GS Paper I- History and Geography of the World and Society.

C.N.R Rao Chosen For International Honour For Materials Research; The First Asian To Be Chosen For The Prestigious Von Hippel Award.

Background-

  • Eminent scientist, Professor C.N.R Rao, has become the first Asian to be chosen for the prestigious Von Hippel Award for his immense contribution in materials research.
  • The award is the US-based Materials Research Society’s (MRS) highest honour.
  • It recognises those qualities most prized by materials scientists and engineers – brilliance and originality of intellect, combined with vision that transcends the boundaries of conventional scientific disciplines, according to the MRS.

 

Highlights Of The Development–

  • The Bharat Ratna awardee is the first Asian to be chosen for the prestigious Von Hippel Award.
  • The award citation noted Mr. Rao’s immense work on novel functional materials, including nanomaterials (having particles of nanoscale dimensions), graphene (the strongest and thinnest material) and 2D materials, superconductivity, and colossal magnetoresistance (change in electrical resistance of a material in a magnetic field).
  • The award will be presented in Boston on November 29, 2017  during an MRS meeting, according to a release issued by the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research of which Mr. Rao is the founder president.
  • The award includes a cash prize, trophy and a diploma.

Sources- The Hindu.

 

GS Paper II- International Relations.

Arun Jaitley Inaugurates India-Afghan Trade Show: ‘Passage to Prosperity’ On 27th September, 2017.

Background

  • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley along with Chief Executive of Afghanistan Abdullah Abdullah inaugurated an India-Afghanistan Trade and Investment Show ‘Passage to Prosperity’ on 27th September, 2017.
  • The three-day event, sponsored by the US, focuses on better regional integration by strengthening economic ties between Afghanistan and India.
  • The event highlighted recently signed agreements, showcased Afghan companies and Indian innovation, and launched a forthcoming single-sector event series.
  • Special Charge d’ affaires Afghanistan Ambassadr Hugo Llorens and Charge d’ affaires US Embassy Mary Kay Carlson were present at the inauguration.

 

Highlights Of The Development-

  • The show featured Afghan entities from the economic growth, agriculture, health, education, gender and energy sectors seeking trade and investment opportunities with India, along with CEOs from major Indian and US companies. Consumer goods from Afghanistan like carpets, gemstones, marble, saffron, dried fruits and nuts were also on display.
  • A senior US official said over 800 Indian companies confirmed their participation in the trade and investment show, apart from around 240 Afghanistan vendors.
  • Some of the interest has been spurred by the relative success of the India-Afghanistan air corridor agreement. This has resulted in 20 flights between Afghanistan and India, and begun the process of getting Afghan agriculture produce, fruits, saffron, and other perishable items to India where they find a ready market.
  • US officials said they have been involved in matchmaking between companies, with the help of industry bodies like FICCI. They hope this show would be a “catalyst” for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit scheduled to be held in Hyderabad in November, 2017.
  • It is clear the Afghan private sector would need some handholding by India and US. That is part of the general “ask” of India — to invest in Afghanistan, rebuild some of its infrastructure and help grow Afghan economy by giving a leg-up to Afghan businesses.

Sources- Deccan Chronicle, The Times Of India.

GS Paper III- Technology.

Isro’s Mars Orbiter Mission Completes 3 Years In Orbit.

Background

  • India’s rendezvous with the red planet continues as its celebrated Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) completes three years in orbit.
  • The scientific analysis of the data received from the Mars Orbiter spacecraft is in progress, ISRO public relations director Deviprasad Karnik told.
  • The country had on 24 September 2014 successfully placed the Mars Orbiter Mission spacecraft in the orbit around the red planet, in its very first attempt, thus breaking into an elite club.
  • ISRO had launched the spacecraft on its nine-month-long odyssey on a homegrown PSLV rocket from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh on 5 November 2013. It had escaped the earth’s gravitational field on 1 December 2013.

Highlights Of The Development-

  • On the occasion of completion of three years of MOM in its Martian orbit on 24 September 2017, the space body on 25th September, 2017 released MOM second year science data from 24 September 2014 to 23 September 2016.
  • The space agency had earlier launched MOM announcement of opportunity (AO) programmes for researchers in the country to use MOM data for research and development. Citing surplus fuel, ISRO had in March 2015 announced that the spacecraft’s life had been extended for another six months.
  • Later in June 2015, its chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar had said it had enough fuel for it to last “many years”. The Rs450-crore MOM mission aims at studying the Martian surface and mineral composition as well as scan its atmosphere for methane (an indicator of life on Mars).
  • The Mars Orbiter has five scientific instruments—Lyman Alpha Photometer (LAP), Methane Sensor for Mars (MSM), Mars Exospheric Neutral Composition Analyser (MENCA), Mars Colour Camera (MCC) and Thermal Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (TIS).
  • The Mars Colour Camera, one of the scientific payloads onboard MOM, has produced more than 715 images so far, ISRO had said. During its journey so far, the mission went through a communication ‘blackout’ as a result of solar conjunction from 2 June 2015 to 2 July 2015.
  • It had also experienced the ‘whiteout’ geometry phenomenon (when earth is between the sun and Mars and too much solar radiation makes it impossible to communicate with the earth) from 18 May to 30 May 2016.

Sources- Livemint.