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Science Monitor: 08 August 2020

Science Monitor: 08 August 2020

 

                                    

1. Vidyarthi Vigyan Manthan 20-21 launched

Context:

Vidyarthi Vigyan Manthan (VVM) is the country’s biggest science talent search and aims to encourage the innate scientific acumen of the school students. This program was started by Vijnana Bharati (VIBHA), a few years back for the students of 6th to 11th grade, and in a short span of time, it has gained popularity among the students. The program is organized every year by Vigyan Bharti in collaboration with NCERT and Vigyan Prasar, an autonomous organisation under the department of science and technology.

                                     Vidyarthi Vigyan Manthan

About the Program:

It is a national program to augment India's self-reliance in the field of science and technology by identifying the talented youngsters interested in science. On 1st August in a webinar held in Delhi Union Minister for Science and Technology Earth Sciences and Health and Family Welfare Dr. Harshvardhan launched the Vidyarthi Vigyan Manthan 20-21 in the presence of Mr. Jayant Sahastra Buddhi, National Organising Secretary of Vijnana Bharati. In the last three years, Vidyarthi Vigyan Manthan has reached 10 lakh students.

Under this program, an open book examination is conducted across the country and the students who clear the exam are provided hands-on training through workshops and other activities first at the state level and then on the National level camp.

Objectives of VVM:

  • To create interest among students in pure science
  • To educate school children about India’s contributions from tradition to modern, to the world of science and technology
  • To provide hands-on training to students through workshops and other events
  • To provide mentors for preparing students to carry forward their education in the field of science
  • To conduct competitive tests to identify students who have a scientific bent of mind
  • To identify successful students at the State and National levels and felicitate them
  • To organise exposure visits for the winners to various R&D institutions in the country

Vijnana Bharati

  • Vijnana Bharati or VIBHA, previously known as "Swadeshi Science Movement" is a Non-profit organization, working for science popularization & implementation of modern technology & ancient sciences in India. It was founded by the eminent scientists of the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru led by Prof. K.I. Vasu.
  • The foundation principle is for the development of Swadeshi Sciences.
  • Presently it is the largest scientific organization having the longest chain of state units and networking institutions across the country.

Vigyan Prasar

  • An autonomous organisation under the Department of Science an Technology, Government of India, was set up in 1989 to take on large-scale science and technology popularisation programmes.
  • Vigyan Prasar's mandate is to promote and propagate - as widely as possible - a scientific and rational outlook in the society.

NCERT

  • The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) is an autonomous organisation of the Government of India which was established in 1961 as a literary, scientific and charitable Society under the Societies' Registration Act (Act XXI of 1860).
  • The major objectives of NCERT and its constituent units are to: undertake, promote and coordinate research in areas related to school education; prepare and publish model textbooks, supplementary material, newsletters, and journals and develop educational kits, multimedia digital materials, etc.

2. National Bone and Joint Day

Context:

The joint and bone health deteriorate with the increasing age but the current trend shows that even the younger people are suffering from such problems and alarmingly joint replacements are being done at a young age. Whereas according to some experts such invasive procedures can be avoided by following some simple tips. Therefore, to educate people about the right practices and therapies National bone and joint day is celebrated every year on 4th of August.

                                   

About the Day:

  • The Indian orthopaedic association launched an awareness campaign in the year 2012 under which National Bone and Joint Day is celebrated every year on 4th of August under the slogan stronger bone stronger India.
  • This year too webinar were organised across the country under the theme of prevention of deformity in degenerative disease and orthopaedic experts kept the views on the topic.
  • This year the theme of observing the day is ‘Prevention of deformity in degenerative disease’.
  • The purpose of National Bone and Joint Day is not only to make people aware of the bone problems but also to motivate them to adopt easy but proven biological solutions.
  • According to the experts, sedentary and inactive lifestyle and below average diet lacking essential minerals weakens the bones very quickly, at the same time taking a variety of supplements for bodybuilding can also prove fatal especially for the hip joint.
  • Doctors also advice against unnecessary invasive procedures like joint replacement, according to them such procedures should be the last resort as they are not an effective solution and can lead to many problems.
  • According to the Indian Orthopaedic Association, our body has a natural ability to heal and join bones. Therefore we should augment this ability by adopting a balanced diet, daily exercise, and by avoiding unnecessary stress on the bones. 

3.   IIT Kanpur developed indigenous seed balls 'BEEG'

Context:

Trees are like a panacea for all the problems related to the environment and therefore regular plantation activities are undertaken to plant more and more trees but lockdown restrictions due to COVID-19have also disrupted such activities. To overcome this problem researchers at IIT-Kanpur have come up with an indigenous and innovative solution comprising of seed balls.

                           

'BEEG' (Bio -compost Enriched Eco-friendly Globule):

  • The researchers have designed indigenous seed bowls to plant seeds without the need of digging and planting.
  • Under this development, the balls are made from the native seeds, such that the biodiversity is not disturbed.  One just needs to throw these seed bowls in an open area and the seeds germinate when they come in contact with water. During monsoon, these balls can help in planting a large number of trees without using traditional resources.
  • The start-up company is now planning to manufacture seed balls on a large scale to ease plantation activities in the country. This initiative also engaged unemployed workers and gardeners who were jobless due to the COVID-19 lockdown; moreover, such standardization can prove to be very helpful in environment conservation.

4. NCPOR's study on Arctic Ice

Context:

The National Centre of Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR), Goa has revealed some startling figures about the melting of arctic sea ice in the last 40 years and according to the researchers these figures should be a concern for the whole world as the arctic sea ice is a sensitive indicator of climate change and has a strong retaliatory effects on other components of the climate system.

                            A snapshot of melting Arctic sea ice during the summer of 2018

About the study:

  • Sea ice is frozen sea water that forms expands and melts in the ocean, it is found mainly in the polar regions such as arctic and plays an important role in maintaining the earth energy balance. When the sea ice expands the bright surface of sea ice reflects a lot of sunlight back into space and the temperature remains cool; alternatively, when it melts, a lot of sunlight is absorbed by the oceans leading to the warmer temperature.
  • The change happening in this region affect the overall climate of the earth and similarly any factor affecting the overall climate of the earth affects the sea ice in this region.
  • A study done by the NCPOR has described how sea-ice has receded over the past 40 years and how it’s linked to global atmospheric processes. According to the study peak, arctic melting season happened in July 2018, at this time the Arctic lost sea ice at a rate of around 1, 55000 sq kms per day which is roughly larger than the size of Iceland.
  • According to the study over the past four decades, September sea-ice loss has accelerated to a rate of 12.8 percent per decade and 82,300 sq kms per year. According to scientists, if the decline of se ice continues to accelerate at this rate then the Arctic is likely to be free of ice within the next three decades.
  • For this study, the researchers used satellite technology to measure the sea-ices decline in terms of thickness concentration and volume as well as its visibility. The decline of sea-ice has led to localized evaporation, air humidity, cloud cover, and increased rainfall. The worrying element is that the sea-ice formed in winters is unable to compensate for its loss in summers.
  • According to the study, the decline in sea-ice at this pace can have a catastrophic impact by raising air temperatures and slowing down global ocean circulation. The changes taking place in the Arctic can lead to other changes in lower latitude such as extreme weather condition.

National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research, (NCPOR)

The National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research, (NCPOR) formerly known as the National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR) is an Indian research and development institution, situated in Vasco da Gama, Goa. It is an autonomous Institution of the Department of Ocean Development (DOD), Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India which is responsible for administering the Indian Antarctic Programme and maintains the Indian government's Antarctic research stations, Bharati and Maitri. NCPOR was established on 25 May 1998, with Dr. Prem Chand Pandey as its founding director.

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