Top 10 Science & Tech Events June – 2016


To make this compilation we have used the following sources –

  • PIB
  • AIR
  • The Hindu
  • Indian Express
  • Economic Times
  • Other References

So be assured about quality and authenticity and just focus on preparation.

In this article, we have shared Science and Tech current affairs notes which are helpful for UPSC Mains and UPSC Prelims. These notes are also available in the form of Book and ebook.

These current events are also useful and helpful for SSC, Banking and state level PCS examination, but we have specially crafted and edited the notes for UPSC Mains and UPSC prelims.

Here we have listed the 10 most important events of Science & Tech for the month of January 2016. You may also download the full magazine here.

Here is the quick list of science and tech events for the month of June 2016, scroll down for detailed news.

  1. 3D nanoparticles from DNA

  2. Massive ammonia gas at Jupiter

  3. Universe is expanding faster than expected

  4. Oldest root stem cells discovered

  5. Sounds of oldest stars in Milky Way captured

  6. First element discovered in Asia named ‘nihonium’, after Japan
  7. Chinese scientists discover new anti-HBV gene

  8. Astronomers Observe ‘Supermassive’ Black Hole Gorging On Gas

  9. New chromosome origin element identified

  10. Scientists turn atmospheric CO2 into rocks


1. 3D nanoparticles from DNA

Scientists have developed an algorithm that uses DNA strands to automatically build 3D nanoparticles, which may be used in a range of applications such as vaccines, gene editing tools and memory storage.

DNA origami

  1. Researchers can build complex, nanometre-scale structures of almost any shape and form, using strands of DNA. However, these particles must be designed by hand, in a complex and laborious process.
  2. This has limited the technique, known as DNA origami, to just a small group of experts in the field.
  3. Unlike traditional DNA origami, in which the structure is built up manually by hand, the algorithm starts with a simple, 3D geometric representation of the final shape of the object, and then decides how it should be assembled from DNA, according to Mark Bathe, associate professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), who led the research.

2. Massive ammonia gas at Jupiter

A massive amount of ammonia gas lies beneath the colourful clouds on Jupiter, astronomers have revealed, a discovery coming just a month prior to the arrival of NASA’s Juno spacecraft at the planet on July 4. Using the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array in New Mexico, the researchers from University of California-Berkeley measured radio emissions from Jupiter’s atmosphere in wavelength bands where clouds are transparent. The observers were able to see as deep as 100 km below the cloud tops, a largely unexplored region where clouds form.

Details

  1. Jupiter’s thermal radio emissions are partially absorbed by ammonia gas. Based on the amount of absorption, the researchers could determine how much ammonia is present and at what depth.
  2. We, in essence, created a three-dimensional picture of ammonia gas in Jupiter’s atmosphere, which reveals upward and downward motions within the turbulent atmosphere,” said principal author Imke de Pater, a UC Berkeley professor of astronomy.
  3. The map bears a striking resemblance to visible-light images taken by amateur astronomers and the Hubble Space Telescope.

3. Universe is expanding faster than expected

The universe is expanding 5 to 9 per cent faster than thought, astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have discovered. This surprising finding may be an important clue to understanding those mysterious parts of the universe that make up 95 per cent of everything and don’t emit light, such as dark energy, dark matter, and dark radiation,” said study leader and Nobel Laureate Adam Riess of the Space Telescope Science Institute and The Johns Hopkins University in the US.

Details

  1. Researchers made the discovery by refining the universe’s current expansion rate to unprecedented accuracy,reducing the uncertainty to only 2.4 per cent.
  2. The team made the refinements by developing innovative techniques that improved the precision of distance measurements to faraway galaxies.
  3. They looked for galaxies containing both Cepheid stars and Type Ia supernovae. Cepheid stars pulsate at rates that correspond to their true brightness, which can be compared with their apparent brightness as seen from Earth to accurately determine their distance.

4. Oldest root stem cells discovered

Scientists have discovered the oldest known population of plant root stem cells in a 320 million- year-old fossil, providing a window into how ancient roots developed. The research marks the first time an actively growing fossilised root has been discovered – in effect, an ancient plant frozen in time. The cells, which gave rise to the roots of an ancient plant, were found in a fossilised root tip at Oxford University in the UK.

What

  1. It gives us a unique window into how roots developed hundreds of millions of years ago.
  2. Stem cells – self-renewing cells responsible for the formation of multicellular organisms – are located in plants at the tips of shoots and roots in groups calledmeristems.
  3. The 320 million-year-old stem cells are different to all those living today, with a unique pattern of cell division that remained unknown until now.

 


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5. Sounds of oldest stars in Milky Way captured

Scientists have captured the sounds of some of the oldest stars in the Milky Way that will help to determine the mass and age and may unveil the very early history of our galaxy. The researchers from the University of Birmingham in the UK reported

the detection of resonant acoustic oscillations of stars in ‘M4’, one of the oldest known clusters of stars in the galaxy, some 13 billion years old.

How

  1. Using data from the NASA Kepler mission, the team has studied the resonant oscillations of stars using a technique called aster seismology.
  2. These oscillations lead to miniscule changes or pulses in brightness, and are caused by sound trapped inside the stars. By measuring the tones in this ‘stellar music’, it is possible to determine the mass and age of individual stars.
  3. The discovery opens the door to using aster seismology to study the very early history of our galaxy.

6. First element discovered in Asia named ‘nihonium’, after Japan

Japanese scientists behind the discovery of element 113, the first atomic element found in Asia – indeed, the first found outside Europe or the United States – have dubbed it “nihonium” after the Japanese-language name for their country. I believe the fact that we, in Japan, found one of only 118 known atomic elements gives this discovery great meaning,” said Kosuke Morita, a university professor who led the discovery team from the RIKEN Nishina Center for Accelerator-Based Science.

Details

  1. Another important meaning is that until now, all the elements in the periodic table have been discovered in Europe and the United States.
  2. There has not been a single atomic element found in Asia, Oceania or Africa.
  3. Element 113 was first found in 2004, and the number refers to its atomic number or the number of protons in the nucleus of the atom. It does not exist naturally and has had to be synthesized.

7. Chinese scientists discover new anti-HBV gene

A gene which can activate the body’s innate immune function and suppress replication of the hepatitis B virus (HBV) has been discovered by Chinese scientists, a finding that provides basis for effective treatment and prevention of the viral infection.

The finding revealed the role that the gene plays in inhibiting the infection of pathogenic microorganisms, state-run People’s Daily reported. 

Details

  1. It also contributes to a better understanding of the molecular mechanism of chronic HBV infection and provides a theoretical basis for effective treatment and prevention.
  2. The research was conducted by a team led by Zhou Gangqiao, a professor at the Academy of Military Sciences, the PLA’s medical research institute, the report said.
  3. Zhou led his team to collect more than 10,000 cases of full genetic component-type data, among which they compared the genetic differences between 1,251 cases of chronic HBV infection to 1,057 cases of naturally cleared HBV infection.

8. Astronomers Observe ‘Supermassive’ Black Hole Gorging On Gas

Astronomers in Chile said on 9 June 2016 they had caught the first-ever glimpse of a “supermassive” black hole preparing to gorge itself on gas clouds about a billion light years from Earth. Using the ALMA telescope in the Atacama Desert, the international team spotted three clouds

streaming towards a black hole at speeds of up to 1.3 million kilometers per hour. Composed mainly of carbon monoxide, the clouds were “only” 300 light years from the huge hole, “essentially teetering on the edge of being devoured, in astronomical terms,” the European Southern Observatory said in a statement.

What

  1. The microwave spectrum observation provides the first direct evidence for the theory that black holes feed on clouds of gas.
  2. It was magical being able to see evidence of these clouds accreting onto the supermassive black hole.
  3. This is telling us more about what they (supermassive black holes) like to eat and how they evolved.

9. New chromosome origin element identified

Newcastle University scientists have discovered a new essential sequence within bacterial genomes required for DNA replication – the second ever to be discovered and the first for 30 years. The Newcastle team describe how they identified the new site and determined the mechanism by which it promotes DNA duplication. The “DnaA-trio” is described as a core element of bacterial replication origins and represents a significant advance for scientific understanding.

In all cells genome duplication requires key proteins called “initiators” to unwind the DNA double helix at specific sites known as “origins”. DNA unwinding provides the replication machinery access to single strands which act as templates for new rounds of DNA synthesis. While initiators are highly conserved throughout all organisms and well characterised, there is still a lot to learn about “origins”. In fact, within higher organisms such as animals and humans, scientists have yet to define what constitutes an origin.

DnaA-trio

  1. The team explain how the novel and essential bacterial replication origin element directs single-strand DNAbinding by the master initiator protein DnaA to promote opening of DNA duplex.
  2. They determine that the element is composed of a simple repeating three base pair sequence, which they term the DnaA-trio.

10. Scientists turn atmospheric CO2 into rocks

An international team of scientists has developed a method for the permanent and environmentally friendly storage of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions caused by humans by turning it into rocks.

The study, published in the journal Science, has shown that the greenhouse gas CO2 can be permanently and rapidly locked away from the atmosphere, by injecting it into volcanic bedrock. The study is part of the Carb Fix project, a European Commission and US Department of Energy funded programme to develop ways to store anthropogenic CO2 in basaltic rocks through the field, laboratory and modelling studies.

Details

  1. The CO2 reacts with the surrounding rock, forming environmentally benign minerals.
  2. The newly developed method results in permanent and environmentally friendly storage of CO2 emissions.



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