Patna, Dec 10 (IANS) Bihar’s public grievance redressal website has received the Silver Icon Web Ratna Award 2012, an official said here Monday.
Union Minister of Communications and Information Technology Kapil Sibbal presented the award to S. Siddharth, Bihar’s secretary of urban development and public grievances, in New Delhi Monday.
State IT department officials said the public grievance redressal website — http://bpgrs.in — has been developed by the state government as an e-governance initiative and has various features for quick and transparent disposal of complaints.
The complainant is also intimated on his/her e-mail about the action taken, the officials said.
Bangalore, Dec 10 (IANS) A research paper by an Indian physicist has for the first time cast doubts on some of the fundamental hypotheses of the standard Big Bang model for the origin of the universe.
Abhas Mitra is working in the Astrophysics Sciences Division of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) in Mumbai. His paper that raises several questions for mainstream cosmologists was published earlier this month in the online issue of “Scientific Reports”, a new peer-reviewed journal of the prestigious Nature Publishing Group.
The Big Bang model claims that the universe suddenly erupted out of nothingness in an infinitely powerful explosion some 13.7 billion years ago. Mitra’s paper raises doubts over physical realization of the key concepts like ‘Dark Energy and ‘Cosmic Inflation’ that are the hallmarks of mainstream cosmology.
In his paper, Mitra argues that that Cosmological Constant, which is the fundamental ingredient behind such concepts like Dark Energy and Cosmic Inflation, should actually be non-existent or zero and cannot have a finite value as believed now.
Modern Big Bang cosmology has in its foundation a feature called “inflation”. As per this inflationary Big Bang theory, the universe went through a momentary phase of an exponential expansion almost immediately after its birth. It was hypothesized that the new-born universe developed a positive Cosmological Constant – representing a fairly large repulsive vacuum energy – that gave rise to this runaway expansion. Further, from 1998 onwards, the mainstream cosmology believes that the universe is undergoing an “accelerated” expansion – the extra push coming from a “repulsive” Cosmological Constant that is termed Dark Energy.
Historically, such an exponential expansion is known as a “de-Sitter phase” named after the famous Dutch physicist Williem de-Sitter (1872-1934). But the supposed de-Sitter expansion or inflation has a “very perplexing” aspect, says Mitra.
“While some observers do perceive the explosion, there are other observers who do not at all see the explosion. On the other hand, in physics, and in Einstein’s General Relativity, a genuine physical effect must be perceived by all,” Mitrra told IANS.
The bottom line of Mitra’s highly mathematical paper is that a quantity called “Expansion Scalar” must objectively decide whether there is any genuine expansion or not. “However, the fact that the de-Sitter phase appears at a standstill to some observers means that this is inherently zero, and which in turn implies that Gravitational Constant is actually zero,” Mitra said.
Therefore, according to the BARC physicist, the de-Sitter explosion picture obtained by assuming a finite Gravitational Constant is only a “mathematical mirage”.
Mitra argues that, accordingly, the Dark Energy and apparent acceleration of the cosmos too could be “fictitious” as these concepts were introduced to explain “a complex inhomogeneous universe in terms of an over-simplified Big Bang model.”
Interestingly, he says that the so-called “String Theory”, which purports to unify fundamental interactions like electromagnetic and nuclear forces with gravity, also invokes an attractive (instead of repulsive) “anti-de-Sitter” feature that is “basically a profound conjecture”.
“I am especially happy that this work has fundamental importance in not only in cosmology but also in physics,” Mitra said. His 2009 paper published in the Journal of Mathematical Physics claimed to have proven that the mathematical Black Holes have zero mass, implying that the “Black Hole Candidates” observed by astronomers must be quasi-Black Holes rather than true Black Holes.
(K.S. Jayaraman can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Bangalore, Dec 6 (IANS) C.N.R. Rao, chairman of the science advisory council to the prime minister, was in discussions with the central government to increase funding to enhance research output, Planning Commission member and space scientist K. Kasturirangan said here Thursday.
“Rao is currently in talks with the government to increase funding to boost research output, which in turn will play a major role in driving innovation in science and technology,” Kasturirangan, a former Indian Space Research Organisation chief, said at a nanotechnology event here.
As a scientific advisor, Rao is also working with state governments across the country to enhance research work in collaboration with international institutions in new areas of science, especially nanotechnology, which has become applicable in agriculture, environment, healthcare and medicine.
“With the efforts of Rao, we have been able to enrich science education and research. The plan panel has recommended special funds for research in nanotechnology, in which India has recently climbed to sixth position from ninth though our contribution to global research work is still around three percent,” Kasturirangan said at the fifth edition of ‘Bangalore Nano’ event.
Noting that nanotechnology had a crucial role in achieving sustainable growth due to its applications in every sphere, he said the nanotechnology vision was to help the country grow faster and increase the contribution of science and technology to the GDP (gross domestic product) by two percent, with one percent each coming from state-run research institutes and the private sector.
In his address to a gathering of scientists, technocrats, experts and officials at the inaugural session, Rao said many exciting things were happening in the science field, especially in nanotechnology, thanks to extensive research worldwide, innovation and developing products with nano materials.
“For instance, the enormous quantity of heat generated from grapheme can be efficiently used as energy. Similarly, when gold and copper particles in water are exposed to sunlight, nano particles in the two elements (gold and copper) absorb the sunlight and produce heat energy through nanotechnology,” Rao asserted.
Highlighting the research conducted and products developed using nanotechnology and nano materials, he said scientists in the US were jointly developing ‘Nano Nose’ to detect breast cancer by identifying the unique molecule by its patients.
“Rapid developments in nanotechnology will result in the increasing use of nano-based applications in heathcare over the next five-six years. In medicine, tissue engineering is being used to treat seventh degree burns,” Rao observed.
The fifth Nano National Award 2012 was conferred on G.U. Kulkarni, professor of chemistry and nanoscience at the state-run Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) on the city’s outskirts.
Kochi, Dec 4 (IANS) Kochi will play host to the largest conference of the Institution of Electronics and Electrical Engineers (IEEE) – Indicon 2012 from Dec 7 to 9.
The conference will bring together about 500 delegates from different parts of the world, including some of the most distinguished professionals in computational sciences and engineering.
The event is jointly organised by IEEE India Council, IEEE Kerala section and IEEE Kochi sub-section.
IEEE is a 125-year old global fraternity of engineering professionals, with its headquarters in the New Jersey, US, having sections in over 160 countries.
IEEE has over 400,000 members around the world, and over 30,000 members in India.
IEEE is mandated with a number of technical activities including development and maintenance of a number of global standards in computing, communications and other branches of engineering (such as standards for mobile telephony and wireless networking); technical and research publication.
Indicon 2012 will be inaugurated by Peter Staecker, president-elect, while the keynote address will be delivered by Dr. Gangan Prathap, director, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research – National Institute of Science Communication and Information Resources, Delhi.
“The event has received an overwhelming response from the academic and research communities in India and abroad. Besides technical paper presentations, the conference also hosts a number of side events,” said A. Unnikrishnan, chair organising committee, IEEE Kochi sub-section.
The conference is supported by the Kerala State IT Mission.
New Delhi, Dec 3 (IANS) As the sun goes down Monday, Jupiter, the largest celestial body after the Sun in the solar system, can be seen in the sky with naked eye.
“The planet (Jupiter) will be closest to the Earth, so it can be seen with a naked eye an hour after the sunset in the eastern direction today (Monday) evening. It will be visible all through the night,” said C.B. Devgan, president of the Science Popularisation Association Communicators and Educators (SPACE).
Jupiter, which has a large number of natural satellites, will be in ‘opposition’ to the sun Monday night.
“The planet will be directly opposite to the sun. At its opposition, the planet is fully illuminated by the sun and appears disc-like. The planet will be closest to the Earth and thus would appear bigger and brighter than usual,” he said.
According to SPACE, in positional astronomy, “opposition” defines that position of a celestial object when it is on the opposite side of the sun in the sky when viewed from the Earth as reference.
The minimum distance of Jupiter from the Earth is approximately 588 million km while the planet’s maximum distance is about 960 million km.
“The ring planet will be at 566 million km, which is very close to its minimum distance from Earth, it occurs once in 13 months,” he added.
The last opposition of Jupiter occurred Oct 29, 2011, and the next will be Jan 6, 2014.
New Delhi, Dec 2 (IANS) President Pranab Mukherjee will inaugurate the 27th Indian Engineering Congress here Dec 13. The theme this year is ‘sustainable development through engineering’.
The four-day congress is expected to see more than 1,000 participants from India and across the world. It is being organised by the Institute of Engineers (IEI) Delhi state centre, along with the ministry of urban development and the Delhi government.
R.N. Rajput, chairman of the Congress and IEI, Delhi state centre, said: “The congress is being organised to provide engineers newer and better horizons to operate in their respective fields of expertise, and a forum to meet and interact with counterparts from other organisations.”
The congress will see discussions on the role of engineers in poverty reduction.
An exhibition showcasing key and emerging products, technologies and prototypes covering 15 engineering divisions will be major highlight.
Thiruvananthapuram, Dec 2 (IANS) The Kerala Biotechnology Commission (KBC) is to launch a series of new initiatives to strengthen the biotechnology sector in the state.
“Biotechnology is gaining importance worldwide in all fields of science, ranging from medicine to agriculture. As a state with highly educated and skilled young people, Kerala is well placed to take the lead in innovation and research in it,” said P.M. Sudhakaran, the new director of KBC.
KBC, which functions under the Kerala Science Council for Science Technology and Environment (KSCSTE) is the nodal agency for all biotechnology-related activities in the state and takes the lead in frontline research and development.
As part of a revamp of its activities, the KBC will accord the highest priority to fostering young scientists, capacity-building and promoting industry-linked biotechnology research.
“Biotechnology has immense potential to transform lives. Its possibilities for rural development are only being explored. We will encourage every biotech innovation that can bring positive changes to the lives of people in rural areas,” said Sudhakaran.
A winner of the prestigious J.C. Bose Award and a Fellow of the National Academy of Medical Sciences, Sudhakaran is a former dean of Science at Kerala University and professor of Biological Sciences at Central University, Kerala.
KBC will function as the think tank of the Biotechnology Board which is tasked with taking top level administrative and financial decisions to drive the growth of biotechnology in the state.
It will identify the focus area of investment and prioritise projects for implementation and will be responsible for the biotechnology development fund, he said.
The KBC will also address all ethical, environmental, economic and social issues related to biotechnology practices, Sudhakaran added.
Bikaner, Nov 30 (IANS) Manju Wadhwa, eminent scientist, Department of Animal Nutrition, Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Science University, Ludhiana, has been conferred the Fellow of Animal Nutrition Association award for her outstanding contribution to the field of animal nutrition.
The recognition of her contribution came at the Animal Nutrition Association’s eight biennial conference held at Rajasthan University of Veterinary & Animal Sciences here November 28-30.
Wadhwa is known for her pioneering work on improving efficiency of nutrient utilization in poor quality crop residues as also nutritional status of dairy animals in Punjab.
Her work in reducing global warming by animals led to breakthrough studies on the methane production potential of feedstuffs available in the region and development of methane mitigation strategies and has won her peer and global accolades.
Wadhwa has published over 80 research articles in national and international peer reviewed journals, a number of technical bulletins and popular articles, in addition to successfully guiding MSc students.
She has served as the editor of the Indian Journal of Animal Nutrition for two consecutive tenures besides contributing to academic discussions and conferences in Canada, Malaysia, China and Thailand, contributing to the cause of science.
An alumnus of Punjab Agricultural University, Wadhwa pursued post-doctoral research at Memorial University of New Foundland, Canada.
Chennai, Nov 24 (IANS) With the supply of fuel likely to improve in six months, the Madras Atomic Power Station’s (MAPS) two atomic power reactors would be able to achieve their rated capacity, said a senior official.
“We are now generating 350 MW (first unit 180 MW, second unit 170 MW). There is no shortage of fuel for this level of power generation. In six months time, we hope the fuel supply position to improve so that both the units can operate at their optimum capacity which is 220 MW each,” T.J.Kotteeswaran, station director told IANS.
The two pressurised heavy water reactors (PHWR) of MPAS, belonging to the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL), are located at Kalpakkam, around 70 km from here.
Kotteeswaran said fuel supplies are expected to improve next year from the uranium mine in Tumalapalli in Andhra Pradesh.
According to him, the difference between the generation and the two reactors’ rated capacity is just 90 MW which could be easily bridged.
Meanwhile, MAPS will shutdown its second unit for around 35 days for bi−annual maintenance.
“We plan to shut down the second unit sometime next Jan/Feb for bi−annual maintenance. Certain things have to be done only when the reactor is shut down,” Kotteeswaran added.
New Delhi, Nov 23 (IANS) The Delhi Jal Board Friday introduced its online bill payment facility so that the people of Delhi will no longer have to stand in long queues to pay water bills.
An e−kiosk facility was also launched with 37 such kiosks at various Delhi Jal Board zonal offices in the capital.
“This is a major step by Delhi Jal Board to provide better services. Plans are underway for providing payment of water bills through mobile phones too,” Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said.
Chennai, Nov 22 (IANS) Two agriculture scientists K.V. Prabhu and Ashok Kumar Singh, affiliated to the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), New Delhi, have been chosen for the Borlaug Award for the year 2012.
The award has been instituted by fertilizer major Coromandel International.
In a statement issued here, the company said: “A five−member jury headed by M.S. Swaminathan, the father of the Green Revolution in India, has named these eminent scientists for the award.”
Prabhu and Singh have been chosen for the award for their contribution in basmati rice research and development.
Coromandel International instituted the award in 1972 to honour Nobel Laureate Norman E. Borlaug.
The award carries a cash prize of Rs.5,00,000, a gold medal and a citation.
It is conferred on scientists in recognition of their outstanding research and contribution in the fields of agriculture and environment by Indian scientists.
Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia will present the award to the scientists in New Delhi Nov 28, on the occasion of the Coromandel Lecture on ‘Cutting−edge Science for food security, economic growth and environment protection’, to be delivered by Robert S Zeigler, director general of the International Rice Research Institute.
Chennai, Nov 17 (IANS) Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) is hoping to get the regulator’s sanction next week to start heating up the first unit at Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP), said an official Saturday.
The country’s atomic power plant operator is setting up the project in Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu’s Tirunelveli district, around 650 km from here, with two Russian−made VVER 1,000−MW reactors.
“We hope to get AERB’s (Atomic Energy Regulatory Board) clearance to proceed with the next step coming week. We have submitted various reports about the reactor to the regulator,” a senior NPCIL official, preferring anonymity, told IANS.
Earlier this month, two German technicians completed the process of sealing the reactor pressure vessel, a major milestone prior to the commissioning of the unit.
Subsequently, NPCIL submitted several technical reports to AERB to get the nod to begin the heating up process of the systems.
According to the official, after starting the heating up process, several tests have to be conducted and reports submitted to AERB.
On satisfaction with the results, AERB would give its permission for the reactor achieving criticality or starting the fission process.
The company wants to be doubly sure about the reactor’s safe functioning and is not in a hurry, said the official.
AERB gave its nod to NPCIL to load 163 bundles of enriched uranium fuel in the first reactor in KNPP Sep 18 after the operator complied with all the conditions laid down by the regulator in its Aug 10 sanction order.
NPCIL completed the fuel loading process Oct 2.
The nuclear power project is an outcome of an Inter−Governmental Agreement between India and the erstwhile Soviet Union in 1988.
However, the construction began only in 2001.