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Science and Tech Weekly Brief: All important updates and questions from January 9-15, 2021

Tulika Tandon

Science and Technology questions have seen a rise in various competitive exams recently. Maybe the rise of the field and the inventions of recent times are a reason for this. However, now it is more than ever important to take a note of the questions of this field. 

Listed below is the gist of the past week of events of Science and Technology, in brief, followed by some questions regarding the topics. 

What is Spectrum and Band Allocation?

In 2010-11, India reported its biggest scam called 2G Spectrum Scam. People became aware of the word then. Various politicians were associated with this case and many were arrested. Since then people gained massive interests in the spectrum and its auctions. 

Spectrum is a set of radio waves that are used for communication purposes. It would include FM and AM radio broadcasts and WiFi etc. Frequency is the number of repetitions of the wave that someone can see in a period. 

Telecom Spectrum Details:

  1. Telecom spectrum starts from 800MHz and goes up to 2300 MHz. 
  2. The radio channels are spread between 100-200 MegaHertz. 
  3. WiFi used 2.4 GHz earlier and shifted to 5 GHz now. 
  4. Most commonly we use 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz and 2300 MHz in cellular communication. 
  5. This is why various standards like GSM, WCDMA and LTE were developed over time to use these bands. 

All about 2G, 3G and 4G

This is a way to categorise the generation of technology used for communication. The oldest is 2G while the latest is upcoming 5G. Every category had a specific band allocated to it. 

2G used 900 MHz while 4G and 3G later worked on 900 and 2100 MHz. The higher the frequency of the wave, the more the energy is required by it. This holds validity for any kind of spectrum like the telecom spectrum. 

Lower frequencies are likely to use lesser power, travel far, not get affected by disturbances, and provide better coverage inside buildings.  Related | What is Spectrum Auction? Know all about spectrum, bands and why an auction is conducted

All about Vanadium discovered in Arunachal Pradesh: 

Recently Geological Survey of India found Vanadium in Arunachal Pradesh, India. Listed below are the features of Vanadium

Features:

  1. Vanadium has an atomic number of 23 in the periodic table 
  2. It is a rare earth element
  3. It was discovered by Spanish mineralogist Andreas Manuel del Rio
  4. It is found in ores including vanadinite, carnotite, roscoelite and patronite
  5. It is a very rare, hard, silvery grey element with ductile and malleable properties and good structural strength
  6. It is a transition metal that is, it is a very good conductor of heat and electricity

Uses of Vanadium:

  1. It can be used to make steel alloys for space shuttles, nuclear reactors and heavy vehicles etc. 
  2. Its generally used in making tools, axels, pistons etc
  3. In ceramics, it can act like a paint
  4. Vanadium Gallium tapes are used in superconducting magnets

National Atomic Timescale?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the National Atomic Timescale and Bhartiya Nirdeshak Dravya Pranali and dedicated it to the Nation and laid the Foundation Stone of National Environmental Standards Laboratory at the National Meteorology Conclave. The 75th National Meteorology Conclave was organised by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-National Physical Laboratory (CSIR-NPL), New Delhi. 

What is an atomic timescale?

Atomic Time is the measurement of the actual length of a second. In simple words, it measures the exact speed at which the clock ticks. One second is counted by atomic clock after the Cesium-133 atom has oscillated 9,192,631,770 times.

The system has about 270 laboratory-constructed atomic clocks. The signals from these atomic clocks will be transmitted to the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM) in Sèvres, France which would form International Atomic Time (TAI). 

International Atomic Time is also known as the Astronomical time based on the Earth's rotation. Since 1972, leap seconds are also added to TAI timescale to produce Coordinated Universal Time.  Know all about atomic time scale here. 

Missing Supermassive Blackhole

Scientists have noticed a missing black hole in a faraway galaxy named A-2261 BCG. This is the first example of a recoiling black hole. 

What is a black hole?

It is an area in the Universe where the light does not escape. This means since no light reflects off it, the area absorbs all light making it invisible or thus black. The gravity is exceptionally strong here because the matter in it gets squeezed into a tiny space.

When do black holes form?

They are generally made whenever a big star dies, that is whenever a big star starts dying, it gets eventually converted into a mass of high gravity, light sucking mechanism. 

However, not all stars get converted into black holes. 

Size of Black holes:

It varies in size. Small black holes may have the mass of 20 times our sun and the larger ones also called supermassive black holes are of the mass of 1 million suns together. 

There is also one supermassive black hole in the centre of the Milkyway. Also Read| What is Quantum Key Distribution (QKD): Significance, uses and challenges

India's first Remote Monitoring System for Oil Refineries in Hyderabad

A remote monitoring centre has been established for Indian Oil Corporation in Hyderabad by Indian Oil Corporation.

Features:

  1. A remote monitoring centre has been established for Indian Oil Corporation, IOCL, in Hyderabad. It has been set up by BHEL- GE Gas Turbine Services that is a joint venture of BHEL and Electric. 
  2. It would monitor and analyse the operational data from 27 gas turbines at 8 Indian Oil Corporation refineries in India. The turbines are responsible for the power required in the oil refineries.
  3. This technology used is Proactive Predictive Analytics-based Automated Anomaly Detection. It would only monitor the Gas Turbine Operational Data that earlier transferred in digitally from 27 turbines of the eight Indian Oil refineries round-the-clock in Hyderabad.
  4. This analysis would be helpful in the detection and diagnosis of emerging issues relating to gas turbines before they become critical and triggers corrective actions. This will help avoid refinery process unit shutdowns.

Take a look at the following definitions in brief: 

Topic Explanation
Atomic Time Atomic Time measures the actual length of a second
Wildfire A wildfire, wildland fire is an unplanned, uncontrolled fire in an area of combustible vegetation that starts in rural areas and urban areas.
Maritime Domain Awareness It is the effective understanding of anything that is associated with the global maritime domain that could in turn impact the security, environment and the sovereignty of the country.
Quantum Technology The technology based on the principles of Quantum theory, explaining the nature of energy and matter on the subatomic level is called Quantum technology.
Quantum Mechanics A mathematical revolution in physics describing the high-speed motion of things is called quantum mechanics.

Answer the following questions:

1. Choose the correct statement about NMQTA

i) The mission will be functioning under the Science and Technology department, DST

ii) The programme would address the increasing requirement of society and would also consider international technology trends.

  1. Only i
  2. Only ii
  3. Both i and ii
  4. None 

Ans. c

Explanation: Quantum Technologies & Applications is among the 9 missions of national importance, under Prime Minister’s Science and Technology Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC). 

It runs through the Principal Scientific Advisor’s office to contribute to scientific research for India’s sustainable development. The mission will be functioning under the Science and Technology department, DST. It would also address the increasing requirement of society and would also consider international technology trends.

2. What are 2G, 2G, 4G services?

i) These are the types of frequencies chosen by phones

ii) These are the generations of technology used for communication

  1. Only i
  2. Only ii
  3. Both i and ii
  4. None of the above

Ans. b

Explanation: This refers to the generation of technology used for communication. The oldest of the three is 2G while the 4G is still being developed. These are technologies that are developed to take advantage of various bands.   

3. Who found the theory of relativity?

  1. Albert Einstein
  2. Nicholas Tesla
  3. Alfred Noble
  4. Rutherford

Ans. a

Explanation: The theory of relativity has been founded by Albert Einstein famously.  It is called the mother of all theories. 

4. Choose the correct statement about the Sun

i) The sun is the biggest star of the Universe 

ii) One day the sun would eventually get converted into a black hole

  1. Only i
  2. Only ii
  3. Both i and ii
  4. None 

Ans. d

Explanation: The Sun is not the biggest star of the universe and it would never get converted into a black hole as it has a mass very low compared to the mas required for the formation of a black hole. 

Related| Go through Science and Tech Brief Jan 2-8, 2021 here

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