Science and Technology 2019: Inventions and Discoveries
“Success is a science; if you have the conditions, you get the result.” – Oscar Wilde
“The science of today is the technology of tomorrow.” – Edward Teller
Science has a great impact on our lives. Without science, we won't be able to enjoy many things that make our modern world possible. Every year several discoveries and inventions took place and so the same way in 2019 that had given an edge to science and technology. Discoveries and Inventions in Science and Technology play an important role in the preparation of various competitive examinations including UPSC, PSC, SSC, etc.
List of Inventions and Discoveries in Science and Technology
1. A new ink discovered by Scientists
An ink is discovered by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and National Physical Laboratory (NPL) to combat the problem of fake printing of passports and counterfeiting of currency notes. Let us tell you that it has a new security feature that will protect against duplicity.
Important facts about new ink
- The ink consists of single excitable dual emissive luminescent pigment.
- The development of the ink is based on the concept of fluorescence and phosphorescence phenomena.
- The developed ink has features of changing the colour of pigment after the notes are printed.
- The ink shows white colour in ambient light. It turns into a red colour when it is exposed to UV light and when UV source is switched off it turns into a green colour.
- The reason behind the development of new ink is duplication of Rs 500 and Rs 2000 notes. As per RBI annual report (2018-19), the risk of duplication of Rs 500 and Rs 2000 notes is higher. Rs 500 duplication accounts for 12% and Rs 2000 to 21.9%.
2. Discovery of Paper Sensor
- For testing the freshness of milk, the scientists of an Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati have developed a simple paper kit. It also tells about the pasteurisation that whether it is done well or not.
Important points about Paper Sensor
- Aided with a smartphone app, the kit will ensure that milk is consumed before it turns too sour.
- An indicator of milk quality is a milk enzyme namely Alkaline Phosphate or ALP, its presence even after pasteurisation indicates the presence of microbes that may not have been rendered inactive with pasteurisation.
- For preparing the detector, researches have used an ordinary filter paper.
- Further, the filter paper is cut into small discs by using office punch and impregnated with chemical probes that react with ALP.
- The 'probes' used are antibodies that specifically bind to ALP.
- When ALP comes into contact with the probe, it turns the disc of white paper into coloured.
- On paper discs when the colour changes are then photographed by a device or smartphone camera and images are processed to obtain corresponding colour values.
- These values are then compared with standard data stored in the phone.
- It not only detects the presence of ALP but also the amount of it in milk.
3. World's largest supercomputer SpiNNaker
SpiNNaker is the world's largest supercomputer that is designed to work in the same way as the human brain works.
Important points about SpiNNaker
- SpiNNaker is the Spiking Neural Network Architecture. In real-time, this machine can model several biological machines than any other device on the planet.
- It is capable of completing more than 200 million actions per second, with each other of its chips having 100 million transistors.
- No doubt this supercomputer is unique because it does not communicate by sending large amounts of information from point A to B through standard network like any other computer.
4. Hyperloop Technology
Hyperloop has a 'tube modular transport system' that will run free of friction. Or we can say it is a new form of ground transport. It is a new method with which people or objects can be moved rapidly and safely with efficiency anywhere in the world. It will also have minimal impact on the environment.
Hyperloop technology is the brainchild of Tesla founder Elon Musk, who showed its original design in a whitepaper in 2013. If this hyperloop system is successful in India, then probably the distance (1200 km) between Delhi and Mumbai can be covered in less than an hour. Do you know that it will cover 35 km in 5 minutes?
Important points about Hyperloop Technology
Supporters believed that it will be cheaper and faster than train or car travel.
- Less polluting than air travel.
- It is also quick and cheaper to build than traditional high-speed rail.
- Hyperloop will be used to take pressure off gridlocked roads that make travel between cities easier and potentially unlock the major economic benefits.
- India will get benefit from this technology. According to the proposals and feasibility, hyperloops are likely to start in five regions of India namely Delhi-Mumbai, Bengaluru-Thiruvananthapuram, Chennai-Bangalore, Mumbai-Chennai and a port also.
5. Secretagogin Protein
The role of Secretagogin Protein is demonstrated by the scientists at the Hyderabad based Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)- Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB). Let us tell you that the role of Secretagogin protein is increasing in insulin action in obesity-induced diabetes. The process that regulates insulin synthesis, secretion, signaling and maturation in diabetes was not completely understood by scientists. These findings were published in the journal iScience issue.
Important points about Secretagogin protein.
- This protein in humans is encoded by the SCGN gene.
- The encoded protein is a secreted calcium-binding protein that is found in the cytoplasm.
- SCGN in the future will become a diagnostic marker and should check its potential in diabetes management.
- The findings of CCBM have established SCGN as a functional insulin-binding protein with therapeutic potential against diabetes.
- SCGN binds to insulin and protects from several stresses, increases its stability as well as adds to its action.
- Various types of cellular stresses may result in loss of structure and function of insulin which may lead to diabetes.
- SCGN also found in the brains of Alzheimer's patients in lower quantities.
6. Potential Diarrhoea vaccine ETVAX developed
Diarrhoea vaccine named 'ETVAX' developed by the researchers of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. Let us tell you that in the clinical trial at an early-stage in Bangladesh, this vaccine has been proved safe and effective. In the Science journal, The Lancet, the findings were published.
Important points about ETVAX
- The primary cause of Diarrhoea is Enterotoxigenic E.coli (ETEC) bacteria.
- Earlier the vaccine is not available for children but now an oral ETEC vaccine candidate, named 'ETVAX' was developed.
- ETVAX consists of inactivated E. coli bacteria having high levels of protective antigens and also ETEC-based B subunit protein LCTBA.
- As discussed above the vaccine has been proved safe against enterotoxigenic E.coli diarrhoea in children from the half year (6 months) to 5 years.
- No doubt in low and middle-income countries (LMICs), diarrhoea leads to substantial illness and death in children.
An affordable Water Disinfection System 'OneerTM' has been developed by CSIR-IITR. It is a device that meets the requirements of potable water in rural and urban areas.
Important points about OneerTM
- It is a technology that will be helpful in rural areas and is developed under Make in India Mission.
- The pathogens that cause diseases including viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and cysts are removed from the drinking water by this technology and make it safe for domestic use and communities.
- On 17 October 2018, this technology was transferred to M/s Bluebird Water Purifiers. Let us tell you that the smaller unit Oneer is suitable for homes, street food, vendors and small establishments.
- According to CSIR-IITR, this technology will provide access to safe and clean drinking water at a cost of just 2 Paise/Ltr.
- The technology is based on the principle of anodic oxidation. Raw water is passed through a chamber and disinfection is produced with the help of singlet oxygen species which was generated at the anode.
- Do you know the technology is named as Oneer because ‘O’ stands for singlet oxygen species and ‘neer’ for water?
8. Discovery in medicine 'How cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability'.
- William G Kaelin, Jr., Peter J. Ratcliffe, and Gregg L. Semenza received Nobel Prize in 2019 for their discoveries of how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability. The machinery of molecules is identified by them that help in regulating the activity of a gene in response to the changing levels of oxygen.
Important points about the discovery
- As we know that animals need oxygen for the conversion of food into useful energy.
- They established the basis for our understanding that how oxygen levels affect cellular metabolism and physiological function.
- Their discovery provides new strategies to fight with anaemia, cancer and several other diseases.
9. Discovery regarding an exoplanet orbiting a solar-type star.
Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz discovered an exoplanet that orbits a solar-type star. And for this discovery, they received Nobel Prize in Physics in 2019.
Important points about the discovery
- An exoplanet or extrasolar planet is a planet that orbits a star beyond our solar system.
- Scientists during discovery used a technique known as the radial velocity method.
- When planets orbits around a star, the star also move in similar, but much smaller, orbit around the centre of mass of the whole system.
- They are instrumental in developing the revolutionary radial velocity technique that is still used to search an exoplanet today.
- If the star moves towards us, its spectrum is blue-shifted and red-shifted correspondingly when it moves away from us.
- By seeing the regular shifts in the spectrum of the star and by measuring the changes in the velocity any sort of periodic effect due to the influence of a companion can be seen.
10. Development of lithium-ion batteries
John B. Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham, and Akira Yoshino discovered the development of lithium-ion batteries. For this discovery, they received the Nobel Prize of 2019 in Chemistry.
Important points about the discovery
Lithium-ion batteries are used all over the world to power the portable electrons that we use to communicate, work, study, listen to music and search for knowledge.
- These batteries have also enabled the development of long-range electric cars and the storage of energy from renewable sources like solar and wind power.
- Lithium-ion batteries are made from titanium disulphide which at the molecular level has spaces that can house intercalate lithium ions.
- The anode of the battery is made partially from metallic lithium which has strong derived to release electrons and provide a great potential.
- These types of batteries are lightweight; hardwearing that could be charged hundreds of times before its performance deteriorated.
- The main advantage is that these batteries are not based upon chemical reactions that break down the electrodes but upon the lithium ions flowing back and forth between the anode and cathode.
Blockchain is secure, cryptography-based and distributed across the network. Basically, it is a new data structure and supports cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and the transfer of any data or digital asset. It allows the transfer of digital goods without the need for centralised authorisation of transactions.
Important points about Blockchain technology
- This technology as a public ledger system will record and validates each and every transaction made and so it makes it secure and reliable.
- All the transactions done are authorised by the miners which make transactions immutable and prevents it from the threat of hacking.
- For several transactions, it discards the need of any central authority or third-party.
- It allows the decentralisation of technology.