Links 2011-01-22 Reaction engineering: Status and future challenges

January 22, 2011

Reaction engineering: Status and future challenges

The authors says

“It is argued here that the key challenge for CRE is the development of new more efficient and profitable technologies. This is to be accomplished via an improved science-based scale-up methodology for transfer of molecular discoveries to sustainable non-polluting processes that can meet the future energy, environmental, food and materials needs of the world

But as pointed out by the author, it is more challenging to develop technologies keeping in mind the environmental effects, future food, energy and material needs. For any technology to survive, the main driving force is money. This is very much true for countries like us, where there is least awareness of many important issues, other than economic development.

Other links

Current methods for characterising mixing and flow in microchannels

Microreaction engineering — is small better?

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Quote 2011-01-12

January 12, 2011

“The future belongs to those who prepare for it today.”
~ Malcolm X


Links 2011-01-11

January 11, 2011

Pliable particles open door to drug delivery

Glassy metal set to rival steel

Explosion from aqueous hydrogen peroxide and acetic anhydride


Why Do We Do Research?

January 11, 2011

Published in IISc Voices,  April 2010 Issue

Why Do We Do Research?

Is it not for saving energy by creating efficient ways of producing and using it?

Is it not for creating more prominent energy resources?

Is it not for creating safer air, water and food?

Is it not for creating a healthy society?

Is it not for the safety of everything on this earth?

If it is about something crazy and is not going to help the society, can we call it research?

We are so much into so called research, that we are too busy to switch off lights when the sun can take care of lighting, in the day! We don’t bother to dispose waste in a proper way! We don’t try to understand what the commercial stored food contains. Is it healthy food to eat? We don’t even bother to close water taps when water is leaking.

Research should be practical in nature and should help the society in the long run. There are many simple things we forget to take care of and we worry too much about unpractical and very complicated stuff. Let us try to understand Nature and use it in an efficient and safer way, keeping in mind the welfare of every living being on this planet. I wanted to convey my message by taking the following simple example. Rain is the natural process of distilling water and let‘s one use the power of nature rather than spending huge amounts of money in getting the same water in a very complicated, inefficient and unsafe way. We use Kaveri water for everything and there are many people in India without proper drinking water. On an average, Bangalore receives a rainfall of approximately 850 mm/year. Very rough calculations show that in a year, approximately 1.7 billion liters of rain water is received by IISc. Assuming 6000 residents and a 150 liter per capita consumption per day, there is a requirement of approximately 0.33 Billion liters of water in IISc per year. If we can practice rain water harvesting in IISc in a proper way, we can save lot of Kaveri water. Also, many a time, at least in hostels, there is frequent water shortage in summer. If we can start water harvesting, we can be self sufficient in crucial times of need. I request the civil engineers in the campus to come up with a strategy to implement rain water harvesting in an effective way.

Note: All the values mentioned above are rough estimates.


Dogs Too Like New Hostel blocks

January 11, 2011

Published in IISc Voices,  Feb 2010 Issue

New hostel blocks, which are 5 years old are well maintained and I can safely say  they are one of the best hostel blocks to stay in the campus.

Is this the reason for stray dogs to stay in this hostel more than any other place?

Do they like the corridors on the 3rd floor better than  the outside?

Why are dogs taking so much pain in coming to the 3rd floor where as the residents are hesitant to climb up 3-4 levels?

We order food from nice restaurants spending a lot of money, don’t like it and throw/trash it in the dust bin right in front of the room. If we have the habit of not wasting food, we make sure to throw the waste like bones, etc. in the dust bin without fail. Do we realize that this is the main reason for stray dogs coming inside the hostel blocks? Those poor dogs need food for their survival. Where ever there is food, they are bound to go there. If food is available everywhere, they choose the best and most easily available source.

This has a good analogy with the Hutch dog, where food for stray dogs is similar to a Vodafone user for Hutch dog.

Let us STOP using the dustbins in hostels for disposing waste food and use the dust bins at the right place to make sure they are not accessible to stray dogs.

This is applicable to all the hostels, departments and every place in IISc. I stressed on new block because it was shocking to see dogs on the 3rd floor.

I want to stress on one thing here, i.e. , don’t bother about the dogs’ hunger. They will find a new place. They know how to get new Cheese. If you are so concerned, make them your pet dogs and take them to your home. I am sure everyone will appreciate that.

A little diversion now…..

Those who are daily visitors of T Board, an see a nice dust bin with items scattered on the floor for about 25-30 m2 around it. There are few poor people coming and segregating bottles, plastic micro pipettes, etc. We must thank all those people who are the reason for the waste and who are the reason for those poor people’s income.

We throw different kinds of waste into the same dust bin and again few people segregate them back. Is this a clever way of doing things? This needs good planning and a little extra effort for efficient waste disposal. Let us use different dust bins for different kinds of material, like biodegradable one, non biodegradable plastics one, toxic solid waste one, etc.  I have not done any course on waste disposal but those of you have done it, might deal well here. Please don’t pour organics into the sink, instead store and dispose them off in better way (we can feel the smell of organics  from drains during rain, which clearly says organic chemicals are not handled properly). Coming toacid and alkali waste, neutralize and drain in the sink (Except a few like HF). I am afraid to hear the word radioactive. If you are using such materials, please feel it as your responsibility to handle them with care,  avoiding any health hazards to the whole community, in and out of IISc. I suppose this is well taken care. If there is a situation where you need to spend more money for safety and waste management, talk to your guide and get the funds. Make safety and waste management a higher priority job than writing a research paper. It is our responsibility to  safeguard the nature. Being a good scientific community, if we don’t know proper ways of safety and waste management, how can we make a good society?

Please think and act immediately.

There is no need for anyone to come and teach us. Let us be smart and avoid damage to the beautiful campus and inconvenience to our colleagues in the campus.

Make IISc more Greener and safer.


Where is Education Taking Us!

January 11, 2011
Published in IISc Voices,  Nov 2009 Issue

During the time of my father’s and grandfather’s childhood, education was free and was very well respected and educators were treated as the other form of God. Now, education has become a corporate business and the whole world is deeply immersed in it. IISc is one of the few places where the faculty is dedicated to teaching and research and I am happy to be a part of this great place. Our country has many great intellectuals and that intellectuality is a God’s gift and should be used in the right direction to educate people around, move them in the right direction of doing social justice and to serve our nation.

I had many long discussions with many before joining this place for Ph.D., like

what is the real use of education, Ph.D., etc?

How one’s knowledge can be effectively used?

What made me ask these questions?

I feel that the stay in IISc only made me think about the society. The people around and the way they care for education with lot of passion for knowledge and no passion for money made me think like this. Just think of the situations, like the following

What if we don’t have food to eat?

What if we have enough food and money but other countries attack on us?

Do we have the right defense in place?

Why did it take 24 hours to trace the crash landed chopper in which AP CM was travelling? Why were we thinking of taking the help of USA in finding it?

How many IIScians or IITians or NITians joining places like DRDO after their education?

How much money the government is spending for these institutions?

How much money does one need for survival?

What are the advantages of earning huge money?

One of our great leaders said and I am echoing it, “Jai Jawan Jai Kisan”. Kisan and Jawan still are the backbones of any country and we should not forget their services to the country. We need hygienic food to eat and a good defence system to protect ourselves from rivals. We all are in the right place to serve these needs and hope that everyone of us chooses the right path to fulfill these. I am thankful to all those dedicated people in India, who are working without any tiredness and taking part in the well being of the country. Education should bring out the right person inside you to help the society, rather than increasing selfishness, becoming richer and richer, etc and making next generations down the line lazy.


Need for a good database

January 11, 2011
Published in IISc Voices,  Sep 2009 Issue

Whole world is making the best use of IT. Bus to flight bookings, ordering Pizza to booking a Car, Banking,Courier, Health Care, etc., are a few to quote. Each one of us is using these services (if not all services, at least one of these) in our day to day life. In recent times, all the educational and research institutions (both Private and Government institutions) have automated administration of all the academic activities. I am very surprised to see that there is still lack of a good database, even at this point in time, in IISc.

IISc can implement a proper database. This has many advantages over the present system of administration.

Professors can have a detailed track record of their students (of those working on project or attending the course work), where in the administration and evaluation becomes very effective and easier. On the other hand, each student can be provided a snapshot of his records online. They can update their details online, can register and drop the courses online, update the bank account details online, see the scholarship status, and student can also track his dues to the institute and can take action on time.

On the whole, right from Students, Professors, Department office Staff, Hostel Staff to Admission & Academic section, this move will help to upgrade the quality of administration. It makes the life of everyone very easy, as the whole system becomes very transparent, effective and faster when compared with the present system of administration. Hope the concerned officials will work in the right direction to implement a central database that will serve the whole institute at all levels. As this system is already there in the IITs, we can implement the same with immediate effect and can make necessary changes at a later point of time.