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CSIR NEWS

 

 

 

 

ISSN 0409-7467

VOLUME 54

NUMBER 8

30 APRIL 2004

 

 

 

Stevia rebaudiana plants growing in the field

 

The crop is mainly propagated by stem cuttings. Seed germination in this plant was a problem owing to high incompatibility. But the institute solved the problem by cross‑pollinating the two lines, which resulted in production of viable seed with 35‑40% germination rate. A complete package of production technology including nursery development, cultivation practices, and processing has been developed.

 

Through an MoU, IHBT has supplied planting materials to CSK Himachal Pradesh Krishi Vishvavidyalaya for further extension at farmers field in H.P. The nursery plants have also been grown in Haryana, J&K, Karnataka, New Delhi and Uttaranchal. The crop can be harvested twice a year. The net return is estimated to be more than Rs 80,000 per hectare per year from the first year.

 
 
US Patent granted to NGRI

 

A US Patent (6.615,139) has been granted to Shri V. Chakravarthi, Scientist, National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI), Hyderabad, for his invention on `Digitally implemented method for automatic optimization of gravity fields obtained from three-dimensional density interfaces using depth dependent density'. This invention has significant commercial application in the field of hydrocarbon exploration studies as it paves way for obtaining more accurate

 

 

depth estimates of a density interface from the measured gravity fields. It makes it possible to study a continuous decrease in density contrast of sedimentary rocks with depth, a phenomenon well observed in many sedimentary basins all over the world. The efficiency of the invention has been proved with several data sets, with revealing interpretations. This is the first US Patent granted to NGRI.

 

 

Report of APMP Key Comparison (APMP.M.P‑K1c)
A.K. Bandyopadhyay, Pressure and Vacuum Standards, National Physical Laboratory, New Delhi

 

THE final report of APMP Key Comparison (APMP.M.P.K1c) entitled `Results of the APMP Pressure key comparison in gas media and gauge mode from 0.4 to 4.0 MPa' has recently arrived in the Key Comparison Data Base (KCDB) of BIPM. The details of the report are available on the following website:

 

http://kcdb.bipm.org/AppendixB/KCDB_ApB_result.asp?cmp_idy=134&cmp_cod=APMP

This is the first time the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) has piloted an international key comparison and suggested a new model for the estimation of reference value of the comparison. This will not only help estimate the degree of equivalence between two laboratories in the APMP region but also establish the link between CCM and EUROMET key comparison.

 

NPLI has received a lot of appreciation letters from the participating laboratories. However, the best appreciation comes from none other than Dr Mitsuru Tanaka, President of CCM and Deputy Director, NMI (Japan) who said, “   Finally, I would like to appreciate highly of your effort in conducting the key comparison, which contributes greatly to the implementation of MRA”.

 

The detail of the report is already published in Metrologia, 2003, 40, Tech. Suppl., 07002. In brief, this is a regional key comparison (APMP‑IC‑2‑97) under the aegis of Asia Pacific Metrology Program (APMP) for pressure measurements in gas media and in gauge mode from 0.4 to 4.0 MPa. The transfer standard was a pressure‑balance with a piston‑cylinder assembly with nominal effective area 8.4 mm2 (V‑407) and was supplied by the National Metrology Institute of Japan, [NMIJ]. Ten standard laboratories from the APMP region with one specially invited laboratory from the EUROMET region namely, Physikalisch‑Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB), Germany, participated in this comparison. The comparison started in October 1998 was completed in May 2001. The pilot laboratory prepared the calibration procedure as per the guidelines of APMP and International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM). Detailed instructions for performing this key comparison were provided in the calibration protocol and the required data were described in: (1) Annex 3 – characteristics of the laboratory standards, (2) Annex 4 – the effective area (A'p;/mm2) at 23°C of the traveling standard as a function of nominal pressure (p'/MPa) (five cycles both increasing and decreasing pressures at ten pre‑determined pressure points) and (3) Annex 5 – the average effective area of 23°C (A'p;/mm2) obtained for each pressure p' / MPa with all uncertainty statements. The pilot laboratory processed the information the data provided by the participants for these three annexes, starting with the information about the standards as provided in Annex 3. Based on this information, the participating laboratories are classified into two categories: (I) Laboratories that are maintaining primary standards, and (II) Laboratories that are maintaining standards loosely classified as secondary standards with a clear traceability as per norm of the BIPM. It is observed that out of these eleven laboratories, six laboratories have primary standards [Category (I)], and the remaining five laboratories are placed in Category (II). The data obtained were compiled and processed under the same program as per the Consultative Committee for Mass and Related Quantities (CCM)/BIPM guidelines. From the data of Category (I), Shri A.K. Bandyopadhyay and group have evaluated the APMP reference value as a function of p'/MPa which is shown in Figure 1.

 

 

 

Then, Shri Bandyopadhyay and his group have estimated the relative difference of A'p, value with reference to APMP reference value for all participating laboratories and observed that they agree well within their expanded uncertainty statement [shown in Fig. 2]. They have also determined the degree of equivalence between any two participating laboratories following the matrix mechanism. This once again is in extremely good agreement within the estimated relative standard uncertainty, which is derived for these two participating laboratories. Finally, a new method has been introduced to evaluate these results and establish a link to CCM.P‑K1c and EUROMET .M.P‑K2 at two nominal pressures, near 1 MPa and 4 MPa. Again the results show an agreement of all participating laboratories in the present comparison to within the estimated expanded uncertainties using a coverage factor k=2.

 

 

 

  

 

Management of Developmental Glaucoma: An Integrated Approach

 

Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize‑winner

Dr Anil Kumar Mandal's Work

 

DR Anil Kumar Mandal, L.V. Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad, has been chosen, alongwith Dr Chinmoy Sankar Dey of the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER), Punjab, for the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize in Medical Sciences, for the year 2003.

 

 

 Developmental glaucoma refers to glaucoma associated with developmental anomalies of the eye that are present at birth. These include both primary congenital glaucoma (isolated trabeculodysgenesis) and glaucomas associated with systemic developmental anomalies or those of the eye. It is an uncommon disease and its impact on visual development is extreme. The primary objective in the management of developmental glaucomas is to normalize and permanently control the intraocular pressure thereby preventing loss of visual acuity; to preserve the visual field and ocular integrity; and to stimulate the development of binocular stereoscopic vision1.

 

Developmental glaucoma is essentially a surgical disease. Medical therapy is accorded a supportive role to reduce the intraocular pressure temporarily, to clear the cornea, and to facilitate surgical intervention. Mostly, medical management for congenital glaucoma is used only to prepare the child for surgery.

 

 
Choice of Primary Surgery
 
Goniotomy:

 

Dr Anil Kumar Mandal prefers to use a technique combining ab externo trabeculotomy with trabeculectomy in most cases of developmental glaucoma. The trabeculotomy is performed to remove the possible obstruction to the aqueous outflow by a congenital angle deformity while the trabeculectomy is included to bypass the episcleral venous system. In other words, the combined procedure is designed to deal with both possible mechanisms associated with some forms of developmental glaucoma, e.g. Sturge‑Weber syndrome.

 

Dr Mandal observed that compared to the Western population, a larger number of Indian patients suffer from corneal clouding and oedema in which Goniotomy is technically impossible, and external trabeculotomy is the initial procedure of choice1,2. Another important consideration is that while most patients have symptoms suggestive of congenital glaucoma at birth or within six months of birth, they usually approach late for treatment because of poverty, illiteracy, ignorance and inadequate eye care facilities in remote corners of the country. In such advanced cases, he prefers to perform combined trabeculotomy cum trabeculectomy, which offers the best hope of success3‑7. The probability of success (IOP <21 mmHg) was 94.4%, 92.1%, 86.7%, 79.4%, 72.9% and 63.1% at first, second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth year, respectively (Kaplan‑Meier survival analysis). At the final postoperative visit, 40.8% had normal visual acuity (best corrected visual acuity>/‑ 20/60 in the better eye), 30.6% had low vision and 28.6% were blind as defined by the World Health Organization criteria for visual impairment7 (Fig. 1 & 2)

 

 

Left: Clinical appearance of a three-week old child showing bilateral corneal edema resulting from congenital glaucoma; and six-month postoperative photograph of the child seen on left. Note the change in corneal edema

 

 

Choice of Surgery in Refractory Developmental Glaucoma

 

When goniotomy or trabeculotomy or combined trabeculotomy‑trabeculectomy fails to control intraocular pressure, the suitable alternative treatments have been hard to find. The options available are:

 

 
Management of Residual Vision in Developmental Glaucoma

 

Low vision rehabilitation services should start early, as soon as the child's disease proves disabling, and long before a handicap is well established. The mild measures needed in the early stages of visual decline are often simple, inexpensive, and relatively easy to provide.

 

Even though it may be true that nothing more can be done for the eye, in the advanced stage of the disease, it is almost never true that nothing more can be done for the child. Indeed, a great deal more that could be done and must be done, if not for the eye, atleast for the child as a whole.

 

Providing the rehabilitation services to our visually impaired patients is the medical and moral responsibility, which is likely to soon become the legal responsibility of all ophthalmologists. They should abandon a child, once the medical/surgical treatment is completed, only after needed rehabilitation services have been provided. Otherwise it would be like an orthopedic surgeon abandoning an amputee to hoping around on one leg. The difference is that public would condemn an orthopedist who acted in this way, whereas a similar deficiency in the ophthalmic field is not yet so apparent to the layman. The ophthalmologist must either provide these services or refer the child to someone who does. In L.V. Prasad Eye Institute, an integrated approach towards this problem of childhood glaucoma has been developed, coordinating the child's care with Jasti V. Ramanamma Children's Eye Care Centre with Meera & L.B. Deshpande Centre for Sight Enhancement, and Dr P.R.K. Prasad Centre for Rehabilitation of Blind and Visually Impaired.

 

 

Role of Genetic Study and Genetic Counseling

 

Dr Mandal and his group's research activities are centred on pediatric glaucomas and the primary focus lies on Primary congenital glaucoma (PCG). The human cytochrome P450 gene CYP1B1 has been implicated in PCG with varying penetrance across different ethnic backgrounds and geographical regions. Consanguinity and inbreeding play an important role in PCG and thus provide an excellent opportunity to explore the role of CYP1B1 in Indian PCG patients. Earlier, the involvement of CYP1B1 in 5 PCG families from India10 and devised PCR‑based RFLP method to rapidly screen these mutations have been reported. With this strategy, he further screened 138 PCG cases and found that 30.8% of these cases were positive for any of the previously identified six mutations and that R368H happened to be the most prevalent mutation in the Indian population11. In order to understand the spectrum of CYP1B1 mutations in Indian populations, 260 unrelated PCG cases from different ethnic background were screened and it was observed that CYP1B1 was involved in ~38% of the cases. A total of 17 different mutations were observed, of which nine were novel. The mutations exhibited varying degrees of severity as evident from genotype‑phenotype correlation12.

 

Dr Mandal also screened various anterior segment anomalies like Axenfeld‑Rieger anomalies and aniridia in Indian populations and found the involvement of transcription factors like FOXC1 and PAX6 respectively. FOXC1 mutations were noted in 40% of the cases and they exhibited specific haplotypes with varied clinical outcomes13, 14. PAX6 was involved in 20% of aniridia cases with varied clinical outcomes owing to haploinsufficiency15. Overall, their research activities are intended towards devising rapid, simple and reliable molecular diagnostic methods for routine screening and early detection of individuals at‑risk in predisposed families. Extensive genotype‑phenotype correlations are undertaken to monitor the disease prognosis for a better visual outcome and for genetic counseling.

 

 

Conclusion:

 

Children are our greatest inspiration for the present and best hope for the future. When judging the seriousness of the problem of blindness owing to developmental glaucoma from a social point of view, we should not base our opinion on the number of blind but rather evaluate the importance of the question on the basis of the number of years in which blindness persists. In other words, to properly assess the financial and the much larger emotional burden of blindness, one must recognize the long‑term suffering for the child and his family in addition to society's loss of life‑years in an otherwise totally productive member. When viewed in this context, society should share with its vision‑care practioners the responsibility of preventing blindness in children to assure that each child has the opportunity to develop to his/her maximum capacity. This is a right of every child, a wish of every parent and a goal of every society.

 

Dr Mandal believes that the integrated approach that they have developed will go a long way in improving the quality of care provided, which in turn will definitely improve the quality of life of the afflicted children and their families. He is quite optimistic that what they are doing today will bring to our afflicted children a brighter and better tomorrow. With the progress that has already been made, it may not be too much to hope that medical research combined with physical rehabilitation and social acceptance will bring fulfillment of the words of the Old Testament prophet Isaiah:

 

“I will bring the blind by a way they know not

 

I will lead them in paths which they have not known

 

I will make darkness light before them and crooked places straight

 

These things will I do and not forsake them”

 

Dr Anil Kumar Mandal (born, 2 January 1958) did his MBBS from Nilratan Sircar Medical College, Kolkata, in 1981; MD from Dr R.P. Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences, AIIMS, New Delhi in 1986; DNB from National Academy of Medical Sciences in 1987; Senior Residency in Glaucoma from Dr R.P. Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences AIIMS, New Delhi, and worked as a Visiting Research Fellow in Glaucoma at W.K. Kellogg Eye Centre, Michigan, USA and Doheny Eye Institute, Los Angeles, USA.

 

His Research interests are in the area of Pediatric Glaucoma and related eye diseases (clinical and genetics), and medical and surgical management of Adult Glaucoma and cataract. He has published over 75 papers.

 

Apart from present Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize in Medical Sciences for 2003, Dr Mandal is a recipient of Col. Rangachari Award for Best Paper in AIOS; 2003; Award for Best Instruction Film in AIOS, 2003; International Film Festival Award in ASCRS meeting, USA, 2002; Distinguished Service Award by APSOS, Hyderabad 2001; ICMR Prize for Medical Research, India 2000; Achievement Award by American Academy of Ophthalmology, USA, 2000; Dr K. Vengal Rao Gold Medal by APSOS, 1999; Dr D. Raghunandan Endowment Award, SDEH and RIO, Hyderabad, 1998; Best presentation for papers, poster and video in Ophthalmic Congress of SAARC countries, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, 1998; Dr V. Ranghavachari Gold Medal for best paper in APSOS, 1977; Dr P. Siva Reddy Gold Medal Oration Award by AIOS, New Delhi, 1997; Award for Best Thematic Film at AIOS meeting, New Delhi, 1997; Award for Best Review Article by FOREC, India, 1992; and Best Resident Award by Ophthalmic Research Association, 1990.

 

He is a member of: American Academy of Ophthalmology, USA; National Academy of Medical Sciences, India; Glaucoma Society of India; Indian Intraocular Lens Implant Society; A.P. State Ophthalmic Society.

 

 

References:

 

1. Mandal AK, Current concepts in the diagnosis and management of developmental glaucomas. Indian J Ophthalmol 1993; 41:51‑70

2. Mandal AK. Microsurgical technique combines trabeculotomy and trabeculectomy to treat developmental glaucoma. Ocular Surgery News International Edition 1994; 5(8):38‑43

3. Mandal AK, Naduvilath TJ, Jayagandan A. Surgical results of combined trabeculotomy‑trabeculectomy for developmental glaucoma. Ophthalmology 1998; 105:974‑82

4. Mandal AK. Primary combined trabeculotomy‑trabeculectomy for early onset glaucoma in Sturge‑Weber syndrome. Ophthalmology 1999; 106:1621‑7

5. Mandal AK.,Bhatia PG, Gothwal VK et al. Safety and efficacy of simultaneous bilateral primary combined trabeculotomy‑trabeculectomy for developmental glaucoma. Indian J Ophthalmol 2002; 50:13‑9

6. Mandal AK, Gothwal VK, Bagga H, Nutheti R, Mansoori T. Outcome of surgery on infants younger than one month of age with congenital glaucoma. Ophthalmology 2003; 110:1909‑1915.

7. Mandal AK, Bhatia PG, Bhaskar A, Nutheti R. Long‑term surgical and visual outcomes in Indian children with developmental glaucoma operated on within 6 months of birth. Ophthalmology 2004; 111:283‑290.

8. Mandal AK, Walton DS, John T et al. Mitomycin C‑augmented trabeculectomy in refractory congenital glaucoma, Ophthalmology 1997; 104‑996‑1001

9. Mandal AK, Prasad K, Naduvilath TJ. Surgical results and complications of mitomycin C‑augmented trabeculectomy in refractory developmental glaucoma. Ophthalmic Surg Lasers 1999; 30:473‑80

10. Panicker SG, ABM Reddy, Mandal AK, Ahmed N, Nagarajaram HA, Hasnain SE, Balasubramanian D. Identification of novel mutations causing familial primary congenital glaucoma in Indian pedigrees. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2002; 43:1358‑1366

11. Reddy ABM, Panicker SG, Mandal AK, Hasnain SE, Balasubramanian D. Identification of R368H as a predominanat CY1B1 allele causing primary congenital glaucoma in Indian patients. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2003; 44:4200‑4203

12. Panicker SG, Mandal AK, Reddy ABM, Gothwal VK. Correlations of genotype with phenotype in Indian patients with primary congenital glaucoma. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2004; 45:1149‑1156

13. Panicker SG, Srirangan S, Mandal AK, Reddy ABM, Ahmed N, Hasnain SE. Novel mutation in FoxcI wing region causing Axenfeld‑Rieger anomaly. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2002; 43:3613‑3616

14. Komatireddy S, Chakraborty S, Mandal AK, Reddy ABM, Sampath S, Panicker SG, Balasubramanian D. Mutation spectrum of FOXCI and clinical genetic heterogenity of Axenfeld‑Rieger anomaly in India. Molecular Vision 2003;9:43‑48

15. Dharmaraj N, Reddy ABM, Kiran VS, Mandal AK, Panicker SG, Chakraborty S. PAX6 Gene mutations and genotype‑phenotype correlations in sporadic cases of aniridia from India. Ophthalmic Genet 2003;24:161‑165

 

Mauritius Prime Minister visits NIO

 

LED by Prime Minister Mr Paul Raymond Berenger, a 14‑member delegation from Mauritius visited the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), Goa, in the recent past. The NIO Director welcomed the delegation and made a short scientific presentation highlighting the various areas of ocean research, such as mineral exploration, mapping of Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), exploration of bioactive molecules and marine archaeology at NIO. He also listed the various activities that were carried out by NIO in Mauritius waters and the interactions that NIO continues to have with the oceanographic institutions in Mauritius.

 

Mauritius Prime Minister Mr Paul Raymond Berenger with Dr Ehrlich Desa, the then Director, NIO (left); and Mr Berenger being shown the biological samples during his visit to NIO (right)

 

Quoting the remark made by the former Indian Prime Minister late Smt. Indira Gandhi, that “Mauritius is a little great country”, Mr Paul Raymond Berenger observed that actually it is a large great country if the vast potential of its EEZ is also taken into account. He pointed out that tourism was the mainstay of their economy, and efforts were needed to sustain it. He expressed that it was the right time for exploration of Mauritius EEZ and his country would be seeking India's cooperation in this venture. He complimented NIO for its outstanding oceanographic work and looked forward for collaborative programmes in the near future.

 

During the discussion, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Cooperation, Mr A.K. Gayan and Minister of Information Technology, Mr D. Jeeha showed keen interest in exploration of polymetallic nodules.

 

The delegation was accompanied by seven senior Indian officials.

 

 

NORAD Team at NIO

 

A three‑member delegation from NORAD Match Making Programme (MMP), Oslo, led byMs Ana Lise Rognlidala, National Contact Point, visited the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), Goa, on 25 November 2003. Dr M.R. Nayak, Deputy Director and Chairman, International S&T Affairs, NIO, welcomed the delegation.

 

Three-member delegation from NORAD MMP, Oslo, led by Ms Ana Lise Rognlidala,

National Contact Point, during a meeting with NIO scientists

 

 Ms Rognlidala apprised that Indo‑Norwegian Match Making Program provides a business opportunity to both the Indian and Norwegian entities for mutual benefit. The idea, promoted by Norwegian Trade Council (NTC), was first launched in February 2003 covering Sri Lanka and South Africa besides India, she added. The potential areas identified for joint collaboration include Oil & natural gas, biotechnology, aquaculture, fisheries and food processing. NIO scientists shared information on various areas of their research and outlined the expertise available  at  the institute.  They also presented the list of programmes carried  out  in  the past, in partnership with their Norwegian counterpart.  Mr Brij Mehandru and Mr Oystein Jorgersen from Regional Contact Point were the other members of the delegation.

 

 

Dr R.A. Mashelkar launches e‑Journal Portal of INSA

 

DR R.A. Mashelkar, Director General, CSIR, launched the e‑Journal portal of the Indian National Science Academy (INSA) at its 69th Anniversary General Meeting (AGM) held at National Chemical Laboratory (NCL), Pune. The free access to INSA journals is available at http://www.insa.ac.in/html/home.asp with simple registration.

 

Dr Mashelkar in his inaugural address appreciated the efforts of the Academy for the initiative taken in e‑publishing. He said that though there are some 3500 odd scientific journals published from India, the visibility on the Internet has created the situation that, “if you do not exist on the web, you do not exist in the world”. He pointed out that though UNDP has placed India at 63rd position in Technological Index, in the list of 162 countries, the development indicator is judged by many factors, and any such indicator divided for 1 billion people takes our progress close to zero. In the same indicator, he added, countries like Indonesia are placed above India, though their total number of publications is less than that of the NCL alone. Speaking on `reverse brain drain', Dr Mashelkar said that in the last few years many software professionals are opting to return to India by choice. Also, it is a fact that major global companies are opening their R&D centres in India whose individual budget is more than India's total investment in R&D. These private R&D centres and industries are recruiting a large number of Ph.Ds and other professionals and this is leading to brain gain to the country. He pointed out that this is the right time for e‑publication to attract scientific professionals and industries from abroad.

 

 

Dr S. Sivaram, Director, NCL, delivering his welcome address on the occasion of launching of e-Journal Portal of INSA by Dr R.A. Mashelkar, Director General, CSIR (seated on left). Seated on Dr Mashelkar's left are:

Prof. M.V.S. Valiathan, President, INSA; and Prof. Surendra Prasad Vice-President, INSA

 

The two‑day INSA AGM programme held on 27‑28 December 2003 included INSA council meeting and a seminar on `Open Access to Scientific Knowledge' besides two popular scientific lectures on `Neurological Research — As We Did It' by Dr Noshir H. Wadia, Director, Department of Neurology, Jaslok Hospital Research Centre, Mumbai, and `The Chitra Valve Story' by Prof. M.S. Valiathan, President, INSA.

 

The seminar had seven invited talks, besides the inaugural talk on `Scientific Data and Information: The Developing World Perspectives on Access and IP Protection' by Dr Mashelkar. Advocating the differential pricing policy, he said, there should be  different cost while charging the customers from developed and developing countries. But the data distribution is mainly in private hands, he added. There is free access to many scientific journals on Internet. UN agencies like WHO, and FAO are taking initiative to bridge the gap of digital divide. Referring to the print media, he discussed the issue as to who should bear the cost and page charges of the journal, and added that India has the capability and should show leadership to the world in this area.

 

In his concluding remarks at the inaugural session, Prof. M.V.S. Valiathan noted that open access approach appeals to us, and S&T community and academies are also in favour of open access. But the problem is with publishing companies, who are profit oriented, and the public funded research is working for profit‑making publishing companies, he added.

 

@BODY‑SM = Prof. Shu‑ich Iwata, University of Tokyo, Japan, emphasized the utility of open access of scientific data and legal issues, especially in the context of availability of high performance computers. Worldwide, more than 700 million people are connected to Internet, he added.

 

@BODY‑SM = Prof. N. Balakrishnan, Computer Centre, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, stressed on digital library act for content sharing. Speaking on Digital Library of India, he informed about the project being materialized at IISc. He pointed out that storage and creation of data are becoming cheaper but the message is read more by machine and less by reader.

 

Dr R.R. Kelkar, Director General, Indian Meteorology Department, spoke on `Access to Meteorological Data'. He said many national MET services introduced free exchange of Met data in 1970. Outside the global telecom service, more data is available on Internet. Tea gardens, Railways, etc. have their own data collection centres, since they require it for their operations. He said data proprietary ownership is coming up. There are many data users like farmers, travellers and tourists, city dwellers including general public and populations facing disasters, whereas specific users are from aviation, shipping and defence establishments. There are both types of users for profit and non‑profit.

 

Dr S. Sivaram, Director, NCL, gave a warm welcome to the distinguished academy fellows on this occasion. Prof. Surendra Prasad of IIT, New Delhi and Vice‑President of INSA outlined INSA activities. He also gave brief account of the e‑journal portal (e‑journals@insaproject) covering the various features like search, access, retrieval, help etc.

 

@BODY‑SM = The meeting was convened by Dr Sivaram and Dr S. Pal, Head,Physical and Material Chemistry Division of NCL, and was attended by about 100 fellows besides the local members. 

 

 

Workshop on Accident Investigation and Analysis for
Road Safety Engineering Solutions

 

THE Central Road Research Institute (CRRI), New Delhi, in association with Institute for Road Traffic Education (IRTE) and World Road Safety Network (WRSN), organized a workshop on `Accident Investigation and Analysis for Road Safety Engineering Solutions' on 27 February 2004. The workshop had a technical session on the following topics:

 

"World Road Safety Network & Global Approach towards Standardization of Road Collisions and Investigation by WRSN;

 

"Accident Investigation and Analysis for Engineering Solutions by CRRI;

 

"Scientific Collision investigation (with Indian Case Studies) and how this technology can initiate a process of Road Safety Practices in India by IRTE

 

"European Practice of Recording and Analysing Road Collisions by WRSN

 

Mr Peter ter Meulen and Mr Erik Donkers from WRSN made the presentations and participated in the discussion on behalf of WRSN.

 

 

Shri Haroon Yusuf, Minister of Transport, NCTD (centre);Prof. P.K. Sikdar, Director, CRRI (right) and

Shri Rohit Baluja, President, IRTE (left) having a discussion during Executive Session of the Workshop on Accident Investigation and Analysis for Road Safety Engineering Solutions

 

 The technical session was followed by an Executive Session. The recommendations that emerged from the discussions were presented to Shri Haroon Yusuf, Minister of Transport, NCTD, who was the Chief Guest at this session.

 

In his address the Minister expressed his concern about the growing trends of accidents and emphasized the need for scientific management of accident information for evolving solutions for road accidents. He appreciated the initiative taken by CRRI and its associates for addressing the problems of Road Accidents in Delhi. He promised to extend full support of the government in implementing the recommendations of the workshop.

 

 

Workshop on Instrumentation Systems and Related Technology on Condition Monitoring of Critical Rotating Machines for Generation of Electric Power

 

THE Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (CSIO), Chandigarh, organized a workshop on `Instrumentation Systems and Related Technology on Condition Monitoring of Critical Rotating Machines for Generation of Electric Power' on 19 January 2004. The objective of this workshop was to create awareness about predictive maintenance through online expert system and artificial neural network system among the power plant engineers, and expose them to the latest developments made in this important multi faceted area. Dr Aiyagari V. Rao, Head, SERC, Department of Science & Technology, New Delhi, inaugurated the workshop;  Prof. D.V. Singh, former Director, IIT‑Roorkee, presided over. About 35 Senior Plant Engineers and scientists from all over country attended the workshop.

 

 

 

Dr Aiyagari V. Rao, Head, SERC, DST, delivering his inaugural address

during the Workshop on Instrumentation Systems and Related Technology on

Condition Monitoring of Critical Rotating Machines for Generation of Electric Power

 

Dr R.P. Bajpai, Director, CSIO, while welcoming the Chief Guest, experts and delegates emphasized the importance of upkeep of power generation plants in view of their impact on national productivity. Dr K.R. Sarma, former Director, CSIO, narrated the background of the project conceived during his tenure.

 

CSIO, in collaboration with IIT‑Delhi, IIT‑Kanpur, BHEL Corp. R&D Hyderabad has recently implemented one such system on Turbo‑Generator Set of Unit No. 1 at GGSSTPP‑Ropar to monitor and predict faults, if any, under a DST‑sponsored programme.

 

Health of rotating machinery like turbines, generators, pumps, etc. is very important for reliability in power generation. These machines develop some defects, which may be owing to a design fault, or some other fault developed during the life of the rotor. Problems like unbalancing, misalignment, bearing damage, casing and foundation distortion, bearing looseness, rubs, etc. commonly occur in rotating machinery. Some of these defects progress slowly whereas some aggravate suddenly leading to a catastrophic failure and heavy financial losses. Periodic offline inspections at frequent intervals are no solution, and are too expensive. Therefore, a sound maintenance programme is a must. Detecting the defects in early stages go a long way in ensuring safe and trouble‑free operation of these very costly and valuable machines. An online diagnostic system thus becomes very economical and efficient maintenance too.

 

Most of the defects encountered in the rotating machinery give rise to a distinct vibration pattern (vibration signature), and hence in most cases, the faults can be identified using the vibration signatures analysis techniques. It has been observed that any defect developed may not show an indication in time domain data unless it deteriorates to an advanced condition. The frequency domain signal not only detects the problem early in its growth but also actually tells, with certain probability the nature of impending fault.

 

Shri A.D. Kaul presented a vote of thanks.

 

 

CSIR Programme for Youth Leadership in Science (CPYLS) at CECRI, CFTRI, CSMCRI, IIP, ITRC, IMTECH, NIO & NISCAIR

 

THE CSIR programme on Youth for Leadership in Science (CPYLS) is aimed at attracting the best school students towards science through a unique `hand holding' experience. It aims at encouraging them to take science as an exciting, rewarding and fulfilling career. The CPYLS held at CECRI, CFTRI, IIP, CSMCRI, ITRC, IMTECH, NIO and NISCAIR, in the recent past are highlighted here:

 

 

Central Electrochemical Research Institute (CECRI), Karaikudi

 

CECRI organized CPYLS during 22‑23 December 2003. Twenty‑five top students of SSLC examination held in March 2003, along with their parents, from Tamilnadu attended the programme.

 

Prof. A.K. Shukla, Director, CECRI, inaugurated the programme. Dr V. Muralidharan, Coordinator, CPYLS, welcomed the participants and Shri R. Meenakshisundaram, Scientist, CECRI, briefed about the programme.

 

Prof. Shukla in his address highlighted some of the major activities of CSIR. Dr A. Rajendran, Deputy Director, CECRI, gave the keynote address on global warming. A video presentation on the journey of Dr R.A. Mashelkar from a poor boy to Director General, CSIR, was also arranged to inspire the young students. Dr P. Thirunavukarasu, Scientist, proposed the vote of thanks.

 

The programme comprised lectures by eminent personalities, video shows and visit to the various laboratories with ample opportunity for interaction with the scientists.

 

 

Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI), Mysore

 

“Management of Knowledge, which is essential for innovations, will also be the driving force in the future,” said Dr V. Prakash, Director, CFTRI while, delivering a lecture on `Knowledge Management & Management of Knowledge' to the participants of the fifth batch of CPYLS held at CFTRI, during 12‑13 January 2004.

 

Forty‑seven students, along with their parents, participated in the programme, which comprised talks highlighting the human resource development initiatives undertaken by CSIR and the objective of and the opportunities offered by the CPYLS. Dr N.R. Rajagopal, former Head of the Human Resource Development Group, CSIR, New Delhi, spoke about the support that CSIR has been providing to the students undertaking Science and Research oriented careers, right from their Post‑graduation level.

 

The students were taken round the institute to provide them an exposure them to the working environments of a research institutions. Facilities like the Pilot Plant, Central Instrumentation Facility and novel products developed at the institute fascinated them.

 

 

Participants of CPYLS at CFTRI

 

“The programme is an exhilarating experience and has enhanced my knowledge and my urge towards science,” said K.S. Gowtham, one of the participants. The programme has “changed our attitudes towards future area of studies and made us to think over on the possibilities of higher studies in basic science,” said Shri P.N. Sapparad, a parent from Dharwar.

 

 

Central Salt and Marine Chemicals Research Institute (CSMCRI), Bhavnagar

 

A two‑day CPYLS held on 6‑7 November 2003 at CSMCRI was attended by 72 top ranking students, along with their parents/teachers from all over the Gujarat State.

 

Dr Arun M. Dave, Vice Chancellor, Gujarat Vidyapith and Honorary Principal, Lokbharati, Sanosara of Bhavnagar District, who was Chief Guest at the inaugural function, shared hIs experience with the students. He said that like cause and effect theory, every incident and episode have a scientific origin or reason. He pointed out that what we see today in science is only a tip of a gigantic iceberg and perhaps so far human beings have succeeded only just to scratch the top. We are yet to unearth the entire treasure trove of science. Dr Dave opined that the study of science is indeed fun and frolic. The blame for making it a loathsome subject lies with teachers who do not explain science in a simple manner. He said that if anyone asked him about what lacks in Indian education, he would say it is the current system of holding umpteen examinations, which is a constraint on students and needs to be stream‑lined. He quoted President of India A.P.J. Abdul Kalam's observation that "India is not poor, but the Indian thinking is poor". Dr Dave expressed that science that does not serve humanity is fallacious.

 

Earlier, Dr A.S. Mehta, Chairman, CPYLS Committee welcomed the guests and participants. He highlighted the leitmotif of CPYLS and importance of the basic science in achieving extraordinary goals in life.

 

 

Participants of CPYLS being explained the technologies pertaining to iodized salt and

Reverse Osmosis plant, at CSMCRI

 

 Dr P.K. Ghosh, Director, CSMCRI, narrated recent achievements of CSMCRI. Citing numerous examples like vegetable herbal salt, better quality writing chalk, bio‑diesel, stability of iodine in iodised salt and seaweed farming, he told how trivial ideas lead to extraordinary research and in due course, how one can achieve significant results beneficial to the society. He appealed to the students to think innovatively and creatively.

 

Students were shown live experiments on varied activities of the institute and were explained scientific principles involved in these. These included: Reverse Osmosis (RO) domestic unit and pilot plant; Resin Separation Technique; Sophisticated instruments ‑ IR, NMR, Cryst‑allography, SEM, XRD etc; Structures of molecules on computer; Algology; Phytosalinity; Photocatalysis; Electrodialysis and Bipolar Membrane; Electrochemistry; Salt & Marine chemicals; Liquid Nitrogen Plant & Whiteness Measurement Gadget; and Glass Blowing.

 

Dr Pradeep Kumar Srivastava, Scientist, CDRI, Lucknow, delivered an invited talk on 'Introduction to biotechnology with the help of cartoons'. On the second day, thirty experiments covering syllabus of 8‑12 standard involving all disciplines of science were arranged.

 

A special science quiz competition, Kaun Banega Vaignanik' was organized. National Creativity Olympiad was also held under which students were allowed to play NCO games on computers.

 

Shri Ravjibhai Savalia, Director, Savalia Research Centre, Ahmedabad, was the Chief Guest during the valedictory function. He gave away prizes to the winners of various competitions.

 

Dr P.K. Ghosh, who presided over the function, in his speech encouraged the students to take up science as a career and mentioned that there is no end to research in science.

 

An informative booklet on various courses available in the country in the basic science after 12th standard, prepared by CSMCRI, was distributed to participating students. They were also given certificates for their participation in the programme.

 

 

Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP), Dehra Dun

 

IIP organized CPYLS for meritorious students during 29‑30 January 2004. The programme was attended by 35 students from all over Uttaranchal.

 

Shri M. Ramachandran, Additional Chief Secretary, Government of Uttaranchal, while inaugurating the CPYLS, complimented IIP for rendering yeoman service to the nation and expressed happiness at the presence of this important institute in Uttaranchal, making it possible for the state, to benefit from its research activities. He urged the participating students to take advantage of the opportunity provided to them by IIP to become future scientists of the country. He said greater responsibility devolved on the teachers to prepare good citizens of the country. He said Uttaranchal has also offered lot of opportunities to meritorious students and also offered substantial scholarships. He urged them to make use of opportunities available and do something for the state. He disclosed that computer education facilities are being provided to all the schools in the state. He suggested students to utilise such facilities even after school hours for the benefit of farmers and villagers. He asked them to venture into new areas with whatever facilities were available.

 

 

Shri M. Ramachandran, Additional Chief Secretary, Government of Uttaranchal, delivering

his inaugural address during CPYLS at IIP. Dr M.O. Garg, Director, IIP (centre),

Shri R.K. Agarwal and Dr Anil Jain, Scientists, IIP, are also seen

 

 Welcoming the Chief Guest, students and teachers, IIP Director, Dr M.O. Garg said that the institute was one of the 38 labs of the CSIR, excelling in the area of petroleum, with impact at both national and international levels. He said that growth and development of the country depends on the growth of science. He emphasized that we should not underestimate the role of science, particularly its role in improving the quality of life. The Director highlighted the role of petroleum and petroleum products in everyday life right from the use of LPG in kitchen, fuel for vehicles, aeroplanes, trains, generators, chemicals to even roads made from bitumen.

 

During the two‑day programme, lectures on interesting topics like Petroleum Refining, Environment, Application of Biotechnology, Oil Conservation, Vehicular Emissions, Efficient use of fuels, etc. were given by eminent scientists of IIP. All the lectures were quite simple, informative and thought provoking. Students, their teachers and parents took interest in all the lectures and they were quite interactive.

 

A workshop on `Learning Basics of Science is Fun' was organized by Shri V.S. Saini, Scientist, IIP. The basic idea of the workshop was to demonstrate to the students that the experimentation is the most enjoyable part of science and to provide a clear picture of the steps by which scientists proceed. Fascinating experiments using household materials were performed by the students and the underlying scientific principles were explained to them. It was a sheer fun for the students to learn that by understanding the law of stability, an egg can be made to stand upright on its narrow end. Kitchen materials such as turmeric powder and extract of beet root were demonstrated as indicator for acid‑alkali titration.

 

Students participated actively in the experiments as well as in discussions which followed each experiment. All the participants as well as the accompanying guardians praised the workshop.

 

The students were also taken around to various laboratories in order to make them familiar with some of the latest R&D facilities available at IIP. They inquisitively interacted with the scientists on various research activities which are going on in the institute.

 

The valedictory function held on 30 January 2004, was chaired by Dr M.O. Garg. In the function, the students, their teachers and parents expressed that the overall programme was very interesting, useful and it has created interest towards science among them. They were very much enthusiastic about the programme. Mementoes and certificates were presented to all the participants. All these activities were coordinated by Shri R.K. Agarwal and Dr A.K. Jain, Scientists, IIP.

 

The feedback given by the students about the programme is excellent which reflects on the usefulness of the programme.

 

 

Institute of Microbial Technology (IMTECH), Chandigarh

 

IMTECH conducted the fifth CPYLS during 4‑5 December 2003. A total of 32 meritorious students attended the programme. Dr Amit Ghosh, Director, IMTECH, in his welcome address explained the aims and objectives of CPYLS. Dr Girish Sahni, Scientist, IMTECH gave a talk on `Science as profession, hobby and passion' which was preceeded by film show entitled `CSIR: The journey of past 60 years'. Thereafter Dr Naresh Kumar gave a brief introduction about CSIR and the aims and objectives of the CPYLS. Two special lectures on `From Genes to Proteins: Information Transfer in Biology' and `Prosperity for all‑Role of Science and Technology' were delivered by Prof. P. Balaram, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and Prof. Y.S. Rajan, Vice‑Chancellor, PTU & Scientific Advisor, Punjab Government respectively. Both the lectures generated considerable enthusiasm among the participants

 

 

Group photograph of participants of CPYLS at IMTECH

 

 A pictorial exhibition on IMTECH's ongoing research programmes and existing capabilities, live demonstration of its computer modeling capabilities, and several laboratory experiments was held. The programme concluded with a lively discussion with the participants about their expectations and the career prospects as they see it. They were also encouraged to give their views and inputs on the programme. The students and their guardians expressed their appreciation of IMTECH's arrangements of the CPYLS.

 

 

Industrial Toxicology Research Centre (ITRC), Lucknow

 

ITRC organized CPYLS during 4‑5 February 2004. Six meritorious students from class X examination of 2003 from U.P. Board, CBSE and ICSE Board, attended the programme.

 

During the inauguration, the Chief Guest Prof. V.B. Pratap, an eminent eye surgeon, delivered a lecture wherein he stated that science is an ocean of knowledge and that anybody working diligently and patiently could achieve his dreams. He lauded the efforts of the CSIR in popularizing science among students through CPYLS and in providing motivation at the right stage by “catching them young”.

 

Participants of CPYLS at ITRC

 

Earlier, Prof. Y.K. Gupta, Director, ITRC while welcoming the students, guardians and the Chief Guest, emphasized on the importance of scientific knowledge for the growth of the country. Every child, he said, is a born scientist having an inquisitive temperament and that it is up to the elders to channelize and satiate his/her curiosity. He explained how scientists lead a new life every day and every moment.

 

Dr D.K. Saxena, Chairman, HRDC, while presenting the genesis of the programme said that this was basically meant to encourage class X students to continue their scientific pursuits and interest in science as they prepare for higher education.

 

Dr F. Jaffery, Convener of the programme, proposed a vote of thanks.

 

The students visited various institutional laboratories and acquainted themselves with the various facilities offered by the institute. The techniques for detecting and quantifying chemicals and toxicants in various food products were shown in the Dyes & Food Adulterants Lab, Developmental Toxicology and the Analytical Toxicology Labs. The application of DNA Microarray and Proteomics in Toxicogenomics, Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) technique and its applicability in biological research; Comet assay for the qualitative and quantitative assessment of DNA damage and repair; and Microassays for high throughput screening of antioxidant potential of natural products was demonstrated to the students. The first day activities concluded with the students participating in Science Olympiad.

 

On the next day, the Environmental Monitoring Lab, Cell and Tissue Culture facilities, Assessment of the impact of chemicals on growing embryos, and Protocols for assessing the impact of occupational hazards on workers were shown. In the afternoon during the visit to the ITRC's Gheru campus, students were shown the modern Animal House, Environmental Toxicology Lab, Vermiculture facility, and Mathematical Modeling for predictive toxicology. This exercise was carried out to acquaint the students with the modern approach to toxicology – at molecular and genetic levels, and also the impact of toxicants and pollutants on human health with modern tools.

 

During the valedictory function, the students expressed their views on the experience of the two days' programme. They were quite impressed with the working facilities available here; the instruments and techniques particularly in the Petroleum toxicology, Ecotoxicology, in vitro toxicology, and Toxicogenomics laboratories fascinated them the most. The students expressed their satisfaction and gratitude towards the CSIR's programme which has been beneficial to them in a way that one of them wants to pursue a career in Biotechnology, another marveled at the patience displayed by the scientists in answering their queries, yet another expressed that it` had changed his belief about scientists being `eccentric' in nature.

 

The Director presented mementoes and certificates to participants and concluded the event with an open invitation to them, to visit ITRC anytime they wished, interact with scientists, and also participate in the activities organized by this institute.

 

 

National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), Goa

 

A two‑day CPYLS  held on 10 & 11 November 2003 at  NIO,  was attended by 102 top ranking students of SSC from the Goa State Board, CBSE and ICSE. The students were apprised of various ongoing research activities in the various laboratories of NIO.

 

Participants of CPYLS attending a lecture at NIO

 

The programme comprised an interactive session with senior scientists; film shows on NIO/CSIR programmes, and an `Ocean' quiz competition. Dr Rahul Sharma highlighted the salient features and advantages of the CPYLS. He assured that NIO scientists would be available to them for interaction and guidance on any project in Oceanograpy.

 

 

National Institute of Science Communication and Information Resources (NISCAIR), New Delhi

 

NISCAIR held the CPYLS (2004) on 16‑17 February. Sixteen meritorious students attended the programme.

 

Prof. Rajesh Kocchar, Director, National Institute of Science, Technology and Development Studies (NISTADS), New Delhi delivered the inaugural lecture. In his humour‑laced lecture, Dr Kocchar told the participants that their life ahead would be a little like the game of snakes and ladders that they would have played as kids. However, in life there was no hard and fast rule that a snake had to be a snake and that a ladder had to be a ladder. He said that it was a person's attitude towards a situation that could turn a snake into a ladder and vice‑versa. An opportunity wasted would mean that a ladder had been turned into a snake, whereas a learning experience, even if it were a bitter one, would qualify as the reverse phenomenon.

 

Participants of CPYLS visiting the Raw Materials Herbarium & Museum at NISCAIR

 

Dr A.R. Verma, former Director, National Physical Laboratory, New Delhi and recipient of Padma Bhushan, delivered a talk entitled, `Precision measurements live for ever'. He pointed out that precision measurements in science are absolutely mandatory. He gave the example of Lord Rayleigh, who in 1892, found that oxygen was always 15.882 times denser than hydrogen, no matter how it was prepared. When he tried to extend this work to nitrogen, he found that nitrogen isolated from air was denser than nitrogen prepared from ammonia. Any other person might have given up exploring this minor discrepancy but not Lord Rayleigh. He and Ramsey later jointly announced the discovery of a new element, which they named argon from the Greek word meaning the `lazy one' because this gas refused to react with any element or compound they tested. The entire new group of inert gases was discovered subsequently, all because attempt was made to find the reason for a minor discrepancy and not ignoring it. This shows how precise measurements have honed (and are honing) our understanding of science.

 

Dr B.C. Sharma, Scientist F and Head, Popular Science Division, NISCAIR, delivered a talk entitled `Overview of NISCAIR Activities'. In his talk, Dr Sharma gave the participants a brief yet tantalizing glimpse into NISCAIR's multifarious activities and their societal significance. Dr Sukanya Datta, Associate Editor, Science Reporter, pointed out the nuances of popular writing in her presentation.

 

A video presentation on 60 major achievements of CSIR, and another entitled, `Raghunath', which traced the rise of Dr R.A. Mashelkar, DG CSIR, from humble beginnings to the stellar heights of success, were arranged. The participants were treated to a tour of both the campuses of NISCAIR.

@BODY‑LES = There was a lively interactive session just prior to the valedictory function with the students and/or their teacher/guardian ascending the podium to air their views. The programme concluded with a vote of thanks.

 

 

IIME Mineral Beneficiation Award conferred on Prof. V.N. Misra

 

IN recognition of his outstanding contribution to the development of mineral processing, Prof. Vibhuti N Misra, Director, Regional Research Laboratory (RRL), Bhubaneswar, was conferred the IIME Mineral Beneficiation Award 2004 by the Indian Institute of Mineral Engineers. Governor of Orissa Shri M. M. Rajendran, presented the award at the International Seminar on Mineral Processing Technology (MTT‑2004), held at RRL‑ Bhubaneswar on 19 February 2004.

 

Mineral beneficiation is a process of adding value to the ore so as to enrich its content and composition. Under the leadership and guidance of Prof Misra, RRL‑ Bhubaneswar has acquired the state‑of‑the art processes for mineral beneficiation that are at par with the best in the world.

 

 

Prof Misra graduated in Metallurgical Engineering from the Banaras Hindu University in 1967 and obtained his Masters and Doctorate degree in Metallurgical Engineering from Nagpur University. He is a recipient of several honours and awards including the 1995 Asia Award by Australian Federal Government and Distinguished Alumnus Award (1998) by Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi.