Friday October 20, 2017
Home Indian Diaspora Indian origin...

Indian origin scientist awarded Russia’s highest tech award

0
36
Engineering researcher Jay Baliga in his EGRC lab. PHOTO BY ROGER WINSTEAD

Engineering researcher Jay Baliga in his EGRC lab. PHOTO BY ROGER WINSTEAD
Engineering researcher Jay Baliga in his EGRC lab.      PHOTO BY ROGER WINSTEAD

By Hardev Sanotra 

St Petersburg: B. Jayant Baliga, a US-based Indian-origin scientist, is being awarded Russia’s top technology award in recognition of his work as a major development in energy management which brought about huge increase in efficiency and major savings.

The award will presented to Professor Baliga and Shuji Nakamura on Friday by Russian President Vladimir Putin at a ceremony here.

Nakamura, a Nobel Laureate, is being recognised for his work on blue light emitting diodes (LEDs). In Russia, the Global Energy Prize is known as the electronics equivalent of the Nobel Prize.

Professor Baliga invented the digital switch or the insulated gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) while working at General Electrical research & development centre in New York state in the US in 1983.

“Every equipment from your refrigerator to lights to motor vehicles has the need to use energy efficiently. If you take away the IGBT today, almost everything will come to a standstill,” Baliga told a visiting IANS correspondent on the eve of receiving the award.

Scientific American magazine called him among the ‘eight heroes of the semiconductor revolution’, and President Barack Obama awarded him the highest American technology prize last year. He is the 2014 recipient of the IEEE Medal of Honour, a rare distinction.

Professor Baliga, who now teaches at the North Carolina University, said that his invention combines two streams of electronics and electrical engineering and has possibly saved the world around $24 trillion dollars by raising efficiency, according to one detailed calculation.

“I got zero out of it. But then I did it all for humanity.”

Of course, says Prof Baliga, that he did make some money when he started three companies, but these were financed by venture capitalists who exited with enormous profits at the right time.

He says every motor today is at least 40 percent more efficient, the light bulb like the CFL better by almost 75 percent and a motor vehicle saves over 10 percent fuel because of his invention. He has written 19 books and over 500 papers in peer-reviewed journals.

Baliga passed out of IIT Madras before going to the US for his MS and PhD after which he joined GE where he spent over 15 years.

After his ‘switch’ was invented, several of his colleagues told him that it would not work, and many scientists said he would fall “flat on his face”. But he said it stood the test of time.

The chairman of GE at that time, Jack Welch flew down especially to meet him when he heard what it could do. GE used the switch in the several of the equipments it sold, including medical devices.

A US citizen since 2000, he now has very little connection with India and does not travel to his home country much, especially after his parents and parents of his wife passed away. But, says Prof Baliga, an invention like his is unlikely in India, because it needs huge research infrastructure to be in place from universities to industries.

He feels that India has a potential which has not been fully used, although in software “it has made great strides”.

Could a Nobel be on its way in the future? “I used to say no way,” but with so many recognitions and this “global prize where I am being feted with a Nobel Laureate, who knows?”, he says. His only regret is that India does not know much about him.

“Top scientists that I meet always ask me, why has India not recognised your achievement?” And with characteristic modesty, Baliga told IANS, “I tell them that perhaps my country does not know about what I did.” (IANS)

(Hardev Sanotra is in St Petersburg at the invitation of St Petersburg International Economic Forum. He can be contact at hardev.sanotra@ians.in)

Next Story

Astronomers discovered Sun-like star that devoured its own planets

0
26
sun
Astronomers discovered Sun-like star that devoured its own planets

New York, Oct 13: Astronomers have discovered that a Sun-like star lurking around 350 light-years away consumed the rocky equivalent of 15 Earths.

Dubbed Kronos after the child-eating Titan of Greek mythology, the star is the clearest and most dramatic case yet of a Sun-like star consuming its own planets, said Semyeong Oh, astrophysicist at Princeton University in New Jersey and lead author of the study.

“Even if our Sun ate the entire inner solar system, it wouldn’t come close to the anomaly we see in this star,” study co-author David Hogg from the Flatiron Institute in New York added.

The research did not begin as a hunt for a planet-eater.

Oh was analysing a catalog of new star data collected by the European Space Agency’s Gaia spacecraft for pairs of stars with similar speeds and trajectories.

Such duos are typically twin stars that formed close together from the same ingredients.

The analysis ultimately led to the identification of Kronos and its lesser known brother Krios.

Their official designations are HD 240430 and HD 240429, and they are both about 350 light years from Earth.

The keys to the discovery were first confirming that the widely separated pair are in fact a binary pair, and secondly observing Kronos’ strikingly unusual chemical abundance pattern, Oh explained in a statement released by the Princeton University.

Other co-moving star pairs have had different chemistries, Oh explained, but none as dramatic as Kronos and Krios.

Most stars that are as metal-rich as Kronos “have all the other elements enhanced at a similar level,” she said, “whereas Kronos has volatile elements suppressed, which makes it really weird in the general context of stellar abundance patterns.”

In other words, Kronos had an unusually high level of rock-forming minerals, including magnesium, aluminium, silicon, iron, chromium and yttrium, without an equally high level of volatile compounds — those that are most often found in gas form, like oxygen, carbon, nitrogen and potassium, the study said. (IANS)

Next Story

Researchers Claim The Existence Of Planet Nine

Researchers from an American University have laid evidences to prove the presence of Planet Nine

0
542
Planet Nine
Kuiper Belt indicates the presence of Planet Nine
  • The science communities since a long time have been debating upon the existence of Planet Nine. 
  • Space highlights different shreds of evidence based on which scientists are stating the claim.

What Is Planet Nine?

Planet Nine is a hypothetical planet present in the far outer Solar System, whose mass is estimated to be 10 times more than the mass of Earth. The planet is said to be 20 times farther than the sun than Neptune is.

What Do Researchers Have To Say?

Dr Konstantin Batygin, a planetary astrophysicist at the California Institute of Technology, said that there were five different lines of observational evidence which pointed to the existence of Planet Nine. He stated that if this theory does not sound believable, then people would have to come up with the answers of the five pieces of evidence which could lead to further confusion.

Also Read: Five Students from Telangana Selected for the NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge

Batygin in 2016 published a study examining the six known objects in the Kuiper Belt, a  circumstellar disc in the Solar System beyond the planets that extends from the orbit of Neptune towards interstellar space.

The study examines all the objects have elliptical orbits pointing in the same direction and are tilted the same way. These serve as evidence to the planet’s existence.

It is being said that the objects are tilted 30 degrees downward compared to the plane where the eight official planets circle the sun. Researchers also made use of computer simulations of the solar system including the Planet Nine and to demonstrate that there should be more objects tilted a whopping 90 degrees to solar plane. It was revealed that five such objects, which fit these parameters were already known.

The study led to the birth of two more ideas. Researchers said that this planet could have tilted the planets of the solar system during the last 4.5 billion years.

Planet Nine’s existence could also tell the reason as to why Kuiper Belt objects orbit in the opposite direction as compared to other things in the solar system.

-Prepared by Megha Acharya of NewsGram.

(the story was originally published in PTI)

Next Story

India Demands Data on UN Staff Misconduct, Use of Immunity

0
4
United nations
India has demanded the secretariat disclose information about misconduct by UN staff. Flickr

United Nations, Oct 7: In an attempt to break the wall of silence around the crimes and UN staff misconduct and those on its assignments, India has demanded the secretariat disclose information about such cases and the immunity invoked against prosecutions.

Yedla Umasankar, the legal advisor in India’s UN Mission, touched a raw nerve here by criticising the UN on Friday for not vigorously following up allegations of serious wrongdoing by its employees who enjoy the equivalent of diplomatic immunity, a prized possession of its staff.

“It appears that the UN system itself may be reluctant to waive immunity even for serious misconduct carried out by its personnel while serving on its missions, so that such cases can be prosecuted by the host governments,” he told the General Assembly’s committee on legal affairs.

“Even a few of such instances or allegations of crimes committed by UN personnel is highly damaging for the image and credibility of the United Nations system and its work around the world,” he added.

His statement also touched on the practice of some countries that protect their wrongdoers at the UN.

Umasankar demanded that secretariat disclose how many cases of serious misconduct by UN personnel were registered and the number of cases where the UN refused to waive immunity to allow their prosecution.

He also wanted to know in how many cases the host country wanted the immunity waived so it can prosecute those accused; the number of times the UN asked the host country or the country that sent them to prosecute them; how many times it consulted countries before waiver of the immunity of their personnel and how many of them refused UN’s request to waive their citizens’ immunity.

The information he wanted does not cover the diplomats sent by member countries to represent them at UN bodies and enjoy diplomatic immunity with the nations hosting the UN facilities.

After scores of serious allegations of sexual misconduct by peacekeepers, especially exploitation of children, the UN vowed to uphold a policy of zero tolerance and began publishing data on such cases in peacekeeping operations including how they were dealt with.

Starting with the year 2015, it began identifying the nationalities of those accused.

However, it has not made public a roster detailing all the allegations and proven cases of serious misconduct across the entire UN.

While the focus has been on sexual exploitation and abuse reported on peacekeeping operations, Umasankar said that “at a broader level, the issue of accountability has remained elusive in some cases”.

He attributed it to “the complexities of legal aspects relating to sovereignty and jurisdiction”, the immunity or privileges that may be necessary for UN operations, and the capability or willingness of countries to investigate and prosecute the accused.

He noted that the UN itself cannot make criminal prosecutions.

While Indian laws has provisions for dealing with crimes committed abroad by its citizens, not all countries have them, he said.

Those countries should be encouraged and helped to implement such measures, he added. (IANS)