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BAS

ASSIGNMENT Course Code BAS 401

Course Title Foundation in Science and Technology Submitted by: SANJAY CHATURVEDI SEMISTER: FOURTH ROLL NO.: 521117752 STUDY CENTER: IACM, New Delhi

Sikkim Manipal University

Question No. 1: Outline the risks of nuclear fissions? Answer 1: Fission and Fusion Energy: 'The Italian navigator has arrived in the new world' This coded message announced the starting of the atomic age on 2 nd December, 1942. The 'navigator' was the Italian-American physicist Enrico Fermi. On that day, Fermi and his team of scientists succeeded in taming the atom for the first time in a squash court under the stadium of Chicago University of USA. In the heart of the first atomic furnace, atoms were made to split, under controlled conditions, to produce energy. Fermi had indeed steered into a new world. Today, in the massive atomic power stations around the world, or in nuclear reactors, we can see how far this discovery has taken us. Nuclear fission: Splitting the atom: You know that the atoms are made up of a nucleus and electrons that move around the nucleus. This nucleus is made up of protons and neutrons. The principal actor in a nuclear fission is the uranium atom. The nucleus of the Uranium 238 atom has 92 protons and 146 neutrons. Roughly, one in 140 atoms of uranium has 143 neutrons in its nucleus. It is called Uranium 235 and it is mostly used to provide fuel for nuclear furnaces. Before World War II, two German scientists discovered that if neutrons were shot at the nuclei of Uranium 235, the nuclei split into two and produced other neutrons to repeat the process. This process is called nuclear fission. Release of Energy: When an atom splits, the masses of the fragments and the neutrons produced dont add up to the mass of the original. A small amount of matter vanishes. This lost matter turns into energy. The amount of energy 'E' generated by the lost matter of mass 'm' is given by the famous equation due to Einstein: E = mc2 Where, c is the speed of light, c is large (about 300 million metres/sec) and c2 is enormous (about 90,000 trillion m2 /sec2). Therefore, a tiny amount of lost matter gets transformed into huge amounts of energy. Chain Reaction: When the atomic nucleus splits, it also throws out two or three more neutrons, in addition to the energy produced. The new neutrons can, in turn, split two or three other atoms and in the process, they release more energy and more neutrons, which will split more atoms. Put differently, once the splitting of the nuclei starts, it becomes self-contained. The entire process is referred to as a chain reaction. If the chain reaction is allowed to continue, it would lead to an explosive release of energy. It is controlled by absorbing the extra neutrons and as a result we get the slow, blazing reaction of the "nuclear reactor". This serves as a source of energy much like a thermal power station. We will now describe the nuclear reactor. Nuclear reactor: Nuclear fission can be maintained as a controlled chain reaction in a nuclear reactor to produce energy. Fermi had found from experiment that slower moving neutrons were more effective in causing nuclear fission. But most neutrons produced by the splitting of the nuclei are quite fast. It was necessary to find out a way to slow them down. It was found that certain materials slow down the neutrons. Graphite, which is a pure form of carbon, is one such material. These materials are known as moderators.

However, still the problem of controlling the chain reaction so created persisted. It was necessary to devise ways to stop the reaction or allow it to proceed at will. Materials that absorb neutrons would serve to manage the reaction. The neutrons that are absorbed by such materials would be removed and then they would no longer split atomic nuclei. If this happens, the reaction would be controlled. Cadmium or boron steel is usually chosen as an absorber of neutrons. In a nuclear reactor, rod-like containers of Uranium-235 are placed in the holes made in a massive block of graphite. The graphite block slows down neutrons to improve the chain reaction. Alongside, control rods of cadmium are also placed inside the graphite block. When pushed out, they absorb fewer neutrons and the reaction is accelerated. Hazards of a Nuclear World: There are many risks associated with the use of nuclear fission energy. These risks have evoked world-wide debate, controversy and at times, fear. Nuclear power plants are prone to fatal accidents. One such fatal accident occurred at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in 1986. Such accidents raise demands for an absolute ban on nuclear power plants. However, a balanced assessment of the previous accidents indicates that this is not a solution. A better solution lies in improving the plant safety and devising improved methods of avoiding or containing the extent of mishaps. In India too, there have been a lot of debates over this issue. However, amidst several precautions and safety measures, it was decided to go ahead with the programme of generating about 3500 Megawatt power by this method by 2010. Question No. 2: Comment on semiconductor devices and their usage? Answer 2: Semiconductor: Metals like copper, iron or aluminum are all good conductors of electricity. But you may also be aware of materials like wood, plastic or quartz that do not conduct current. Such materials are called insulators. As the name indicates, a semiconductor is a material whose ability to conduct electric current is more than that of an insulator but less than that of metals. Two of the most commonly used semiconductors are silicon and germanium. Some other compounds like gallium, arsenic, are also used. The ability of semiconductors to conduct electricity depends crucially upon their purity, or rather their impurity. A pure crystal of silicon or germanium more or less acts as an insulator. However, it becomes more conductive when an impurity is added to the crystal. By impurity, we do not mean a 50-50 mixture or a 90-10 mixture. In useful semiconductors, a ton of silicon may have 1 mg of the element arsenic. Even a little bit of arsenic gives surplus electrons to silicon, thereby making it a better conductor. Such a piece of silicon would be referred to as an type semiconductor. Semiconductor devices and their uses: If a junction is created between a p-type and an n-type 'semiconductor, the device called a p-n junction diode acquires a typical property. It conducts current only in one direction. Therefore, it is used to convert Alternating Current (A.C.) into direct current (D.C.). More complex devices that use n-p-n or p-n-p combinations of semiconductor material are known as transistors. Such materials have even more interesting properties. They can be so connected to batteries that a small deviation of current on one side, can lead to a large deviation on the other side. Technically speaking, the transistor can 'amplify' small signals.

Semiconductor devices are very small in size. We can control their properties at will. This may be done by altering the quantity of doping or by bringing in more sections of p-type or n-type semiconductors on the same crystal. Several new semiconductor devices have been made like this. Further, by appropriate methods, they can be produced in a large chain or according to a desired pattern on a non-conducting surface called a chip. When several semiconductor devices are produced on a single chip toper form definite functions, the device thus formed is called an Integrated Circuit (IC). They have a small size and sturdiness, and they consume almost no energy. Due to these features, these devices are commonly used as components in TV sets, computers and several other instruments used for communication and control. Indeed, the semiconductors, tiny and fragile as they are, have come to occupy an important place in our societies. The development of semiconductor technology has had a great influence on our lives and on the possibility of man's control over nature. This has not only provided jobs and means of recreation to millions, but it has revolutionized global communication. However, sometimes people fear that with this kind of development, there would be no or lesser need of labour in future. It is feared that computers will make large clerical staff unwanted or robots will replace factory workers. But as we have seen in the past, when a new technology is introduced, more employment opportunities are created. For example, when horse-drawn carriages were replaced by motor driven vehicles, new employment opportunities were created in manufacturing, maintenance and repair of the vehicles. Similarly, introduction of semiconductor technology has created a lot of job opportunities of its own. However, these jobs require education and training. Therefore, the solution lies not in discarding the new technology but in retraining and orienting people to adapt to new kinds of jobs, using the new technology. Now you know that semiconductor technology has many applications, computers being the foremost among them. In the next section, we will discuss about the computers. Question No. 3: In a total system approach, what are the various factors which should be kept in mind while planning a large dam or a thermal power station? Answer 3: Need for a Systems Approach: Science and technology cannot be developed by viewing them in isolation. The entire social, economic and political system will have to work in agreement so that wholesome progress can be made. Primacy of social objectives: Moreover, like every other thing, science and technology also has two sides the good and the bad. On one hand, science and technology can benefit people by protecting the environment, making good use of earth's resources, providing enough food for all, and curing diseases. It is left to the human beings to decide whether to use it constructively or for destructive purposes. We can organize our society in such manner that it maximizes human welfare and optimizes profit. Society may either focus on economic growth that may widen the gap between rich and poor or it may focus on growth combined with equal distribution of benefits. Society may focus on extreme industrialization, irrespective of what effect it has on the natural environment or the non-renewable resources of the earth or it may choose to develop such technologies that foster industrial growth without harming the environment or putting much pressure on our natural resources.

Evolution of science and some social ideas: The first step in the evolution of science was taken when human beings picked up a stone, and threw it at another animal, either to kill it or to save themselves. With the increase in use of discovery and invention, their pattern of development became strikingly different from that of other animals, and a composite set of social institutions grew around them. This also posed two sets of problems before them, which they face even today: control of the material world and control of human beings. Control of the material world: Human culture has evolved gradually, passing through a number of important stages: from use of stone equipments to use of copper (c. 5000 BC) to the invention of wheel (c. 3500 BC) to use of iron (c. 1500-1000 BC), and to more recent progress in the use of various metals. As far as energy is concerned, humans started using fire for various purposes a long ago. Conventionally human and animal muscles, wind and flowing water have been the source of power. Control of human beings: The art of gaining knowledge, and using it for making the essential articles brought different people together in a common enterprise. With growing complications of jobs to be performed, the problem of motivating and directing people to perform the jobs became critical. The task was divided into two broad areas: performing the task and directing it. Accordingly, people were also divided in two categories: those who performed the task and those who directed them. With the introduction of agriculture, it became feasible for human beings to produce more than their need, and, therefore, it became possible for some to live without actually having to do any work. The invention of writing further reinforced the division. People who directed others to perform the task became guardians of knowledge. As this vision toughened, the question of making people do necessary things became more and more significant. Techniques had to be developed to make people comply with the scheme of things organized by the guardians of knowledge, who made a living on the surplus produced by those who laboured. When we look back at the evolution of human society, it appears that three approaches to control human beings were followed: Obtaining voluntary co-operation Through disciplining, such as in the army, and By instilling fear

The kind of technique used varied from society to society. To organize a fair and just society, the practice of voluntary co-operation was sufficient. This procedure meant an understanding, on the part of citizens, of the issues involved, and distribution of the existing knowledge. Earlier, sometimes, it was done by religious leaders and later by political parties. In societies in which a few lived at the cost of others, keeping all the gains to themselves, the other two techniques were used. To increase the effectiveness of these techniques, a number of tricks were used. Harsh penalty was imposed on those who didnt follow the prescribed rules, fatalism was encouraged, rewards were too little and myths were created to validate and propagate dominance of a small segment over the vast majority.

The problem of controlling people created a dual vision of a fair and impartial society as preached by religious leaders, social reformers and political thinkers, and of limitless control of a bunch of men over a large number, to make them follow their command and do things at their will. In this process, it may appear ironic that the control of material resources (which created the basis for bringing people together) became less important than controlling people. The more was the society attractive and ordered the greater became the use of materials to control them through propaganda machinery and weapons of compulsion and war. Nonetheless, control of human beings is much more difficult than the control of materials of all kinds. Question No. 4: What are the requisites of self reliance? Answer 4: Self-reliance: Based on this notable lesson on cruel realities about science, technology and national development, a novel concept of "self-reliance" has become popular, specifically among the developing or the third world countries. It is believed that for the developing countries, freedom of action is critical, which is not possible in a state of dependence. Thus, a nation has to build up its science, technology and economy in such an integrated way that it can take and execute decisions without any help, in self interest, irrespective of outside pressures, while at the same time participating in the global order. Self-reliance can also be referred to as a state of mind that promotes confidence in oneself, and one's ability to decide one's destiny. The thought can be given meaning by expressing it in various ways. If there are options in setting up of industries, the one that can be set up with our own effort, should be preferred. If there is a choice between technologies, the ones that rely on what is available in the country should be adopted and so on. Obviously, this has to go with scientific and technological development in our own institutions, backed up by appropriate education, training and research. Thus, the areas of our choice should be continually enlarged. The inference is that luxury goods, whether in manufacture or in import, should have the lowest priority. To run trains at 200 km/hr is not as critical, as materials and technology would have to be imported, as it is to run more trains or making every area of the country accessible. In case of national defence, the scope of what we can produce by our local technology should be enlarged, but then whatever is left and needed urgently can always be bought. for it was Swadeshi. Spread of Swadeshi movement was a significant ideological weapon in our freedom movement. Science and technology for national development: Science and technology form major national resource and a critical element in the task of achieving self-reliance. With the idea of self-reliance, science and technology can be made to play for national development. As you know, the needs for food, shelter, clothing and education for all is still the most relevant needs of our society. A rapid fulfillment of basic needs which require new advances in agriculture, food technology, health, science and machinery, building materials, clothing, tapping new resources, etc. is the need of the hour. Key to problems pertinent to our own society or economy poses a basic challenge for our scientific and technological action.

Question No. 5: Why do dark colours absorb heat? Answer 5: Have you ever been told that wearing light colours on a hot day will keep you cooler? Dark colours get hotter than light colours for one big reason: Dark colours absorb more light! In fact, without light there wouldnt be any colour at all! When we see colour, its because we see light that gets reflected off of something. Do you have a blue shirt? The reason it looks blue is because when sunshine (or another type of light) hits the shirt, most of the lights energy is absorbed by the shirt, but the blue energy of light bounces off the shirt. Our eyes can see the energy that bounces off, and to us, the shirt looks blue. Lighter colours reflect the most light. Darker colours absorb more, but all of that absorbed energy doesnt just disappear! Energy never just disappears, but it can change. Light that gets absorbed by clothing becomes heat! Light energy is what makes your warmer, so if you want to cool down; wearing a colour that reflects a lot of light energy is a good choice. Question No. 6: Why is lead dangerous? Answer 6: Represented by a symbol lead is one of the basic elements derived from the Latin word, Plum bum. Lead is a heavy metal that is characterized as a soft and malleable metal, yet of poor kind. Lead color changes as its state also undergoes change. A freshly cut lead exudes a bluish-white color. When air comes in contact with the element, it gradually turns into a dull gray color. And when lead becomes liquid, it displays a shiny chrome-silver luster. This interesting element of lead was first discovered in Turkey during the 6400 BC. It was found to have the highest atomic number among other stable elements and is most commonly used today in construction purposes as well as in batteries, bullets, and solders and in radiation shields. However, as further studies had been done on this element, it was discovered that lead poses serious health hazards. Found to be a substance that greatly contains toxins, lead is deemed to be dangerous when used. Despite the fact that lead is one common ingredient among paints, it does not give any guarantees that lead is not anymore dangerous. In fact, it was reported that exposure to lead can cause severe untoward effects, especially to children. Once children are excessively exposed to such element, palpable developmental and cognitive delays can occur. The nervous system and the brain are the main areas that are affected and can precipitate the onset of deafness, blindness, convulsions and even death in rare instances. Some may even exhibit reading difficulties, poor vocabulary, attention problems, Poor fine-motor coordination, greater school absenteeism, lower class ranking and greater risk of not graduating from school. Therefore, it is important that children and adults be well aware of the dangers that lead-based paints and materials can pose to ones health.

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