet in the solar system. Launched from earth in 2011, Juno spacecraft will reach Jupiter in the month of July. The Juno spacecraft's thrusters consumed about 0.6 kg of fuel during the burn, and changed the spacecraft's speed by 0.31 metres per second. At the point of the manoeuvre, Juno was about 82 million km from Jupiter and approximately 684 million km from Earth.

▼ Ministry of Finance launches official YouTube channel   [02-5-16]

FM Arun Jaitley has launched an official YouTube channel that will serve as a useful platform. There is a need for the platform where the complete material should be available. This has formed the basis of the YouTube channel which will disseminate information of the FM through videos. It will feature videos on numerous schemes, events, press conferences, meetings as well as exclusive videos on important schemes.

▼ CSIR launched BGR-34   [02-4-16]

CSIR has launched BGR-34 which is the nation’s first anti-diabetic ayurvedic drug for type 2 diabetes mellitus scientifically validated for efficacy and safety. BGR-34 has been developed by National Botanical Research Institute and Centre Institute for Medicinal and Aromatic Plants. These are CSIR research units located in Lucknow. BGR-34 comes at the price of INR 5 per tablet. Currently, 6 crore of the adult Indian population has been diagnosed with diabetes.

▼ Zika- outbreak declared international emergency   [02-2-16]

WHO has announced the massive spread of the Zika cruise in the Americas as an event that merits being an international emergency. The agency convened an emergency meeting of independent experts to assess the outbreak after noting a suspicious link between Zika’s arrival in Brazil last year and a surge in the number of babies born with abnormally small heads. WHO estimates there could be up to 4 million cases of Zika in the Americas in the next year.

▼ Planetary embryo Theia collided with Earth to create planet   [02-2-16]

A massive head on collision created earth when planetary embryo Theia around the size of Mars collided with earth 4.5 billion years back when the planet was 100 million years old. It was more of a head on collision according to UCLA researchers and force of the impact resulted in early Earth and Theia, together to form a single planet, with a piece breaking off and entering its gravitational pull to form the moon.

▼ NASA’s first integrated photonics modem to be tested   [02-1-16]

The first ever integrated photonics modem will be tested abroad the International Space Station commencing in 2020 as part of the NASA Laser Communications Relay Demo. The cell phone-sized device incorporates optics-based functions such as lasers, switches and wires onto a microchip much like an integrated circuit found in all electronics hardware. Once aboard the ISS, the so-called Integrated LCRD LEO (Low-Earth Orbit) User Modem and Amplifier (ILLUMA) will serve as a low-Earth orbit terminal for Nasa’s LCRD.

▼ Anti leprosy day observed on 30th January 2016   [02-1-16]

Anti leprosy day was observed on 30th January 2016 for focusing attention on this disease also called Hansen’s disease. The day is celebrated in memory of Mahatma Gandhi who achieved martyrdom on 30th January 1948. The aim of this dau is to raise leprosy awareness among persons and help leprosy patients cope with the disease.

▼ Lt Governor of Puducherry launches MITRA mobile app   [02-1-16]

Lt. Governor of Puducherry AK Singh has launched the MITRA mobile application for ensuring the safety and security of women in the UT. Android based app can transmit emergency messages in the face of danger. For launching the app, person needs to press power button of the mobile thrice. It can only be used by smartphones currently.