TAMIL NADU / INDIA :
Published on Oct 15, 2017
TAMIL NADU / INDIA :
Published on Oct 15, 2017
In great news for India, scientists at NASA have named a new organism discovered by them after the much-loved A P J Abdul Kalam.
Till date, the new organism — a form of a bacteria — has been found only on the International Space Station (ISS) and has not been found on earth!
Researchers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), the foremost lab of NASA for work on inter-planetary travel, discovered the new bacteria on the filters of the International Space Station (ISS) and named it Solibacillus kalamii to honour the late president, who was a renowned aerospace scientist.
Kalam had his early training at NASA in 1963 before he set up India’s first rocket-launching facility in the fishing village of Thumba in Kerala.
“The name of the bacterium is Solibacillus kalamii, the species name is after Dr Abdul Kalam and genus name is Solibacillus which is a spore forming bacteria,” said Dr Kasthuri Venkateswaran, senior research scientist, Biotechnology and Planetary Protection Group at JPL.
The filter on which the new bug was found remained on board the ISS for 40 months. Called a high-efficiency particulate arrestance filter or HEPA filter, this part is the routine housekeeping and cleaning system on board the international space station.
This filter was later analysed at JPL and only this year did Venkateswaran publish his discovery in the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology.
According to Venkateswaran, even as it orbits the earth some 400 kilometres above, the ISS is home to many types of bacteria and fungi which co-inhabit the station with the astronauts who live and work on the station.
Venkateswaran said even though Solibacillus kalamii has never been found on earth till date, it is really not an extra-terrestrial life form or ET.
“I am reasonably sure it has hitch hiked to the space station on board some cargo and then survived the hostile conditions of space,” explained Venkateswaran.
Naming the new microbe after Kalam was natural to Venkateswaran and his team.
“Being a fellow Tamilian, I am aware of the huge contributions by Dr. Kalam,” he said.
New bacteria are usually named after famous scientists.
Venkateswaran is part of a team which is asking that eternal question “are we alone in the universe?”
Towards that, his responsibilities include monitoring the bug levels on the ISS and he also has to ensure that all spacecraft that fly to other planets are free of terrestrial bugs.
One of his big jobs was to ensure that NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover — the massive car-sized almost 1000 kg buggy — was totally sterile when it left earth.
By international law, this extreme hygiene is required else other planets could get contaminated by bugs that reach the Martian or other planets hidden on human satellites.
Today the ISS is the size of a football field and its construction started with a launch in 1998 and as of now it is the largest human-made object orbiting the earth.
Weighing about 419 tonnes, it can house a maximum of six astronauts and has costs roughly USD 150 billion.
Till date, 227 astronauts have flown to the space station. This makes the space station actually a very dirty place and maintaining hygiene is critical so that humans can live on it with ease.
On the space station all the air and water is recycled, being a completely closed environment there is a rapid build- up of moulds and bacteria on the station.
These not only have to be cleaned but monitored to ensure that they do not corrode the walls of the space station and do not turn hazardous to the astronauts.
Venkateswaran’s main job is to monitor the environment of the space station so that harmful bugs do not proliferate.
He heads the ‘Microbial Observatory’ on the ISS projects to measure microorganisms associated with compartments owned by the US.
According to NASA, he also directs several research and development tasks for the JPL – Mars Program Office, which enables the cleaning, sterilisation, and validation of spacecraft components.
He directs several NASA competitive awards on the microbial monitoring of spacecraft and associated environments for the Exploration System Mission Directorate, closed habitats like ISS or its earth analogues for the Human Exploration and Operation Mission Directorate.
But is the new bug of some use.
“These spore formers tend to withstand high radiation and also produce some useful compounds protein wise which will be helpful for biotechnology applications,” Venkateswaran said.
His team has not characterised the bacteria fully but he hints that the new bug could be a key source for chemicals that can help protect against radiation damage.
source: http://www.deccanherald.com / Deccan Herald / Home / Press Trust of India, Los Angeles / May 21st, 2017
Tamil Nadu, INDIA :
While India mulls over giving an appropriate tribute to the late former India President APJ Abdul Kalam and fights over his social media accounts, the UN has decided to name a satellite after the late scientist as a tribute to celebrate his vision.
Founded in 1999, CANEUS (CANada-Europe-US-ASia) serves to develop a common platform for space technology solutions for natural and man-made disaster management. The ‘GlobalSat for DRR’ is a UN-driven global initiative on sharing space technology for disaster risk reduction, Milind Pimprikar, chairman of CANEUS, told IANS.
The satellite will provide a common platform that will allow sharing of space and data segments, with an ability to serve individual nation’s disaster management and development needs, IANS reported.
Talking about the similarities between the satellite and Dr. Kalam, Pimprikar said, “In his ‘World Space Vision-2050’ Mr. Kalam had envisaged space faring nations joining hands to find solutions to mankind’s major problems such as natural disasters, energy and water scarcity, health-care education issues and weather prediction. Therefore we now plan to dedicate the UN GlobalSat initiative as a tribute to Late Dr. Abdul Kalam by renaming it ‘UN Kalam GlobalSat’.’
source: http://www.scoopwhoop.com / Scoop Whoop / Home / by Isha Jalan / August 08th, 2015
by T.J.S. George
The way the anniversary of A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s death was observed in the country was revealing. It was naam-ke-wastay at establishmentarian levels. Media coverage was mostly of the beaten-path style; no editorials. No public meetings either. The Government satisfied itself with tokenisms — a formal statement by the Prime Minister that Kalam was irreplaceable, and the unveiling of a long-delayed statue at Rameswaram where the burial ground had remained neglected to the chagrin of the family and the locals. A big government advertisement announcing the foundation-laying ceremony of the Kalam National Memorial had the Prime Minister’s picture towering above all else.
The lukewarm attitude at official levels was in sharp contrast to the spontaneous enthusiasm at the level of ordinary people. It was a touching reiteration of Kalam’s title as the ‘People’s President’. That students were in the forefront of these expressions of love and admiration would have pleased the eternal teacher in Kalam. In a Chennai School, children created a large floral picture of their hero, then stood around his head forming a halo of tribute. In a school in Malabar children spent time reading Kalam’s words, then went out to tend plants and trees which he had told them, were precious. Students in Coimbatore planted a lakh of saplings. Another group announced a competition for school students to display their inventions. A sand artist livened up a beach in Puri with spectacular portraits of the Bharat Ratna. At the Indian Institute of Management in Shillong, where Kalam died in the middle of a speech, students planted trees in his memory and announced a series of lectures on how to make the world a better place.
Kalam inspired the youth of India in ways no other leader did. He never had the glamour of a Jawaharlal Nehru or the oratorical gifts of a Vajpayee. His English was heavily accented. But those very weaknesses turned out to be his strengths. His genuineness shone through every word and gesture of his. His faith in young people energised the young and the old alike. The directness of his simple words hit home. Who would not be stirred to high endeavour when Kalam, his eyes sparking, tells his listeners: “You have to dream before your dreams come true”. A 2011 movie about a poor Rajasthani boy who struggled to study was titled, I am Kalam.
With one or two exceptions, the Presidents of India were great souls who brought honour to the country. Some like S. Radhakrishnan and Zakir Hussain, were Internationally respected scholars. Two were remarkable for their ordinariness, yet they were the ones who conquered the hearts of the people — K.R. Narayanan and Abdul Kalam. Interestingly, those were also the Presidents the political system got rid of as fast as it could.
Narayanan was so punctilious that he said and did things that went against the positions held by the Government in power. This and his view that there was government-level conspiracy behind the Gujarat riots of 2002 turned the BJP-led NDA Government against him. Narayanan retired after his first term. Kalam’s adherence to the rule book made the Sonia Gandhi establishment turn against him. So he, too, became a one-term President. But both men carved for themselves positions in public imagination and in the history books that others have not matched. Narayanan, for example, was the first President who insisted on exercising his vote as a citizen. Kalam wrote more than a dozen inspirational books, 22 poems and four songs. In his 70s, he was nominated twice for the MTV youth icon.
In the Indian context, perhaps Kalam’s most significant achievement was that he exposed the meaninglessness of religious identifications. He bore a 24-carat Muslim name and did his namaz. But he was also a vegetarian, read the Bhagvad Gita, played the rudra veena and listened to Karnatak devotional songs every day. He was an Indian in the true sense of that term. And, with all his traditionalism, a very modernistic rock star Indian; how else could we explain that lovingly tended pop-culture hairstyle?
It was no less an achievement that in the political jungle of Delhi, sitting in the citadel of Rashtrapathi Bhavan, he remained defiantly a-political. In fact, he was dreaded by the politicians for they could not contain him within their political lines. He lived true to the message he conveyed to his young listeners: “Look at the sky. We are not alone. The whole universe is friendly to us.”
This was a man who belonged to the stars.
firstname.lastname@example.org / www.tjsgeorge.info
source: http://www.starofmysore.com / Star of Mysore / Home> Feature Articles / by T.J.S. George / August 02nd, 2016
Chennai, TAMIL NADU :
Seventy-year-old S Nagoor Meraan is a tailor by day and a watchman by night. Meraan is one of those scores of people whom you wouldn’t bother giving a second glance unless you come across his photograph with former President Abdul Kalam that adorns his makeshift workplace under a tree in Thiruvanmiyur here.
Pointing to the photograph, he recollects the story of pedalling all the way from his hometown Tenkasi in Tamil Nadu to Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi (over 2700km) in 2003 to meet the former President.
The idea of meeting Kalam was mooted when a Lions Club member told him to make use of his passion for cycling to attract the Missile Man’s attention.
Thus began the journey that lasted 35 days taking the Chennai, Hyderabad, Nagpur, Bhopal and Agra route. During the journey, he camped at police stations, open spaces and even strangers’ houses. “Curiously enough, not even once did my cycle tyres get punctured. It was a smooth journey. It was as if Allah was conspiring for my meeting with Kalam,” says Meraan, who’s now into his 70s.
Initially, his plans of meeting the former President was met with uncertainty. “When I reached Delhi, I couldn’t meet him immediately. I wrote a letter of my mission and dropped it in a guest box on the Rashtrapati Bhavan premises. Fortunately, he read the letter and extended an invite,” he says.
Meraan dined with Kalam during the rendezvous that spanned 35 minutes. “I had taken along with me a shawl to present to him. But he declined the offer citing the presence of many homeless in the capital city suffering due to extreme cold and asked me to give that to one of them,” he recollects.
He stayed in the official residence for two-and-a-half days and had his brush with a few politicians. During the time, they discussed issues such as world peace, humanity and a charter of demand for Meraan’s hometown among other things.
“Kalam sir asked me to make interacting with school students a habit. I had always hatched a plan to travel to Mecca, partly by cycling and partly otherwise. He strongly advised against it citing security issues,” says Meraan who has been a tailor for over three decades now.
Reflecting on Kalam’s first death anniversary, Meraan says, “He should have lived, instead of me.”
He is penning a collection of short poems and plans to publish the same in the near future if there are takers.
source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News Home> India / Shilpa Vasudevan / TNN / July 27th, 2016
Chennai, TAMIL NADU :
Hindi-urdu Sahitya Award Committee, Uttar Pradesh is organising an International Literary Seminar on the poetic contribution of the former Indian President APJ Abdul Kalam to literature.
The seminar is part of the annual celebrations of the committee which will be held on April 9 at Rai Umanath Bali Auditorium in Qaiserbagh.
Getting together people from both Hindi and Urdu backgrounds, the seminar will have writer and poet Ganga Prasad Vimal, Irtiza Karim, chairperson National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language, Yogendra Narayan and Qazi OR Hashmi, Jamia Millia Islamia among other academicians and poets.
source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News Home> City> Lucknow / TNN / April 08th, 2016