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‘Research on fuel cells holds promise for nation'
‘Nanotechnology key area of research'
Thiruvananthapuram: Speakers at a special theme session held on the second day of the ongoing Kerala Science Congress on Sunday highlighted the potential of frontier areas of science and technology in transforming key sectors of social life.
S. Sampath, Professor, Indian Institute of Science, said the development of new materials would play a key role in improving efficiency and reducing cost of energy production and storage devices. He said research on semiconductors other than silicon, organic solar cells, nanostructural materials and amorphous silicon technology were crucial to the success of the National Solar Mission launched in 2010 that targets solar energy production of 20,000 MW by 2020, 1,00,000 MW by 2030 and 2,00,000 by the year 2050.
Mr. Sampath said research on fuel cells held out great promise for India.
Vikram Mathew, Professor, Christian Medical College, Vellore said though stem cell research had made significant progress in India, some degree of scepticism was warranted to guard against tall claims and hollow promises like a panacea for all diseases, including diabetes and cardiac problems. Stressing the need to be vigilant against the hype surrounding stem cell therapy, he, however, said research on the subject had shown the promise of curing inherited diseases and certain type of cancers. He said peer-reviewed journals were the only source of information to be relied upon at this stage.
G.U. Kulkarni, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, said nanotechnology would herald the next revolution after the industrial and semiconductor revolutions. Nanoscience works on the principle that the property of materials is size dependent at the nanoscale.
Highlighting the application potential, he said nanomagents could be guided by external magnetic fields for precision delivery of drugs to diseased parts of the human body. Research in the sector was focussed on the development of nanocrystals, inorganic nanotubes, nanowires and roads.
India, he said, had invested $200 million for research and development in nanoscience. He, however, added that the lack of sophisticated infrastructure and networking were stumbling blocks to research in the sector.
In his presentation on quantum cryptology, Anil Shaji, Assistant Professor, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), said the science, which involved the application of quantum mechanics for encoding messages, had tremendous potential for military communication and for bank transfers. Though fibre optic cables used for telecommunication were currently the obvious choice as transmission medium for quantum cryptology, efforts were on to develop free space propagation.
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