Awards Current Affairs 2017

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Indrani Das wins top prize in Regeneron Science Talent Search competition

Indian-American teenager Indrani Das (17) has won the top prize of $2,50,000 in the Regeneron Science Talent Search competition in the United States (US).

She has won the award for her research on treating brain injury and disease. Her research showed a way for increasing the survival rate of neurons affected by brain injury or neurodegenerative disease.

Key Facts
  • One of contributors to neuron death is It is a condition that occurs when cells called astrocytes react to injury by growing, dividing and reducing uptake of glutamate, which in excess is toxic to neurons.
  • Das’s in a laboratory model showed that exosomes isolated from astrocytes transfected with microRNA-124a improved astrocyte uptake of glutamate and also increased neuron survival.

Indian-American teen, Arjun Ramani was placed at third place for his project on networks using mathematical field of graph theory and computer programming. He won prize of $1,50,000.

Other Indian Winners
  • Of the 40 finalists of the science talent search, 13 were Indian-Americans. More that 1,700 students took part in the contest.
  • 5th place award ($90,000): Won by Archana Verma for research related development of windows that could produce solar power.
  • 7th place award ($70,000): Won by Prathik Naidu for a developing software to study human genomes and cancer.
  • 9th place award ($50,000): Won by Vrinda Madan for her study of medications for malaria. 

About Regeneron Science Talent Search competition

  • It is the oldest science competition in US for students.
  • It is nicknamed as the “Junior Nobel Prize”. Twelve of the contest alumni have won Nobel Prizes.
  • It was originally sponsored by Westinghouse in 1942 and Intel took it up from 1998 till 2016.
  • Now it is organised by the Society for Science and the Public in association with medical firm Regeneron.


IIT-M solar inverter system wins 2017 IEEE Spectrum Technology Award

Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Madras has won the 2017 IEEE Spectrum Technology in the Service of Society Award for its solar-direct current (DC) inverter system.

The system was developed by Centre for Decentralised Power Systems at IIT-M using micro grid technology.

Key Facts
  • The system converts in-home power distribution from 230V Analog Current (AC) to 48V DC to directly power appliances and devices.
  • It is equipped to tap rooftop solar power, making it most energy efficient solution for homes and offices. It also consists of DC solar generation, DC power-line, DC appliances and battery.
  • It has been currently deployed in 4,000 off-grid homes in Jodhpur and Jaisalmer in Rajasthan and also deployed in around 7,200 homes in Assam.
  • It also has been installed in villages in Karnataka, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

IEEE Spectrum Technology in the Service of Society Award: It is presented to the company/institution voted by IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Spectrum editors as having developed the technology that has the potential to benefit mankind.


Konkani Writer Mahabaleshwar Sail selected for Saraswati Samman 2016

Eminent Konkani writer Mahabaleshwar Sail (74) was selected for the prestigious Saraswati Samman 2016 for his novel Hawthan.

His novel was shortlisted out of 22 books written in as many languages. He will receive cash prize of Rs 15 lakh and a citation.

About Mahabaleshwar Sail

  • He is bilingual writer based in Goa. He has written four Marathi dramas and seven Konkani novels. He has also written five short stories and a novel in Marathi.
  • He is best known for his work, ‘Paltadcho Munis’, which inspired a film by the same name. Most of his short stories and novels are translated into English and Hindi,
  • ‘Hawtha’, his work of fiction presenting the cultural map of the traditional potter community of Goa was published in 2009,

About Saraswati Samman

  • Saraswati Samman is an annual award bestowed upon Indian citizen for his outstanding literary work written in any Indian language mentioned in Schedule VIII of Constitution and published during last 10 years.
  • The award has been named after an Indian goddess of learning and is considered to be among the highest literary awards in India.
  • It was established in 1991 by the K. K. Birla Foundation. It carries cash prize of 15 lakh rupees, a citation and a plaque of goddess Saraswati.
  • Eminent Hindi author Harivansh Rai Bachchan was the first recipient of this award for his autobiography in four volumes