The year 2018 was remarkable year in science and technology of India with a number of controversies, space events and a few losses. Here we have concluded the top 10 biggest and best science stories
1. ISRO launches 31 satellites along with Cartosat-2
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on 12 January 2018 launched 31 satellites along with Cartosat-2 satellite on its 44.4-metre tall Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C40) rocket. The polar rocket was launched from Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.The 320-tonne rocket will place the satellites one-by-one and deploy them into the earth's lower orbit. The entire lift-off process along with the process of placing the satellites in two orbits will take the satellite 2 hours and 21 minutes. It will be the longest flight time of the PSLV C40.
India’s heaviest and most-advanced communication satellite GSAT-11, also called the "Big Bird", was successfully launched into space on December 5, 2018 from the Spaceport in French Guiana, South America. The satellite will help provide satellite-based internet to remote places where cable-based internet cannot reach. The satellite, weighing 5854 kg, is the heaviest Indian-made equipment that has been put into the orbit.
3. ISRO successfully launched communication satellite GSAT-29
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on November 14, 2018 successfully launched communication satellite GSAT-29 aboard its heavy-lift Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle. The satellite launch is the second test flight for the GSLV Mark III rocket, which is also ISRO’s heaviest rocket. The rocket is capable of introducing four-tonne class satellites into a geostationary transfer orbit.
4. IIT-Madras develops India's first microprocessor 'Shakti'
The researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) have designed India’s first indigenous microprocessor, which will reduce dependency on imported microchips and the risk of cyber attacks.The microprocessor called ‘Shakti’ was designed, developed and booted by IIT Madras with a microchip fabricated in the Semi-Conductor Laboratory of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) at Chandigarh. It has been developed at an outlay of about Rs 11 crore.
5. Cyclone-30 : India’s biggest cyclotron facility becomes operational to boost cancer treatment
It will produce radioisotopes vital for diagnosis and treatment of cancer.It will be rst and only cyclotron facility in country to produce Germanium 68 radioisotopes, which is used in diagnosis of breast cancer. It will also produce Palladium 103 isotopes, which is used for the treatment of prostate cancer. In its future stages, it will also produce Iodine 123 isotopes, which can help detect thyroid cancer. It started working for rst time when 30 MeV beam reached Faraday Cup (a metal cup designed to catch charged particles in vacuum). The beam from this facility was used to produce uorine-18 isotope for preparation of radio-pharmaceutical uorodeoxyglucose (FDG), which is used for diagnose various types of cancer.
6. Indian scientists discover planet 600 light years away
In an epic Indian discovery, a team from the Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad, has spotted for the first time a distant planet six times bigger than Earth and revolving around a Sun-like star about 600 light years away. Both the planet and the star have been named EPIC. EPIC 211945201b (or K2-236b) is the name given to the planet by the discovery team led by PRL's Abhijit Chakraborty. The host star is named EPIC 211945201 or K2-236.
7. AIIMS-led team develops sensitive tests for pulmonary, pleural TB
A highly sensitive diagnostic test for pulmonary TB and pleural TB has been developed by a multi-institutional team led by Jaya Sivaswami Tyagi from the Department of Biotechnology at AIIMS. The diagnostic test makes use of a DNA aptamer (a small single-stranded DNA molecule that binds to a specific target molecule) that shows high binding affinity to a TB antigen. Sputum samples were used for diagnosing pulmonary TB while pleural fluid was used for diagnosing pleural TB.
8. IISc scientists identify potential early biomarker for Alzheimer's
Scientists at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc)'s Centre for Neuroscience and Centre for Brain Research on Thursday claimed to have identified a key protein in the brain that can help pre-empt Alzheimer's disease even before short-term memory loss sets in. One of the first clear signs of the onset of Alzheimer's is the loss of short-term memory. However, scientists believe changes in the brain begin decades before clinicians notice such signs. The identified protein in the brain is broken down early in Alzheimer's disease, affecting communication between nerve cells that is important for memory formation.
9. Indian scientists predict space environment conditions slightly harsher over next decade
Indian scientists have predicted space environmental conditions over the next decade would be similar or slightly harsher compared to the last decade ruling out imminent Sun induced cooling of global climate.
10. IIT Roorkee’s new warning system claims to alert about 11-60 second before earthquake strikes
After conducting the research with the sensors for over two years in Uttarakhand, a system of sirens too have been deployed in the area last year that can alert people up to 200 metres away. Scientists at IIT Roorkee claim to have developed an earthquake early warning system that can alert people up to a minute before the quake strikes. The system, already deployed in some areas of Uttarakhand, consists of a network of sensors that detect different types of seismic waves travelling through the layers of the Earth after a quake.