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Imagine you have a flight to catch and it takes 15 minutes to get to the airport. You book an ‘air taxi’ instead of an ‘Ola cab’. The air taxi stops outside your apartment. The doors close silently and your ride rises into the air with a humming sound. The electric motor transports the flying taxi through the air — quietly and with no emissions. A brief stop at the terminal and you are transferred to the hybrid aircraft, which takes off on time and flies off with significantly reduced emissions. 

The future technologies are being evolved such that they ease the problems of the present. The future holds dozens of aircraft projects which are ready for takeoff by 2030 at the latest. The question is not if, but when electric aircraft will be common.

Kitty Hawk’s ultra-quiet electric flying machine

Do you know that the Aviation startup Kitty Hawk, which is backed by Google co-founder Larry Page, has unveiled its

third electric aircraft, the Heaviside (or HVSD)?

https://media.techeblog.com/images/kitty-hawk-heaviside.jpg

Named after renowned physicist and electrical engineer Oliver Heaviside, the HVSD is an electric aircraft designed to go anywhere. The aircraft is pretty tiny and flies like a plane but is capable of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) like a helicopter. Because of its size, it doesn’t require a large runway or giant helipad and its lightweight nature makes it energy efficient. It is roughly 100 times quieter than a helicopter, and it can travel 55 miles in around 15 minutes.

But this compact flying car seats only one at present and there are a few below-listed pros and cons before it becomes commercial.  

Benefits of electric flying

An aircraft produces nitric oxide, water vapour, and fine particulates and emits CO2.  The emissions not only have an impact on the environment, but they also have an adverse effect on our health.  Electrically driven aircraft are beneficial for the environment. An on-board battery that is charged with electricity is the source of energy for an electric aircraft.  So, as opposed to conventional airplanes, e-aircraft produce no emissions. If the electricity comes from renewable sources, they are completely CO2-neutral.

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The takeoff and landing of conventional airplanes are responsible for enormous noise pollution.  In comparison, the electric aircraft are much quieter because on their takeoff, propulsion is not delivered by loud jet engines but by low-noise electric motors.

Electric motors are less prone to breakdowns. They consist of much fewer

components and do not need oil, cooling water, an exhaust system, or gears. Consequently, they require less maintenance. Electric drive systems also provide the required torque at any air density, temperature, and speed which enables safer flights. 

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/af/NASA_Electric_Aircraft_Testbed.jpg

Hence, electric aircraft offer numerous benefits. Fuel prices and regulations encourage the electrification of aircraft. By 2035, more than 45 percent of all aircraft drive systems could be at least partially electric.

Technical challenges for electric aircraft

The electric airplane gets its electricity from batteries. The fact that the batteries are quite heavy is an important criterion for aircraft manufacturing. Fuel efficiency can be obtained if we have a  battery that is not so weighty. Another challenge for the electric aircraft is the low power density of the batteries: they can store only three percent of the energy that is in one kilogram of jet fuel.

How are electric aircraft charged?

An electric aircraft cannot charge the batteries as easily as an electric car. Cars simply go to a charging station and, depending on the model, remain there for at least an hour. However, with airplanes downtime is unprofitable. Different technologies for this are being tested so that at least some of the energy can be recovered during the flight.  Other developers are researching aircraft that obtain their energy from solar cells on the wings. This is then stored in batteries.

At present, many aircraft manufacturers are working on hybrid models. They generate electricity during the flight, such as through jet fuel in gas turbines. The electricity is then stored in on-board batteries. A generator feeds the electric motors which then drive turbines or ducted fans. These hybrid models could reduce fuel consumption by about a quarter. In the future, fuel cells could replace jet fuels as a provider of electricity in the air.

Challenges for electric air traffic

It is not only the technology that is a challenge, but the flying objects themselves are also an issue: large-scale individual air traffic will be possible only with electric drones and air taxis. But if there were too many drones in cities, we would need additional regulations to guarantee safety – such as on traffic routes and landing sites. Another issue is that many electric air taxis will fly autonomously. The authorities will then have to impose regulations about minimum distances to prevent collisions.

Outlook

Mobility is supposed to become electric and aerial.  Due to negligible CO2 or other emissions generated during transportation, the cities of the future may become cleaner and pollution free. Around the middle of the century, it may be natural for us to board an electric airplane and fly to the other side of the world, of course with no emissions or noise!

Wednesday, 18 September 2019 06:55

Chandrayaan 2: India’s first lunar landing

(22 July 2019: Time: 9:13 UT (2:43 p.m. IST)

Place: Satish Dhawan Space Center, Sriharikota, India

 

Chandrayaan 2 Indias first lunar landing

A young boy, with his eyes filled with pride, waved the Indian tricolour while witnessing the successful launch of Chandrayaan 2.  With over a decade of scientific research and engineering development, this spacecraft lifted off to take over the moon and to create history by expanding India's footprints in space...)

Chandrayaan-2 is India's planned second mission to the moon developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).  The design of the spacecraft was a combination of a lunar orbiter, the Vikram lander, and the Pragyan lunar rover, all of which were developed in India. 

Whilst the Chandrayaan-1 mission assisted in confirming the presence of water/hydroxyl on the moon in 2009, the Chandrayaan-2 featured improved instruments and new technologies intended for future planetary missions. The orbiter was planned to operate for one year while the lander and rover were expected to survive one lunar daytime period, had they successfully landed.

The aim of this expedition was to shed light on a completely unexplored section of the Moon - its South Pole region, mapping the Moon’s topography, investigating surface mineralogy and elemental abundances, studying the lunar exosphere, and looking for signatures of hydroxyl and water 

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Chandrayaan-2 design and the trajectory

The Chandrayaan-2 was designed with 3 vehicles; the orbiter and the lander, carrying the rover. In a nutshell the respective uses 

Orbiter: Conduct remote sensing observations from a 100 km orbiter 

Lander and rover: Perform in-situ measurements near the landing site

After reaching the Moon’s orbital, the orbiter would separate. The lander and rover would lower their orbit around the Moon a day after breaking from the orbiter and start their journey to the lunar surface.

The Vikram lander housed the six-wheeled rover Pragyaan, which would land near the lunar south pole. Vikram would perform another similar manoeuvre to bring itself into an even lower orbit around the Moon. And then finally, Vikram would begin a 15-minute powered descent, at the end of which it would place Pragyaan(rover) on the surface of the Moon.

Once on the Moon, Pragyaan would spend 14 days roaming the area near the lunar south pole. The Indian Space Research Organisation chose the lunar south pole as Pragayaan's mission location because it is one of the coldest spots in the Solar System and has not received sunlight for billions of years.


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THE ORBITER

The orbiter revolves around the Moon on a polar orbit at an altitude of 100 km. It carried eight scientific instruments; two of them are improved versions of those flown on Chandrayaan-1. 

The approximate launch mass was 2,379 kg.  The OHRC (Orbiter High-Resolution Camera) would conduct high-resolution observations of the landing site before the separation of the lander from the orbiter. The orbiter's structure was manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. 


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VIKRAM LANDER 

The mission's lander is called Vikram (Sanskrit: विक्रम, meaning ‘Valour’). It is named after Vikram Sarabhai (1919–1971), who is widely regarded as the founder of the Indian space program. 

The approximate combined mass of the lander and rover is 1,471 kg. The Vikram lander detached from the orbiter and descended to a low lunar orbit using its liquid main engines. It then performed a comprehensive check of all its on-board systems before attempting a soft landing that would have deployed the rover and performed scientific activities for approximately 14 Earth days. 






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PRAGYAN

The mission's rover is called Pragyan (Sanskrit: प्रज्ञान, meaning 'Wisdom'). The rover's mass is about 27 kg and will operate on solar power. The rover will move on 6 wheels traversing 500 meters on the lunar surface at the rate of 1 cm per second, performing on-site chemical analysis and sending the data to the lander, which will relay it to the Mission Control on the Earth.

For navigation, the rover 

  • •    Stereoscopic camera-based 3D vision: will provide the ground control team a 3D view of the surrounding terrain and help in path-
  • •    Control and motor dynamics: the rover has a rocker-bogie suspension system and six wheels. Steering is accomplished by the differential speed of the wheels or skid 

The expected operating time of the Pragyan rover is one lunar day or around 14 Earth days as its electronics are not expected to endure the frigid lunar night. 

(Present day: Current status of Chandrayaan )

Vikram landers descent went as planned and normal performance was observed up to an altitude of 2.1 km. Subsequently, the communication from Lander to the ground stations was lost on September 7,2019. However, the lander's location has been spotted on the surface via thermal imaging, but its condition is unknown. The Mission Control Centre at ISRO has not lost hope and they continue to make all efforts to establish contact with Vikram. 

References:

https://www.firstpost.com/tech/science/chandrayaan-2-everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-orbiters-mission-and-design-6892891.html

https://www.indiatoday.in/science/story/chandrayaan-2-vikram-lander-pragyaan-rover-new-moon-orbit-1594612-2019-09-03

https://www.isro.gov.in/chandrayaan2-mission

https://www.space.com/40136-chandrayaan-2.html

http://www.planetary.org/explore/space-topics/space-missions/chandrayaan-2.html

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India is a culturally diverse country and its myriad forms of indigenous folk arts and handicrafts are an embodiment of its cultural diversity. These traditional Indian art forms include embroideries, painting, handicraft and more. These beautiful art forms, have been passed over through generations and are alive and thriving despite the wave of modernism and still engage the interest of people in the local arts. Each Indian state has it’s own unique legacy of folk arts and each one is distinct from the rest. We are indeed lucky to have inherited such rich heritage of exotic art and culture. Let’s take a look at 5 of the lesser known Indian art forms which are still practiced in different parts of the country. 

Kauna Art

Beside being uber chick and comfortable, Kauna reed bags and mats are also eco-friendly. Made out of water reed grass cultivated in the marshy and wet lands of Imphal valley in Manipur, Kauna bags can any day give a Louis Vuitton or a Gucci a run for their money! 

Applying a unique double - weaving technique involving multiple joints and knots, artisans create intricate baskets, wine racks, furniture etc.

Thangka paintings

Depicting Buddhist teachings on a cotton canvas enclosed in a silk frame, Thangka paintings are unique to the picturesque Sikkim. Earlier only priests use to paint Thangka paintings to spread the message of Buddhism through these paintings but over the years other people have learned the skill too. They often depict elaborate compositions where the central deity is surrounded by figures in a symmetrical composition. Like the Chinese scroll paintings, they are traditionally rolled up and mounted on a fabric for support. 

Phulkari

A visit to Punjab is incomplete without a mandatory shopping of intricate Phulkari dupattas and sarees! ’Phulkari’, has become synonyms with the state of Punjab. A combination of Phul = flower + Kari = Craft, literally means the flower craft. It is an exquisite embroidery  done with silk threads over dupattas, shawls and headscarves, in a simple and sparse design. In some cases, the entire fabric is covered with dense designs, so that the base fabric becomes 

Phulkari was always done by women folk at home to give it away in a girl child’s wedding trousseau. That is why this ornate embroidery form  remained confined to the four walls of the house and was more or less considered to be a part of household chore. It got commercialized only after the British arrived and opened up the market for it in Europe and America. 

Saura Paintings

Saura paintings from Orissa are almost always mistaken to be their close cousin - Warli paintings from Maharashtra. The reason being they both make use of geometrical figures to convey their themes. Saura paintings called as Ikons use fish net approach where the borders are drawn first followed by filling up the motives inside later. Unlike in Warli the differentiation between male and female figures is not very distinct in Saura and it has a more colorful palette where figures in red, blue, white and green are made against a red or yellow

While Warli depicts themes such as fishing, dancing, trees etc Saura is made for religious reasons to mark new beginnings like child birth, marriage, harvest etc. 

Patola Sarees

Patola sarees are the real labour of love! Most expensive saris in the world, a single Patola saree can take as much as four to six months to make and can cost a whopping 7 lakh Indian rupees. No wonder it was once only worn by the royalty. Each Patola saree involving ‘ikat' dying technique can retain it’s fabric and color for about 300 years. This extremely complex art is a closely guarded family tradition passed on only to the sons of the family. This high prized saree art is currently practiced by only three families in  the city of Patan in Gujarat. 

The author of this article, Richa Singh is a content writer with Investronaut. She is a voracious reader and a keen traveller.

 

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Virtual reality isn't the term from the distant future anymore.  In recent years VR technology has become so cheap that it is now an integral part of skills training, clinical rehabilitation, and the gaming industry. You might have tried it out yourself and loved the new dimension it gives to the video games and movie experiences. Or maybe you hated it because it made you feel sick! This sudden feeling of nausea and discomfort that you have experienced is called 

“Cybersickness”. 

Cybersickness, also known as Virtual Reality Sickness can be compared to Motion Sickness. Have you felt like vomiting when on a bus or felt dizzy when traveling in a car? These are symptoms of Motion Sickness. When our body goes out of balance due to motion, it sends out reflex signals in terms of involuntary sickness. 

What is cybersickness?

Cybersickness is nausea and discomfort caused by using virtual reality technology. VR games which involve a lot of movements and random falls makes you feel that you need to balance your body. When wearing VR headsets, your mind knows you are in VR but, your eyes perceive this as reality, and the same kind of motion sickness kicks in. 

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People immediately start feeling dizzy or sick once they put on VR helmets or goggles. They begin to sway from side to side or the sensation can become so bad that they have to quit the VR session to sit down and regroup. 

Reasons for Cybersickness or VR Sickness

People who have never felt motion sickness can get Cybersickness or VR Sickness quite easily. The logical reasoning being - VR headset uses three sensory systems - visual, vestibular and proprioceptive. Things would not have caused a problem if the system was perfect and the actions happening in the virtual world would be the same as the real world. But that doesn’t happen.

If our eyes perceive a moment of say even a few milliseconds which is out of sync, the response taken by the body is delayed, or rushed i.e. body doesn’t respond timely. Any VR headset which has a poor refresh rate for its lenses will cause problems.

Symptoms of Cybersickness

If you are not able to play VR games for long and need to take constant breaks, you are suffering from the sickness. These are the early symptoms of Cybersickness. Many a time you won’t be able to play the games which are simple and experience sickness while looking around in the game, especially in a non-flat terrain.

How to Prevent Cybersickness?

Apart from choosing the right hardware, both a VR headset, a super-fast PC, you need to take certain precautions that will help you fix this problem. However, do remember that if you are constantly  the wrong with the wrong hardware, the sickness will show up again.

  • Sit & Play: Many VR games don’t need you to stand. They just need a hand movement or minimal body movement.  Play those games while sitting in a comfortable chair or 
  • Change View distance: VR games shouldn't be played sitting very close to the view devices. You should keep the view at a distance. VR headsets do allow you to change this view distance of FOV and find a distance which is comfortable for you. Move around a bit, and see if your body response is positive, if not further adjust till you find 
  • Take regular breaks: VR is addictive, just like any gaming, and you need to take regular breaks just like in gaming. Prolonged use of any device draws too much energy from body and mind. You need to come back to the real world to find your balance. A small break, the game pauses, a longer break after an intense session of the game 
  • Ask the experts: This applies to almost everything in life, be it virtual or real.  VR sickness can be fixed by adding an overlay in the view. Those who use opaque/semi-transparent borders experience reduced chances of nausea and 

Illness associated with VR presents a serious obstacle towards widespread acceptance of the technology. This could become significant as VR moves beyond gaming and entertainment into areas such as job training, distraction therapy for pain, and other applications. Preventing cybersickness is not just something we want; it is something we need! 

The voice behind this article is Ashwini Gaikwad,Content Writer, Investronaut.




Kashmiri Culture

Architecture as an expression of culture 

One thinks of ‘Culture’ usually in terms of lived practices like food, language, dress, and rituals.  Architecture is rarely thought to be a part of culture even though it is an integral part of culture; some might even say it is an expression of it, and rightly so. We do understand the relation clearly between the two in respect to religious buildings – the minaret of the masjid, the spire of a church, the dome of a Gurdwara or the sanctorum of a temple, are clear enough examples. Culture draws from architecture, inasmuch as architecture draws from culture. The question is how? What relations can be drawn? 

Culture and Lifestyle 

What comes first? Culture or architecture? This is a chicken and hen question – circles have no beginnings! The way we experience life, we shape the worlds around us accordingly. The way we shape the worlds around us, we live our lives accordingly. 

chawl

Consider it this way: In Mumbai, low cost housing is almost an impossibility in a city where population exceeds land by a far mile. One solution was creation of low cost Chawl rooms in Mumbai – large buildings with one room apartments called Kholi. A typical Mumbai Chawl is designed as a building of multiple floors, each accessed by a central staircase which opens into a long passage that runs the length of each floor. The passage is open on one side, and on the other side a row of doors opens into tenements. The passage then serves as a balcony, where people can socialize, stand and get fresh air and sun. This unique design creates its own culture. Since doors can’t be closed during the day, as it will encourage gossip, privacy is impossible. In its place rises a very closely knit community where ‘Know thy neighbour’ is practiced in the truest and most literal sense. In a residential society with separate apartments, this bonhomie is impossible, and accordingly privacy is maintained at the expense of an individualistic culture. 

Kashmiri Da’eb

Similarly, in urban Kashmir, an appendage was constructed with houses keeping in mind gender roles and cultural norms. Houses typically were built with a Da'eb or a specially designed verandah. 

kashmiri daeb

Traditionally, the houses had a stone staircase usually of three steps that led to the house via a landing called 'brandh'. Usually, it was placed at the exact center of the face of the house, which served the dual purpose of aesthetics as well as easy access to the house. The Da'eb was constructed on the first floor, right above the brandh on the ground floor.  The Da'eb was of particular use to women, who would use it to see off the men going to work, while also remaining hidden from public gaze. Besides, it allowed women to form an informal network of communication, and share gossip, recipes, news and other concerns. Architecture thus became a tool of subversion of patriarchal norms. Yet, another consequence of Da’eb being a female space is that it became a recurring motif of Kashmiri songs and Kashmiri amorous poetry, and so became an integral element of literary culture, as well as erotic transactions. 

Has architecture anything to do with politics?

All fine and good, but one important question is: Has architecture anything to do with politics? You might be forgiven for thinking the answer is no! Not so! Architecture is deeply determined by politics. Historically, architecture has been defined by the tilt of those who are in power. For example, Mughals brought in a new style of architecture, which was a symmetrical and decorative blend of Persian, Turkish, and Indian architecture. This style differs from earlier styles by including large spherical domes, slender minarets at the corners, large halls, vaulted gateways, and exquisite delicate ornamentation. Buildings of importance like Red Fort, from the rampart of which governance was extended was built in this style reminding people of the association between power and place. 

Similarly, when the British conquered India, they abandoned the Mughal architecture and favoured the Italian gothic style leading to what is called Indo-Saracenic architecture. Victoria Memorial, for example, was built as a symbol of British power, a means to inspire awe. Lord Curzon summed it best: "Let us, therefore, have a building, stately, spacious, monumental and grand, to which every newcomer in Calcutta will turn, to which all the resident population, European and Native, will flock, where all classes will learn the lessons of history, and see revived before their eyes the marvels of the past." To prove, the overarching effects of colonialism, the country’s highest court: The Supreme court was designed in the Indo-British style. The impact of British policies was too deep to be shaken off lightly.        

The author of this article Richa Singh is a Content Writer with Investronaut. She is a keen traveller and an avid reader.     

 

Race Science Article Image

There is a thin line between finding genetic differences amongst individuals (this primarily includes the research on human diversity) and constructing these genetic differences across groups (this involves our biased categorisation of the human population on basis of their colour, the shape of eyes, etc.) by making conscious choices!

“The undeniable truth is ‘Race’ does not exist biologically; human genetics does!”

In simple words, race is a social construct without any biological meaning. The differentiation categorised as “Race” does not exist in nature, it is created by human choice!

Before we proceed, let us look at how the clinical predictions based on race are wrongly used.

Across the world today, skin colour is highly variable. The study on genetics is greatly influenced by race which differentiates people as “white” and “black”. It is strongly believed that the “whites” are resistant to a few diseases which are prominent in the “blacks”. And that the “blacks” are stronger when it comes to few ancestral adaptations that make them prone to few major diseases found in the “whites”. 

The British Chinese people are known to have a higher rates of asthma. As for sickle cell, it is rare in white Americans. Similarly, cystic fibrosis is under-diagnosed in people of African ancestry because it is thought of as a ‘white’ disease. Diabetes has become an epidemic in South Asia. Hypertension, persistently high blood pressure, is strongly associated with being black according to research in the US and the UK. 

Now, for our better understanding, let us segregate and tackle the above-stated conditions understandably and smartly. 

The colour variation which is a foundation for the concept of race is just a natural adaptation. The difference in the skin tone closely correlates with latitudes. Scorching sunlight near the equator makes dark skin a useful shield against the ultraviolet radiation; towards the poles, where the problem is little sunlight, paler skin promotes the production of vitamin D. 

The mere assumption that every British Chinese patient will be predisposed to asthma cannot be the right way to diagnose or treat a health condition. Each person is different from the next. While sickle cell anaemia is rare in white Americans, it does not have a direct correlation to skin colour or ethnicity. Instead, it is related to malaria. Those with the sickle cell mutation enjoy some protection against that disease but its also true that it’s found in people of all complexions with roots in regions of the world in which malaria is common. Proceeding to diabetes, it is an adverse side effect of unhealthy diet and sedentary lifestyles due to unprecedented economic growth in millions of Indian families. Living in an urban environment is associated with higher blood pressure with the most significant risk factor being high usage of salt. Most of the population facing higher blood pressure belongs to the US and the UK and is “white”. It is because their diets have traditionally been lower in fruit and vegetables and higher in fatty meat and salt. 

The framing of race as an essential genetic variable dominates the biomedical landscape. It is so woven into medical frames of understanding that it’s assumed to be the main player when it comes to rationalising racial differences! 

But it's unfair to choose somebody's race as a clinical prediction and conclude as to how different races respond in different ways to drugs and medical procedures!  Few effective drugs that do wonders in one race can be completely ineffective in another. 

Then, what when the racial concept is thrown out? What other variables should be considered in the study of ‘Race Science’? 

The research has come to a stage where it can be stated openly that under clinical settings, the heterogeneous nature of racial groups is questionable. So, despite the widespread use of race in scientific research, it is now the most controversial tool for making sense of human diversity. 

Further studies related to human genetics should use concepts like ancestry instead of the race.  Ancestry is a process-based concept that helps us understand the admixing events that lead to one’s existence. It’s also a statement about an individual's relationship to other individuals in their genealogical history. Thus, it is a very personal understanding of one's genomic heritage. 

In the past decade, the ability to sequence DNA from tumour tissue has fuelled major advances in how cancer is treated, ushering in an era of medicine known as precision oncology, in which doctors use genetic data to match cancer patients to drugs that target the specific cell mutations underlying their disease. This major advancement in the research was possible only when the study of “ancestry” was opted over “race”!  Moving ahead, someday the field of human genetic research might become independent of the race.

The voice behind this article is Ashwini Gaikwad, Content Writer, Investronaut.

WOMEN IN TRAVEL Article Image 1

Who among us has not travelled? In the world of today you will concede, not travelling, is an anomaly hardly anyone can afford. We travel to new places for study, work, and sometimes leisure. As an essential element of life we hardly devote any thought to the phenomenon of travelling, but rather plan the ends which must be achieved by it. But travel was not always such a benign act as it is today – a century ago the seemingly innocuous and natural act of traveling could make one liable for harsh social sanctions. More so if you were a woman. It would seriously diminish your reputation.

Travel and Caste Sanctions 

Travel was akin to murder for Hindus before the 20th century. Men like Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi were threatened with excommunication from their community if they dared to cross the sea. Well, Gandhi did what he had to do and the rest as they say is history. If such harsh social sanctions were imposed on upper caste, educated, wealthy Indian men for travel, what chance did Indian women stand in an orthodox patriarchal society? 

The prime reluctance for high class-educated Hindus to cross the “black waters” was the fear of encountering polluting impurities that could pollute their caste. However, for the minorities in India like Parsis, Muslims, Armenians and Indo - Portuguese the reluctance to travel was far less, aided in no small measure by their cultural ties to countries west of India. However, women from all faiths and communities found it equally difficult to set foot in the open, on their own, due to their gender and financial deprivation. But where there is a will there is a way: there were women who bucked the trend and made the impossible possible by daring to dream and travel.

The following narratives tell compelling tales of courage, passion and adventure in women who turned their noses up to  patriarchy and a life of confinement. 

Pandita Ramabai (1858 - 1922)

Transgression could be her second name! Marrying a Bengali ‘lower caste’ man was the first in the line of many subversions this Maharashtrian Brahmin woman embraced all her life. In 1883, the year when most men fretted the idea of leaving shores, Ramabai packed her bags and left for England to study medicine. She practiced subversion and dissent all her life and made a profound statement for the emancipation of women. 

Cornelia Sorabjee (1866 – 1954)

If Oxford university was obstinate, Cornelia was headstrong! She went to England and appealed for an admission.  She didn’t give in till the famous university shunned its prejudice and granted admission to her. Hence Cornelia became the first ever woman to study law at Oxford. 

Atiya Fyzee (1877-1967)

Atiya did what very few women of her faith did at the time. She travelled. She travelled alone and unveiled! A scholarship took her to the very heart of the empire - London. Atiya was besotted by English fashion, the streets of London, English education and most things British. Her confidence in herself remained unflagged. She was an inspiration to thousands of her tehzibi sisters who vicariously experienced a sense of freedom and adventure through her perky  travel accounts. 

European Women in India

Circumstances weren't any better for European women. Travel was largely a male bastion. Only wealthy women with no prospects of marriage could travel. Travel was believed to violate women’s chastity and innocence which could make them unsuitable for their traditional role of the ‘angel in the house’. After the European colonial expansion when more men started taking employment in the colonies as civil servants, military men etc. women started traveling with them as wives, daughters and mothers. 

In India these women were confined to homes and their interactions with the natives were only limited to servants. They were prohibited from venturing out and mingling with the local population. After the defeat of Tipu Sultan in 1799, British snobbery and colonial superiority spiked and William Dalrymple’s world of ‘White Mughals’ faded where the British in India would slip in to native clothes, smoke the hookah and take a native wife. A strict patrolling of racial boundaries came into place that prohibited these women from intermingling with the natives. But then some of them punctured these boundaries. 

Fanny Parkes (1794 - 1875)

Her race and ethnicity never came in the way of fulfilling the wanderlust of this fiesty woman! Fanny Parkes spent 24 years in India between 1822 and 1846 and remained an Indophile all her life. She refused to be another sulking white memsahib in India. Leaving behind her husband to fulfill her wanderlust, she travelled alone extensively in North India on horseback, in boats and palanquins, befriending locals in the process. She was fluent in Persian, Urdu and Hindustani and became an ardent critic of the British Raj in India. After spending the most exciting part of her life in India, she was bored and disenchanted with life in England after her return. She spent the rest of her life writing lively accounts of her travels describing her fascination with the local customs, people, the natural beauty of Delhi and Banaras.

Emily Eden (1797 - 1869)

Emily Eden was the sister of George Eden, the Governor-General of India between 1835-1842. Unlike Fanny Parkes, she travelled in great comfort and luxury  with a huge entourage of servants, cooks, coolies, and elephants and horses. She met and mingled with the Kings and Queens and the other elite of India. Unlike Fanny Parkes, Emily Eden despised most things Indians. Her class consciousness and colonial superiority stood in the way of her perception of India apparent from her rather snooty account of her travel. Nonetheless she should be commended for traversing difficult terrains and discovering India beyond its heat and dust.

I believe travel is never a matter of money but of courage. These phenomenal women showed extraordinary courage and paved the way for  modern women to seek more, expect more and not let age old shackles hinder their personal and physical journeys. 

The author of this article Richa Singh is a content writer with Investronaut. She is an avid reader and a keen traveller. 

If you are interested in medicine, yet being a doctor doesn’t appeal to you, or if you are falling short of the cut-off in NEET, a career in the ever growing Pharmaceutical sector could be a perfect choice for you. Read the article to find out more about it. 

All You Need to Know About a Career in Pharmacy

Introduction

When the din of the world gives you a headache or when you come down with a cold? What about a toothache, or a fever? What does the doctor prescribe when energy levels sag, or when some organ decides to go into overdrive? Medicine, isn’t it? From North to South, East to West, from one corner of the world to another, it is in the nature of man to fall ill. But have you ever taken a moment to think about the pill you pop or syrup you drink to alleviate your discomfort? How is the pill made, who decides how it is made? Enter, the pharmacist who makes a career out of studying medicine, examining how drugs are conceived and created, and how they interact with each other, as well as the body. 

The pharmacist studies medicine, biology, ethics, chemistry besides being trained to face patients. If you are interested in medicine, yet the nomenclature of a doctor doesn’t appeal to you, or the late hours that a nurse must keep don’t agree with you, Pharmacy career is just for you. It allows both kinds of temperaments to flourish – the one interested in applied knowledge, and the one interested in research. You can either practice as a pharmacist, or invest in research. 

What is the scope of B. Pharmacy?

With a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 15% over the last five years, the Indian Pharma industry has significant growth opportunities. Pharmacists represent the third largest health care professions in the world after Nursing and Doctors. So, there is immense scope for Pharmacy graduates to make a career in this field. 

What you’ll learn in B. Pharmacy? 

Pharmacy education in India is primarily  focused on the basic sciences. 

In B. Pharmacy you will learn all about medicines, chemicals, their effects and uses, and how to manage and dispense them. You will study what effects drugs have on human body, the origin of these drugs, the process of preparation of medicines and practices followed for quality check during the manufacture of medicines. You will also need to keep yourself updates with the new drugs that enter the market. 

The B. Pharmacy course covers a comprehensive range of major and minor subjects like Human Anatomy & Physiology, Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Pharmaceutics, Pharmacology, Pharmacognosy, Biochemistry and Pharmaceutical Engineering and Technology. Minor subjects may include, Hospital Pharmacy, Clinical Pharmacy, Immunology, Marketing & Business Management, Computer Applications, Pharmaceutical Engineering, Mathematics, Statistics, and Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, Computational Chemistry and / or minor projects and industrial training.

Skills you should focus on developing while pursuing B.Pharmacy

Remember companies look for specific skills before they offer you an offer letter. So, along with good academic records, a good Pharmacist should also have a scientific bent of mind, good communication skills, friendly disposition, research and scientific acumen. 

What job can you get?

An obvious career choice for pharmacy graduates is in the industry, either as sales and marketing executive or in quality control departments of the pharmaceutical units. One can also work as a drug inspector, drug controller or as a hospital pharmacist. 

However, with the advent of technology the role of Pharmacists is undergoing changes. The new age pharmacy jobs require computational  and management skills along with subject knowledge. Jobs as big data scientists, computational pharmacist scientist and life cycle management scientist have started emerging. 

Contribution to the society!

Your primary contribution to the society is creating new drugs, and improving old ones to prevent and fight disease. Every year millions in the country die from lack of affordable drugs, or diseases to which cure has yet not been found. As a pharmacist you will be at the forefront of this battle against disease. Second, in a country where the medical sector is terribly understaffed, the pharmacist can help in reducing the pressure on emergency services, and contribute greatly to saving lives especially in places where access to quality medical care is a great challenge. 

 

Thursday, 13 June 2019 08:31

How to Make a Career in Music?

Beyond the shimmer that a successful career in music brings, lies years of training, persistence and a lot of soul searching. If you are planning a career in music, reading this article might help.

How to Make a Career in Music Article Image 1

Music is the elixir for the soul. Wake up early one morning and you can hear the musical chirp of birds, at night you can hear the beetles sing. On a still afternoon, you can hear the breeze whizz in the trees. But I suppose the question is : Do you enjoy music? Yes? Would you like to make a career in music? Yes. Then read on. Let me help you in choosing music as a career for yourself. 

1.       Make up your mind 

Most people are unable to decide whether they want to enjoy music as audience, or they want to learn to sing or play a musical instrument because that will make them happy or help them understand music better. Or is it that they want to carve out a career in music? While music as a hobby can be every bit enjoyable and can be pursued at will, when it comes to making a career, things get serious and require greater thought and planning. A career in music involves a lot of hard work and may require years of dedication before it can make you any money.  So, take some time out to introspect what music means to you. Once you realize that music is your life and blood and you want to pursue a career in it, the clarity will automatically make your efforts more pointed and improve your chances of getting success.  Knowing what you want is the first step towards achieving what you want.

2. Training is Useful 

There are enough singers and musicians who have taken the music world by storm without any formal training. Kishore Kumar and S. P. Balasubraemaniyam are the names that instantly come to mind.  Unfortunately not all of us are as gifted as them. A formal training in music is not a must but it helps. Training brings out your latent talent as a singer, musician or instrumentalist and gives you a strong foundation that gives you the confidence to compete and create a space for yourself in the commercial market.  It also instills a discipline towards your craft which goes a long way in determining your success. Even the most popular and accomplished musicians have Gurus to mentor them. Think of your favourite singer or musician and it is likely that behind their glittering success lies years of  hard work and training with a Guru. Enroll yourself in a University offering a comprehensive B. A or M.A course in Music. Music is not only about holding the mike and singing, there are other aspects such as music management, playback singing, sound recording, music composing, lyric writing, music production etc. Enrolling for a course will introduce you to the various aspects of music, making it easier for you to identify your true interest.

3. Networking 

Being talented and trained helps only when you meet the right people at the right time. Networking and meeting other musicians and singers can open a host of new opportunities to showcase your talent. You can team up with them to perform at events and music gigs. Don’t be shy to reach out to people who you feel can assist you and be helpful in pursuing your dream.

4. Look for Job Opportunities

It is essential to practice what you learn.  Don't wait for your music course to get over before you start looking for a job in the music industry.  It is advisable that you look for music industry jobs in whatever capacity possible to familiarize yourself with the work environment. The sooner you start the better it is. You can perform at events, do stage shows, join a radio station or if you find likeminded people, form your own band. Look out for reality shows on television and radio. Many shows like ‘Indian Idol’ or ‘India has got Talent’ are the stepping stones to getting quality exposure, and getting yourself an audience to boot.

Until you enter the commercial work space, you will not be able to move out of the practicing mode. Experience counts and each work experience will add to your confidence.

5. Harness Social Media

Social media has a reach that is beyond any medium conceived till now. Social media has the power to make you viral but even if you don’t get viral you can generate a decent audience. And the icing on the cake is that it is all free. Just upload a video of yourself on Youtube or Facebook or Instagram or whichever medium floats your boat. If you are a budding artist, and put in good work, the likes and views are sure to follow. It won’t be long before you come to the notice of those who matter, and viola you have a contract or a job.

In effect, then Music is a great opportunity to marry fun and work. And yes, you can get fame and rewards too if you cultivate a good work ethic, and hone your talents. So why dither! Look no further ahead, and plunge into the world of music.

 

Women in Science 2019

What do you see when you picture a SCIENTIST? Usually Albert Einstein, a bad hairstyle, in a white lab coat? That is something that occurs to us instantaneously!

“Scientists define sciences by pushing past the bounds of human knowledge and breaking down the thought barriers of time”.

We celebrate them as geniuses who have upended our understanding of the cosmos, the planets and of ourselves. By and large, the science and technology field is still arguably male dominated.
It’s a rare possibility that we would visualise a woman surrounded with equipment, copying notes while she closely observes the chemical reactions in a glass flask.
As a minority, scientific contributions by women are often under appreciated. It’s a sombre fact that gender inequality still remains prevalent in the science and technology fields.

A few women scientists who defied this stereotype were written out of history!

In 1903 Marie Curie was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize, and in 1911 became the first person and only one of four others to win the Nobel Prize, twice. To this day, Marie Curie is the only person to receive a Nobel prize in two different sciences.
Some facts:

  • It was a woman, Rosalind Franklin, who discovered the structure of DNA.
  • It was a woman,  atmospheric researcher Eunice Foote, who first outlined the global greenhouse effect and worked towards measures for elimination.
  • It was a woman, Maria Mitchell, a professional astronomer who discovered the first comet which was then called “Miss Mitchell’s Comet.”

These women paved the way for future generations of women scientists and explorers. But highlighting the stories of these women in science is more than just augmenting women’s history. It's about understanding the cultural attitudes, historical forces and social realities that made science what it is today and what it will be tomorrow. 

Women in Science - Do they often feel unwelcome?
The domain of STEM has for long been a white men’s club. It’s how the history of Science is often told - we tend to think of the world in one way and then people like Newton, Darwin, Einstein, Edison come along and shake up our understanding of fundamental things. But, in this trope of ‘lone genius’ : something thats usually applied to men, a few women thriving in science involuntarily got added. Inspite of women’s roles being unfairly overlooked in major scientific discoveries, many women in science revolutionised the ‘unwelcome’ tag and have emerged as successes.

 Katie Bouman 

Recently, the world laid eyes on the first image of the black hole and it shattered our fundamentals of understanding the great scientific mysteries of the universe. The woman scientist, Katie Bouman, lead the creation of a crucial algorithm that captured the image of a supermassive black hole for the first time.
The black hole image was captured by the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), a network of eight linked telescopes, which was rendered by an algorithm (an algorithm : a set of rules used to solve problems). A single telescope isn’t powerful enough to capture the black hole, so a network of eight was set up using a technique called interferometry. The data Katie Bouman captured was stored on hundreds of hard drives. She attempted a testing process with different assumptions and multiple algorithms to recover an image from this data.

Gagandeep Kang

Biologist, Gagandeep Kang, made history by becoming the first Indian woman scientist to be elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, Britain’s main and prestigious scientific academy. She is known for her inter-disciplinary research of infection in children and has played an important role in developing vaccines against typhoid and rotavirus. She has also worked for the last 30 years on gut infections in Indian children and what those infections do to children in terms of their nutrition and mental development.

Gagandeep Kang said, “We don’t see many women scientists around and very few in the leadership role. It’s not because women are less capable but because the system (science establishment) doesn’t provide the necessary support in terms of flexible working hours or shifting of jobs.”

Ada E. Yonath

Keeping in view the extraordinary work that these women scientists have contributed to the field of science,Vishwakarma University, Pune decided to honour them. In the recent VUIC 2019 event, Ada E. Yonath was invited as the guest of honour.

Israeli crystallographer, Ada E. Yonath, won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2009 for her pioneering discoveries on the structure and function of ribosomes, the protein synthesisers in cells. While addressing the young minds, Ada Yonath elaborated on conveying the joy of science to young people and encouraging drug companies to develop new and better antibiotics. She also keenly emphasised ‘Curiosity’ as a good quality for any budding scientist.

While women like Bouman, Kang and their countless peers, will always serve as shining examples of where the women in science stand, it may take subtler, more consistent changes to turn the tide. Having more visible women at the forefront of science will inspire thousands of other women who want to pursue their work in an environment of parity and respect!

 

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