Science and Technology Current Affairs

Fact Box: “JIGYASA” – Student-Scientist connect Programme

Jigyasa, a student- scientist connect programme has been launched by the government in New Delhi. The programme would be implemented by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in collaboration with Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS).

Salient Facts

The main focus of the programme is to connect school students and scientists as well as to extend student’s classroom learning to a very well-planned research laboratory based learning.

The programme has been inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of a new India and “Scientific Social Responsibility (SSR)” of scientific community and institutions.

The JIGYASA programme is expected to inculcate the culture of inquisitiveness and scientific temper on the minds of children and school teachers.

The programme will connect 1151 Kendriya Vidyalayas with 38 National Laboratories of CSIR and will target 100,000 students and 1000 teachers every year. Under this programme, the CSIR would launch a talent hunt among the visiting students for furthering the cause of scientific development.

“JIGYASA” programme would be one of the major initiatives of the CSIR at the national level during its Platinum Jubilee Celebration Year.

The model of engagement under JIGYASA between the CSIR and the KVS will include Student Residential Programmes; Scientists as Teachers and Teachers as Scientists; Lab-specific activities / Onsite Experiments; Visits of Scientists to Schools/Outreach Programmes; Science and Maths Clubs; Popular Lecture Series/ demonstration programme at Schools; Student Apprenticeship Programmes; Science Exhibitions; Projects of National Children’s Science Congress; Teacher Workshops; and Tinkering Laboratories.

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Researchers: Soil of Mars may be Toxic to Alien Life

According to the research carried out by Researchers at the University of Edinburgh in the UK, surface of Mars has chemical compounds called perchlorates that can wipe out living organisms.

Salient Facts

The researchers have found that the chemical compounds found on the surface of Mars when exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light can kill the bacteria which are commonly carried by spacecraft. This finding has given a blow to the hopes of finding alien life on the surface of the Mars.

The research has also suggested that the effect of perchlorates gets compounded by two other type of chemicals found on the Mars such as iron oxides and hydrogen peroxide. With the presence of all three chemicals, the scientists saw a more than 10-fold increase in death of bacteria cells when compared to those caused by the perchlorates alone.

Scientists carried out an investigation to study the potential reactivity of perchlorates and their effect on Bacillus subtilis, a bacterium which is commonly found on spacecraft and also on the soils and rocks. It was found out that when magnesium perchlorate was exposed to UV radiation as on Mars then it becomes capable of killing bacteria more effectively than UV light alone. In the presence of concentrations of perchlorate similar to those found on Mars, cells of B subtilis will quickly die.

The above study has concluded that the Martian surface may be highly damaging to living cells owing to a toxic mix of oxidants, iron oxides, perchlorates and UV energy.

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