SCIENCE REPORTER

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ISSN: 0036-8512                                                                                              

VOLUME 49                                                      NUMBER  3                                        MARCH 2011

CONTENTS

 

COVER STORY

 

Amazing World of Science Fiction

Arvind Mishra

 

8

FEATURE ARTICLES

Arthur C. Clarke: Father of Satellite Communication

K. Smiles Mascarenhas

 

 

14

Is There Life Beyond Earth?

N. Ramdas Iyer

 

 

19

Spectrum: A new kind of natural resource

Paresh R. Vaidya

 

26

Vainu Bappu: Father of Modern Indian Astronomy

M.S.S. Murthy

29

Herbal Manicure & Pedicure, Anyone?

Shazia & M.B. Siddiqui

 

32

From Logic to Artificial Intelligence

Nidhi Chopra

45

Fuel Cells: Hope for Future Energy

M. Goswami  & S. Sahoo

 

54

SCIENCE FICTION

The Transformation

Samiya Fatima

36

DEPARTMENTS

 

Reactions

6

Editorial              

7

Spectrum            

16

Point-Counterpoint

 

24

 

Reflections

39

 

Test your Knowledge

40

Humour

42

Puzzle Corner

50

 

Familiar Fossils                                                                

53

Fun Quiz

58

What’s New      

60

Crossword          

62

 

  

 

Science Reporter

Vol. 49, March 2011, pp 8-13

Amazing World of Science Fiction

Arvind Mishra

GRIFFIN, a scientist, believed that if a person’s refractive index was changed to exactly that of air and his body did not absorb or reflect light, then he would be invisible. Griffin successfully carried out this procedure on himself and became invisible. Unfortunately, he could not make himself visible again, and became mentally unstable as a result. Well, Griffin is not a real-life character, as you would have guessed by now. He is the hero of a famous science fiction novel published in 1897—The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells.

 

Science Reporter

Vol. 49, March 2011, pp 14-15

 

Arthur C. Clarke: Father of Satellite Communication

K. Smiles Mascarenhas

 

WHEN we see Wimbledon live, or the opening ceremony of the Olympics, via satellite, we seldom remember the person who first suggested that satellites could be used for communication purposes. Even when that person entered the Glorious Abode on 19 March 2008, few TV channels remembered him with gratitude. Even Science Fiction buffs who read his novels avidly must have failed to notice the demise of a great Scientific Prophet—Sir Arthur C. Clarke who predicted not only communication through Geo-stationary satellites, but also advances in computer technology.

 

Science Reporter

Vol. 49, March 2011, pp 19-23

Is There Life Beyond Earth?

N. Ramdas Iyer

 

THE Earth looks like a big, beautiful blue marble from space. Our home planet is certainly one of the most beautiful planets in the solar system, and it is also the only planet we know that supports life in any form. Other planets in our solar system may turn out to have life in some form, but, at best, it would probably be very tiny forms of life, such as microbes.

 

Science Reporter

Vol. 49, March 2011, pp 26-28

Spectrum: A New Kind of Natural Resource

Paresh R. Vaidya

 

THE word ‘natural resource’ brings to our minds environmental elements like water, land, minerals and petroleum products. One may stretch it to clean air. But no one so far even thought that an intangible and abstract entity called spectrum could be a natural resource. And that too with an adjective ‘scarce’, like any other resource.

 

Science Reporter

Vol. 49, March 2011, pp 29-31

Vainu Bappu: Father of Modern Indian Astronomy

M.S.S. Murthy

MOST children would have wondered at amazement at those little, diamond-like objects shining in the night sky. As they grow up only a few retain that sense of wonder and still fewer probe deeper into the mysteries that abound. This is the story of one such boy – M.K. Vainu Bappu – who went on to be fondly remembered as the “father of modern Indian astronomy”.

 

Science Reporter

Vol. 49, March 2011, pp 32-35

Herbal Manicure & Pedicure, Anyone?

Shazia & M.B. Siddiqui

A well-turned out appearance imbues you with a sense of confidence. One aspect that makes for an appealing personality is a manicured hand. A manicure involves trimming the nails, shaping the nails, pushing back the cuticle, or removing any type of hang nail you might have. This also helps your nails grow by pushing the skin that comes off the nail plate. Beautiful nails impart your hand with a character and, obviously, are good at look at.

 

Science Reporter

Vol. 49, March 2011, pp 45-47

From Logic to Artificial Intelligence

Nidhi Chopra

LOGIC is one of the major sub-topics of subjects like mathematics, computer science and physics. Any science student familiar with Boolean Algebra knows about gates (NOT, OR, AND) and rules or principles of this Algebra. Aristotle was the first one to talk about this notion of distinction between true and false. This was called syllogism.

 

 

Science Reporter

Vol. 49, March 2011, pp 54-57

Fuel Cells: Hope for Future Energy

M. Goswami  & S. Sahoo

                                                                       

THE search for alternative fuels for a sustainable economy and conservation of the environment has brought fuel cell technology to the forefront. A fuel cell creates electric energy by converting a fuel into a negative charge on one terminal and a positive charge on the other terminal.  It converts chemical energy of a fuel into electrical energy without the internal combustion steps of a heat engine.