SCIENCE REPORTER

Total visitors:4585 since 12-11-2010

ISSN: 0036-8512                                                                                              

VOLUME 47                                                      NUMBER  11                                           NOVEMBER 2010

CONTENTS

 

COVER STORY

 

The Unseen Sun

M.S.S. MURTHY

 

8

FEATURE ARTICLES

 

FUSION

A Limitless Source of Energy

POORAN KOLI, K.M. GANGOTRI, URVASHI SHARMA, MUKESH BHIMWAL, AMIT MAHAWAR & MAHESH BHIMWAL

 

13

Dangerous Face of the Sun

K. SUNDARA RAMAN

 

19

What Makes the Sun Shine?

B.N. DWIVEDI

23

SAGAR NIDHI: BRAVING THE ANTARCTICA WATERS

Rajasekhar D, Nallathambi T, Ravi N, Shashikumar K, Pandurangan V, Kartik T, Charles S, Sibaprasad B, Nagarajan G, & Muthukumar C

30

GAUR: WILD CATTLE IN PERIL

M. ASHOKKUMAR, R. NAGARAJAN & AJAY A. DESAI

34

MALES ON DISPLAY!

SHIVANI JADEJA

46

SHORT FEATURES

 

Pan (acea) for Diseases?

GEETIKA

28

D.M. Bose: The Indian Who Missed the Nobel

MANAS PRATIM DAS

42

MACADAMIA: NUTRITIOUS NUT FOOD

KEDARESHWAR PRADHAN

 

44

DEPARTMENTS

 

REACTIONS

6

EDITORIAL       

7

SPECTRUM       

16

POINT-COUNTERPOINT

 

37

 

TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE

40

 

PUZZLE CORNER

50

 

BOOK REVIEW

52

 

ANECDOTES                                                                                      

53

LIVINGFOSSILS

55

 

NATURAL HAZARDS

56

 

FUN QUIZ

58

WHAT’S NEW   

60

CROSSWORD                     

62

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Science Reporter

Vol. 47, November 2010, pp 8-12

THE UNSEEN SUN

M.S.S. MURTHY

The Sun is often described as a turbulent ball of fire although to us on the earth it looks like a white disk. Astronomers have employed innumerable instruments to view the unseen Sun with details not discernible to the naked eye.

Far afar, the Sun appears to be a calm, serene and unchanging beacon of light in the sky. But is it really so? No, say the astronomers. The flat bright disk hides another Sun—active, ever changing with violent eruptions that blaze forth in all directions and some reaching the earth too. What then is the real nature of the Sun that we see every day?

 

Science Reporter

Vol. 47, November 2010, pp 13-15

FUSION: A LIMITLESS SOURCE OF ENERGY

Pooran Koli, K.M. Gangotri, Urvashi Sharma, Mukesh Bhimwal,

 Amit Mahawar & Mahesh Bhimwal

 

Fusion technology holds the promise of being able to meet the future energy needs of the planet. But a lot still needs to be done before the technology is perfected. There are two types of fusion—uncontrolled and controlled. In uncontrolled nuclear fusion, vast energy in uncontrolled manner is released causing destruction only—the hydrogen bomb is an example. Thus uncontrolled nuclear fusion is not of use for constructive purpose. In controlled nuclear fusion, the vast energy is released steadily so it can be used for peaceful purposes, say, the nuclear fusion reactors.

 

 

Science Reporter

Vol. 47, November 2010, pp 19-22

DANGEROUS FACE OF THE SUN

K. SUNDARA RAMAN

Are we going to be roasted alive by killer solar storms that may arrive during the next solar maximum in 2012? Why and how do these solar flares occur and how do they affect the earth? Read on to find out. 

 

Science Reporter

Vol. 47, November 2010, pp 23-26

 

What Makes the Sun Shine?

B.N. DWIVEDI

How does the Sun shine? How does it produce the vast amount of energy that makes life possible on Earth? These questions have posed a challenge to scientists since the nineteenth century. In the nineteenth century, physicists believed that gravitation could fuel the Sun. In 1854, Hermann von Helmholtz proposed that the gravitational contraction could cause the Sun’s energy. Lord Kelvin estimated the age of the Sun from its gravitational contraction, and by implication the Earth, to be about 30 million years. In 1859, Charles Darwin estimated the age of the Earth to be about 300 million years from geological activity on the Earth, based on the erosion of the Weald in south England, cf.

 

Science Reporter

Vol. 47, November 2010, pp 28-29

Pan (acea) for Diseases?

GEETIKA

CHEWING pan or betel leaves is an all too prevalent addiction throughout the country, albeit more so in the northern part. The tell tale signs are very often visible on roadsides, on public transport, in residential and commercial buildings, and often in most unlikely places like flower pots and even inside lifts.

 

Science Reporter

Vol. 47, November 2010, pp 30-32

Sagar Nidhi: Braving the Antarctica Waters

Rajasekhar D, Nallathambi T, Ravi N, Shashikumar K, Pandurangan V, Kartik T, Charles S, Sibaprasad B, Nagarajan G, & Muthukumar C

 

Sagar Nidhi, India’s pride and most sophisticated ice class multi-disciplinary vessel of the sub-continent, is also the first Indian flagged research vessel that reached the 660 S latitude, facing 11 storms and 73 nm/hr wind speed, witnessing nature’s harshest conditions and awesome breathtaking sceneries.

 

Science Reporter

Vol. 47, November 2010, pp 33-36

GAUR: WILD CATTLE IN GRAVE PERIL

M. ASHOKKUMAR, R. NAGARAJAN, & AJAY A. DESAI

The shy gaur is under grave threat. The largest gregarious wild cattle found in Asia, with the largest population left in India, demands long-term conservation strategy. India has already lost one large bovid, the Banteng (Bos banteng), which was once known to occur in North East India. Gaur is yet another rapidly declining species.  It plays an important role by modifying its habitat by way of resetting succession of a forest habitat to grassland and spreading the propagules of numerous plants.  They are also important prey species for the endangered flagship species tiger.

 

 

Science Reporter

Vol. 47, November 2010, pp 42-43

D.M. BOSE: THE INDIAN WHO MISSED THE NOBEL

MANAS PRATIM DAS

THIS year we celebrate the 125th birth anniversary of a great genius who made the country proud with his path breaking scientific work. Debendra Mohan Bose, a silent worker and a strikingly handsome figure, was honoured in India and recognized abroad for pioneering researches in the field of cosmic rays, artificial radioactivity and neutron physics. He is also remembered as the scientist who more than once came close to making major breakthroughs that later won the Nobel Prize.

 

Science Reporter

Vol. 47, November 2010, pp 44-45

MACADAMIA: NUTRITIOUS NUT FOOD

KEDARESHWAR PRADHAN

POPULARLY known as Queensland nut, Macadamia integrifolia is a native of Australia. It grows naturally in the coastal district of South Queensland and Northern New-South Wales. There are seven Australian species of Macadamia and only two of them namely Macadamia integrifolia and Macadamia tetraphylla are considered edible and commercial species.

 

Science Reporter

Vol. 47, November 2010, pp 46-48

Males on Display!

SHIVANI JADEJA

Lekking is a unique and immensely interesting behaviour exhibited by male blackbucks. Here’s an account of this rare activity sighted at the Velavadar Blackbuck National Park in Gujarat.