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Science Monitor: 28 November 2020

Science Monitor: 28 November 2020


1. National Science Film Festival of India- 2020


Vigyan Prasar organizes National Science Film Festival of India every year, to promote quality science filmmaking in the country. This year in view of the pandemic, the 10th edition of the festival was organised online in collaboration with Tripura State Council foe Science and Technology. The festival ran from November 24th to 27th and screened 115 films depicting different facets of science.

A Must Watch, 10th National Science Film Festival of India @VigyanPrasar  @Jaivikshastram - JaivikShastramAbout the Festival:

  • Vigyan Prasar, an autonomous organization of the Department of Science and Technology launched the Rashtriya Vigyan Chalchitra Mela (RVCM) in 2011, which has now become the National Science Film Festival of India. With an aim to promote science films, this festival has been organised at different locations in the country.
  • The 10th edition of the festival was originally organised planned at Agartala in Tripura, but due to covid crisis, the event was organized on a virtual platform. The festival was inaugurated on 24th November and concluded on 27th November.
  • NSFFI is India’s first of its kind film festival where science related documentaries and short films are screened and awarded under different categories. The 10th edition received 372 films produced by government organizations, NGOs, filmmakers and students and out of these 115 films were selected under various categories for screening in the festival.
  • In addition to the screening of films based on different themes such as energy, environment, water management, health and agriculture, several master classes and panel discussions were also organized to discuss filmmaking techniques and subjects of science films.
  • This time Chalti kaa Naam Ooshma, The Climate Challenge and Croaking Frogs won golden beaver award in the main categories of the festival. Many technical and non-technical awards were also given under other categories.

2. IITK- The Present & Future of Satellite Gravimetry


Accurate mapping of earth’s gravity can reveal a lot about the changes in the earth’s system. Therefore, special satellites have also been launched for measuring and mapping earth’s gravity. Now, space agencies of different countries are planning to launch next-gen satellite gravimetry missions to improve the current capabilities. In this context, an International online workshop titled the present and future of satellite gravimetry was conducted at IIT Kanpur, under the aegis of National Centre of Geodesy to invigorate satellite gravimetry research in India so that India can also contribute in this global endeavour.

satellite-gravimetryAbout the missions:

  • As we know, the gravity of an object changes with alterations in mass. Therefore, the variations of earth’s gravity field tells us a lot about the mass changes within and on the surface of the earth.
  • In 2002, gravity recovery and climate experiment grace satellite mission was launched by NASA in collaboration with Germany for Satellite Gravimetry and its follow up was launched in 2018.
  • These missions have helped the scientists to measure the total water storage available on land, the amount of ice mass lost to the oceans, etc and have also contributed to climate change studies.
  • To widen the applications and capabilities of satellite gravimetry, the space agencies of different countries are now planning to launch next-gen satellite gravimetry missions.
  • Therefore, to invigorate satellite gravimetry research in India, an online workshop titled “The Present & Future of Satellite Gravimetry” was conducted at IIT Kanpur, where researchers at the forefront of satellite gravimetry research ISRO, IITs and NITs were invited and experts from Germany, Netherlands, USA, Australia, Denmark and Iran also participated.
  • The experts discussed the synergies and collaboration for developing a future Indian satellite gravimetry missions. Given the long standing expertise and contribution of the ISRO to earth’s observation, India is well placed to join the endeavour.

3. CSIR-IHBT saffron cultivation in Himachal Pradesh


To increase the production of saffron in the country, several new places were identified by CSIR-IHBT to grow saffron apart from Jammu and Kashmir. In the last few years, the Institute has conducted successful research trials of saffron cultivation in Himachal Pradesh along with good quality comms or bulbs for its propagation. After successful consecutive trials, the Institute has now introduced saffron cultivation for the farmers in the selected regions of Himachal Pradesh.

Improving Cultivation of Heeng and Saffron in India | RajRAS - Rajasthan RAS

About the cultivation:

  • Saffron is considered the most expensive spice in the world and therefore, it is also called red gold. The aroma and colour of this spice can make any dish special. In Indian culture, apart from culinary and medicinal use, saffron is also used in religious rituals. Annually, about 100 tons of saffron is consumed in India whereas only 9 to 10 tons of saffron is produced in Jammu’s Kishtavar and Kashmir’s Pampore.
  • To meet the domestic demand, the rest of saffron is imported from countries like Iran. To increase the production of saffron in the country, several efforts were started by Palampur based CSIR Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology. The institute not only identified several new places suitable enough to grow saffron but also conducted successful trials of saffron cultivation in identified areas of Himachal Pradesh.
  • The scientific name of Zafran or saffron is Crocus Sativus and it grows in dry temperate zones at high altitudes. The dried red colour stigma of its flower is used as a spice. It is propagated by corm which looks a lot like onion bulb. The quality of the crop depends heavily on corms or bulb.
  • Scientists at IHBT have successfully developed good quality corms using tissue culture in their lab to grow saffron in Himachal Pradesh. The institute has prepared demonstration plots of saffron using corms developed by the institute.
  • The quality of saffron is determined by the length and weight of its stigma. The saffron cultivated by IHBT was found to match the Kashmiri saffron in both the parameters.
  • IHBT earlier collaborated with Department of Agriculture of the state to provide training to the farmers and now saffron cultivation has been started in many areas of the state.

4.  Career in Dairy Technology


India has been excelling in the production of milk and milk based products for many years and the advances in dairy technology have played a key role in achieving this success. Therefore, there is always a demand for qualified and skilled manpower in the country to cater to the various aspects of dairy technology.

About the courses offered by various institutes in India:

  • Owing to our agriculture economy, animal husbandry has always been an important part of our culture. Now, this practice has evolved into a large and organized dairy sector in the country.
  • The rapid expansion of dairy industry has also created a huge demand for qualified and skilled professionals who can work in areas like breed development, animal husbandry and processing of milk and milk based products.
  • Therefore, to make a career in this field, one can take admission in graduate and post graduate professional courses offered by many reputed institutes of the country like after passing 12th standard with science subjects from a recognized school, one can pursue B.Tech in Dairy Technology, which is usually a 4 year undergraduate course covering agriculture centric as well as other topics such as Dairy Biotechnology, Food and Industrial Biotechnology, Dairy Equipment Design, Milk Production Management, Packaging of Dairy Products, etc.
  • After doing B.Tech in dairy related subjects and clearing gate, one can opt for M.Tech for further specialization. Alternatively, one can also do B.Sc in dairy technology and then do M.Sc courses related to dairy technology.


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