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Science Monitor: 27 February 2021

Science Monitor: 27 February 2021

                        

1. Celebrating scientific achievement at National Science Day

Context:

India's response to covid-19 crisis has highlighted not only the scientific acumen of our scientists but also the scientific outlook of our society. These attributes have played a key role in overcoming the challenges posed by the pandemic. National science day which is celebrated every year on the 28th of February also aims to promote these attributes for the progressive development of the country.

National Science Day Celebration Ideas and Activities | Scoonews.com

About the Day:

  • 28th February in the history of science marks an important day not just for India but for the whole world. On this day in 1928, Sir Chandrasekhar Venkat Raman discovered the phenomenon of Raman Effect.

  • This discovery changed the way we look at the molecular and atomic structure of particles and Sir C V Raman was awarded the Physics Nobel in 1930 for the same. To commemorate this exceptional achievement of India, the country celebrates National Science Day every year on February 28th.

  • In 1986, National Council for Science and Technology Communication under the Ministry of Science and Technology selected this day to celebrate the National Science Day and the first National Science Day was celebrated on 28th February 1987.

  • The aim was to popularize science by making the society aware of its benefits, since then every year on National Science Day almost all science institutes, national laboratories, national science academies and even schools organize various activities to make the public aware of India’s scientific achievements.

  • In the year 2020, the developments in science technology and innovation enabled the country to run a lot of services despite the adverse effects of the covid-19 pandemic and that is why the theme of National Science Day 2021 is “Future of Science Technology and Innovation Impact on Education Skills and Work”.

  • This is to showcase the achievements of Indian scientists in providing solutions in the past year especially against the deadly corona virus. In a very short span of time, Indian scientific institutions, scientists and allied industries have made India self-reliant and capable against corona virus.

  • The scientific community provided a range of solutions from ventilators to masks, PPE kits, sanitization systems and even vaccines by the end of the year. Along with such innovations, India's rankings rose rapidly in publications research and development and also in new discoveries.

  • Meanwhile, the draft of the fifth National Science Technology and Innovation Policy was released for public consultations. The aim is to create an environment that promotes research and innovation at the individual as well as the organizational level. While the survey of India has started work on a 10 centimeter high-resolution pan India geospatial mapping using highly advanced technologies like drones.

  • The Department of Science and Technology has for the first time brought great relief to the public and private sector by liberalizing the maps and geospatial data control rules. Seminars, lectures, writing and painting competitions and awards on National Science Day are an effort to increase the appreciation of science in society, so that people implement science in their daily life and help in finding novel solutions to make India a global leader in science and technology.

2. National Science Day honours outstanding efforts in S&T

Context:

National Science Day is also a day to honor outstanding endeavors of individuals and institutions to propagate science and to materialize technological developments. Awards in various categories are announced by institutes under the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India and scientists, researchers and institutions are selected on the basis of their efforts in the preceding year. These awards given in the form of certificates, memoranda and funds serve as a source of inspiration in this field.

About the winners:

  • On the occasion of National Science Day, different awards are bestowed upon selected individuals and institutions to recognize their outstanding achievements in the field of science and technology in the preceding year.

  • These include the National Council for Science and Technology Communications (NCSTC), Augmenting Writing Skills for Articulating Research Awards (WSAR) and the National Award for Science and Technology Communication for the year 2020.

  • The National Award for Science and Technology Communication has been awarded in various categories.

  • For outstanding efforts in science and technology communication through books magazines and print media, Dr S Anil Kumar, a science writer from Kerala has been given the award.

  • For outstanding efforts in popularizing science and technology among children, Indian Resource and Development Association (IRaDA) in Haryana and Mihir Kumar Panda, an engineer from Odisha have been awarded.

  • Delhi physician, Dr Shifali Gulati and environmentalist Dr Rakesh Khatri have been awarded for science and technology communication through innovative and traditional methods.

  • Dr Krishna Kumari Challa, a science communicator from Telangana has been selected for the national award for outstanding effort and science and technology communication through the electronic medium.

  • National Technology Awards are also given to mark the occasion. For the successful commercialization of innovative indigenous technologies, 12 companies have been selected for the year 2020.

  • The awards are given under three main categories by the Technology Development Board, a statutory body of the Government of India functioning under the Department of Science and Technology.

3. Paper based sensors for detecting Anti-microbial resistance

Context:

Anti-microbials are medicines that are used to treat infections caused by various pathogens but according to scientists Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR) is weakening the efficacy of these medicines and various kinds of superbugs are bound to emerge in the near future. Now, for effective monitoring of such changes, researchers have developed low cost field deployable sensors to detect antimicrobials and antibiotic resistant genes in water bodies.

About the sensor:

  • Scientists believe that the next major pandemic can be anti-microbial resistance which will make infections harder to treat as pathogens will develop resistance against many commonly used antibiotics as water bodies contain different kinds of pathogens as well as pollutants.

  • So, they are a perfect ground for developing and transferring antimicrobial resistance. Therefore, periodic monitoring of antimicrobials and antibiotic resistant genes in the water bodies is the key to assess the current situation of AMR in India.

  • To facilitate this, researchers at IIT, Madras have developed a paper-based sensor which can play a pivotal role in detecting antimicrobials in water bodies.

  • Researchers have developed laser printed microfluidics paper-based analytical sensors to help detect antimicrobials easily in the parts per million range. The strategy combines absorption-based concentrations using reagents that change colour during detection.

  • These sensors will also help in understanding the relationship between AMR and AMR triggering pollutants. Moreover, these sensors can be manufactured at a very low cost using the common laser printers.

  • To develop the sensors, IIT, Madras was supported by Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, water technology initiative in bilateral collaboration with UK's Natural Environment Research Council and Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council under Indo water quality research program.

  • This innovation can also assist policy makers in framing solutions to tackle the grand societal anti-microbial resistance challenge.

4. Science Express

1. DRDO successfully launches VL-SRSAM twice:

  • On 22 February, Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) successfully test-fired the indigenous VL-SRSAM missile.

  • With this test conducted twice by a static vertical launcher at the integrated test range in Chandipur, India has now developed the capability to prevent any aerial danger.

  • This vertical launch short-range surface-to-air missile designed for the Indian navy can neutralize various aerial threats at close ranges, including the targets that have the capability to avoid detection by radar.

  • During the test, the missile was monitored by radar and electro optical devices. According to DRDO, this Make in India missile will soon be inducted into the Navy.

2. Covid: South African, Brazilian strains raise new fears on vaccines, immunity:

New variants of Covid-19: Gujarat on alert | Ahmedabad News - Times of India

  • Amid the covid-19 vaccination in India, the confirmation of new corona strains from South Africa and Brazil after the entry of the UK variant has once again raised many concerns.

  • Infections are rising again in many states including Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala. Meanwhile, a study conducted in London showed that covid-19 patients have an increased risk of cardiac damage.

  • The study done on about 148 patients in six hospitals in London found increased levels of Troponin protein in the blood samples of patients indicating heart damage.

  • According to the findings published in the European Heart Journal, MRI scans were done at least a month after discharge from the hospital in view of the raised Troponin level. The scans revealed inflammation of the heart muscle, tissue damage and restricted supply to the heart.

3. NASA's Perseverance rover makes historic Mars landing:

  • NASA's Perseverance Rover made history by successfully landing on the surface of Mars. The missio