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Bickering stalls formation of R&D authority

Author(s): Manoj Gairola
Issue Date: Mar 15, 1993
MINISTER of state for science and technology P R Kumaramangalam's announcement of the formation of a body to select and finance industrially useful projects is caught in a contention over its funding and scope. Hectic meetings are under way in New Delhi's Technology Bhawan to finalise the shape of the proposed Indian Research and Development Authority (IRDA), which will consist of industrialists and scientists.

The JNU way out

Issue Date: Feb 28, 1993
The dons of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) have devised a way to get around cuts imposed by the University Grants Commission's in fund allocations that threaten teaching and research programmes in several of the country's universities and colleges. After six months of negotiations, senior economics professors at JNU struck a deal with the Export-Import Bank for a Rs 50 lakh grant to build an economics library equipped with ultra modern facilities for documentation and information retrieval.

Cosmic killings

Issue Date: Feb 28, 1993
The full moon is said to drive people loony. Now, a scientist says the sun makes them murderous. V S Venkatavardhan, director of the Nehru Planetarium in Bombay, asserts major disturbances on earth occur during solar flares, which are increased eruptions of nuclear protons, electron particles and gamma rays oii the sun's surface. Revolutions, wars, stock collapses and even the

Bridging the gaps in R & D policy

Issue Date: Feb 15, 1993
The 80th session of the Indian Science Congress ended in the first week of January in Goa without adding to anyone's knowledge or wisdom. The importance of the theme of the conference -- Science and the Quality of Life -- did not get the attention it deserves in a country that has made large investments in science, but still has the world's largest population of illiterates and poverty-stricken. Now, with the deterioration of the environment, even the rich in India are beginning to suffer the side-effects of development just as much as they suffer from medicine-induced diseases.

Birds of a feather

Issue Date: Feb 15, 1993
KAREN Perremans and her colleagues at the Zoological Institute at Leuven in Belgium have discovered that birds have unique "featherprints," which may make it possible to identify bird species by analysing a small piece of feather (BBC Wildlife, Vol 10, No 12).

USA, Japan trade research roles

Issue Date: Feb 15, 1993
PRESIDENT Bill Clinton wants American research to adopt the Japanese stress on industrial applications. But his call may have come too late as Japanese scientists are switching their thrust to basic research, in which the Americans have hitherto been pre-eminent.

Super panel proposed to promote research

Author(s): Manoj Gairola
Issue Date: Feb 15, 1993
SETTING up of an Indian Research and Development Authority (IRDA) and reviving the cabinet committee on science and technology are among the steps expected to be taken soon to boost science research, Union minister of state for science and technology P R Kumaramangalam has told Down To Earth. The minister said the government wants to ensure the nation's scientific and technological progress keeps pace with the requirements and advances in other fields.

Sticky relations

Issue Date: Jan 31, 1993
WASPS from the same nest recognise each other by smearing wax from the outside of the nest onto themselves, discovered scientists at the University of Georgia in the US. If the wax is removed, nest-mates fail to recognise a member and drive it out.

A long step forward in nerve communications

Issue Date: Jan 31, 1993
IN A MAJOR breakthrough, neurobiologists at the Stanford University in USA, led by Jack McMahan, confirmed the protein agrin plays a vital role in communications within the nervous system. The protein, which comprises more than 1,900 amino acids, is released by nerve cells. It helps trigger the establishment of the specialised connection known as a synapse, where the communication between nerve cells and between nerve cells and other target organs such as muscles, takes place.

On starry nights

Issue Date: Jan 31, 1993
THE CAMPAIGN by astronomers to stop artificial light in cities from affecting stellar views, which prevents them studying stars, is gaining a wider audience. Relentless light from surrounding cities has shut down the largest telescope at Mount Wilson in Southern California. Scientists believe artificial lights should be shielded so that the overhead glow is cut off. As the downward beam is more concentrated, a lower-watt bulb can give the same amount of ground light.
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