Science and Technology


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Science and Technology

 

IPv6

Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) is a version of the Internet Protocol (IP). It is designed to succeed the Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4). While IPv4 allows 32 bits for an Internet Protocol address, and can therefore support 232 (4,294,967,296) addresses, IPv6 uses 128-bit addresses, so the new address space supports 2128 (approximately 340 undecillion or 3.4×1038) addresses. This expansion allows for many more devices and users on the internet as well as extra flexibility in allocating addresses and efficiency for routing traffic. It also eliminates the primary need for network address translation (NAT), which gained widespread deployment as an effort to alleviate IPv4 address exhaustion.

IPv6 also implements additional features not present in IPv4. It simplifies aspects of address assignment (stateless address autoconfiguration), network renumbering and router announcements when changing Internet connectivity providers.

The Internet Protocol Suite is the set of communications protocols used for the Internet and other similar networks.

The Internet Protocol (IP) is the principal communications protocol used for relaying datagrams (packets) across an internetwork using theInternet Protocol Suite. Responsible for routing packets across network boundaries, it is the primary protocol that establishes the Internet.

1000 Genomes Project

launched in January 2008, is an international research effort to establish by far the most detailed catalogue of human genetic variation.

Human Genome Project

HGP was an international scientific research project with a goal to determine the sequence of chemical base pairs which make up DNA and to identify and map the genes of the human genome. Began in 1990 and ended in 2003.

Genome

The genome is the entirety of an organism’s hereditary information. It is coded either in DNA or RNA (for many viruses).

International HapMap Project

The International HapMap Project is an organization whose goal is to develop a haplotype map of the human genome, which will describe the common patterns of human genetic variation. It is a collaboration among researchers at academic centers, non-profit biomedical research groups and private companies in Canada, China, Japan, Nigeria, UK and the US.

1000 Plant Genomes Project

Started in 2008, the aim of the project is to obtain the transcriptome (expressed genes) of 1000 different plant species. Headed by Dr. Wong and Dr. Deyholos of the University of Alberta.

Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO)

SDO is a NASA mission launched on February 11, 2010 which will observe the sun for over five years. The observatory is a part of the living with a star program. SDO’s goal is to understand the sun’s influence on earth and near-earth space by studying the solar atmosphere on small scales of space and time and in many wavelengths simultaneously. It will find out how the sun’s magnetic field is generated, structured and converted into violent solar events such as turbulent solar wind, solar flares and coronal mass ejections.

Living With a Star (LWS)

LWS is a NASA program to study those aspects of the connected Sun-Earth system that directly affect life and society. Currently, it has two projects: Solar Dynamics Laboratory (SDO) and Radiation Belt Storm Probes (RBSP).

Smed-Prep

This is the gene that is essential for correctly regenerating body parts among creatures. This research could prove vital in artificial regeneration of human organs.

Loriciferans

They are organisms found in the Mediterranean sea which live anaerobically. They are the first multi-cellular anaerobic organisms to be discovered.

Chandrayaan-1

Launch: October 22, 2008             Site: Satish Dhavan Space Centre, Sriharikota

The objectives of the programme were:

  1. To develop and orbit a spacecraft around moon using an Indian-made launch vehicle.
  2. To prepare a three-dimensional atlas of both the near and the far side of the moon.
  3. Chemical and mineralogical mapping of the entire lunar surface.
  4. To study the impact of Moon Impact Probe on the surface of the moon as a fore-runner to future soft landing missions.

NASA’s Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) had on Chandrayaan-1 had detected water on the surface of moon. The mission was expected to last two years. However, the communication with the satellite was lost on 29 August 2009 and the mission was declared over. It lasted for 312 days and achieved 95 percent of its objectives.

Chandrayaan-1 was selected by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) as one of the recipients of its annual AIAA SPACE 2009 awards for contributions to space science and technology.

Internationalized Domain Name (IDN)

IDN is an internet domain name that contains at least one label that is displayed in software applications, in whole or in part, in a language-specific script or alphabet, such as Arabic, Chinese, Russian or Hindi.

European Space Agency (ESA)

Estd. 1975

Intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space.

Planck (Spacecraft)

Planck is a space observatory designed to observe the universe using high sensitivity and angular resolution. It was launched in 2009. In July 2010, the Planck space satellite released the full map of the entire universe.

Solar Impulse Project

Solar impulse is a European long range solar powered plane project which aims at circumnavigating the world on a solar powered air plane. In July 2010, the plane completed a 24 hour flight, the first solar plane to do so by using batteries charged during the day to keep it aloft overnight.

Spitzer Space Telescope

It is an infrared space observatory launched in 2003. It is the fourth and final of NASA’s Great Observations. The other great observatories are:

  1. Hubble Space telescope: It is a NASA space telescope launched in 1990 and the first great observatories. It is one of the largest and most versatile space telescopes. It was built by NASA with contributions from the European Space Agency and is operated by the Space Telescope Science Institute.
  2. Compton Gamma Ray Observatory: Launched in 1991 and was deorbited in 2000.
  3. Chandra X-ray Observatory: It is a satellite launched by NASA in 1999. Chandra is sensitive X-ray sources 100 times fainter than any previous X-ray telescope.

GPS Aided Geo Augmentation Navigation (GAGAN)

It is a planned implementation of Satellite Based Navigation System (SBNS) developed by Airports Authority of India (AAI) and ISRO. GAGAN is expected to provide a civil aeronautical navigation signal consistent with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Standards and Recommended Practices as established by the Global Navigation Satellite System Panel. GAGAN was launched in August 2010. With this India has become the 4th Country in the World to have satellite based navigation system. <behind?> It is a system to improve the accuracy of a GNSS receiver by providing reference signals.

In vitro fertilisation

 

NowCast

 

It is a weather predicting device that is used to predict a few hours ahead in specific localities. The device was used in the Common Wealth Games 2010 in New Delhi to predict weather over each stadium.

Water on Moon

India’s Chandrayan had discovered water on the surface of moon. The matter was re-confirmed by the US Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) in 2009. It sent a spent rocket upper stage crashing on the moon’s South Pole and another rocket behind studied the debris thrown up by it. It showed that the debris matter contained about 5 pc of its weight in the form of ice. This could have an important implication in terms of using it as a space fuel.

Stuxnet

Stuxnet was a computer worm that was found to affect several computers in Iran (it later spread to India, Indonesia and other countries). The worm affected the computers at the nuclear facility in Iran. It is speculated that it was aimed at destroying the centrifuges at Iran’s nuclear establishment.

El Tor

It is a strain of a cholera causing bacteria. This strain led to a cholera outbreak in Haiti in late 2010

GFAJ-1

GFAJ-1 is a strain of rod-shaped bacterium in the family Halomonadaceae. The extremophile was isolated from the hypersaline and alkalineMono Lake in eastern California, and reported as new to science by a research team led by NASA astrobiologist Felisa Wolfe-Simon in a 2010Science journal publication.[1] According to the authors, the microbe, when starved of phosphorus, is capable of substituting arsenic for a small percentage of its phosphorus in the DNA and sustain its growth.

AEROSTAT Balloon

An aerostat (From Greek aer (air) + statos (standing) through French) is a system that remains aloft primarily through the use of buoyant lighter than air gases to give a vehicle with nearly the same overall density as air. Aerostats include free balloons,airships, and moored balloons. An aerostat’s main structural component is its envelope, a lightweight skin containing a lifting gas[1][2] to provide buoyancy, to which other components are attached. One of the most recent deployments of an aerostat was seen at the opening ceremony of the nineteenth 2010 Commonwealth Games, held in Delhi, India.

 

Important Institutes of Science and Technology

Place Institute Why in news?
Delhi International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Scientists found out a germ for tuberculosis that helps it remain dormant in host’s body

 

Human Papillomavirus

Is a member of the papillomavirus family of viruses that is capable of affecting humans. They can cause cancers of the cervix, vulva, vagina and anus in women or cancers of the anus and penis in men. HPV was in news recently due to the controversy over medical trials of a drug for treating cervical cancer.

Mobile Phone Technologies

Differences between 1G, 2G, 3G..

Mobile Phone Standards

GSM, TDMA, FDMA, CDMA, OFDM

GSM

Global System for Mobile Communication.  It is a standard for mobile telephone system. 2G services.

CDMA

Code Division Multiple Access. It is a channel access method used by various radio communication technologies. It employs spread-spectrum technology and a special coding scheme to allow multiple users to be multiplexed over the same physical channel. CDMAONE and CDMA2000 are mobile technology standards using CDMA channel access in 2G and 3G respectively.

Endosulfan

It is a pesticide banned in many countries of the world due to its adverse health effects. It is used in India though in Cashewnut plantations. A recent report by the National Institute of Occupational Health, Ahmedabad documented its adverse effects on the workers and people living near Cashewnut plantations in Kerala and declared it as a health hazard.

Keplar Spacecraft

Launched in 2009, the spacecraft has the mission to discover earth like planets orbiting other stars. Till Feb 2011, it had discovered more than 1235 planets including six exoplanets orbiting a single sun like star.

PETN

It is a lethal explosive – Pentaerythritol Tetranitrate. It was allegedly used in the Sept Delhi High Court Blasts.

Sakshat/Aakash

Is a tablet computer designed in India as a low cost but full functioning device in order to attempt to bridge the digital divide. It is to cost USD 35. Developed under the National Mission on Education programme

SOFIA

Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) is a new telescope used by NASA to study distant stars. The  telescope is not placed in space but flies around on a Boeing 747 jet.

Vikram Computer

It is an indigenous computer developed by ISRO. It helped launch PSLV C17 that put GSAT 12 in orbit.

SAGA – 220

Supercomputer for Aerospace with GPU Architecture. It is India’s fastest super computer. Developed by ISRO. 220 teraFLOPS (floating point operations per second)

Redshift

Redshift is a measurement of a star’s redness in the light spectrum. The farther the distance, the more the wavelength stretches deeper into the red zone, becoming a yardstick of how far light has travelled. <this was in news because the 2011 Nobel Physics winners used this phenomenon to study distant stars>

CarbFix experiment

An experiment in Iceland which seeks to separate CO2 from steam on a volcanic field and pump it underground to react with porous basalt rock, forming limestone, to see how well the gas can be locked away in a harmless form.

Lulzsec

A computer hacker group that claims responsibility for several high profile attacks including the compromise of the user accounts from Sony Pictures in 2011. It also claims responsibility for taking the CIA website offline.

 

Digital Signature

Is a mathematical scheme for demonstrating the authenticity of a digital message or document. Digital signature provides a high level of security for online communication such that only intended recipient can read it. It provides authentication, privacy, non-repudiation and integrity in the digital world.

Blue Gene Project

Blue gene is a computer architecture project to produce several supercomputers, designed to reach operating speeds in petaFLOPS. It was awarded the 2008 National Medal of Technology and Innovation in US.

Blue Brain Project

Blue Brain Project is an attempt to create a synthetic brain by reverse engineering the mammalian brain down to the molecular level.

Differences between

 

Living modified organism (LMO) and genetically modified organism (GMO)

The difference between an LMO and a GMO is that a Living Modified Organism is capable of growing, and typically refers to agricultural crops. Genetically Modified Organisms include both LMOs and organisms which are not capable of growing, i.e. are dead.

Top ten science breakthroughs of the year

Photos : George Foulsham, Sushil Kumar Verma, AFP, AP

Achievements: (Clockwise from top left) Andrew Cleland, Aaron O’Connell, John Martinis invented a mechanical device that operates in the quantum realm; Much like knockout mice, scientists have created knockout rats; Researchers sequenced the Neanderthal genome from the bones of three female Neanderthals who lived in Croatia sometime between 38,000 and 44,000 years ago; Faster and cheaper sequencing technologies are enabling very large-scale studies of both ancient and modern DNA; Two HIV prevention trials reported unequivocal success; (centre) Researchers built a synthetic genome and used it to transform the identity of a bacterium.

A mechanical device that operates in the quantum realm tops the Science journal’s list of advances in 2010.

Until this year, all human-made objects have moved according to the laws of classical mechanics. Back in March, however, a group of researchers designed a gadget that moves in ways that can only be described by quantum mechanics — the set of rules that governs the behaviour of tiny things like molecules, atoms, and subatomic particles. In recognition of the conceptual ground their experiment breaks, the ingenuity behind it and its many potential applications, Science has called this discovery the most significant scientific advance of 2010.

Physicists Andrew Cleland and John Martinis from the University of California at Santa Barbara and their colleagues designed the machine—a tiny metal paddle of semiconductor, visible to the naked eye — and coaxed it into dancing with a quantum groove.

First, they cooled the paddle until it reached its “ground state,” or the lowest energy state permitted by the laws of quantum mechanics (a goal long-sought by physicists).

Then they raised the widget’s energy by a single quantum to produce a purely quantum-mechanical state of motion. They even managed to put the gadget in both states at once, so that it literally vibrated a little and a lot at the same time — a bizarre phenomenon allowed by the weird rules of quantum mechanics.

Science has recognized this first quantum machine as the 2010 Breakthrough of the Year.

They have also compiled nine other important scientific accomplishments from this past year into a top ten list, appearing in a special news feature in the journal’s 17 December 2010 issue. “This year’s Breakthrough of the Year represents the first time that scientists have demonstrated quantum effects in the motion of a human-made object,” said Adrian Cho, a news writer for Science. “On a conceptual level that’s cool because it extends quantum mechanics into a whole new realm. On a practical level, it opens up a variety of possibilities ranging from new experiments that meld quantum control over light, electrical currents and motion to, perhaps someday, tests of the bounds of quantum mechanics and our sense of reality.”

The quantum machine proves that the principles of quantum mechanics can apply to the motion of macroscopic objects, as well as atomic and subatomic particles. It provides the key first step toward gaining complete control over an object’s vibrations at the quantum level. Such control over the motion of an engineered device should allow scientists to manipulate those minuscule movements, much as they now control electrical currents and particles of light. In turn, that capability may lead to new devices to control the quantum states of light, ultra-sensitive force detectors and, ultimately, investigations into the bounds of quantum mechanics and our sense of reality. (This last grand goal might be achieved by trying to put a macroscopic object in a state in which it’s literally in two slightly different places at the same time — an experiment that might reveal precisely why something as big as a human can’t be in two places at the same time.)

“Mind you, physicists still haven’t achieved a two-places-at-once state with a tiny object like this one,” said Cho. “But now that they have reached the simplest state of quantum motion, it seems a whole lot more obtainable—more like a matter of ‘when’ than ‘if.’”

The other nine

Science’s list of the nine other groundbreaking achievements from 2010 follows.

Synthetic Biology: In a defining moment for biology and biotechnology, researchers built a synthetic genome and used it to transform the identity of a bacterium. The genome replaced the bacterium’s DNA so that it produced a new set of proteins—an achievement that prompted a Congressional hearing on synthetic biology. In the future, researchers envision synthetic genomes that are custom-built to generate biofuels, pharmaceuticals or other useful chemicals.

Neandertal Genome: Researchers sequenced the Neandertal genome from the bones of three female Neandertals who lived in Croatia sometime between 38,000 and 44,000 years ago. New methods of sequencing degraded fragments of DNA allowed scientists to make the first direct comparisons between the modern human genome and that of our Neandertal ancestors.

HIV Prophylaxis: Two HIV prevention trials of different, novel strategies reported unequivocal success: A vaginal gel that contains the anti-HIV drug tenofovir reduced HIV infections in women by 39 percent and an oral pre-exposure prophylaxis led to 43.8 fewer HIV infections in a group of men and transgender women who have sex with men.

Exome Sequencing/Rare Disease Genes: By sequencing just the exons of a genome, or the tiny portion that actually codes for proteins, researchers who study rare inherited diseases caused by a single, flawed gene were able to identify specific mutations underlying at least a dozen diseases.

Molecular Dynamics Simulations: Simulating the gyrations that proteins make as they fold has been a combinatorial nightmare. Now, researchers have harnessed the power of one of the world’s most powerful computers to track the motions of atoms in a small, folding protein for a length of time 100 times longer than any previous efforts.

Quantum Simulator: To describe what they see in the lab, physicists cook up theories based on equations. Those equations can be fiendishly hard to solve. This year, though, researchers found a short-cut by making quantum simulators—artificial crystals in which spots of laser light play the role of ions and atoms trapped in the light stand in for electrons. The devices provide quick answers to theoretical problems in condensed matter physics and they might eventually help solve mysteries such as superconductivity.

Next-Generation Genomics: Faster and cheaper sequencing technologies are enabling very large-scale studies of both ancient and modern DNA. The 1,000 Genomes Project, for example, has already identified much of the genome variation that makes us uniquely human—and other projects in the works are set to reveal much more of the genome’s function.

RNA Reprogramming: Reprogramming cells—turning back their developmental clocks to make them behave like unspecialized “stem cells” in an embryo—has become a standard lab technique for studying diseases and development.

This year, researchers found a way to do it using synthetic RNA. Compared with previous methods, the new technique is twice as fast, 100 times as efficient and potentially safer for therapeutic use.

The Return of the Rat: Mice rule the world of laboratory animals, but for many purposes researchers would rather use rats. Rats are easier to work with and anatomically more similar to human beings; their big drawback is that methods used to make “knockout mice”— animals tailored for research by having specific genes precisely disabled—don’t work for rats. A flurry of research this year, however, promises to bring “knockout rats” to labs in a big way.

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