ITEC: Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation.
Nobel Prizes, 2014
Physics: Three Japanese scientists—Isamu Akasaki from Meijo University, Hiroshi Amano from the Nagoya University, Japan and Shuji Nakamura from the University of California, “for the invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes (LEDs) which has enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources.” The invention revolutionized the field of illumination technology.
Physiology or Medicine: One half of the prize has been awarded to John O´Keefe (USA) and the other half jointly to May-Britt Moser and Edvard I. Moser (Norway), for their discoveries of cells that constitute a positioning system in the brain, an “inner GPS” that makes it possible to orient ourselves in space. The discoveries have solved a problem that has occupied philosophers and scientists for centuries – how does the brain create a map of the space surrounding us and how can we navigate our way through a complex environment?
Chemistry: Eric Betzig of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Stefan Hell of the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry and William Moerner of Stanford University, for their work on super-resolved fluorescence microscopy. “Their research has enabled scientists to defy the limitations on what they could see through microscopes and track individual molecules as they move through living cells.”
Literature: Patrick Modiano of France, who has made a lifelong study of the Nazi occupation and its effect on his country. He was born in a west Paris suburb two months after World War II ended in Europe in July 1945. His father was of Jewish Italian origins and met his Belgian actress mother during the occupation of Paris. Jewishness, the Nazi occupation and loss of identity are recurrent themes in his novels,
Peace: Kailash Satyarthi of India and Malala Yousafzay of Pakistan are joint winners for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.
Showing great personal courage, Kailash Satyarthi, maintaining Gandhi’s tradition, has headed various forms of protests and demonstrations, all peaceful, focusing on the grave exploitation of children for financial gain. He has also contributed to the development of important international conventions on children’s rights.
Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by the Taliban in 2012 for advocating girls’ right to education. She is the youngest ever laureate to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Despite her youth, Malala Yousafzay has already fought for several years for the right of girls to education, and has shown by example that children and young people, too, can contribute to improving their own situations. This she has done under the most dangerous circumstances. Through her heroic struggle she has become a leading spokesperson for girls’ rights to education.
The Nobel Committee regarded it as an important point for a Hindu and a Muslim, an Indian and a Pakistani, to join in a common struggle for education and against extremism. It has been calculated that there are 168 million child labourers around the world today. In 2000 the figure was 78 million higher.
Economics: French economist Jean, for research on market power and regulation. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences cited Tirole for clarifying “how to understand and regulate industries with a few powerful firms”. Tirole (61) works at the Toulouse School of Economics in France.
Man Booker Prize 2014
Australian novelist Richard Flanagan has won the prestigious 50,000-pound prize for his novel “The Narrow Road to the Deep North”, set during the building of the Thailand-Burma “Death Railway” in World War Two.
The other books on the short list were “We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves” by Karen Jay Fowler (American), “To Rise Again at a Decent Hour” by Joshua Ferris (American), “J” by Howard Jacobson (British), “The Lives of Others” by Neel Mukherjee (British) and “How to be Both” by Ali Smith (British).
In “The Narrow Road to the Deep North,” Flanagan takes up the story of Allied prisoners of war used as forced labor by the Japanese to build the notorious railway line. His protagonist is Dorrigo Evans, a doctor and a soldier in the Australian army who is taken prisoner on Java, presumably in 1942.
In the despair of a Japanese POW camp, Evans is haunted by his love affair with his young uncle’s wife two years earlier. While struggling to save the men under his command from cholera and beatings, he receives a letter that changes his life forever.
World Food Prize 2014
India-born Mexican scientist Sanjaya Rajaram has been presented with the prestigious World Food Prize 2014 for his agricultural research that led to a remarkable increase in world wheat production building on the successes of the Green Revolution. By crossing winter and spring wheat varieties—which were distinct gene pools that had been isolated from one another for hundreds of years—he created wheat varieties that are disease- and stress-resistant and adaptable to diverse geographical regions and climates.
Narrow Road to the Deep North , The
Australian novelist Richard Flanagan has won the prestigious Man Booker Prize for this novel. The novel is the story of Allied prisoners of war used as forced labor by the Japanese to build the notorious railway line. His protagonist is Dorrigo Evans, a doctor and a soldier in the Australian army who is taken prisoner on Java, presumably in 1942. In the despair of a Japanese POW camp, Evans is haunted by his love affair with his young uncle’s wife two years earlier. While struggling to save the men under his command from cholera and beatings, he receives a letter that changes his life forever.
750-year-old city ruled by Genghis Khan’s heirs unearthed
Archaeologists have unearthed the remains of a 750-year-old city, founded by the descendant’s of Genghis Khan, along the River Volga in Russia. Two Christian temples, one of which has stone carvings and fine ceramics, are among the discoveries.
The city named Ukek was founded just a few decades after Genghis Khan died in 1227.
After Genghis Khan’s death, his empire split apart and his grandson Batu Khan founded the Golden Horde. The Golden Horde kingdom stretched from Eastern Europe to Central Asia and controlled many of the Silk Road trade routes that connected China to Medieval Europe.
Ukek was built close to Khan’s summer residence along the River Volga, something which helped it become prosperous.
He is a children’s rights activist who has been active in the Indian movement against child labour since the 1990s. . He won the 2014 Noble Peace prize jointly with Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan.
His organization, “Bachpan Bachao Andolan”, has freed over eighty thousand children from various forms of servitude and helped in successful re-integration, rehabilitation and education. He has also been involved with the Global March Against Child Labour and its international advocacy body, the International Centre on Child Labor and Education (ICCLE), which are worldwide coalitions of NGOs, teachers and trade unionists, and also the Global Campaign for Education.
He belongs to Vidisha in Madhya Pradesh. He was an electrical engineer who turned into an activist for children’s rights at the age of 26. In 1983, he founded the Bachpan Bachao Andolan (Save the Childhood Movement) to fight child labour. He created “Rugmark” which certifies that carpets and rugs sold abroad have been made without the labour of children. The initiative turned out to be highly successful in raising international awareness about children’s rights.
59-year-old Satyarthi lives in New Delhi. His family includes his wife, daughter, son and a daughter in-law, along with colleagues and umpteen number of children that he and his organization have rescued.
Patrick Modiano of France has won the Literature Nobel prize 2014, “for the art of memory with which he has evoked the most un-graspable human destinies and uncovered the life-world of the occupation”.
Modiano, 69, whose novel “Missing Person” won the prestigious Prix Goncourt in 1978, was born in a west Paris suburb two months after World War II ended in Europe in July 1945. His father was of Jewish Italian origins and met his Belgian actress mother during the occupation of Paris.
Jewishness, the Nazi occupation and loss of identity are recurrent themes in his novels, which include 1968’s “La Place de l’Etoile” later hailed in Germany as a key Post-Holocaust work.
He has published more than 40 works in French, some of which have been translated into English, including “Ring of Roads: A Novel,” ‘’Villa Triste,” ‘’A Trace of Malice,” and “Honeymoon”.
Aquaman Crystal—A synthetic crystal that absorbs and stores oxygen
Scientists have created a crystal that might make breathing possible underwater, without using oxygen masks and tanks. The substance has been dubbed the “Aquaman crystal”, after the DC comic book character who can breathe underwater.
Just 10 litres of the “Aquaman Crystal” could absorb all the oxygen from the room and it could hold three times as much oxygen than oxygen tanks, which would be far smaller and lighter to carry, and could slowly release oxygen when put under a small amount of heat.
The material that has sponge-like consistency uses cobalt bound in an organic molecule. Cobalt gives the new material precisely the molecular and electronic structure that enables it to absorb oxygen from its surroundings. Small amounts of metals are essential for the absorption of oxygen, so actually it would not entirely surprising to see this effect in the new material.
The substance has been designed and synthesized at University of Southern Denmark. Some of the gas uptake measurements have been made with special equipment by scientists at the University of Sydney, Australia.
According to the researcher, the crystal could be valuable for lung cancer patients who have to carry heavy tanks around with them, and also divers might be able to leave the oxygen tanks at home.
Australian doctors makes ‘dead’ heart beat again
Australian surgeons hey have made a major breakthrough by making a dead heart beat again and successfully using it in a transplant. Previously, surgeons relied on donor hearts from brain-dead patients whose hearts were still beating.
Sydney’s St Vincent’s Hospital Heart Lung Transplant Unit has successfully transplanted two hearts, which were donated after the hosts died and the heart was no longer beating.
The transplant breakthrough involves a special preservation solution which works in conjunction with a machine that houses the heart, known as the ex vivo organ care system (OCS). The OCS restores the heart beat of the donor heart and keeps it warm until it is ready to go into a recipient.
The first transplant patient was Michelle Gribilar, 57, who was suffering from congenital heart failure.
ISS-RapidScat—NASA’s Earth-observing instrument
NASA has installed and activated its first Earth-observing instrument dubbed ISS-RapidScat on the International Space Station (ISS). The ISS-RapidScat will enable the space organization to monitor Earth better in terms of ocean winds for climate research as well as weather predictions and hurricane monitoring.
Before the end of the decade, six NASA Earth science instruments will be mounted atop the ISS to help scientists study our changing planet.
IRNSS-1C successfully launched
On 16 October 2014, ISRO launched its third navigation satellite IRNSS-1C, on board its PSLV rocket, moving closer to setting up its own navigation system on par with the GPS of USA. The launch also marked the first time that India has conducted four orbital launches in a year.
IRNSS-1C is part of the series of seven satellites Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is planning to launch to put in place what is called the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System.
Being developed by India, IRNSS is designed to provide accurate position information service to users in the country, as well as the region extending up to 1,500 km from its boundary, which is its primary service area. The IRNSS system is targeted to be completed by 2015 at a total cost of Rs 1,420 crores.