India and Global Science Projects

One of the novel visions of the Science, Technology and Innovation Policy, 2013 is to make India one of the top five global scientific powers by 2020. Apart from promoting the home based science and engineering projects, this policy has also advocated India’s partnership in international / global science projects. Some of the important global projects in which India is participating are as follows:

LIGO Project for Detection of Gravitational Waves

The gravitational waves were detected for the first time in February, 2016 by US based LIGO observatories. More than one thousand scientists from around 15 countries had jointly made this “discovery of the century”. A total of 39 scientists from India also participated in this project and played a direct role.  The Indian scientists contributed in several aspects such as designing algorithms for analysis of signals from gravitational waves; estimating energy and power radiated from black holes etc.

Upbeat by this success, Indian scientists are now working on LIGO-India mega science project IndIGO (Indian Initiative in Gravitational-wave Observations) with key objective to pinpoint the source of gravitational waves.

CERN discovery of Higgs Boson

In January 2017, India became a full Associate Member of world’s largest particle Physics laboratory CERN, thereby getting full access to data generated there. At present, there are 22 member states in CERN. The contribution of Indian scientist there is mainly in building the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and two CERN experiments viz. CMS and ALICE.

Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research (FAIR)

The Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research (FAIR) is coming up at Darmstadt, Germany for studying the building blocks of matter and the evolution of the Universe. India is a part of this facility. FAIR is a sophisticated accelerator complex that will use the high energy and ion beams to mimic the condition inside the core of the stars and early phase of universe. The role of Indian scientists would be to build NUSTAR (Nuclear Structure, Astrophysics and Reactions), CBM (Compressed Baryonic Matter) and PANDA (Antiproton Annihilation at Darmstadt).

Square Kilometre Array (SKA)

India has joined nine other countries to build world’s largest and most sophisticated radio telescope called Square Kilometre Array (SKA). This would combine the signals received from thousands of small antennas spread in several thousand kilometers in Africa and Australia. The core of the telescope will be based in Karoo desert in South Africa. Since the total detection area of the receiver dishes would exceed 1 square kilometer, it is called Square Kilometre Array.

International-Thermonuclear-Experimental-Reactor (ITER)

The International-Thermonuclear-Experimental-Reactor (ITER) is focused around creating an environment mimicking Sun in laboratory conditions using nuclear fusion. One of the major challenges of this project is to create high temperature plasma in a confinement to achieve the nuclear fusion. India’s scientists and institutions such as Institute for Plasma Research, Ahmedabad are playing important role in this.

Rain and Cyclone Forecasts

The dynamic weather prediction model developed by India Meteorological Department (IMD) has potential to provide the best forecast of rainfall. IMD has also played role in accurate forecast of the recent cyclones such as Phailin, HudHud and Vardah.

Thirty Meter Telescope

Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) is an advanced ground based telescope. It is expected to outsmart all ground-based telescopes once it is operational.  This telescope is made of 492 individual segments and will have a reflective diameter of 30 meters. It will be 81 times more powerful than any other telescope.

The TMT is a partner project between CalTech, University of California, Canada, Japan, China and India. Its most probable location will be Chile.

Space Science

Indian spacecrafts have reached moon as well as Mars. In the coming years, ISRO will send Chandrayan-2, more deep space missions, the Aaditya Mission to study sun etc.

Model Question for GS Mains

One of the novel visions of the Science, Technology and Innovation Policy, 2013 is to make India one of the top five global scientific powers by 2020. In the light of suitable examples, discuss India’s partnership in international / global science projects in recent times.

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