11.1. INDIRA GANDHI PRIZE FOR PEACE, DISARMAMENT AND DEVELOPMENT, 2014
- The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).
- Amul and ISRO have signed a MoU for fodder assessment through satellite technology.
- The main objective is identification/discrimination between food crops and fodder crops and identifying suitable areas of current fallows and cultivable wastelands at the village level.
11.2. NOBEL IN CHEMISTRY
Why in News?
- Nobel Prize for Chemistry has been awarded to Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank and Richard Henderson for the development of high-resolution cryo-electron microscopy.
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- Cryo-electron microscopy is a method for imaging frozen-hydrated specimens at cryogenic temperatures by electron microscopy.
- Specimens that are to be analysed would remain in their native state without the need for dyes or fixatives, which would allow the study of fine cellular structures, viruses and protein complexes at molecular resolution.
- Contrary to earlier electron micro-scoping, cryo-electron miscroscopy can view solutions (as water would not evaporate under microscope’s vacuum).
- It helps researchers to freeze biomolecules mid-movement and visualise the processes they have never previously seen.
- It has been used to image the elusive Zika virus and its medicine associated research.
11.3. NOBEL PRIZE IN PHYSICS
Why in News?
- Nobel Prize for Physics has been awarded to Scientists Rainer Weiss, Barry Barish and Kip Thorne for contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves.
- Neutron stars are created when giant stars die in supernovas and their cores collapse, with the protons and electrons essentially melting into each other to form neutrons.
- Black holes: It is a place in space where gravity pulls so much that even light can not get out. The gravity is so strong because matter has been squeezed into a tiny space. This can happen when a star is dying.
What are Gravitational Waves and LIGOs?
- Gravitational waves are distortions or ‘ripples’ in the fabric of space-time caused by some of the most violent and energetic processes in the Universe (star explodes asymmetrically (called a supernova), when two big stars orbit each other, when two black holes orbit each other and merge).
- These ripples travel at the speed of light through the Universe, carrying with them information about their cataclysmic origins, as well as invaluable clues to the nature of gravity
- Albert Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves in 1916 in his general theory of relativity
- To detect these waves scientists developed the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory or LIGO.
- It offers a new way to observe the cosmos, helping scientists explore the nature of mysterious objects including black holes and neutron star.
- It helps in solving some big mysteries in astrophysics – including the cause of bright flashes of light known as “gamma ray bursts” and even the origins of heavy elements such as gold.
- Indian contribution played a major role, especially in extracting signal from noise, in detecting the gravitational waves with the engagement of 40 scientists from 13 Indian institutions.
Gravitational wave detector in India: INDIGO
- India-LIGO project will be a replica of the two LIGO detectors and would be stationed at a perpendicular direction to the detectors in USA.
- It is piloted by Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) & Department of Science and Technology (DST).
- It will be jointly coordinated and executed by three Indian research institutions: the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), Pune and Department of Atomic Energy organisations: Institute for Plasma Research (IPR), Gandhinagar and the Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology (RRCAT), Indore.
- The LIGO lab in India will be built in Maharashtra’s Hingoli District.
11.4. NOBEL PRIZE IN MEDICINE
Why in News?
- Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2017 was awarded to Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young for their discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm.
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- The discoveries explain how plants, animals and humans adapt their biological rhythm so that it is synchronised with the Earth’s revolutions.
- The scientist used fruit flies to isolate a gene that controls the normal daily biological rhythm and showed how this gene encoded a protein that accumulates in the cell during the night and degrades during the day.
- It is a pattern that guides our bodies when to sleep, rise, eat and regulating many physiological processes.
- Biological clocks produce circadian rhythms and regulate their timing.
- It is affected by environmental cues, like sunlight and temperature.
- It regulates the periods of tiredness and wakefulness during the 24-hour cycle.
- The biological clock is generated by a structure of neurons, which is found in the hypothalamus in the brain.
- Biological clock associated factors include High alertness, Fastest increase in blood pressure. Deep Sleep, Fastest reaction times etc.