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Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 3, October 2008. 1

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum


N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 3, October 2008. 2

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

On the other corner of the Moon!

Indian Space Research Organization

(ISRO) is all set to lunch India’s first
Lunar mission Chandrayaan-1 which is
likely to lift off in the early hours of
Oct 22, 2008 from the Satish Dhawan
Space Centre, Sriharikota, about 63
miles (125km) from the city of
Chennai. The 1.38 tonne spacecraft, Chandrayaan-1
built at ISRO's satellite centre,
Bangalore will be carried into lunar dimensional atlas of the moon through
orbit by a specially designed 320-tonne high-resolution remote sensing, the
Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV- chemical and mineral composition on
C11), with six strap-on propellants the lunar soil and also provide clues to
weighing 12 tonnes each. The the moon’s origin.
spacecraft will take approximately
eight days to travel about 240,000 The nation is waiting with baited
miles before reaching its final orbit 60 breath the launch of the moon mission
miles above the surface of the Moon. that was planned almost six years ago.
In close to four decades of its No one was sure, when it was
existence, this is one of the most announced, that the nation would be
ambitious project of ISRO. The Indian able to accomplish the scientific
Space Research Organisation was milestone so soon. The rocket PSLV-
founded in 1969, and launched its first C11 is ready; the satellite Chandrayaan
satellite in 1975. Since then, it has 1 is ready as well, and the country is
developed a number of launch vehicles waiting for the launch of what will be
as well as sophisticated satellites for the first Indian step towards the moon
Earth observation, and beyond.
telecommunications, weather In the opposite corner of the country,
forecasting and mapping natural the economic as well as scientific
resources. At least 16 Indian satellites progress in the North-Eastern region is
currently orbit the earth, supporting very slow. We are starving with funds
telecommunications, TV broadcasting, and adequate scientific expertise. Most
earth observation, weather forecasting, of the scientific outputs of excellence
remote education and healthcare. are emerging from the other parts,
particularly from eastern and southern
Six countries, including the United part of India. All the regions of India
States, are directly involved in the are not progressing uniformly in
project Chandrayaan-1 costing about producing scientific output. The major
3.86 bn rupees ($80.8 mn). reason for the slow growth of scientific
Chandrayaan-1 will carry 11 knowledge in the North-East may be
instruments, five from India and six the brain-drain. Talented people from
from abroad. It aims to map a three- this part have moved to the other
corner of the country as well as abroad.
A very few people took decision to

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 3, October 2008. 3

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

come back after having high-grade country to build a “STRONG INDIA”.

training and experience to work for the At this moment I must take the name
scientific developments in this region. of Dr. J. N. Goswami from PRL
A frequent discussion appearing in the Ahmedabad who is closely associated
NE-India Research Forum is “HOW with India’s Chandrayaan mission.
TO DEVELOP OUR REGION”. Many There may be few more to name in this
suggestions come from various corners connection. We are proud of those
of the Globe for steps to be taken for outstanding personalities and want to
improvement of the situation. But serve our country in the same manner.
making comments and suggestions, I appeal - let us make a “come-back”
sitting at some corner far away, is and join our hands together to
much easier than working within this strengthen our region as well as the
region to solve the crisis. Everybody is country in terms of knowledge,
reluctant to stay back just because of economy and scientific manpower. IF
the so-called existing problems. Hardly CHANDRAYAAN IS POSSIBLE;
anybody wants to put effort for the ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE! If we
improvement of the environment, work work hard with strong mind, the goal is
culture! Every one of us wants not far from reach.
somebody to improve the situation so
that we can come to work peacefully!
Why somebody? Why not everybody?
I think, blaming the system and the
situation is not going to solve the
problem. Until and unless people with
strong scientific background work
together, possibility of improvement of
the situation is very remote. If we look
the same problem in global context, the
whole country is facing the same Dr. Prodeep Phukan
serious problem! Most of Indian talents
are settling abroad and working for a Department of Chemistry
country which never contributed to Gauhati University, Guwahati, Assam,
his/her life! In that sense, we should be India
proud of those people from this region
working in different places of our

96th Indian Science Congress will be held at North Eastern Hill University
(NEHU), Shillong, Meghalaya from January 3rd to January 7th 2009. Theme of the
science congress is Science Education and attraction of talent for excellence in
research. For more information visit

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 3, October 2008. 4

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

6. SHORT BIOGRAPHY- (H. J. Bhaba and S. N. Bose) 19
Mr. Mahen Konwar

a) Fungal Endophytes of Medicinal Plants and their Natural Products 25

Dr. D. K. Jha (Guest Article)

b) Environmental Aspects of Seismic survey in the Brahmaputra river bed 29

Dr. B. P. Duarah (Guest Article)

c) X-ray radial distribution function analysis towards the structure 33

of non-crystalline materials
Mr. Binoy Saikia

d) Organic Photovoltaics: Technology for the next Millennium 36

Mr. Basanta Rajbongshi

e) System Biology: A paradigm shift in bioscience research 41

Mr. Pankaj Borah

f) Global wind circulation…total chaos 46

Mr. Bidyut Bikas Goswami


a) Study of water quality parameters in rural areas of Karnataka 53

Dr.( Ms) Oinam Jayalakshmi Devi

b) Synthesis and biophysical studies of pna and chimeric pna-dna 55

antisense oligomers with five atom linkage
Dr. Khirud Gogoi


(Collected by Dr. Mukut Gohain and Dr. Arindam Adhikari)
(From Dr. Prodeep Phukan, Mr. Mahen Konwar and Dr. Arindam Adhikari)

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 3, October 2008. 5

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

North East India Research Forum was

th 1. Geographical constrain = 0%
created on 13 November 2004. 2. Bad leadership = 40%
3. Lack of work culture = 36%
1. How we are growing. 4. Corruption = 18%
5. Apathy from Central Govt. = 4%
Every forum has to pass through difficult phases
at the time of birth. NE India Research Forum is • Which area of science is going to dominate
also no exception. At the very beginning, it was by creating a great impact on society in next
a march hardly with few members (from decade?
chemistry only) and today the forum comprised
of a force of more than 255 elite members. Now 1. Nanoscience & nanotechnology =
we are in a position such that people voluntarily 22%
come and join the group irrespective of 2. Biotechnology = 11%
disciplines. 3. Nanobiotechnology = 38%
300 4. Chemical Engineering = 0%
5. Medicine = 11%
250 6. Others = 16%
7. None = 0%
No of Members

• Kindly let us know your view regarding the

following topic. What activities of this group
you like most?

50 1. Research articles = 33%

2.Information about vacancy/positions
0 10 20 30 40 50
available = 10%
Months 3. Way to have a contact with all members =
4. Scientific discussions = 14%
Graph of no of members w.r.t. months 5. Others = 2%
2. Discussions held in the forum • Selection of name for Newsletter
There were total 36 proposals submitted by
• Necessity of directory of all the members of members of the forum for the Newsletter. The
the forum. name proposed by Mr. Abhishek Choudhury,
• Possibility of organising conference in the N.E. QUEST received the maximum number of
N. E. India. votes and hence it is accepted as the name of the
• Taking initiation on setting up of South East Newsletter.
Asian Scientific Institute.
• On selection of Best paper award. • How often should we publish our newsletter
• Let us introspect. '' N. E. Quest’’?

3. Poll conducted and results 1. Every 3 months = 61%

2. Every 6 months = 38%
• North East India is lacking behind the rest 3. Once a year = 0%
of the country due to-

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 3, October 2008. 6

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

4. Editors of Previous NE-Quest Issues • Compilation of book on ‘Education system

1. Vol 1 Issue 1 April, 2007 of different countries’. Initiative for this
Editor: Dr. Arindam Adhikari project is taken by Dr. Mantu Bhuyan,
2. Vol 1 Issue 2 July 2007 NEIST, Jorhat, Assam
Editor: Dr. Tankeswar Nath
3. Vol 1 Issue 3 October 2007 7. New activity
Editor: Dr. Ashim Jyoti Thakur
4. Vol 1 Issue 4 January 2008 • Guidelines for the members are being
Editor: Mr. Pranjal Saikia formulated by the moderators of the NE
5. Vol 2 Issue 1 April 2008 India Research Forum. These guidelines are
Editor: Dr. Sasanka Deka placed in the forum for discussion.
6. Vol 2 Issue 2 July 2008
Editor: Dr. Rashmi Rekha Devi To run the forum smoothly, to make it more
7. Vol 2 Issue 3 October 2008 ( This issue) organised and to speed up activities, formation
Editor: Dr. Prodeep Phukan of a committee/team is essential.
The combined discussion of the moderators and
5. A domain in the name of www. senior members make the forum feel the is booked. importance of Advisors, co-ordinator, volunteer,
webmasters etc. Of course it needs more
discussion and will be approved by poll.
6. Future activities
Proper planning and consequent implementation 8. Guidelines for the forum:
always play an important role in every aspect. The moderators formulated some guidelines
Some of the topics / activities / suggestions for the forum which are as follow. These
which were being discussed, time to time in the
guidelines were kept open for discussion in
forum will get top priorities in our future
activities. Those are mentioned here, the forum. With time and need the
guidelines will be changed.
• Preparing complete online database of N.E.
researchers with details. 1. Anybody in the forum can start a
meaningful and constructive discussion
• Organising conference in the N.E. region- after discussion with moderators.
proposed by Dr. Utpal Bora. 2. Comments from the individual members
do not necessarily reflect the view of the
• Research collaboration among forum
3. No single moderator can take a crucial
• Motivate student to opt for science decision. All decision would be taken by
education. the moderators unanimously or together
with the group as majority.
• Help master’s students in doing projects in 4. One should not write any massage to the
different organisation-proposed by Dr. forum addressing some particular
Khirud Gogoi. members. It should always start with
Dear all / Dear esteemed members etc.
• Supporting schools in rural areas by
different ways. 5. If one has to write a mail to a particular
member she/he should write personal
• Best paper awards. mail.
6. Everyone has the freedom to speak but
that doesn’t mean that one should attack

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 3, October 2008. 7

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

personally. Of course we do have as it creates lots of unnecessary mails in

differences. There can be debate or the message box of the forum. Moreover
discussion, but it should always be a if it continues, it become a irritation also
healthy one. One’s personal comment for many members.
should be written in such a way that it
• It is also the duty of the person who
reflects his/her view only. It should not
requests article to acknowledge the
touch other's sentiments/emotions.
person who helped him/her. This can be
7. Whenever we are in a forum, society,
done by writing ' Request fulfilled
home, members should be sensitive /
by......' in the subject area while
caring enough to their comments so that
composing the mail and write a thanking
it does not hurt sentiment of any second
message in the main message board.
Once this is done, then if some other
8. Members should not post greetings
members want to send the article will
messages (Bihu wish, New Year wish
know about the status of the request.
etc) to the forum.
This will also help members in keeping
9. Members should post authentic news
mailbox clean.
only. The source of the news should be
authentic. No controversial news or • Before asking for article, he/she should
comment should be posted to the always check his/her institute/university
forum. libraries (online resources). If it is not
10. Our main aim is to discuss science to available or accessible then only the
generate science consciousness, member should request to the forum.
scientific temperament, sensitivity,
awareness and research for the benefit of • Moreover sending articles (copyright
the mankind in general and North East protected articles) to the open forum
India in particular. violates copyright act. So please send
11. In severe cases, moderators can take a the article to the person who requests not
hard decision unanimously or majority to everybody through this open forum.
wise ( may be through poll). (This point -------0-------
needs to be accepted by all the
members). The Corrosion Resistant
Iron Pillar of Delhi, The
pillar—over seven metres
high and weighing more
While sending request or while fulfilling
than six tonnes—was erected
request for articles please follow the by Kumara Gupta of Gupta
following points. dynasty that ruled northern
India in AD 320-540.
• The forum has been formed to help each
other. When a member requests
articles/literature to forum, members of on_pillar.html
the forum are always happy to help the
person by supplying the articles. But at Corrosion costs annually $1.8 trillion on a
this stage we have to keep in mind that worldwide scale, is over 3% of the world's
the article should be sent to the person GDP.
who requested it, not to the whole forum

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 3, October 2008. 8

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine Françoise Barré-Sinoussi born 1947 in

The Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet France, French citizen, PhD in virology,
has decided to award The Nobel Prize in Institut Pasteur, Garches, France, Professor
and Director, Regulation of Retroviral
Physiology or Medicine for 2008 with one
Infections Unit, Virology Department,
half to Harald zur Hausen for his discovery Institut Pasteur, Paris, France.
of "human papilloma viruses causing

Harald zur Hausen Françoise Barré-Sinoussi Luc Montagnier

Luc Montagnier born 1932 in France,
cervical cancer" and the other half jointly to
French citizen, PhD in virology, University
Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Luc
of Paris, Paris, France. Professor emeritus
Montagnier for their discovery of "human
and Director, World Foundation for AIDS
immunodeficiency virus"
Research and Prevention, Paris, France.
Their discovery of HIV "was one
Harald zur Hausen born 1936 in Germany,
prerequisite for the current understanding of
German citizen, MD at University of
the biology of the disease and its
Düsseldorf, Germany, Professor emeritus
antiretroviral treatment."
and former Chairman and Scientific
Director, German Cancer Research Centre,
Nobel Prize in Physics
Heidelberg, Germany. According to the
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
Nobel Assembly, zur Hausen's discovery
has decided to award the Nobel Prize in
"has led to characterization of the natural
history of HPV infection, an understanding Physics for 2008 with one half to Yoichiro
of mechanisms of HPV-induced Nambu of USA "for the discovery of the
carcinogenesis and the development of mechanism of spontaneous broken symmetry
prophylactic vaccines against HPV in subatomic physics" and the other half
acquisition." jointly to Makoto Kobayashi and Toshihide
Maskawa, of Japan "for the discovery of the
origin of the broken symmetry which

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 3, October 2008. 9

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Yoichiro Nambu Makoto Kobayashi Toshihide Maskawa

In the early 1970s, Kobayashi and Maskawa

predicts the existence of at least three formulated a model that explained certain
families of quarks in nature". symmetry violations that had recently
surprised observers in particle physics
Yoichiro Nambu, US citizen. Born 1921 in experiments. Their model suggested that the
Tokyo, Japan. D.Sc. 1952 at University of collection of subatomic particles known at
Tokyo, Japan. Harry Pratt Judson the time were insufficient to explain the
Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus at observed behaviours, and predicted the
Enrico Fermi Institute, University of existence of as yet undiscovered elementary
Chicago,USA. particles. It did not, however, specify precisely what form these particles should
article_t.html#Nambu take. Kobayashi and Maskawa hypothesized
The theory helped to give rise to the the existence of a third family of quarks,
Standard Model of elementary particle which are some of the building blocks from
physics, which unifies the smallest building which all matter and antimatter is formed.
blocks of all matter and three of nature’s They then had to wait almost three decades
four forces in one single theory. for the experimental results that would
verify their hypothesis. The existence of all
Makoto Kobayashi, born 1944 in Nagoya, three families was finally confirmed when
Japan. Ph. D. 1972 at Nagoya University, the last member was observed in the mid
Japan. Professor Emeritus at High Energy 1990s.
Accelerator Research Organization,
Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Tsukuba,Japan. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in
e/press/2007/EPSprize2_e.html Chemistry for 2008 jointly to Osamu
Shimomura, Marine Biological Laboratory
Toshihide Maskawa, born 1940. Ph.D. 1967 (MBL), Woods Hole, MA, USA and Boston
at Nagoya University, Japan. Professor University Medical School, MA, USA;
Emeritus at Yukawa Institute for Theoretical Martin Chalfie, Columbia University, New
Physics (YITP), Kyoto University, Japan. York, NY, USA and Roger Y. Tsien,
University of California, San Diego, La

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 3, October 2008. 10

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Osamu Shimomura Martin Chalfie Roger Y. Tsien

Jolla, USA “for the discovery and Martin Chalfie, born 1947, grew up in
development of the green fluorescent Chicago, USA. Ph. D. in neurobiology 1977
protein, GFP”. from Harvard University. William R. Kenan,
Jr. Professor of Biological Sciences at
The remarkable brightly glowing green Columbia University, NY, USA, since 1982.
fluorescent protein, GFP, was first observed
in the beautiful jellyfish, Aequorea victoria, e/Chalfie_home/
in 1962. Since then, this protein has become
one of the most important tools used in
contemporary bioscience. With the aid of Roger Y. Tsien contributed to our general
GFP, researchers have developed ways to understanding of how GFP fluoresces. He
watch processes that were previously also extended the colour palette beyond
invisible, such as the development of nerve green allowing researchers to give various
cells in the brain or how cancer cells spread. proteins and cells different colours. This
enables scientists to follow several different
Osamu Shimomura first isolated GFP from biological processes at the same time.
the jellyfish Aequorea victoria, which drifts Roger Y. Tsien, born 1952 in New York,
with the currents off the west coast of North USA, Ph.D. in physiology 1977 from
America. He discovered that this protein Cambridge University, UK. Professor at
glowed bright green under ultraviolet light. University of California, San Diego, La
Osamu Shimomura, born 1928 in Kyoto, Jolla, USA, since 1989.
Japan. Ph.D. in organic chemistry 1960 from
Nagoya University, Japan. Professor
emeritus at Marine Biological Laboratory,
Woods Hole, MA, USA and Boston
University Medical School, USA.

Martin Chalfie demonstrated the value of

GFP as a luminous genetic tag for various Adult Drosophila expressing GFP under
biological phenomena. In one of his first control of the engrailed promoter.
experiments, he coloured six individual cells
in the transparent roundworm Source:
Caenorhabditis elegans with the aid of GFP.

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 3, October 2008. 11

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

DNA fingerprinting could reveal your "This superconducting layer is extremely

surname thin. It is thinner than 1 nanometere, which
is 1 billionth of a metre," says Bozovic,
Scientists at Leicester University, where whose findings appear in the journal
DNA fingerprinting was invented in 1984, Nature.
said they had demonstrated that men with "It opens vistas for further progress,
the same surname were highly likely to be including using these techniques to
genetically linked. significantly enhance superconducting
properties in other known or new
The finding could help genealogy superconductors."
researchers as well detectives investigating
crimes using traces of DNA found in blood, (Source:
hair, saliva or semen.

The technique is based on analysing DNA Chandrayaan 1

from the Y chromosome that imparts
maleness and which, like surnames, is India is set to launch Chandrayaan I, its first
passed down from father to son. unmanned lunar mission on October 22nd
2008 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre at
A study of 2,500 men found that on average Sriharikota, which will orbit the lunar polar
there was a 24 percent chance of two men orbit and examine the composition of Moon
with the same surname sharing a common surface. The 1,380 kg spacecraft, built at
ancestor but this increased to nearly 50 ISRO's satellite centre, will be carried into
percent when the surname was rare. (Source: lunar orbit by a specially designed 320-
www. science news) tonne Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle
(PSLV-C11), with six strap-on propellants
Ultrathin films form 'warm' weighing 12 tonnes each. Chandrayaan 1 has
superconductor 11 payloads, including five from India, 3
from European space agency, 1 from
US researchers have developed ultrathin Bulgarian academy of science and 2 from
films that when sandwiched together form a National Aeronautics and Space
superconductor, an advance that could lead Administration (NASA), US. The spacecraft
to a new class of fast, power-saving will orbit around the moon at an altitude of
electronics. 100 km to map the topography and the
mineralogical resources of the lunar soil.
The films can be used at relatively high Chandrayaan-1 will also carry a moon
temperatures for superconductors, making impact probe payload for demonstrating the
them easier to handle and produce, they say. technology needed towards landing on the
"What we have done is we have put together moon's surface in subsequent missions.
two materials, neither of which is a (
superconductor, and we found their interface me.htm)
- where they touch - is superconducting,"
says physicist Dr Ivan Bozovic of the US
Department of Energy's Brookhaven
National Laboratory.

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 3, October 2008. 12

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Turmeric can prevent diabetes-induced exclusively devoted to research on diabetes

blindness and its vascular complication. IANS
Indian scientists have found yet another
reason why turmeric should be part of our
daily diet. an_prevent_diabetes-
Lab experiments in the past have shown that induced_blindness_6289/
curcumin - the yellowish component of the
Indian curry spice turmeric - is able to fight Solar Cell Sets World Efficiency Record
skin, breast and other tumour cells. It is also At 40.8 Percent
known to lower the chances of getting
Alzheimer's disease and haemorrhagic Scientists (Mark Wanlass, John Geisz) at the
stroke. U.S. Department of Energy's National
Now a team at the Madras Diabetes Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have
Research Foundation (MDRF) in Chennai set a world record in solar cell efficiency
reports that curcumin also blocks a key with a photovoltaic device that converts 40.8
biological pathway needed for development percent of the light that hits it into
of diabetic retinopathy, an eye complication electricity. This is the highest confirmed
among diabetics that leads to blindness if efficiency of any photovoltaic device to
untreated. date.
"This is the first scientifically documented
evidence of the molecular action of The inverted metamorphic triple-junction
curcumin against diabetic retinopathy," the solar cell was designed, fabricated and
researchers claim in a report published in a independently measured at NREL. The 40.8
recent issue of Investigative Ophthalmology percent efficiency was measured under
& Visual Science. Headed by Viswanathan concentrated light of 326 suns. One sun is
Mohan, a renowned diabetologist, MDRF is about the amount of light that typically hits
Earth on a sunny day. The new cell is a

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 3, October 2008. 13

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

natural candidate for the space satellite in a stretchable, interconnected mesh. The
market and for terrestrial concentrated work opens new possibilities for advanced
photovoltaic arrays, which use lenses or camera design. It also foreshadows artificial
mirrors to focus sunlight onto the solar cells. retinas for bionic eyes.
The new design uses compositions of
gallium indium phosphide and gallium The camera's design is based on that of the
indium arsenide to split the solar spectrum human eye, which has a simple, single-
into three equal parts that are absorbed by element lens and a hemispherical detector.
each of the cell's three junctions for higher The camera integrates such a detector with a
potential efficiencies. This is accomplished hemispherical cap and imaging lens, to yield
by growing the solar cell on a gallium a system with the overall size, shape and
arsenide wafer, flipping it over, then layout of the human eye. To make the
removing the wafer. The resulting device is camera, the researchers begin by molding a
extremely thin and light and represents a thin rubber membrane in the shape of a
new class of solar cells with advantages in hemisphere. The rubber membrane is then
performance, design, operation and cost. stretched with a specialized mechanical
ScienceDaily (Sep. 30, 2008) stage to form a flat drumhead. Next, a
prefabricated focal plane array and
Stretchable Silicon Camera: Next Step To associated electronics – created by
Artificial Retina conventional planar processing – are
transferred from a silicon wafer to the
Digital cameras have transformed the world tensioned, drumhead membrane. When the
of photography. Now new technology tension is released, the membrane returns to
inspired by the human eye could push the its original shape. This process compresses
photographic image farther forward by the focal plane array, causing specially
producing improved images with a wider designed electrical interconnects to
field of view. By combining stretchable delaminate from the rubber surface and form
optoelectronics and biologically inspired arcs, pinned on the ends by detector pixels.
design, scientists have created a remarkable These deformations accommodate strains
imaging device, with a layout based on the associated with the planar to hemispherical
human eye. transformation, without stressing the silicon.
The array package is then transfer printed to
a matching hemispherical glass substrate.
Attaching a lens and connecting the camera
to external electronics completes the
assembly. The camera has the size and shape
of a human eye.

Nature,Aug. 7, 2008, ScienceDaily (Aug. 7,


Researchers at the University of Illinois and

Northwestern University have developed a
high-performance, hemispherical "eye"
camera using an array of single-crystalline
silicon detectors and electronics, configured

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 3, October 2008. 14

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Plants In Forest Emit Aspirin Chemical the chemical. "These findings show tangible
To Deal With Stress; Discovery May Help proof that plant-to-plant communication
Agriculture occurs on the ecosystem level," says NCAR
scientist Alex Guenther, a co-author of the
Plants in a forest respond to stress by study. "It appears that plants have the ability
producing significant amounts of a chemical to communicate through the atmosphere."
form of aspirin. The finding, by scientists at ScienceDaily (Sep. 25, 2008)
the National Center for Atmospheric ------
Research (NCAR), opens up new avenues of
research into the behavior of plants and their Super strong adhesive is created
impacts on air quality, and it also has the
potential to give farmers an early warning University of Dayton Professor Liming Dai
signal about crops that are failing. "Unlike and colleagues claims of incenting an
humans, who are advised to take aspirin as a adhesive that's 10 times stronger than the
fever suppressant, plants have the ability to force used by geckos to stick to surfaces and
produce their own mix of aspirin-like walk up walls.
chemicals, triggering the formation of They constructed adhesive from two slightly
proteins that boost their biochemical different layers of multi-walled carbon
defenses and reduce injury," says NCAR nanotubes. The lower layer is composed of
scientist Thomas Karl, who led the study. vertically aligned nanotubes, while the upper
Their measurements show that significant segment that contacts the surface it is
amounts of the chemical can be detected in sticking to is composed of curly nanotubes.
the atmosphere as plants respond to drought, The gecko's ability to stick is produced by
unseasonable temperatures, or other stresses. myriad pillars located at the micro-nano
For years, scientists have known that plants scale on the underside of its foot, the
in a laboratory may produce methyl researchers said. Because there are so many
salicylate, which is a chemical form of pillars so close together, they're held tightly
acetylsalicylic acid, or aspirin. But to the surface the gecko is walking on by a
researchers had never before detected molecular force called the Van der Waals
methyl salicylate in an ecosystem or verified force that causes uncharged molecules to
that plants emit the chemical in significant attract each other.
quantities into the atmosphere. The complex research appears in the journal
Karl and his colleagues speculate that the Science. October 16, 2008
methyl salicylate has two functions. One of ( )
these is to stimulate plants to begin a process
known as systemic acquired resistance, ------------0------------
which is analogous to an immune response
in an animal. This helps a plant to both resist
and recover from disease. In Science the credit goes to the man who
The methyl salicylate also may be a convinces the world, not to the man to
whom the idea first occurred.
mechanism whereby a stressed plant
-by Sir William Osler (1849-1919)
communicates to neighbouring plants, Canadian physician.
warning them of the threat. Researchers in
laboratories have demonstrated that a plant
may build up its defenses if it is linked in
some way to another plant that is emitting

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 3, October 2008. 15

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

‘Imbalanced’ Indian diet leading to Scientists to get share in IPRs: Union S &
diabetes, hypertension T minister

A study which has been reported in the New Delhi, Oct 16 : Scientists conducting
coming edition of British Journal of research using public funds may soon get a
Nutrition says that the nutritional imbalance share in the intellectual property rights
in it is one of the reasons for the increasing (IPRs) for their discoveries and inventions.
cases of diabetes and hypertension in India. In a move to encourage research in state-
Hypertension is usually an accompanying funded laboratories, Government is planning
condition in diabetes and is often present in to enact a legislation on the lines of the
Type 2 diabetes as part of the metabolic Bayh-Dole Act in the US which spurred
syndrome of insulin resistance. applied research in American universities. In
India the IPRs on discoveries and inventions
The study, which reviews the influence of resulting out of research using state funds
dietary nutrients on insulin resistance — rest with the government. The government
also called the metabolic syndrome — in plans to introduce the Public Funded
Asian Indians and South Asians, says that Research and Development (Protection,
there are severe imbalances in the average Utilisation and Regulation of Intellectual
Indian diet. Data pertaining to nutrient Property) Bill in the Parliament session
intake, insulin resistance and cardiovascular beginning Friday aims in a bid to give
risk factors in Asian Indians and South scientists a share in the IPRs. (Source:
Asians has been reviewed and dietary Indian Express)
imbalances have been reported in the
following areas: low intake of MUFA, n3 Guwahati youth achieves milestone
PUFA and fibre, and high intake of fats, Nishant Sarawagi, a BE in mechanical
saturated fats, carbohydrates and transfatty engineering along with fellow students of
acids (mostly related to the widespread use RV College of Engineering, Bangalore, had
of vanaspati, a hydrogenated oil). Data tested a vehicle named Garuda RVCE
suggests that these nutrient imbalances are Supermileage car, which under test
associated with insulin resistance and a conditions gave a mileage of 180 km to the
changed lipid profile. litre.

There is a great imbalance in Indian diet. In a press conference in Guwahati, the

What should be consumed in good amount young student said that the team behind
is consumed less and what should be Garuda now intends to enter into two
consumed less is in excess,” said Dr Anoop prestigious contests – SAE Supermileage
Misra, HoD, Department of Diabetes and USA and Shell-EcoMarathon UK, both
Metabolic Diseases, Fortis Hospital, New tough tests to evaluate energy-efficient
Delhi, who conducted the study in vehicles.
collaboration with Centre for Diabetes, (Source: Assam Tribune)
Obesity, and Cholesterol Disorders (C-
DOC), Diabetes Foundation and Department
of Medicine, All India Institute of Medical
(Source: Indian Express)

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 3, October 2008. 16

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

1. Prof. Gautam Barua, at present serving University and Ph. D. degree in

as director, Indian Institute of Technology Southampton University in Structural
(IIT), Guwahati. A computer scientist, he Engineering. After his post-doctoral
did his B.Tech and M.Tech.(Computer research in the University of Waterloo,
Science stream) from Department of Canada, he moved to the USA where he
Electrical Engineering, Indian Institute of worked in Nuclear Power Plant Industry and
Technology, Bombay. He did his Ph.D. then Aerospace industry. Currently, he
from Dept of Computer Science, University works on Space Shuttle Program for
of California, Santa Barbara, USA. (Thesis NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, US.

Prof. Gautam Barua Dr. Umesh Tahbildar Prof. Adhikarimayum Sharma

Title: Demand Based Concurrency 3. Prof. Adhikarimayum S. Sharma

Control). He was a visiting faculty in the
Prof. Adhikarimayum Surjalal Sharma grew
University of California, Santa Barbara,
up in Imphal. He is at present research
USA, in the year 1981. He joined IIT
professor at the University of Maryland in
Kanpur as faculty in the year 1982 and
USA He attended Johnstone Higher
served there till 1995. In the year 1995 he
Secondary School then he completed his
moved to IIT, Guwahati as faculty. In the
studies at University of Delhi, Delhi and
year 2003 (March) he took charge as
Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad,
director of IIT-Guwahati. His area of
and has worked at many institutes and
interest is ‘Operating systems and
universities around the world. His main
Networks’. He is an IT consultant to many
interests are Space Plasma Physics and
organisations. He is actively involved with
Nonlinear Dynamics. Current efforts include
many educational institutions of North East.
magnetospheric physics, comets and stellar
variability. Previously he has contributed to
2. Dr. Umesh Tahbildar was born in
the theories of laboratory plasma devices at
Guwahati, Assam. After his schooling in
Cornell University, Physical Research
Guwahati, he did his B.Tech. degree in Civil
Laboratory, Ahmedabad, and Institute for
Engineering at IIT, Kharagpur. He went to
Plasma Research, Gandhinagar, India.
England under Govt of Assam scholarship
where he completed MS in Manchester

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 3, October 2008. 17

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

• Dr. Sanjib Gogoi has joined as Postdoc • Book published by Mr. Mahananda Chutia
Fellow with Prof. Cong-Gui Zhao in the and Ms. Nabanita Bhattacharyya on
Department of Chemistry, University of Mashroom
Texas at San Antonio, Texas, US. He did
his PhD from National Chemical
Laboratory, Pune, India.

• Dr. Prodeep Phukan, reader, Gauhati

University, Assam, has received Dr. J.
N. Baruah Memorial award for the year
2008 for his contribution to catalysis and
Asymmetric synthesis.

• Manoj Sharma will be joining

Department of Radiology, David Geffen
School of Medicine at the University of
California, Los Angles as post-doctoral
researcher. He did his PhD degree on Mr. Mahananda Chutia and Ms. Nabanita
“Quantitation of in-vivo and high Bhattacharyya has authored a book in
resolution NMR spectroscopy data” at Assamese named Kathfula Ki Kiya aru
Department of Mathematics and Kenekoi (Mushroom What Why and How).
Statistics, IIT Kanpur. Publisher of the book is Sahitya Ratna
Prakashan Panbazar, Guwahati, Assam.
• Dr. Utpal Bora has joined Chemistry Kathfula Ki Kiya aru Kenekoi is a complete
Department, Dibrugarh University book on mushroom in Assamese covering
(September 08). He was previously all its related topics. The book may/will help
working in Biocon, Bangalore. He did the local mushroom growers, students and
his PhD from RRL, Jorhat and then went local people for general concept on
for post doctoral study in Gifu mushroom or in commercial cultivation and
University, Japan as JSPS fellow. mushroom hunters for identification of the
poisonous mushroom. Major chapters are –
------------0------------- what are mushroom, its morphology and
structures, identification tips of poisonous
mushrooms and its poisoning, nutrition and
medicinal value of edible mushroom,
cultivation technology of different edible
Science is a wonderful thing if one does not mushroom species, post harvest techniques
have to earn one's living at it. etc. Coloured photographs of about 54
~Albert Einstein species of locally available poisonous
mushroom are also given. Ms. Nabanita

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 3, October 2008. 18

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Bhattacharyya has been working as a

lecturer in the Dept. of Botany, Nowgong
college, Assam. Her research area is Plant
Physiology and Biochemistry. Mr.
Mahananda Chutia is Senior Research 1. Homi Jehangir Bhabha
Fellow (CSIR) at the Dept. of
Biotechnology, Gauhati University,
Guwahati, India. Nabanita and Mahananda
can be reached at and respectively. A
hearty congratulation to both the authors.

• Painting by Dr. Joshodeep Boruwa.

Homi Jehangir Bhabha is mostly known as

the chief architect of India's nuclear
programme. However, his contribution to
India's development goes far beyond the
sphere of atomic energy. He had established
two great research institutions namely the
Tata Institute of Fundamental Research
(TIFR), and the Atomic Energy
Establishment at Trombay (now BARC).The
great Indian physicist born in Mumbai on 30
October 1909 in a wealthy Parsi family. He
was educated in Mumbai and Cambridge,
England, receiving his Ph.D. in 1932, and
became professor of theoretical physics at
Bangalore and then Bombay. He was also
president of the Indian National Science
Still Life: Oil on Canvas(1993) Congress in 1951. He derived a correct
expression for the probability of scattering
positrons by electrons, a process now known
as Bhabha scattering which is named in his
honour. He introduced (with Heitler) the
Cascade Theory in the same time as Carlson
and Oppenheimer. He derived a correct
expression for the probability of scattering
positrons by electrons, a process now known
as Bhabha scattering. His classic paper,
jointly with W. Heitler, published in 1937
described how primary cosmic rays from
space interact with the upper atmosphere
Landscape: Oil on Canvas (1994) (Continued to Page no- 40)

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 3, October 2008. 19

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

RADAR: An Overview short article, we will try to give an overview

Mahen Konwar on radar and will emphasis mainly on the
radar application to meteorology.
The acronym RADAR stands for Radio
Detection And Ranging. The term radio Historical Background
means electromagnetic radiation at Experimental demonstration of
wavelengths ranging from about 20 km (i.e., electromagnetic wave was performed by
a frequency of 15,000 Hertz) to a fraction of Heinrich Hertz in 1886; he experimentally
a millimeter. As mentioned in the classic tested the theories of Maxwell and
book by Doviak and Zrnić (1993), the term demonstrated the similarity between radio
RADAR was suggested by S. M. Taylor and and light waves. RADAR works in
F. R. Furth of the United States of America accordance with the Doppler principle, its
Navy. Defined in Webster’s Collegiate concept for the first time documented by
dictionary it is a device or system consisting Nikola Tesla in June 1900 is as follows:
of usually of a synchronized radio “When we raise the voice and hear an echo
transmitter and receiver that emits radio in reply, we know that the sound of the
waves and processes their reflections for voice must have reached a distant wall, or
display and is used especially for detecting boundary, and must have been reflected
and locating objects (as aircraft) or surface from the same. Exactly as the sound, so an
features (as of a planet). In this modern era electrical wave is reflected …. We may
radar has wide applications in some determine the relative position or course of a
important fields e.g. for defense purpose, moving object such as a vessel at sea, the
civil aviation, weather forecasting / now distance traveled by the same, or its
casting and also in tracking a satellite. speed….” [Doviak and Zrnić, 1993]. The
Hence importance of radar is well first “practical” application of radio waves
appreciated and newer developments of for RADAR was invented by Christian
radar technology are taking place. In this Huelsmeyer in 1904 for ship detection
(Range = 3km). E. V. Appleton of Kings
College, London and MAF Barnet of
Cambridge University in December 1924,

Simplest Schematic Diagram of RADAR

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 3, October 2008. 20

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

observed echoes from the ionosphere (a σ ≈ 2.07(Δn) 2 L20 / 3 λ−1 / 3

layer of the upper atmosphere beyond 100 Where (∆n)2 is the mean square refractive
km) using an fm transmitter. This particular index fluctuations, L0 is outer scale size of
layer later on named as Appleton Layer. It the turbulence and λ is the wavelength of
must be mentioned that rapid developments EM wave.
in Radar technology started during the Rayleigh Scattering: Rayleigh scattering is
World War II and its applications initially said to occur if the backscattering cross
were aimed mainly for detecting hostile section σ of a spherical water drop of
enemy aircraft and for directing anti aircraft
diameter D is small compared to λ (i.e. D ≤
weapons. However, after the war it was
λ/16), and is approximated by the following
realized that Meteorology is also a very
important part of aviation and its application 2
in studying atmospheric phenomenon also σ ≈ ( π5 / λ4 ) K m D 6
began thereafter. The first application of
RADAR to meteorology was by Sir Robert Where Km= (m2-)/(m2+2) and m=n-jnκ is
Watson-Watt; he used radio signals the complex refractive index of water. The
generated by lightning strikes to refractive index is n and κ is the attenuation
detect/locate thunderstorms. He also index.
pioneered in the development of rotating Fresnel (Partial) Reflection and Scattering:
directional antennas and also put forward the Fresnel (partial) reflection occurs when
idea for the use of oscilloscopes as a 2D there is a sharp vertical gradient in refractive
display. index that is horizontally coherent over a
scale greater that a Fresnel zone. While a
Physical Basis of RADAR general case of partial reflection is in which
Radar transmits electromagnetic energy into closely spaced layers randomly are
the atmosphere with high frequency at distributed in height is called Fresnel
equally spaced interval of time. Some of the reflection.
transmitted energy is absorbed by the targets Thomson (Incoherent) Scatter: Thomson
present in the atmosphere and reradiated or scatter is often referred to as incoherent
scattered back to the receiver. The scattering scatter. It arises due to backscattered radar
processes may be of different origin, may be signal from electron density fluctuations due
due to (i) Bragg Scattering, (ii) Rayleigh to random thermal motions of the ions and
Scattering, (iii) Fresnel Scattering and electrons. The main contributor to this radar
Fresnel reflection, and (iv) Thomson backscattered signal is the ion acoustic and
(Incoherent) Scatter. electron plasma waves in the ionosphere.
Bragg Scattering: To receive signal due to Few Radar Sites dedicated for
Bragg scattering, the atmospheric turbulence Atmospheric Research in India
must be equal or nearly equal to the half of Apart from the Doppler Weather Radar
the transmitted wavelength. The physical (DWR) at various locations of India
interpretation is that the path difference of Meteorological Department (IMD), there are
the equally spaced scatters must be equal to Wind Profilers (such Radar provides wind
some integral multiple of wavelength. speeds at different heights) solely dedicated
The backscattering by turbulent scatters is to atmospheric research in India. List given
given by the following expression

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 3, October 2008. 21

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

below are of few Radar sites in different time the applicability of VHF radar to
research laboratories, precipitation studies was demonstrated by
• National MST Radar Facility, Gadanki Fukao et al. [1985]. They reported dual
echoes observed during precipitation period;
– 53 MHz profiler (MST Radar) one resulting from clear air (Bragg
scattering) and the other from rain drops
– 1.3 GHz profiler (Boundary Layer
(Rayleigh scattering).
The MST radar at NARL operates at a
• Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, frequency 53 MHz which corresponds to a
Pune wavelength of 5.66 m. It has a peak
transmission power of 2.5 MW. Antenna
– ~ 404 MHz profiler (Troposphere arrays consist of 1024 crossed yagi antennas
radar) [located at IMD, Pune] occupies an area of 130 X 130 m2. It
generates radiation pattern with 30 half-
– Micro Rain Radar (MRR) power beam width. The beam can be tilted
• ARIES, Nainital (proposed ST Radar) from zenith to east, west, north and south
directions through a maximum angle of 200.
• Micro Rain Radar (MRR) at various Corresponding to the pulse width of 1 and 2
centers of Indian Space Research μ sec the range resolution are 150 and 300
Organization (ISRO) meters for the radar. More detail of Indian
MST radar can be found at Kishore et al.,
Detail system description of various Radar 2005.
systems are out of scope of this article;
however we would like to provide some Space borne Radars:
detail on Mesosphere, Stratosphere and In Wings of Fire, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam has
Troposphere Radar (MST) Radar located at rightly said “Probably, the Creator created
Gadanki, India. engineers to make scientists achieve more!”
With the increasing awareness of global
Indian MST Radar, Gadanki: climate change, importance of rainfall
The state of art facility, MST Radar at activities around the world has gained much
National Atmospheric Research Laboratory attention over the last decades. There was a
(NARL), Gadanki (13.50, 79.20) was need to install and operate Radar in space
established in the year 1992 ( Fig 1). There and monitor precipitation activities of the
are very few similar stations around the globe. To achieve this goal satellite based
globe such as Jicamarca (120S, 76.90 W), active sensors are now in operation in space.
Shigaraki (34.90N, 136.10E), Aberystwyth The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Missions
(52.40N, 4.10W), SOUSY (520N, 100E), (TRMM) satellite [ result of joint venture of
Poker Flat (650N, 147.50W). The MST radar NASA and NASDA] and Cloudsat [
technique was first demonstrated by launched by NASA] are launced aiming at
Woodman and Guillen [1974] using the global precipitation studies. The TRMM
available VHF radar at Jicamarca [Kamala contains a Precipitation Radar besides many
et al., 2003]. The MST radar was primarily other passive sensors. The TRMM precipita-
designed to study wind and turbulences in
the atmosphere, but its application was
extended to study precipitation and
meteorite characteristics also. For the first

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 3, October 2008. 22

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Figure 1: Picture of Indian MST Radar at National Atmospheric Research Laboratory, Gadanki,

Figure 2: Picture shows a cyclonic system as observed by the TRMM-PR satellite over the
Atlantic Ocean on 15 September 2004 [ image source TRMM website].

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 3, October 2008. 23

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

-tion radar (PR) is the first spaceborne Doviak, R. J. and D. S. Zrnić, Doppler
rain radar and the only instrument on radar and weather observations, 562pp,
TRMM that can directly observe vertical Academic press, 1993.
distributions of rain. As a typical
example, Fig.2 shows the picture of Fukao, S., K. Wakasugi, T. Sato, S.
development of cyclonic system over the Morimoto, T. Tsuda, I. Hirota, I.
Atlantic ocean on 15 th Sep., 2004. It Kimura, and S. Kato, Direct
can provide rain profile from 20 km at measurement of air and precipitation
250m resolution with 80 range bins. The particle motion by very high frequency
frequency of TRMM PR is 13.8 GHz. Doppler radar, Nature, 316, 712-714,
The PR can achieve quantitative rainfall 1985.
estimation over land as well as ocean. Kamala S., D. N. Rao, S.C. Chakravarty,
The Cloud Profiling Radar (CPR) in J. Datta and B. S. N. Prasad, Vertical
Cloudsat satellite is a 94-GHz nadir- structure of mesospheric echoes from the
looking radar which measures the power Indian MST radar, Jour. Atmos. and Sol-
backscattered by clouds as a function of Terr Phys. 65, 71-83, 2003.
distance from the radar. The CPR
provides information of vertical Kishore, K.K., A.R. Jain and D.N. Rao,
distribution of cloud/hydrometeors with VHF/UHF radar observations of tropical
a range resolution of 500 m. mesoscale convective systems over
Another radar system known as Doppler southern India, Annal. Geophysicae, 23,
Weather Radar (DWR) has gained much 1673-1683, 2005.
popularity for its efficiency for
continuous operation and coverage of TRMM :
large spatial area. The polarimetric Wind Profiler and Radio Acoustic
DWR is capable of identifying different Sounding Systems (7-11 March 2005),
phases of water in a precipitating Lecture notes, Indian Institute of
system. In near future India may have Tropical Meteorology, Pune &
polarimetirc DWR which will enhance Department of Science and Technology.
the understanding of microphysics of
precipitating systems over this tropical Author’s Information
region which in fact plays a major role in Mr. Mahen Konwar, at present working
driving the general circulation of the as Scientist at IITM (Indian Institute of
earth. Tropical Meterology) Pune. He has
submitted his Ph.D. thesis recently
Acknowledgement: The author is (Jadavpur University, Kolkata & worked
grateful to his PhD guide and friends for as a research scholar under research
the helps and sharing knowledge. program sponsored by Indian Space
Research Organization at Kohima
References: Science College, Nagaland.). Mr. Mahen
ASU MAT 591: Opportunities In Konwar received his M. Sc. degree in
Industry ! History of Radar, John Physics from Gauhati University. His
Schneider – Lockheed Martin, (source- research field is the study of convective
internet). precipitating system, rain drop size
distribution and retrieval of rainfall
Cloudsat website: intensity by soft computation techniques. He can be reached at

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 3, October 2008. 24

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Guest Article
observed in virtually all plants that exist
Fungal Endophytes of Medicinal on earth. One out of several to hundreds
Plants and their Natural Products of endophytes that can colonize a single
plant show host specificity. Actually,
Dr. D. K. Jha endophytes are important component of
microbial diversity. In recent years,
special attention has been paid to
Microorganisms are found in diverse endophytes because of their ability to
habitats and can survive in different produce good number of new and
inhospitable environments. The most interesting bioactive metabolites, which
recent estimates suggest that only are of pharmaceutical, industrial and
approx. 10 % of the total microbial agricultural importance. Considering the
diversity is currently known. Moreover, present health problems involving multi
among the ones already described, only drugs resistance in clinically important
a small fraction has been studied for bacteria, parasitic protozoan, fungi and
their metabolic profile. Over the years, a newly immerging diseases, new and
great deal of scientific attention has been effective agents to deal with these
given to medicinal plants due to the role- problems is urgently required. The
played by them as source of human ability of endophytes to produce new and
drugs in the world of pharmacopoeias. It functional metabolites identifies them as
is now known that these plants serve as a a potent candidate that can solve this
reservoir for an untold number of problem. This brief review discusses the
microbes known as endophytes. The endophytes as an important source of
term endophytes include all organisms bioactive molecules.
that grow inside plant tissues without
causing disease symptoms. Bacon and Relationship between plant and
White defined endophytes as “microbes endophytes
that colonize living, internal tissues of The types of biological associations that
plants without causing any immediate, endophytic microbes might have
overt negative effects”. This particular developed with higher plants range from
definition implies a symbiotic or borderline pathogenic to commensal and
mutualistic relationship between the host to symbiotic. Therefore, it is believed
plant and the endophytic microbes. that plants either provide nutrition to the
Some others, however, suggest that the endophytes or produce compounds
relationship can range from mutualistic critical for the completion of their life
to bordering on pathogenic. Both fungi cycle, essential for growth, or self-
and bacteria are the most common defense. Although the role of endophytes
microbes existing as endophytes. It on host plants is less studied but it is
seems that other microbial forms, e.g., believed that endophytic fungi interact
mycoplasmas and archaebacteria, most mutualistically with their hosts mainly
certainly exist in plants as endophytes, by increasing host resistance to
but no evidence for them has yet been herbivores. The toxic effects on
presented. The most frequently vertebrate and invertebrate herbivores
encountered endophytes are fungi. and microbial pathogens have been
Endophytes have been found in every assigned to the ability of endophytes to
plants studied so far and are to be produce alkaloids such as pyrrolizidine,

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 3, October 2008. 25

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

ergot alkaloids and peramine. those of their respective host. It is also

Endophytes have also been shown to believed that bioactivity of a medicinal
increase competitive abilities of hosts, plants might be due to associated
by increasing germination, resistance to endophytes that live on the plant tissues.
drought, water stress and seed predators. There has been much speculation
It has been proposed that endophytes of regarding the functional metabolites of
woody plants provide a defensive role an endophytes and the host plant and it is
for the host plant because they produce a believed that transfer of such metabolites
wide array of mycotoxins and enzymes might be due to genetic exchange
that can inhibit growth of microbes and between the hosts and the endophytes
invertebrate herbivores. In addition to living in close association with it, as
the protective functions, endophytes also exemplified by the discovery of an
affect the growth and survival of the endophytic fungus isolated from bark of
plant, although the means of these Taxus brevifolia that have been reported
effects have not yet been determined. to produces taxol. The assumption was
further justified after genetic level study
Fungal endophytes and medicinal of Pestalotiopsis microspora an another
plants taxol producing fungus, explaining how
The most frequently isolated endophytes genes for taxol might have acquired by
are the fungi. Endophytic fungi are an this fungus. Values of plants as a source
important, yet relatively unstudied group of medicines have been established since
of microbial plant symbionts. They live antiquity. A large variety of drugs have
asymptomatically and sometime already been provided by the plant
systemically, within plant tissues. As kingdom to mankind to alleviate their
compared to the bacterial endophytes, sufferings from diseases. About 34% of
the research of endophytic fungi has a all pharmaceutical preparations are
long history and their diversity among reported to be obtained from higher plant
plants has been found to be considerably alone. In spite of considerable progress
large. Endophytic fungi were first made in synthetic drugs, plant
reported from grasses and in trees (Picea constituent are still considered to be
canadiensis). Since then, fungal major sources of valuable medicaments
endophytes have been found in the and many of the plant products still
leaves, bark, and xylem of almost all occupy an honorable and formidable
plant species examined so far. place in world of pharmacopoeias. The
In recent years fungal endophytes have flora of India comprises about 3000
been investigated and reported from medicinal plants. Almost 75% of the
wide varieties of medicinal plants. plant drugs mentioned in the various
Studies on fungal endophytes of pharmacopoeias grow in this sub-
medicinal plants gain tremendous continent. Many of the reputed plant
importance after the discovery of taxol drugs of potential pharmaceutical value
producing endophytic fungus Taxomyces and trade grow in wild condition in this
andreanae from Taxus breviflolia. At region. There are added advantages in
present, fungal endophytes has been studying fungal endophytes of medicinal
thoroughly investigated from medicinal plants. These endophytes may produce
plants because of the facts that these the same bioactive molecules as the host
plants harbors some distinct and rare plant. The extraction of bioactive
microbes that mimic the chemistry of substances from plants is difficult and
their respective host plants and make the complicated as compared to that of the
same bioactive natural product or microbes. This would also help in the
derivatives that are more bioactive than conservation of many threatened, rare

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 3, October 2008. 26

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

and endangered medicinal plants isolated from different Taxus spp. have
because they need not be harvested for been reported to produce taxol. Another
the extraction of metabolites as the same interesting anticancer compound
could be produced by fermentation of obtained from an endophytic fungus was
the microbes. The microbes could be torreyanic acid, a selectively cytotoxic
manipulated by genetic engineering in quinone dimer (anticancer agent),
order to enhance the productivity of produced by P. microspora strain
functional metabolites. It is believed that isolated from an endangered tree Torreya
the healing property of the plant, as taxifolia. Endophytic Xylaria, Phoma,
discovered by indigenous people might Hypoxylon, and Chalara produce a
have been facilitated by compounds relatively large group of substances
produced by one or more plant- known as the cytochalasins. Many of
associated endophytes as well as the these compounds possess antitumor and
plant products themselves. The recent antibiotic activities, but because of their
exploitation of medicinal plants for cellular toxicity they have not been
various therapeutic values has cause developed into pharmaceuticals.
extinction of many plants and has Campothecin produced by
endangered many others. One of the Entrophospora infrequens isolated from
major problems facing the future of the inner bark of Nothapodytes foetida, is
endophyte biology and natural product
another anticancer drug. Campothecin
discovery is the rapid diminishment of
and its anologues are naturally occurring
plant diversity, which holds the greatest
group of quinoline alkaloids occupying
possible resources of acquiring novel
an important position among the plant
microorganism and their products. It is
based anticancer drugs. Various plant
believed that these plant species may
species such as Camptotheca acuminata,
harbor quite distinct and potential fungal
Ophiorrhiza mungo, Ervatomia hyneana
endophytes and disappearance of any of
and Nothapodytes foetida are known
these plant species will also lead to the
sources of this phytochemical.
disappearance of associated endophytes.
Overexploitation of these plants rendered
them as endangered species all over the
Natural products from fungal globe, especially in China. The recent
endophytes of medicinal plants discovery of this compound in fungal
Yew plants (Taxus spp.) worldwide are endophytes has not only conserved the
an important medicinal plant because its gene pool of those plants but has also
leaves and bark are prime source of made microbial sources available.
taxol, a potent anticancer drug. Taxol These discoveries exemplified that plants
compounds are unusual in their used for anticancer agent may harbor
anticancer property as it can bind to specific fungal endophytes that might
microtubulin in the cells and thus inhibit also produce anticancer metabolites.
mitosis. Therefore, it is used to treat There have been several reports on
variety of cancers. Later, it was medicinal plants used for anticancer
discovered that fungal endophytes therapy by different indigenous
associated with yew plants around the communities. Studies on fungal
world have the ability to produce taxol endophytes of these plants may also lead
in vitro. The first such report was made to the discovery of other important
from Taxomyces andreanae, an anticancer metabolites.
endophytic fungus isolated from bark of The Fungal endophytes from medicinal
Pacific yew (Taxus brevifolia). plants have been reported to produce
Thereafter several endophytic fungi some new and important antibiotics that
inhibit or kill a wide variety of harmful

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 3, October 2008. 27

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

disease-causing agents. An important the need of the hour because once such
example of such antibiotics is the plant gets lost or becomes extinct so is
Crytocandin which contains a number of the entire suite of associated endophytes.
peculiar hydroxylated amino acids and a
novel amino acid, 3-hydroxy-4-hydroxy
Author’s Information
methyl proline. This compound was
isolated from a fungus, Cryptosporiopsis
quercina, as endophytes on a medicinal
plant, Tripterigeum wilfordii. Another
important bioactive molecule produced
by medicinal plants associated
endophytes (Colletotrichum
gloeosporioides) is colletotric acid that
displayed antimicrobial activity against
bacteria as well as against the fungus.
There have been several reports about
the ability of fungal endophytes of
medicinal plants to produce metabolites Dr. D. K. Jha is presently working as a
that act against wide variety of gram Reader in the Department of Botany,
positive and gram-negative bacteria as Gauhati University, Assam. His research
well as pathogenic fungi. Although interest includes Microbial Diversity,
details structures of these active Plant-Microbe interaction and
metabolites have not been worked in Bioprospecting of microbes.
most of the cases the preliminary -------
screenings have suggested the great Ancient Indian Scientist
potential of these metabolites as Acharya Kanad (600 BCE)
Founder of Atomic Theory
antimicrobial agents.
Recent evidences as exemplified by As the founder of "Vaisheshik Darshan"-
various researches show that the fungal one of six principal philosophies of India
endophytes associated with medicinal - Acharya Kanad was a genius in
plants are important sources of unusual philosophy. He is believed to have been
secondary metabolites of pharmaceutical born in Prabhas Kshetra near Dwarika
importance. Considering the vast in Gujarat. He was the pioneer
potential of medicinal plants in our expounder of realism, law of causation
country, a thorough study of such and the atomic theory. He has classified
endophytes is urgently required because all the objects of creation into nine
elements, namely: earth, water, light,
it is believed that such studies may lead wind, ether, time, space, mind and soul.
to the discovery of important endophytic He says, "Every object of creation is
strains that might produce new and made of atoms which in turn connect
interesting bioactive metabolites useful with each other to form molecules." His
for the mankind. One of the major statement ushered in the Atomic Theory
problems facing the future of endophyte for the first time ever in the world,
biology and natural product discovery is nearly 2500 years before John Dalton.
the rapid erosion of plant diversity that is Kanad has also described the dimension
the possible resource of acquiring novel and motion of atoms and their chemical
reactions with each other. The eminent
microorganisms and their products. Over
historian, T.N. Colebrook, has said,
exploitation of medicinal plants has "Compared to the scientists of Europe,
threatened many important plants. Kanad and other Indian scientists were
Therefore, study of fungal endophytes the global masters of this field."(Source:
associated with these medicinal plants is )

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 3, October 2008. 28

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Guest Article 8.5 in Richter scale. The 1950

earthquake have brought lot of
morphological changes in the
Environmental Aspects of Seismic
Brahmaputra and its surroundings in the
survey in the Brahmaputra river north eastern part of India and also result
bed manifold increase in sediment load in the
river brought down from the hills. These
Dr. B. P. Duarah substantially raised the bed level of the
Brahmaputra. Since then the sediment
The Brahmaputra River is the life-line of load in the Brahmaputra remains high,
Assam. It has its own physiography and though its volume has substantially been
ecosystem. The Brahmaputra is shaping reduced as compared to the year 1950.
the cultural ethos of the people living in The increasing high intensity flood,
its valley since time immemorial and we, large-scale bank and bar erosion, erosion
the people of Assam, have our emotional of the large river islands like Majuli are
attachment to it. becoming common features for the
people of Assam, witnessing the change
Recently, Oil India Limited (OIL) is of the river after the 1950 earthquake.
planning a massive work to explore the This infers that the stabilized graded
riverbed of the Brahmaputra, between condition has not been attained by the
Majuli to Sadiya stretching for about 175 Brahmaputra even after 57 years of
km, for hydrocarbon using seismic occurrence of the great earthquake. Till
survey technology. For the growth of today, no much research work has been
economy of our nation it is imperative to carried out on the Brahmaputra in
explore and exploit petroleum in a Assam. The flood control and anti-
much-expanded way. This, if the results erosion measures of the Brahmaputra
are positive, seems to save large amount Board, Government of India and the
of foreign exchange for India. However, Department of Water Resources,
industrialization, over-exploitation, and Government of Assam are not able to
the zeal for faster growth - as evidenced show satisfactory results in the
from the world over - result large-scale Brahmaputra river system and we are
environmental degradation, posing threat still far behind in carrying out properly
to our own survival, not to say about designed research or experimental work
other biological species. Many NGOs, to understand the hydrological system of
individuals and groups are opposing the the Brahmaputra river. The channel
OIL’s seismic survey, at the present state dynamics, how the bars in the braided
of knowledge, showing their concern on Brahmaputra grow, migrate and destroy,
the environment and ecosystem. how the depth in the channels varies
(bathymetric change) have no
Brahmaputra is a highly dynamic river satisfactory answers from the scientific
with remarkable channel-bar aggradation community.
and degradation, bedform migration,
bank erosion, and change of position as The planned seismic survey work of OIL
well as dimension of the branched involves two methods of seismic wave
channels. The river has been worst generation, (1) by using explosive (2.5
affected by two major earthquakes in the kg seismic gelatin with 80% ammonium
past – one in 1897, mainly in the lower nitrate), and (2) by using airgun. The
part of the Brahmaputra valley and the explosives generate high frequency
second in 1950 in the upper part of the (more than 50 Hz) seismic wave which
valley, both with magnitudes more than propagate with fast dissipation of energy,

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 3, October 2008. 29

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thus leaving trails of destruction near the partially, submerging new areas in the
source area. The waves will breakdown upstream.
the internal fabric of the deposited
sediments of the river banks and sand Airgun experiments show that resulting
bars by meters long radius, the extent is seismic waves are almost non-destructive
not known due to lack of experimental compared to the highly destructive
data in the Brahmaputra. As the waves generated by explosives. Airgun
proposed survey work is designed for 50 generated seismic waves of frequency 4-
meter interval shots, their impact in the 7 Hz can pass through the solid crust for
river bed may be alarming with long distances without attenuation and
irreversible damage. Experimental low destructive action. This kind of
records show use of explosives in the airgun explosion can be regarded as a
sea/river water killed lot of fish green and environmentally safe seismic
population and are primarily due to high source. Field experiment in
frequency seismic waves. The flooding Shangguanhu Reservoir of Zunhua City,
of dead fishes in the Brahmaputra as an China with 505 gunshots have reported
aftermath of 1950 earthquake was no killing of any fish which is a
probably due to high frequency seismic multipurpose dam project including
waves passing through the river water. pisciculture (Qiu Xuelin, Institute of
Under similar condition, use of Geophysics, China Earthquake
explosives in the river sand bars may Administration, Beijing; Personal
transmit the high frequency seismic communication). However, the gloomy
waves to the surrounding waterbody scenario in the Brahmaputra seismic
from the shot points with enough survey project is that no well defined
potential to harm the aquatic faunas in know-how of the technology is available
large scale. with OIL. The Rapid Environmental
Impact Assessment (REIA ) report states
The saturated river sediments are already that they are going to use airgun in the
in fluidized state in its upper part, and frequency range of 10-200 Hz producing
agitating water through explosion seismic waves, partly very similar to the
disperse these sediments, which frequency generated by explosives, thus,
ultimately might leads to change of exposing the aquatic fauna to the risk of
bathymetric profile in the river. The death, blindness and hearing problem.
solid explosives with high impact energy Also this might bring substantial damage
will certainly break down the internal to the river bed and bank.
fabric of the sediments and soils. The
already poorly compacted bank materials Another weakness in the OIL’s planned
might get loosened off, which seems to work is the lack of bathymetric survey
help accelerated bank erosion bringing data of the Brahmaputra. This is a
threats to many areas along the river. primary requirement, as to what depth of
The same might be true for the channel water they will take the airgun down at a
bars. As bars and banks have important particular location depends on it. This
role in deflecting the channel courses of will decide whether it will be able to
the braided river it might bring large part generate substantial seismic wave or not
of the river banks within the river bed. to satisfy their purpose. OIL’s
Thus, the proposed seismic survey may contentions of using explosives in case
bring morphological changes in the of shallow water of 3.5 meter or less is
river, increase the sediment load and dangerous as most of the river bed
block the river in its downstream, at least during winter have lean flow. Most
likely, this will destroy the river bed and

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 3, October 2008. 30

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also transmit high frequency seismic for dolphins using 2120 cubic inch
waves to the river water. airgun array in a shelf sea environment
as 1 km. No such records of river
As already discussed there are serious environment have been found so far.
gap in the scientific database and
experimental results in the issue, in the Careful handling of the issue is necessary
minimum level an experimental pilot with proper understanding of the river
project to examine these issues is system of the Brahmaputra and use of
necessary to begin with and Oil India appropriate technology. The
Limited, being a party to it, should Brahmaputra erosion and breaching of
support serious research on the embankment at Matmara caused
Brahmaputra first, before going to extensive damage in Dhemaji district in
explore and subsequently tape its flood waves of 2008 appears to be
subsurface resources. A pilot seismic triggered by the erosion protection
survey project may be carried out in a measure adopted in Dibrugarh, which
small area in the Brahmaputra deflect the river course towards Matmara
simulating a situation similar to the gradually in decade’s long period of time
actual exploration work and the after its construction. Bank protection
consequences may be analyzed measures adopted at Palasbari is
thoroughly. This ensures the deflecting the thalweg channels of the
methodology that may be adopted finally Brahmaputra, which cause severe
for the entire work. erosion in the downstream at Gumi-
Nagarberra area. Similar is the case in
One issue of great concern in the OIL’s Majuli and many other parts of the
survey is that of high level of airgun Brahmaputra and in many of the
noise (250 dB) introduced into the tributaries, and all these undesired
riverine environment, and the effects this disturbances are due to poor
may have on cetacean mammal - the understanding of the Brahmaputra river
dolphins. These concerns range from system by the involved engineers. The
impairment of cetaceans’ ability to consequence of any change that will take
communicate acoustically, due to overall recourse may not be visible immediately,
increases in background noise levels, to but become visible in long course of time
the possibility of physiological damage with irreversible damage.
to sensory and other body organs
induced by the proximity of high energy What was the crime the people of the
sound sources. Although the output of flood-ravaged Matmara, or Puthimari did
air gun arrays is usually ‘‘tuned’’ to for which their right for livelihood have
produce a concentration of low- been snatched by the miserably failed
frequency energy, the impulsive nature works of the river protection group with
of the bubble collapse inevitably results Government gears? Similar way, going
in a broadband sound characteristic (10- ahead with the seismic survey,
200Hz in OIL’s planned survey). So, undermining the long term changes that
there must be a distance from a source of may arise, may be an act of treason to the
loud noise at which the desire to entire community of the Brahmaputra
investigate is balanced by auditory valley.
distress, for which research work needs
to be done to determine ‘‘safe’’ It is also funny to see that Oil India Ltd.
distances at which high source level constitutes an expert committee to
sounds are tolerable to the cetacean. It monitor their work which is not
was estimated by Goold and Fish (1998) represented by any expert on the

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 3, October 2008. 31

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Brahmaputra river system. If the river Important Information

system is disturbed, automatically all its Map showing seismic zone of India
ancillary systems will be disturbed, only
the river dolphins as projected. Human
life apparently priced much lower than
the dolphin by the vested interest of a
handful of so called Nature Lovers
enjoying a life-style, the poor village
people can never reach.

Finally, it will not be unjust to wait for

years or even decades to develop new
environment friendly technology for oil
exploration. Undoubtedly, the
petroleum, which has been in the
reservoirs for millions of years, will not
dry up even if we wait for another
thousand years.

Author’s information

Major Earthquakes in the Northeastern

Region in Recent Past

Place Year Magnitude

Cachar Mar 21, 1869 7.8
Shillong plateau June 12, 1897 8.7
Sibsagar Aug 31, 1906 7.0
Myanmar Dec 12, 1908 7.5
Srimangal Jul 8, 1918 7.6
SW Assam Sep 9, 1923 7.1
Dr. Bhagawat Pran Duarah is a Reader Dhubri Jul 2, 1930 7.1
in the Department of Geological Assam Jan 27, 1931 7.6
Sciences. Presently he has been working Nagaland 1932 7.0
in the fields of sedimentology, N-E Assam Oct 23, 1943 7.2
sedimentary petrology, fluvial Arunachal Jul 7, 1947 7.5
geomorphology, fluvial dynamics of the Upper Assam Jul 29, 1949 7.6
Brahmaputra, channel migration and Upper Assam Aug 15, 1950 8.7
river bank erosion, paleoseismicity and Patkai Range, 1950 7.0
seismotectonics in the north-eastern part Arunachal
of India. Manipur-Burma 1954 7.4
Darjeeling 1959 7.5
---------------0---------------- Indo-Myanmar Aug 6, 1988 7.5
(Source: )

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 3, October 2008. 32

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X-ray radial distribution function X-rays are electromagnetic radiation of

analysis towards the structure of wavelength about 1 Å (10-10 m), which is
about the same size as an atom. X-ray
non-crystalline materials
diffraction is one of the most important
characterization tools used in solid state
Mr. Binoy Kumar Saikia chemistry and materials science. Radial
distribution function can be measured
Attempting to determine and describe
experimentally using X-ray diffraction
the atomic arrangements in an
intensity. The regular arrangement of the
amorphous material is a daunting
atoms in a crystal gives the characteristic
prospect. A considerable advance has
X-ray diffraction pattern with bright,
been made in the anomalous X-ray
sharp spots. The radial distribution
scattering approach to determining these
function has an infinite number of sharp
arrangements in materials containing
peaks whose separations and heights are
two atomic species. Up until the advent
characteristic of the lattice structure.
of X-ray synchrotron radiation, the X-
This technique mainly deals with those
ray radial distribution function (RDF)
substances in which the degree of
method was the most widely used
regularity of the atomic positions is very
approach for structure analysis of
small. It is to be noted firstly that regular
amorphous materials.
crystalline arrangement is not required
The Radial distribution function (RDF)
for the production of diffraction effects.
analysis method is a powerful tool for
It was observed that liquid, resins, un-
the study of glasses, liquids, alloys and
oriented polymers and so on provide
non-crystalline materials, as well as
only one or more broad x-ray diffraction
crystalline or partly crystalline materials.
peaks. A new structural feature appears
The RDF method, which involves the
in glasses, resins and un-oriented solid
direct model free Fourier transformation
polymers where each atom possesses
of X-ray or neutron powder diffraction
permanent neighbours at definite
data, gives the probability of finding any
distances and different directions. There
two atoms at a given inter-atomic
is no sharp dividing line between
distance. Recently, this method has
crystalline and so called amorphous
found many applications in the study of
materials. In general, crystalline
local structure in both crystalline and
materials are those characterized by a
non-crystalline materials, yielding
three dimensional periodicity over
crucial information about atomic-scale
appreciable distance. Conversely,
structures of nanosized materials.
materials possessing only one or two
Indeed, the atomic structures of nano-
dimensional or lesser degree of order are
particles and nano-structured materials
referred as non-crystalline or amorphous.
are not always accessible by
The theoretical background for radial
conventional crystallographic methods,
distribution analysis was first laid by the
because of the absence of long-range
great crystallographer Debye which
order. This is today known as the
shows that the X-ray intensity
“nanostructure problem”, as traditional
information permits the determination of
crystallography breaks down on the
the magnitudes of inter atomic vectors,
nanoscale. We need here the tools such
but not their directions. The intensity in
as RDF to elucidate the structures of
electron units scattered by non-
nano-structured materials.
crystalline array of atoms at angle θ is
given by,

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 3, October 2008. 33

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

SinSrmn x-ray scattering of wavelength λ from

I = ∑∑ fmfn other types of scatterings consisting of
m n Srmn the observed intensity such as incoherent
The distance of atoms about any scatter and scatter due to the general
reference atom may be regarded as a radiation, air, possessing materials used
continuous function and yield the radial in supporting the specimen. Thus, the
distribution function of a non-crystalline radial distribution function, g (r) gives
material as, the probability of finding a particle in the
α distance r from another particle. A
2 2 2r
4πr ρ (r ) = 4πr ρ 0 +
π ∫ Si(S )SinrSdS
typical radial distribution function
simulated by us for a coal sample is
depicted below (not in scale),
Here, ρ(r) is the number of atoms per
unit volume at a distance ‘r’ from the
reference atom and 4πr2ρ(r)dr is the
number of atoms contained in a spherical
shell of radius r and thickness dr. ρ0 be
the average density of atoms in the
sample and S=4πSinθ/λ.
To construct an RDF model is very
simple. Choose an atom in the system
and draw around it a series of concentric The peaks in the RDF tell you where the
spheres, set at a small fixed distance (Δr) atoms spend the most time. If the
apart (see figure below). At regular function goes to zero at some point then
intervals a snapshot of the system is you know that any two atoms are never
taken and the number of atoms found in at that distance from one another. A
each shell is counted and stored. At the typical RDF is zero up until a certain
end of the simulation, the average distance and then has a large peak. This
number of atoms in each shell is is because the potential diverges to
calculated. This is then divided by the infinity at small interatomic distances;
volume of each shell and the average hence any two atoms can not be within a
density of atoms in the system. The certain distance of each other.
result is the RDF. Thus, peaks in the RDF occur at the
common distances between pairs of
atoms and the peak areas are determined
by the number of such pairs at each
distance, the coordination numbers. The
RDF is readily interpreted for amorphous
material containing only one atomic
species, like amorphous Se. For many
samples containing more than one
atomic species, however, the RDF
cannot be interpreted unambiguously, as
different pairs of atomic species can have
almost the same inter-atomic distance
and contribute to the same peak.
In the experimental requirements during As this function describes fluctuations in
dealing with the structural analysis of density around a given atom, you can
materials, the separation of the coherent think of it as the average number of
atoms found at a given distance in all

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 3, October 2008. 34

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

directions. This proves to be a Author’s information:

particularly effective way of describing
the average structure of disordered
molecular systems or in systems like
liquids, where there is continual
movement of the atoms and a single
snapshot of the system shows only the
instantaneous disorder. It is extremely
useful to be able to deal with the average
structure. Thermodynamic properties can
also be studied by calculating the radial
distribution function. For more complex
molecules one usually calculates a Binoy Kumar Saikia had completed his
number of site-site distributions. An Master in Science in Inorganic
advantage of the site-site model is that Chemistry from Cotton College under
they can be directly related to Gauhati University, India in 2000 and
information obtained from X-ray then he moved to the North-East Institute
scattering experiments. The O-O, O-H, of Science & Technology, Jorhat-
and H-H radial distribution functions 785006, India for his research works in
have been particularly useful for refining the field of powder X-ray diffraction. He
various potential models for simulating has published a number of research
liquid water. papers in reputed journals in the field of
The RDF is also useful in other ways. X-ray crystallography. Presently he is
For example, it is something that can be associated with the Department of
deduced experimentally from x-ray or Chemical Sciences, Tezpur University,
neutron diffraction studies, thus India and continuing his research in X-
providing a direct comparison between ray single crystallography. Binoy can be
experiment and simulation. It can also be reached at
used in conjunction with the inter-atomic
pair potential function to calculate the --------------0--------------
internal energy of the system, usually
quite accurately. The radial distribution
functional analysis is independent of any
assumptions about the structure of the I do not know what I may appear to the
materials under study. world; but to myself I seem to have been
only like a boy playing on the seashore,
Reference: and diverting myself in now and then
1. Rajani K Boruah, Binoy K Saikia, finding of a smoother pebble or a
Bimala P Baruah, Nibaron C Dey; J. of prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the
App. Crystallography, 41(2008)27 great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered
2. Binoy K Saikia, R K Boruah, P K before me.
Gogoi; Bull of Mater Sc.30(2007)421.
3. P. H. Klug, L. E. Alexander, 1974, X- -Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727)
ray Diffraction Procedures, John Wiley English physicist, mathematician.
& Sons, New York (Quotes on beauty of Science)
4. D. L. Wertz & M. Bisell, Fuel,
5. F. R. L. Schoening, Fuel,

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 3, October 2008. 35

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Organic Photovoltaics: crystalline silicone (40% of total cost,

Technology for the next Fig. 1), cell processing (25% cost)

Mr. Basanta Kumar Rajbongshi

Photovoltaics, or PV for short, is a Figure 1. Silicon photovoltaic cell cost
technology that converts light directly distribution.
into electricity. Device structures that
convert solar energy into electricity are
called solar cells or photovoltaic cells. requires high energy intensive processes
Such devices based on organic materials (400-1400°C and high vacuum
responsible for the photovoltaic effect conditions) with numerous lithographic
are called organic photovoltaic (OPV) steps. Construction of a solar module (an
cells. integrated solar cell consisting of many
Currently the world consumes an small solar cells) demands 35% of the
average of 13 terawatts (TW) of power total cost (Fig. 1). The last and not the
per year. By the year 2050 as the least is that inorganic solar cells are not
population increases and the standard of eco-friendly.
living in the developing countries Contrary to the inorganic solar cells,
increases, this amount is likely to organic solar cells are very cheap. The
increase to 30 TW. For this great materials for these solar cells can be
demand, human society cannot rely on synthesized from cheap and readily
the nonrenewable energy sources (oil, available raw materials. The opto-
coal, uranium) because these are electronic properties of the organic
gradually getting declined. It is also materials can be tuned by proper design
estimated that about 20.1012 kg of of the chemical structures. Cell
carbon dioxide are put into the processing is easy because of low
atmosphere every year mainly by melting and low evaporation
burning fossil fuels and if the 30 TW of temperatures compared to inorganic
power is generated from fossil fuels the counterparts. Organic materials have
concentration of carbon dioxide gas in very high absorption coefficient, as a
atmosphere will more than double, result a thin film (< 100 nm thickness) of
causing substantial global warming these molecules is sufficient to absorb
along with many undesirable most of the photons falling on it. Above
consequences. Sun deposits 120,000 TW all most of the organic materials used in
of energy per year on earth, so clearly OPVs are biodegradable and so eco-
there is enough power available if some friendly. These basic advantages of
efficient means of harvesting solar organic solar cells motivated the
energy of this renewable source can be photovoltaic technologists to work with
developed. Currently more than 95 organic photovoltaics.
percent solar cells in use are made of
crystalline silicon (c-Si). Although the Organic photovoltaic materials
conventional inorganic solar cells can
harvest up to as much as 24% of the Materials used in OPVs are conjugated
incoming solar energy, these are too compounds having semiconducting
expensive because of high price of properties. Conducting polymers such as

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Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

polythiophene, poly (3-hexylthiophene), transport layer (HTL, p type of the p-n

polyacetylene, poly (p-phenylene junction) to the anode.
vinylene), polyaniline and molecular
semiconductors such as pentacene,
phthalocyanines, perylene derivatives,
fullerenes are some of the most
commonly used organic semiconductors
used in OPVs. Unlike inorganic
semiconductors, molecules of organic
semiconductors are held by weak Figure 2. Block diagram of the operation
intermolecular interactions and so the
of a typical organic solar cell.
electronic wave function is strongly
localized to individual molecules. The
weak intermolecular interactions bring The electrode metals are so chosen that
about a narrow electronic bandwidth in they form an ohmic contact with the
these molecular solids. The narrow band active layer to ensure efficient collection
width electronic structure of organic of the charges. The cathode work
semiconductors has the profound effect function is chosen closer to the LUMO
on the mechanism of function of OPVs level and anode to the HOMO level.
and their efficiencies. While selecting the electrodes, one of
them is generally chosen to be a
transparent surface so that incident light
Energy conversion process in OPVs
can reach the active layer. In addition, it
The entire solar cell operation from should also be taken care that the built in
absorption of light to generation of electric field supports the free charge
power can be divided into the five steps transport such that the charge carriers are
as shown in Fig. 2. Each absorbed transported to the correct electrode.
photon causes an electron to be excited The electric current that a photovoltaic
from the highest occupied molecular cell delivers corresponds to the number
orbital (HOMO) to lowest unoccupied of created charges that are collected at
molecular orbital (LUMO) and thereby the electrodes. This number depends on
leads to creation of an exciton (tightly the fraction of photons absorbed to form
bound electron-hole pair, with binding excitons (ηabs), the fraction of electron-
energy 0.1-0.4 eV). The exciton formed hole pairs that are dissociated from these
is electrically neutral and moves by excitons (ηdiss), and finally the fraction of
diffusion, hopping mechanism from one separated charges that
molecule to another. The average is given by -
distance moved by an exciton is given
by its diffusion length which is typically
of the order of 10 nm. These excitons ηtot = η abs × η diss × ηo ...............(1)
can either recombine, radiatively or non-
radiatively, or can dissociate to give free
electron-hole pair. The interfacial Here ηo is the number of photons
regions of the junction solar cells are the incident on the device.The fraction of
ideal sites for dissociation. Of the absorbed photons is a function of the
dissociated electron - hole pairs, absorption spectrum and coefficient of
electrons are transported via an electron the material, absorbing layer thickness,
transport layer (ETL, n type of p-n and the internal multiple reflections at
junction) by hoping to the cathode and metal electrode or the organic-organic
the holes are transported via a hole interface. The fraction of dissociated

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 3, October 2008. 37

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electron-hole pairs on the other hand is respective electrodes by hopping

determined by whether they diffuse into mechanism.
a region where charge separation occurs The power conversion efficiency of a
and on the charge separation probability typical organic solar cell can be
there. explained by a simple current density-
Device architectures and efficiency of voltage characteristics in dark and under
illumination as shown in Fig. 4.
power conversion
All solar cells are basically of p-n
junction type. A typical organic solar In the dark, there is almost no current
cell consists of an active layer flowing, until the contacts start to inject
sandwiched between the anode (p- type) heavily at forward bias. Under
and the cathode (n- type) as shown in illumination, the current flows in the
Fig. 3. Active layer is the material that opposite direction than the injected
absorbs light and it can be single layer, currents. At (a) the maximum generated
bilayer, bulk heterojunction layer or photocurrent flows under short-circuit
some other conditions (JSC, short circuit current
density); at (b) the photogenerated
current is balanced to zero (VOC, open
circuit voltage) (flat band condition or
open circuit condition). Between (a) and
(b), in the fourth quadrant, the device
generates power. At a certain point, the
product between current and voltage is
largest (IM & VM, M stands for maximum)
and that is the point of maximum power
generation from the solar cell. To
determine the efficiency of a solar cell,
this power needs to be compared with
Figure 3. Schematic layout of an organic the incident light intensity. The fill factor
solar cell depicting the photoactive (FF) is calculated to denote the part of
organic layer sandwiched between the the product of VOC and ISC that can be
two electrodes with one electrode being used for power generation.
transparent to allow incident light to fall
upon the active layer. Active layer is the
organic layer which can be a single VM × I M
FE = ................( 2 )
layer, bilayer, , bulk heterojunction layer VOC × I SC
or some other structures based on the
type of solar cells being fabricated
With this the power conversion
structures based on the type of solar cells efficiency (η PCE ) can be written as
being fabricated. One of the electrodes is
typically transparent (normally indium VOC × J SC × FE
tin oxide, ITO) to allow light to fall upon η PCE = ....................( 3 )
the active layer. Junction field (internal Pin
electric field) helps in dissociation of the The parameters Voc, Jsc, and FF are
excitons into free electron-hole pairs functions of wavelength and intensity of
which are then transported to their incident light, Pin. The power conversion

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 3, October 2008. 38

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Figure 4. Current Density - Voltage (J-V) curves of an organic solar cell. Open
circuit voltage (VOC) and the short-circuit current density (JSC) are shown in the
figure. The largest power output(PM) is determined by the point where the product of
voltage and current is maximized in the fourth quadrant.

efficiency η PCE limits as a function of crystalline silicon solar cells. These

semiconductor band gap for a given plastic solar cells are flexible,
illumination spectrum. Theoretically it lightweight and thereby can be used in
is found that for both the terrestrial and portable electronic devices (Fig. 5)
space solar spectrum a semiconductor apart from using in solar panels. In
band gap between 1.3 and 1.5 eV principle for a higher efficient organic
allows maximum power conversion solar cell we will need a material that
efficiencies around 30%. absorbs a wide range of the solar
Organic materials have very high spectrum and the device with
absorption coefficients compared to optimized charge carrier
inorganic counterparts, but power recombinations.
conversion efficiencies are still in its
infancy. The principal reasons behind References :
poor efficiency of OPVs are narrow 1.
range of absorption and charge carrier
recombinations. Researchers at the
Princeton University developed highly
efficient tandem organic solar cell by a 6LULZ6?OpenDocument
combination of copper phthalocyanine 2. (a) P. Benett, ”Earth: The Incredible
and carbon 60 with power conversion Recycling Machine”, Wayland
efficiency 6%. Nobel laureate (Publishers) Ltd, East Sussex (1993);
Professor Alan Heeger at the (b) J. M. Kroon, R. B. M. Koehorst, M.
University of California, Santa Barbara Van Diik, G. M. Sanders and E. J. R.
developed plastic tandem solar cells Sudhoelter ”Self assembling properties
with efficiency 6.5% which is the of non-ionic tetraphenyl – porphyrins
highest efficiency achieved till date and discotic phthalocyanines carrying
against 20-40% efficiency of oligo(ethylene oxide) alkyl or alkoxy
units.” J. Mater. Chem. 7 (1997) 615.

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 3, October 2008. 39

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

3. M.A. Green. Solar Cells - Operating Continued from page no.19

Principles, Tech-nology and System to produce particles observed at the
Applications. University of New South ground level. Bhabha and Heitler
Wales, Kensington, (1992). explained the cosmic ray shower formation by the cascade production of
/306/5704/2034a gamma rays and positive and negative electron pairs. 'In 1938 Bhabha was the
/07/070712143246.htm. first to conclude that observations of
the properties of such particles would
lead to the straightforward
Author’s information:
experimental verification of Albert
Einstein's theory of relativity'. It was
Bhabha who suggested the name
'meson' now used for a class of
elementary particles.

2. Satyendra Nath Bose

Mr. Basanta Kumar Rajbongshi

from Nalbari, Assam did his B.Sc from
B. Borooah College with major in
chemistry in the year 2002. Then he
did his MSc in 2005 from Gauhati
University with specialization in
Organic Chemistry. At present he is
doing his PhD in Chemistry in IIT
Kanpur (joined July 2005) in the field Satyendra Nath Bose (January 1,
of organic photovoltaics. 1894 – February 4, 1974), was an
--------0------- Indian physicist, specializing in
mathematical physics. He is best
known for his work on quantum
mechanics in the early 1920s,
providing the foundation for two
important theories. Albert Einstein’s
generalization of Bose’s work led to
the system of statistical quantum
mechanics, now known as Bose-
Einstein statistics which describes
particles of integral spin, which may
multiply occupy the same quantum
state. Such particles are now known as
A portable electronic device being run “bosons” after the name of S. N. Bose.
with plastic solar cell. Credit: Alan Einstein applied Bose’s method to give
Heeger the theory of the ideal quantum gas,
and predicted the phenomenon of
Bose-Einstein condensation.
(Continued to page no. 62)

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 3, October 2008. 40

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

System Biology: A paradigm has been becoming a major endeavor to

shift in bioscience research start up inter-disciplinary areas like
Mr. Pankaj Barah Bioinformatics and Systems Biology.
Particularly from year 2000 onwards, the
The 20th century witnessed remarkable term Systems Biology is used widely in
advances in knowledge about the the biological science and in a variety of
properties of matter (physics, chemistry contexts.
and engineering) and the digitalization
of information (computer science). As a In the past, unlike the physicist,
result, we can now fly in the sky, talk on biologists have been little concerned
our cell phones, and surf the internet. about whether their findings might
However, any of us still get diabetes, achieve the status of a law. The 21st
cancer and neurodegenerative diseases century began with the complete
because contemporary medicine has yet sequencing of the Human Genome, an
to develop an effective set of strategies achievement that provides the
for predicting and preventing their foundation for revolutionary leaps in
occurrence. This is true because of the biology, (the science of living
precise etiologies of these complex systems). Biologists can now “read”
diseases, and the reasons why some the source code of any species whose
people have increased susceptibility to DNA they can isolate. Delineation of a
them, are not particularly well species’ genes is the starting point for
understood. But there is hope! Invention systems biology. The genes, and the
of novel or more sophisticated proteins they encode, constitute a
technologies motivated by such need to “parts list” for any said species. Once
solve a real-world biological problem

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 3, October 2008. 41

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

the parts are in hand, a focused, yet integrative biology is not simply a
global, investigation of how their philosophical distinction; the integrative
molecular interactions produce the approach to biology differs dramatically
distinctive properties of the species from reductionist biology in both its
becomes more tractable and more goals and its methods. While the goal of
exciting. Whether it be with yeast, fruit reductionist biology is to understand life
fly or mouse, large-scale experiments in terms of simple deterministic
that could only be imagined a few principles analogous to Newtonian
decades ago can now be performed physics or chemistry, the goal of
routinely because now we know the integrative biology is to understand the
genomic sequence. structure, function, and history of
organisms and their environments.
Reductionist biology vs. integrative These are not mutually exclusive goals.
biology: Much of the progress made by
In recent days, the definition of life has reductionist biology can be applied to
been given as a complex dynamical reach the more inclusive goal of
system for information storage and integrative biology. Because organisms
processing. The flow of information is and their environments form complex
both vertical and horizontal. While the integrated systems, the most robust
genetic information is transmitted from biology will be an integrative biology.
generation to generation and cell to cell,
this is also expressed horizontally within What is systems biology?
a cell in the ontogenesis of an individual One can broadly define a ‘system’ as a
organism. ‘Complex’ is perhaps the group of independent but interconnected
most common adjective used to describe elements that function together to
biological phenomena. In every cell, comprise a unified whole. For the
complex networks of interactions occur stability and functional robustness of a
between thousands of metabolites, system, each of the components has to
proteins and DNA. Every interaction is work in a coherent manner. In the
itself a complex dance between Biological world, the systems have
exquisitely shaped proteins, designed to different hierarchical levels like -
interface with each other if the ecosystems level, organ level, tissue
conditions are right. And every protein level, cell level, gene or protein level or
looks like tangled strands of spaghetti even inter-atomic level. The interactions
festooned with atomic appendages. within a single hierarchy itself are
Traditional Biologist often pays little tremendously complex. When we
attention to the large scale complexity of consider the overall functional
the nature and natural phenomenon. robustness of a system, comprise of
Their approach is a reductionist multiple hierarchical levels, one can
approach. Reductionism and holism imagine the amount of complexity could
form one of the fundamental be present in those systems. The
dichotomies in science in general and boundaries of the system may not be
biology in particular. The holistic clearly defined or definable, especially if
approach is integrative because it multi-cellular organisms are being
focuses on the interaction or integration investigated. Instead, one may start with
of parts in a functioning organism. an observable phenotype. For example,
Integrative biology may use typically yeast filamentation, and, using systems
reductionist methods, but in a biology approach to identify subsets of
philosophically holistic framework. The modules within a system that
difference between reductionist and specifically relate to the emergence of

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 3, October 2008. 42

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

that phenotype. Systems biologists * Statistical and computational

usually identify a model organism such modeling
as yeast, or a model cell population such * Experimental perturbations and time
as macrophages that are well-suited for scale dynamics
the biological process under * Iterative hypothesis testing and
investigation. With a model system in model building cycles
place, systems biology research proceeds
using both discovery-based and
hypothesis-based approaches. Once a Tools used in systems biology:
system’s elements and interactions have To obtain, integrate and analyze
been discovered and delineated to a first complex data from multiple
approximation, specific and testable experimental sources using
hypotheses are required for determining interdisciplinary tools, Systems Biology
which elements and interactions are relies on some typical technology
functionally relevant to the observable platforms like:
phenotypes of the system under the
varying conditions being investigated. * Transcriptomics: whole cell or
To this end, many systems biologists tissue gene expression measurements by
assume that experimentally observed or DNA microarrays or serial analysis of
inferred interactions among elements gene expression
might profitably be conceptualized as * Proteomics: complete identification
networks, with the individual elements of proteins and protein expression
(e.g., genes, proteins, metabolites) patterns of a cell or tissue through two-
portrayed as nodes, and the interactions dimensional gel electrophoresis and
or interconnections (e.g., DNA-protein mass spectrometry or multi-dimensional
binding, protein-protein binding) as links protein identification techniques
or edges. In this way, the structure of the (advanced HPLC systems coupled with
system can be conceptualized. Network mass spectrometry). Sub disciplines
diagrams provide a visual representation include phosphoproteomics,
for how different types of glycoproteomics and other methods to
interconnections might be organized. detect chemically modified proteins.
The true test of a good system model is * Metabolomics: identification and
successful prediction of the system’s measurement of all small-molecules
behavior under targeted alterations metabolites within a cell or tissue
(genetic or environmental perturbations) * Glycomics: identification of the
of experimental conditions. But the very entirety of all carbohydrates in a cell or
properties that make biological systems tissue.
interesting and worthwhile to study their In addition to the identification and
emergent properties, robustness, quantification of the above given
stability, modularity and adaptability to molecules further techniques analyze the
change, also make their behavior hard to dynamics and interactions within a cell.
predict at the molecular level. Here is a This includes:
summary of the methodologies used in * Interactomics which is used mostly
systems biology: in the context of protein-protein
* Selection of the model systems interaction but in theory encompasses
* Generation or collection of global interactions between all molecules
datasets and analyses within a cell
* Integration across multiple data * Fluxomics, which deals with the
types dynamic changes of molecules within a
cell over time

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 3, October 2008. 43

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* Biomics: systems analysis of the methodologies. Now a day’s people are

biome. migrating to this new area from different
The systems biology approach often disciplines. Due to the conservative
involves the development of mechanistic mindset of Indian educational or
models, such as the reconstruction of scientific research system, only a few
dynamic systems from the quantitative institutes are getting involved in this
properties of their elementary building kind of cutting edge research initiatives.
blocks. For instance, a cellular network To name few of them : Indian Institute
can be modelled mathematically using of Science (IISc)- Bangalore, Centre for
methods coming from chemical kinetics Cellular and Molecular Biology
and control theory. Due to the large (CCMB)-Hyderabad, National Centre
number of parameters, variables and for Biological Sciences (TIFR) –
constraints in cellular networks, Bangalore, Bose Institute-Kolkata,
numerical and computational techniques Institute of Genomics and Integrative
are often used. Other aspects of Biology (IGIB)- N. Delhi, Jawaharlal
computer science and informatics are Nehru University (JNU) - N. Delhi,
also used in systems biology. These Hyderabad Central university (HCU)-
include new forms of computational Hyderabad etc.
model, such as the use of process calculi
to model biological processes, the Challenges in Systems biology:
integration of information from the Systems biology research is still in its
literature, using techniques of infancy. Maturation of the field will
information extraction and text mining, proceed as the many challenges that it
the development of online databases and faces are addressed and successfully
repositories for sharing data and models, solved. The most pressing challenges
approaches to database integration and fall roughly into the following four
software interoperability via loose categories:
coupling of software, websites and Experimental -- biology is still “data-
databases and the development of poor", designing experiments and
syntactically and semantically sound collecting reliable data
ways of representing biological models, Technological -- pertains to the
such as the Systems Biology Markup development of new instrumentation for
Language (SBML). making rapid, highly parallel,
inexpensive and accurate measurements
Systems biology research needs an of informational molecules and their
interactive inter-disciplinary scientific sequence, structure, modifications or
culture: processing, localization and interactions
For progress to occur, experts in with other components large and small.
engineering, physics, mathematics, and Computational -- pertains to the
computer science must join biochemists, development and refinement of network
cell biologists, and physiologists in the theory and effective engineering of
effort to figure out how to obtain the simulation tools, so that descriptive
required data and develop the networks can be replaced by more
sophisticated computational approaches accurate dynamic models of the
that will be needed to make viable system’s molecular interactions.
predictions. For scientists who have been Sociological -- pertains to effective
trained primarily in one of these communication across disciplines, the
disciplines, doing systems biology dynamics of research teams, difficulties
research involves stepping outside one's obtaining funding
comfort zone to learn new concepts and

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 3, October 2008. 44

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Conclusion: Biology Laboratory at National Centre

The reductionist approach has failed to for Biological Sciences (NCBS-TIFR)
make significant progress in the study of
biological complexity. This is primarily
because system dynamics often cannot
be reduced to a linear causal model. It is
time to move beyond reductionism to
expand the understanding of how parts
fit together to form functioning, evolving
organisms. George Church, a
computational geneticist at Harvard
University, says that with a complete
computer model, "you can run through
changes that might take hundreds of
years in the lab and lab had to invest
huge amount of money. But in and Molecular Biophysics Unit at Indian
computational biology, all you need is a Institute of Sciences, Bangalore. Just
PC and some gray matter." after his post graduation he worked as
program analyst in one of the leading
Important references: Bioinformatics software farm in
Bangalore for five months. Then he
• Ideker T, Galitski T, Hood L. A new shifted to Bioinformatics Centre,
approach to decoding life: systems University of Pune as a Junior Research
biology. Annu Rev Genomics Hum Fellow, where he worked for one year in
Genet. 2001;2:343-72. structural biophysics. Right now he is a
• Hood L, Heath JR, Phelps ME, Lin Research Scholar in Mathematical
B. Systems biology and new Modelling & Computational Biology
technologies enable predictive and Group, Centre for Cellular & Molecular
preventative medicine. Science. 2004 Biology, Hyderabad. His area of work is
Oct 22;306(5696):640-3. molecular systems biology, basically to
• Galitski, T. Molecular networks in understand the structural complexity and
model systems. Annu Rev Genomics functional robustness present in the
Hum Genet. 2004;5:177-87. biological systems with special reference
• Barabási AL, Oltvai ZN. Network some complex diseases.
biology: understanding the cell's
functional organization. Nat Rev ----------------0----------------
Genet. 2004 Feb;5(2):101-13.
• World Wide Web

Information about the author: "Gravitation is not responsible for

people falling in love."
Pankaj Barah has obtained his under
graduation in Biology from Gauhati -Albert Einstein
University in 2003, and moved to
University of Madras for pursuing Post
Graduation (M.Sc) in Bioinformatics. He
has done his last semester internship
collaboratively in Computational

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 3, October 2008. 45

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Global Wind Circulation … total


Mr. Bidyut Bikash Goswami

Atmospheric Science is one of

the most under developed branches of
Science at present. May be we are not as
close to Atmospheric Science as we are
to Atmosphere. The reason may be
whatever, but there are still a lot of
mysteries not yet explained in our
atmosphere. A school student will
readily say what the structure of an atom Figure 2
or nucleus or even a proton. A common
man today is seen talking about Hadron It is probably known to all that our
Collider (CERN). But very amongst us atmosphere is like a coating on the
knows about what the fundamental earth’s surface. But how thick that layer
pattern of wind flow around the globe or is? It is not more than the thickness of a
about the equator to pole temperature single color coat on a tennis ball … 100
gradient. Perhaps the one topic, kilometers actually. And the most
concerning to our atmosphere, we know important thing is that, it is the lowest
is the global warming. But do we know 15-20 kilometers of the atmosphere that
that the same causes which are is causing what we call our weather, i.e.
responsible for the global warming can phenomena like hurricanes, tornadoes
cause global cooling too!! etc.!!! And also 75% of the total weight
of the atmosphere lies in this lowest
In this write up efforts will be given to layer.
highlight some of the basics about the air
dancing up there. The properties of the atmosphere change
with height. Therefore 100 kms of our
How does it look like? atmosphere is not treated as a single
layer, rather divided into layers
depending on these properties.

The troposphere is characterized by

turbulent mixing and overturning. This
turbulence results from uneven heating
of the surface and the atmosphere.

The stratosphere is characterized by a

strong temperature inversion. This is a
stable layer with little mixing. As a
result, pollutants and other particles may
reside in this layer for many years.
Figure 1

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 3, October 2008. 46

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above is considered to be the

demarcation line between the
atmosphere and space.

The upper part of the mesosphere

contains part of the ionosphere, an
electrified region. Occasionally in the
Polar Regions, clouds in the mesosphere
can be seen. These are seen in the
summer when there is sufficient lifting.
The existence of these clouds proves that
even at this altitude, there is still a trace
amount of moisture.

The thermosphere is often considered

as the "hot layer" because it contains the
warmest temperatures in the
atmosphere. The air is so thin that a
molecule will travel 1 km (even 10 km
at the top) before striking another. At
this height, many lighter molecules have
attained enough velocity to escape
earth's gravity into outer space. The
region where air molecules escape is
known as the exosphere.

Figure 4

Figure 3

NOTE: Thermosphere and Exosphere

are not considered to be part of our
atmosphere. Rather it is considered as
space. The Kármán line in the figure

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 3, October 2008. 47

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Chemical composition of our atmosphere:

Radius of earth ~6400km

Thickness of atmosphere
Share of CO2 in
atmosphere ~ 0.035 %
ON US!!!

Figure 5

Is it really 100 km thick???

The amount of air we look through varies

from the vertical (the Zenith) at point "A" to
the horizontal at point "B". The distance d
from point "A" to point "B" is one side of a
right triangle. The other two sides are of
length RE and RE+100km. From the
Pythagorean Theorem we know: The square
of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the
squares of the other two sides. So,

(RE + 100)2 = (RE)2 + (d)2

Solving for d:
(d)2 = (RE+100)2 - (RE)2
d = square root ((RE+100)2 - (RE) 2)
Figure 6

Substituting RE = mean radius of the Earth = 6371 km we get,

d = 1133 km

That's 11.33 times more atmosphere than just looking "up"!

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 3, October 2008. 48

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The same geometry is applicable to the kept in mind that the atmosphere gets
sun too. That is the sun rays need to heated up not directly by the incoming
travel through a thicker atmospheric (high energy) solar radiations, but by
layer to reach the poles of the earth than the outgoing long-wave (low energy)
the equatorial region. Consequently radiations emitted by the earth. But
more rays get reflected in case of again, it is the solar radiation which is
radiation going to poles. And the result energizing the earth to radiate. The tilt
is obvious – pole is cold and the equator of the earth’s axis also plays a big role
is hot. By the way, it should always be here.

Figure 7 Figure 8

As it is evident from the above figure neglects effect of rotation. With

the earth’s atmosphere gets rotation, winds would cause earth to
differentially heated by the sun. And spin down; the upper level winds would
this temperature gradient causes the air accelerate to unphysical speeds near the
to move from high temperature region pole.
to low temperature region. Based on
this concept in 1686 Edmund Halley In 1735, George Hadley modified this
(Popularly known for the discovery of ONE-cell model by incorporating the
Halley’s Comet) proposed a ONE-cell rotation of the earth into it and
model for the global wind flow pattern. considering absolute velocity
In this model wind flows from pole conservation (but actually it is angular
(low temperature) to equator (high momentum that is conserved) with care.
temperature) just over the surface and It was remarkable that he recognised
to conserve mass the flow gets reversed the right role of the earth’s rotation at
in the upper atmosphere. But this model that time. It took nearly one century
could not explain all the observations before Coriolis correctly formulated the
(at that time sailors were the only deflecting effect of the earth’s rotation.
observers) available. This model

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 3, October 2008. 49

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

• Thermal convection
leads to formation of
convection cell in each

• Energy transported from

equator toward poles.

Figure 9

Figure 10

George Hadley’s
picture not

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 3, October 2008. 50

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Figure 11

Key features of three cell

model …
• Hadley cell (thermally
direct cell)
- driven by meridional
gradient in heating
- air rises near equator and
descends near 30 degrees
- explains deserts; trade
winds; ITCZ

• Ferrel Cell (indirect

thermal cell)
- driven by wave fluxes of
- air rises near 60 degrees
and descends near 30
- explains surface
westerlies from 30-60

• Weak winds found near

– Equator (doldrums)
– 30 degrees (horse

• Boundary between cold

polar air and mid-latitude
warmer air is the polar

Figure 12

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 3, October 2008. 51

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Thus now Hadley could explain the 4) The Global Circulation of the
observed easterly Trade winds. From Atmosphere ; Tapio Schneider,
the consideration of absolute velocity Adam H. Sobel, Princeton
Hadley concluded that there has to a University Press, 2007 (ISBN
westerly wind somewhere. But he could 0691121818, 9780691121819)
not explain the existence of the westerly 5) The Nature & Theory of the
winds in a proper way. It was William General Circulation of the
Ferrell, in 1856, who explained the Atmosphere; Edward N. Lorenz,
existence of a middle cell, which later World Meteorological
on named after him as Ferrell cell. Organization, 1967
Ferrell revolutionized the whole 6) All the sites given as hyperlinks to
concept and proposed the THREE-cell the figures.
model. He said it is not the directly the 7)
differential heating of the earth but the ctors/coriolis.gif
eddies (turbulence in the atmosphere) 8)
which drive the middle cell. This is why /FIG06_011.jpg
the middle cell is called as Indirect cell
also. Author’s information
This is the simplest structure of the
global atmospheric circulation. But in
reality this is not so simple as after all
the atmospheric responses are nonlinear
in nature. And also this is strictly only
the Global Circulation Model. A lot of
smaller scale (both in horizontally and
vertically) circulation patterns are there
in our atmosphere which affect the
atmospheric circulation. In fact the
existence of the Ferrell cell itself is due
to the turbulences present in the Mr. Bidyut Bikas Goswami, from
atmosphere. Tezpur ( DOB 20th November-1982)
Assam did his M. Sc.(Physics) from
This is all only the half of the whole Gauhati University, Guwahati in the
story, as oceans circulates 40% of the year 2005. He is now in Indian Institute
total energy. of Tropical Meteorology, Pune, as a
To conclude it may be said that the real Research Student. His areas of research
world is a total chaos consisting of interest are Thunderstorm dynamics and
variations of numerous frequencies. But Extreme Rainfall events in the
all these chaos have their own rule. Northeast India.
d/8c8390278ce3a365c8fbc0ab806a "Not everything that counts can be
549f,0/ENC_Master/CLIMATE_E counted, and not everything that
NCYCLOPAEDIA_9v.html can be counted counts."
27s_atmosphere (Sign hanging in Einstein's office at
3) Princeton)

N. E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 3, October 2008. 52

PhD thesis abstract of Dr. Oinam than the permissible limits. Heavy
Jayalakshmi Devi metals are generally low for the present
study water samples. Large numbers of
Title of Thesis: Study of Water trace metals are well within
Quality Parameters in Rural Areas permissible limits and some others are
below the detectable levels. Some of
of Karnataka. the samples have objectionable
bacterial Coliforms. One of the
In Karnataka, groundwater is the main
samples from Chamarajnagar District
water source for domestic and
was found to contain very high
agricultural uses. An understanding of
bacterial Coliforms (more than
the chemical evolution of groundwater
100/100 ml), which is not suitable for
provides insight into the interaction of
drinking purpose.
water with environment and
contributes to better resource The hydrogeochemical facies of
management. Water quality in rural groundwater with reference to Hardness,
areas is still very poor. The present Salinity, Sodium hazard, etc. are studied
research work reports on the results of to assess the nature and utilization of
water quality in the rural areas of water for domestic and agricultural
Karnataka. Two hundred and thirteen purpose. Geochemical graphic analysis
water samples from borewells, open method (Piper Trilinear Diagram) has
wells and tap waters from 15 districts been widely used for ground water
were collected. The Physico-Chemical studies. According to Sodium
parameters, trace metals (Cadmium, Adsorption Ratio Classification, 90
Chromium, Manganese, Zinc, Copper, percent of water samples are in excellent
Iron and Lead) and total Coliforms type. Most of the samples have
were determined by employing corrosivity ratio less than 1 epm. But
Standard Methods (APHA, 1976; 10% percent of samples from Mysore
Trivedi & Goel, 1986). The major ion district and Hassan district are found to
concentration data has been processed be in fair type. 95% of the samples in the
using the HYCY- basic Computer study areas are found under C1S1, C1S2
program developed by C2S1, C3S1, C3S2 and C3S3 (USSL
Balasubramanian et al., (1991). The classification). The results can also be
results were compared with WHO, used for evaluating the groundwater
ICMR and BIS standards. The quality for domestic, irrigation and
analytical results of the present study agricultural purposes. Descriptive
area show that a large number of statistics, Cluster and Correlation
sample’s Physico-Chemical and Heavy analysis were used to obtain an
metals properties were well within the understanding of Hydrochemical process
permissible limits. A few samples from of waters in present study areas. All the
Hassan district show higher major ions considered show high
concentration of Chloride, Fluoride, correlation among themselves. TDS and
Nitrate, TDS, EC, Calcium, EC are positively and significantly
Magnesium and pH, which are higher correlated with all the major ions. It is
important from the study, to confirm that

N.E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 3, October 2008

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

a large numbers of samples are suitable She has successfully completed several
for safe drinking and irrigation purposes. projects, e.g. “Study of Ground Water
Contamination through Municipal
Author’s information Landfills Sites in the NCT Delhi”
sponsored by Ministry of Water resource
(MoEW) from December 2006 to March
2007 in School of Environmental
Science, Jawaharlal Nehru University,
New Delhi. She has already submitted
one project thesis on “Studies on
Estimation and Removal of Mercury
from Solid Waste” to Indian Institute of
Chemical Technology (IICT),
Biochemical and Environmental
Engineering Center (BEEC), Hyderabad.
She also has submitted one dissertation
Dr. Oinam Jayalakshmi Devi, after entitled “Water Quality Monitoring &
completion of her graduation in Analyzed Industrial Physico-Chemical
chemistry from Manipur Parameters, Bacteriological parameter
University(1998), joined Jiwaji & Toxic metal present in water’’ to
University, Gwalior for her master’s Pollution Control Research Institute
degree(2002) in Environmental (BHEL, Hardwar).
chemistry. Then she joined Mysore Email:
University for PhD in environmental
science and completed in the year
2007(March). -----------0----------

At present she is working as a DST-

Young Scientist (Young Scientist
contest conducted by Department of The main human lesson drawn from
Science and Technology, Government investigation of natural phenomena ever
of India at Vellore Institute of more remote from ordinary experience is
Technology, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, 19th the recognition of the inseparability of
January, 2008) )in School of objective knowledge from our ability to
Environmental Science, Jawaharlal put questions to nature by means of
Nehru University, New Delhi. She is experiments suited to give unambiguous
involved in project entitles “Arsenic answers.
and Fluoride distribution and
Migration in ground water of Imphal, -by Niels Bohr
Thoubal and Bishnupur districts in
Manipur- an Approach for ground
water resource management” under
Department of Science and
Technology, Government of India,
New Delhi.

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Ph.D. Thesis abstract of Dr. Khirud affinities towards themselves. This

Gogoi occurs because of the different sugar
Title of Thesis: “Synthesis and conformations prevalent in DNA and
biophysical studies of pna and RNA and the subtle structural changes
chimeric pna-dna antisense oligomers accruing from these in hydrogen
with five atom linkages” bonding, base-stacking interactions and
hydration of major/minor grooves. The
The thesis is divided into 5 chapters as 4-atom phosphodiester linkages and
follows: pentose-sugar give immense
opportunities for chemical modifications
Chapter 1: Introduction: Modified that lead to several backbone modified
Nucleic Acids for selective RNA nucleic acid structures. Changes in the
recognition sugar phosphate backbone invariably
Novel oligonucleotide analogues that bring about changes in the
can form stable duplexes or triplexes complementation properties of the
with nucleic acids are important nucleic acids. This chapter is focused on
synthetic targets, because of their use as such modifications that impart RNA-
therapeutic agents. Various types of selective binding properties to the
modified oligonucleotides have been modified nucleic acid mimics and the
developed over the last two decades as rationale behind the said selectivity. It is
potential diagnostic probes and found that the six-atom sugar-phosphate
therapeutics for the antisense and backbone could be replaced by either
antigene approach. The more recent one-atom extended or one-atom edited
developments such as splice correcting repeating units, leading to the folded or
and exon skipping strategies require extended geometries to maintain the
highly robust nucleic acid analogues that internucleoside distance-
are stable under physiological conditions complementarity. Other important
as single strands as well as in the form of contributions come from
duplexes with complementary RNA electronegativity of the substituent
sequences. groups, hydration in the major/minor
The naturally occurring deoxyribose- groove, base stacking etc.
(DNA) and ribose (RNA) sugar-
phosphate backbones are endowed with -----
considerable differences in their binding

Chapter 2: the reduced conformational flexibility of

the amide relative to the six-atom
Section I: Thioacetamido Nucleic Acids
phosphodiester backbone. This postulate
(TANA): Synthesis and biophysical has also been supported by X-Ray
studies. Some of the analogues with
extended seven-atom backbone cross-
Among the sugar-amide backbones, pair with RNA with high affinity
there are many examples in the literature compared to DNA. In this chapter we
suggesting that a five-atom amide linker present the synthesis of 7-atom extended
leading to a seven atom repeating sugar-amide backbone thioacetamido
backbone may be more useful because of nucleic acids (TANA) and the thermal

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

stability studies with complementary to impart an unprecedented selectivity

DNA and RNA sequences. The strategy for binding RNA over DNA for duplex
of the design, synthesis of the monomer and triplex formation. The homo TANA
blocks, oligomer synthesis and their oligomers were found to form more
complementary RNA recognition using stable complexes with RNA than the
UV-Tm measurements is discussed. The chimeric TANA-PNA oligomers.
pyrimidine TANA oligomers were found

2 1
1O 1 B 2
2 B
3 4 O
O 5 O 6
O P5 6
O O O 7
6 B


Figure 1: Chemical Structure of DNA/ RNA, Thioacetamido Nucleic Acid (TANA) and
Peptide nucleic Acid (PNA)

Among the sugar-amide backbones, nucleic acids (TANA) and the thermal
there are many examples in the literature stability studies with complementary
suggesting that a five-atom amide linker DNA and RNA sequences. The strategy
leading to a seven atom repeating of the design, synthesis of the monomer
backbone may be more useful because of blocks, oligomer synthesis and their
the reduced conformational flexibility of complementary RNA recognition using
the amide relative to the six-atom UV-Tm measurements is discussed. The
phosphodiester backbone. This postulate pyrimidine TANA oligomers were found
has also been supported by X-Ray to impart an unprecedented selectivity
studies. Some of the analogues with for binding RNA over DNA for duplex
extended seven-atom backbone cross- and triplex formation. The homo TANA
pair with RNA with high affinity oligomers were found to form more
compared to DNA. In this chapter we stable complexes with RNA than the
present the synthesis of 7-atom extended chimeric TANA-PNA oligomers.
sugar-amide backbone thioacetamido

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Section B: Synthesis and RNA binding selectivity of oligonucleotides modified with five-
atom TANA backbone structures

1O 1
O 2 O 2 O
O P2 H H O
O 3 N
3 N O
3O O
4 B 4S
O 5 N


DNA tst TANA dimer cst TANA dimer

Figure 2. Structure of DNA and TANA backbone structures

The homooligomeric pyrimidine TANA studied by UV-Tm measurements of the

ONs were found to bind to resulting mixed-backbone ON
complementary RNA sequences complexes with DNA and RNA. The
significantly better than their DNA data shows that the tst and cst dimer
counterparts and the binding efficiency blocks are compatible in the DNA
was found to be as good as PNA itself. backbone to selectively stabilize the ON:
To study the compatibility of the TANA RNA complexes. The RNA selectivity of
backbone in a regular phosphodiester binding seems to be arising from the
backbone, we have synthesized and extended backbone linker that is
incorporated the thymidine and probably inherently folded to be
thymidine-cytidine dimer blocks (tst and competent to bind to RNA over DNA as
cst) connected with a five-atom amide- was found with the reported five-atom
linker N3’-CO-CH2-S-CH2 (TANA) into linked ON analogues.
oligomers. The assessment of the
compatibility of the TANA dimer blocks ------
in sugar-phosphate backbone was

Chapter 3: Conformational studies of pseudorotation (P) and the puckering

TANA dimers and monomers by NMR amplitude (ф). In solution, the sugar ring
spectroscopy exists in equilibrium of the two rapidly
The conformation of the pentafuranose interconverting conformers N↔S. The
ring in a nucleoside moiety can be fully mol fraction of N and S conformer as
described in terms of the phase angle of well as their geometry,

expressed by their phase angle of exchangeable proton resonances was
pseudorotation PN and PS and puckering achieved by using TOCSY, COSY and
amplitude фN and фS, can be calculated NOESY experiments. The coupling
from the vicinal proton-proton (3JHH) constants were determined from 1D
coupling constants J1’2’, J1’2”, J2’3’ and spectrum and/or by homonuclear
J3’4’. These coupling constants were used decoupling experiments.
as an input for the pseudorotation
analysis of the sugar using the program ------
PSEUROT. The assignment of the non-

Chapter 4: Chimeric (α-amino acid + experiments indicate that the modified

nucleoside-β- amino acid)n peptide oligomers hybridized to DNA and RNA
oligomers for selective RNA recognition with melting temperatures (Tm) higher
In this chapter, we describe than those of the complexes formed by
homothymidine DNA analogues having oligo-T DNA fragment of the same
a conformationally constrained amino length. Complexes formed by all the
acid (proline and N-methyl glycine), modified oligomers with the RNA target
positively charged amino acid (L- had higher stability than similar
Lysine) and neutral amino acid (L- complexes formed with the DNA target.
methionine) as the backbone. Four
octameric sequences were synthesized
using rink amide resin and Fmoc peptide
synthesis strategy. UV melting

Chapter 5: A versatile method for the lysine or arginine or other peptides

preparation of conjugates of peptides having specific cell receptors.
with DNA/PNA/analogue by employing The highly selective orthogonal Cu (I)
chemo-selective click reaction in water catalyzed Huisgen 1, 3 dipolar
The application of PNA and analogous cycloadddition reaction, recognized as
uncharged DNA mimics as antisense ‘click chemistry’ is highly predictable,
agents is stymied by the fact that PNAs very fast and resistant to side reactions,
show very low cell-penetration for any can be carried out in aqueous medium
observable antisense effect. Several and can be employed post- synthetically
strategies are being developed for the on purified units decorated with a variety
delivery of modified ONs. into cells. of functional groups without employing
For uncharged ON mimics such as any group protecting strategies. In this
PNAs, the best option seems to be the chapter the successful application to
covalent conjugation of PNA generate the cell-penetrating peptide
oligomers with cell penetrating conjugates with DNA/PNA ONs and
peptides (CPP).The CPPs are mostly thioacetamido nucleic acid is described.
positively charged peptides containing

N.E. Quest; Volume 2, Issue 3, October 2008

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

1, B= T 3, B= T 6, B= T B
2, B= C(Me)Bz 4, B= C(Me)Bz 7, B= C(Me)Bz
5, B= CBz RO
H O NHBz NHBz 9 R= H, B= T
O O O 10 R= TBDMS, B=C(Me)Bz

T C(Me)Bz CBz

Figure 3. Structures of TANA monomers and dimers used for NMR conformational analysis


O Proline Sarcosine
O- P R R
= NH2
DNA/RNA Chimeric α-amino acid +
nucleosidic β-amino acid ONs Lysine Methionine

Figure 4. Structure of DNA/RNA, chimeric α- amino acid + nucleoside-β-amino acid

ONs and structure of α-amino acids
Peptide O
_ Cu(I), N
+N N O
Oligonucleotide H

Figure 5. Synthesis of Peptide-oligonucleotide conjugates by Click-Chemistry

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Publications: California, San Diego, School of

1. Khirud Gogoi, Anita D. Medicine La Jolla,USA. He did his
Gunjal and Vaijayanti A. Ph.D. from NCL, Pune.
Kumar: Sugar-thioacetamide ------0-------
backbone in
oligodeoxyribonucleosides for
Facts about Nobel Prize
specific recognition of nucleic
acids. Chem. Commun., 2006,
According to the Statutes of the Nobel
2373-2375. Highlighted in
Foundation, information about the
RSC Chemical Biology, 2006,
nominations is not to be disclosed,
publicly or privately, for a period of
2. Khirud Gogoi, Anita D.
fifty years. The restriction not only
Gunjal, Usha D. Phalgune and
concerns the nominees and nominators,
Vaijayanti A. Kumar: Synthesis
but also investigations and opinions in
and RNA binding selectivity of
the awarding of a prize. Nomination
oligonucleotides modified with
information older than fifty years is
five-atom thioacetamido
nucleic acid backbone
structures. Org. Lett., 2007, 9, No person can nominate herself/
2697-2700. Highlighted by M. himself.
Egli at Faculty of 1000 For example Qualified Nominators for
Biology. Physics and Chemistry are-
3. Khirud Gogoi, Meenakshi V.
Mane, Sunita S. Kunte and 1. Swedish and foreign members of the
Vaijayanti A. Kumar: A Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences;
versatile method for the
preparation of conjugates of 2. Members of the Nobel Committee
peptides with DNA/ PNA/ for Physics/Chemistry;
analogue by employing chemo- 3. Nobel Laureates in Physics/
selective click reaction in Chemistry;
water. Nucleic Acids Research, 4. Permanent and assistant professors
2007, 35(21): e 139 in the sciences of Physics/Chemistry at
DOI:10.1093/nar/gkm935. the universities and institutes of
4. Khirud Gogoi* and Vaijayanti technology of Sweden, Denmark,
A. Kumar*: Chimeric (α-amino Finland, Iceland and Norway, and
acid + nucleoside-β-amino Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm;
acid)n peptide oligomers show 5. Holders of corresponding chairs in
sequence specific DNA/RNA at least six universities or university
recognition Chem. colleges selected by the Academy of
Commun., 2007, DOI: 10.1039/ Sciences with a view to ensuring the
B716835G. appropriate distribution over the
different countries and their seats of
-----------0---------- learning; and
6. Other scientists from whom the
Authours information Academy may see fit to invite
Dr. Khirud Gogoi, at present working
as a working as a post doctoral Source :
researcher at Howard Hughes
Medical Institute, University of

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

1. Dr. Shanta Laishram He has published several papers in

international refereed journals. He has
given lectures at many places in India
and abroad on his work and he has
attended and lectured at many national
and international conferences.
He likes teaching and mentoring
students. He taught Undergraduate
courses at University of Waterloo
during Fall 2007 and Winter 2008
Semesters. He also gave few lecture
courses at TIFR and some other
colleges in India. He conducted a
Dr. Shanta Laishram was born on 1st problem session for IMO Training
February, 1980 at Khangabok, Thoubal Camp at HBCSE, Mumbai. He was a
District, Manipur. He did his schooling Rajiv Gandhi Science Talent Research
from Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, Fellow-1999 of JNCASR, Bangalore,
Thoubal District, Manipur and did his India. During his PhD Program at
B.Sc from DM College of Science, TIFR, he was a Kanwal Rekhi Career
Imphal Manipur. In 2000, he joined Scholarship holder.
Tata Institue of Fundamental
Research( TIFR), Mumbai for his PhD. 2. Dr. Manoj Sharma
He got a Master by Thesis Degree
from TIFR. He got Ph.D. Mathematics
(Number Theory) in July, 2007 from
School of Mathematics, Tata Institute
of Fundamental Research, Mumbai,
India. The title of his dissertation is
Refinements, Extensions and
Generalisations of a Theorem of
Sylvester on the prime factors of a
product of consecutive integers and
Professor T. N. Shorey is his advisor.
He has been a Post-Doctoral Fellow at
Department of Pure Mathematics, Manoj Sharma of Baghmara Bazar,
University of Waterloo, Canada since Barpeta, Assam has completed his
August, 2007. Presently he is an schooling from Baghmara Higher
Academic Visitor at Max-Planck Secondary school. Then he did his
Institute for Mathematics, Bonn, higher secondary from Cotton College.
Germany from August-October, 2008. He did his B.Sc. from Bajali College
His research interests are on and M.Sc. from Gauhati University.
Diophantine Equations, Transcendental He has just completed his PhD degree
Number Theory and Diophantine on “QUANTITATION OF IN-VIVO
Approximation, Prime Numbers and AND HIGH RESOLUTION NMR
Cryptography, particularly, the number SPECTROSCOPY DATA” under the
theoretical aspects of Cryptography. supervision of Professor RKS Rathore
at Department of Mathematics and

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Statistics, IIT Kanpur. He did his Chaudhuri during summers of 2002

research on quantitaion issues in MR and 2003 as a JNCASR summer
Spectroscopy. He has implemented research fellow. One of these summer
various mathematical modules research projects titled as
(algorithms) for processing "Environmentally benign synthesis of
Spectroscopy data (1D & 2D), some metal acetylacetonates and atom
developed new methods for economic synthesis of quaternary
quantitations of in-vivo MRS and High ammonium tribromides" was chosen as
resolution NMR data in the frequency one of the ten best projects by
domain, developed a new algorithm for JNCASR, Bangalore. His
baseline correction of MR commendable academic achievements
Spectroscopy data and implemented include CSIR-JRF, GATE and Rajiv
various pre-processing, visualization Gandhi Science Talent Research
algorithms for 2D MRS data. Soon, he Scholar Fellowship awarded by
will be joining the Department of JNCASR, Bangalore in the year 2002.
Radiology, David Geffen School of In addition to this he was awarded
Medicine at the University of Merit Scholarship by Oil India
California, Los Angles as post-doctoral Limited, Duliajan in 1998.
researcher. -----------0-------------

3. Mr. Nayanmoni Gogoi Continued from Page no. 40

Brief Biography
Bose was born on January 1, 1894 in
Calcutta. Bose attended Hindu School
and Presidency College, Calcutta.
From 1916 to 1921 he was a lecturer in
the physics department of University
of Calcutta. In 1921, he joined the
dept. of Physics of the then Dhaka
University as a lecturer.
Bose's ideas were afterwards well
received in the world of physics. His
Mr. Nayanmoni Gogoi hails from work ranged from X-ray
Duliajan, a small town in Assam and crystallography to unified field
obtained his BSc. degree in Chemistry theories. He also published an equation
from Govt. Science College (Jorhat, of state for real gases. Several Nobel
Assam) in 2002. Currently he is Prizes were awarded for research
working as a CSIR senior research related to the concepts of the BOSON,
fellow, at Dept. of Chemistry, IIT Bose-Einstein statistics and Bose-
Bombay, under the supervision of Prof. Einstein condensate. One of the
Ramaswamy Murugavel. Nayanmoni's biggest and expensive events of
primary research interest is molecule science of this decade, Large Hadron
based magnets and he is focusing on Collider experiment in Switzerland
the synthesis, structural and magneto- finds origin in Bose-Einstein theories.
chemical characterization of high (Source:
nuclearity iron complexes having
frustrated spin orientation. Earlier he /982/tsc-bose-the-indian-behind-the-
attended masters program in Chemistry big-bang.html
at IIT Guwahati and worked under the
supervision of Prof. Mihir K.

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

French Scholarships for Indian Students 2009

French Scholarships for Indian Students 2009: Twenty-five full scholarships of around 20-25,000
Euros are being offered for two years for Indian students planning to join MS course. France is offering
scholarships to meritorious students of engineering from India for post-graduate studies for two years
from the academic year starting September 2009.
For this ALTEN; a leading European research and development consulting and advanced engineering
group; a network of 75 renowned French engineering institutes, and the French Embassy have come
together to fully finance such students. ALTEN and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs are offering
25 full scholarships of around 20-25,000 Euros for two years for Indian students who wish to enrol in an
MS programme.
Core engineering fields
The programmes will in all core engineering fields through that works in collaboration with the higher
education office of the French Embassy in India.
Last date
The application form for the corporate scholarship is available online at the website and
the last date to apply is November 15, 2008.
No prior knowledge of French is required at the time of application and there is no bond that students
need to sign with the Company.
No qualifying tests
Students do need to take qualifying tests such as GRE/GMAT etc.
Selection will be done on the basis of academic merit, coherence of the statement of purpose, quality of
recommendation letters and a personal interview. Students who make the admission applications need to
be present at New Delhi for a personal interview in the month of January 2009. For more details students
can contact
Last year, 10 outstanding engineering students from India were awarded the scholarship.
Non-profit network
The n+I is a non-profit making network which brings together over 70 premier post-graduate engineering
institutions from France.
It aims at developing academic ties between our two countries in the domain of scientific and technical
education and spreading awareness about higher education in France in engineering.

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Cambridge International scholarships (CISS)

Cambridge University, UK, will offer, via the Cambridge Trusts, at least 40 Cambridge International
Scholarships to Overseas Students who embark on a research course in 2009-10. The awards will be
made on a competitive basis to those applicants considered by their departments to be the most
Value of the award
Each award will underwrite the full cost of fees and maintenance for the duration of the course.
Duration of the award
The award has a maximum duration of three years and is available to all students who will be registered
for a three year research programme, leading to the PhD (including CPGS), that starts in the academic
year 2009-10.
To be eligible to receive a Cambridge International Scholarship students must:

1. be liable to pay the Overseas University Composition Fee.

2. be engaged in a three year research programme leading to the PhD (i.e. will be registered as PhD,
“Probationary PhD†or “CPGS†) starting in the academic year 2009-10.
3. be engaged in full-time study.
4. have a high upper-second-class undergraduate honours degree from a UK Higher Education
Institution, or an equivalent from an Overseas Institution.

NB. All students applying for a course of one year duration or less (including LLM, MSt, MBA,
MED, Part III Mathematics, MPhil) in the academic year 2009-10 are not eligible for a CISS award
for 2009-10.
The application process
Every eligible applicant for a three year research course leading to the PhD in 2009-10 will be considered
to have applied for a Cambridge International Scholarship provided their completed Graduate Admission
and Scholarship Application Form is received by the Board of Graduate Studies before 15th December
2008. Applicants are expected to also seek funding from other sources.
Departments will rank their outstanding applicants for consideration in the competition.
Several hundred partially funded awards will also be made by the Cambridge Trusts using the
departmental CISS ranking list.
The attention of applicants is drawn to the 15th December 2008 deadline.
Completing the Graduate Admission and Scholarship Application Form
Further Scholarship Information

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

University of Canterbury International Doctoral Scholarship

This scholarship, tenable for study towards a degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the University of
Canterbury, was established in 2006 to provide support for international students with high academic
achievement. Up to five awards are offered each year to the top International students applying for the
University of Canterbury Doctoral Scholarships.
Eligibility: International student (New Zealand citizens and permanent residents are not eligible to apply).
Meet the academic requirements for enrolment in a PhD Undertaking or planning to undertake full time
Value $25,000 pa; thesis tuition fees at NZ domestic rate; economy return airfare
Tenure Up to 3 years
Closing Date 15 October
Regulations University of Canterbury International Doctoral Scholarship full regulations (PDF,
Apply Apply on UC Doctoral application form

Website of UC:

The EMBL International PhD Programme

The EMBL International PhD Programme, originally established in 1983, represents the flagship of
EMBL’s commitment to first class training and education. Internationality, dedicated mentoring and
early independence in research characterise our programme. Considered to be one of the most competitive
PhD training schemes to enter, we are committed to providing EMBL PhD students with the best starting
platform for a successful career in science.
PhD work at EMBL is challenging, intense and intellectually demanding. We welcome applications from
highly qualified students of all nationalities. Applicants must hold, or anticipate receiving before
enrolment, a university degree that would formally qualify them to enter a PhD or equivalent programme
in their home country. All applications are evaluated solely on the basis of qualification and scientific
Application deadline: 16 December 2008
Interviews will be held at EMBL Heidelberg from 2 to 6 March 2009, the EMBL Outstations will
interview in the week prior. All applicants will be informed about the results of the selection in late
January 2009.

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

University of Sydney : Scholarships for international students.

University of Sydney World Scholars
From 2009, up to 20 new full tuition fee PhD scholarships will be available per annum for
international students. Scholarships will cover the full cost of tuition fees for three years. A
travel contribution of up to $2000 will also be provided to scholarship holders towards a return
international air fare.

The World Scholars program is for commencing international students undertaking a PhD in any
discipline. The application process is highly competitive with scholarships awarded on the basis
of research potential and academic merit. Scholarship holders should demonstrate, in their
application, an outstanding academic track record and capacity to engage in innovative and
world class research.

Each year the University will invite applications from selected participating countries. For the
inaugural application round in 2008/09, these include: Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Brazil,
Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, India, European Union, Kenya & South Africa
Some countries, including China, have special scholarship schemes already in place at present.

How to apply

Applications will open in July 2008 for commencement in Semester 1, 2009. Prospective
applicants must have a firm offer of admission from the University of Sydney before lodging a
World Scholars application. In addition, PhD candidates are expected to have made contact with
their potential academic supervisor prior to submitting their application for a higher degree by
research. Candidates who are interested in applying for the University of Sydney World Scholars
are encouraged to identify a potential supervisor as soon as possible.
Download the Application Guidelines for the World Scholars program.
Download the Application Form for the World Scholars program.

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

September 2008
Researcher Positions - Post-Doctoral Positions - Technician Positions

Positions for 3 young researchers, 3 post-doctoral fellows and 2 technicians in the

Nanocomposite and Responsive Materials and Nanochemistry Divisions of National
Nanotechnology Laboratory. Immediate openings to pursue new and exciting research in the
field of nanocomposite materials mainly targeting towards aeronautical applications. The
candidates for the post doctoral and researchers positions need to have a Ph.D. degree (or
equivalent) in any of the following fields: Material Science, Physics, Chemistry, Engineering,
or related field. The candidates for the positions of the technicians should meet the following
criteria: University or College or Technical School degree in a science or engineering related
discipline. Attention to detail, and methodical approach to work. Organization skills.
Experience in a similar role in a science laboratory would be ideal.
Successful candidates will work as part of established research teams in the following areas:

1. Chemical synthesis and characterization of nanoparticles

2. Photopolymerization and polymer synthesis
3. Chemical functionalization of nanoparticles and incorporation into polymer matrices
4. Nanocomposite materials preparation and characterization
5. Spectroscopic, mechanical, and thermal characterization of nanocomposite materials
6. Electromagnetic properties of nanocomposite materials

The employment package is 23,000-47,000 Euro per year depending on the skills of the
Interested candidates should send through email their C.V., the names of two reference
persons that can be contacted for recommendation, and a cover letter, to:

Dr Athanassia Athanassiou Dr Davide Cozzoli

Email: Email:
Tel: +39 0832 295716

October 2008
PhD Position – Development of highly durable functional coatings based on nanocomposite
The National Nanotechnology Laboratory of CNR-INFM invites application for one motivate
PhD student to work on the implementation of engineered nanostructured surfaces. The
proposed research concerns the development of highly abrasion resistant super-hydrophobic
surfaces on both methacrylate and glass substrates. The position is offered in collaboration
with TEUCO GUZZINI group ( ). The applicant will work within a
multidisciplinary research team devoted to develop industrially compatible solutions. His/her
R&D activity will focus on:
- chemistry of functionalized nano-oxides, design of hard low-surface energy nanostructured
coatings, surfaces characterization (surface energy measurements, AFM, SEM, FT-IR )
He/she will be also involved in the scaling-up of the coatings deposition process. A
successful candidate is expected to be degree qualified in Chemistry or Materials Science.
Preferred: knowledge of sol-gel process. For further details, including how to apply, please
send CV and contact:
Ing. Michele Manca -

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum


(Council of Scientific and Industrial Research)
Dr. Homi Bhabha Road, Pune – 411008, INDIA.

National Chemical Laboratory, Pune , India (NCL), one of the largest publicly funded
research laboratories belonging to the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research
(CSIR) (, is looking for dynamic, highly motivated scientists in
diverse disciplines of research. NCL currently has about 250 Ph.D scientists, 200
technical staff, 400 students pursuing Ph.D degree and 350 project staff. NCL’s core
research interests are in organic chemistry, advanced and functional materials,
polymer science, chemical engineering science, reaction and process engineering,
plant biochemistry, biochemical sciences, heterogeneous and homogeneous catalysis,
theory and computational science. NCL is equipped with world-class facilities to
conduct high quality research spanning the spectrum, from fundamental to applied
industrial research. NCL is looking for scientists in all age groups from entry level to
leadership positions. Scientists at NCL have an opportunity to perform research at the
frontiers of science, seek rewarding collaborations with industry and leading
academic institutions, both, within India and abroad. Scientists at NCL are also
encouraged to work at the intersection of disciplines, such as:
bioactive organic molecules, bio-transformations; chemical biology; Clean fuels
Electroactive materials; Electron microscopy; green chemical processes
health care; materials derived from renewable resources; membrane science
metabolic pathway engineering; microbial and fermentation processes
molecular and hybrid materials; molecular modelling; NMR Spectroscopy
novel separation processes; plant biotechnology; renewable energy systems
scientific computing across length and time scales; study of complex fluids
supramolecular chemistry; Surface science; synthetic biology

Candidates with Ph.D degree in science or engineering and minimum two years of
postdoctoral experience will be considered. Rank will be commensurate with
qualifications and experience. Successful candidate must show demonstrated evidence
of research leadership in any of above areas and must have strong interpersonal and
communications skills.
Interested applicants should upload three pdf files, i.e., curriculum vitae, a descriptive
research proposal and names of three referees through our online system at www.ncl-

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

By Mr. Mahen Konwar By Dr. Prodeep Phukan


By Dr. Arindam Adhikari

Autumn 2008, Stockholm

Newsletter of North East India Research Forum

Details about the Northeast India Research Forum

Date of creation of the forum : 13th November 2004

Area: Science and Technology
Total number of members till date: 255

1. Arindam Adhikari, Ph.D. 2. Ashim J. Thakur, Ph.D.
Institute of Surface Chemistry, Royal Chemical Science Dept, Tezpur University, Tezpur,
Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden Assam
Email: Email:

3. Utpal Borah, Ph.D. 4. Khirud Gogoi, Ph.D.

Dibrugarh University, Assam, India University of California, San Diego, La Jolla,
Email: USA;

Editorial Team of NE Quest

1. Dhanapati Deka, Ph.D. 2. Tankeswar Nath, Ph.D.

Tezpur University, Assam Jubilant Organosys Ltd. Gajraula, UP, India
Email: Email:

3. Manab Sharma, Ph.D. 4. Rashmi Rekha Devi, Ph.D

Austrelia, Defence Material & Stores Research & Dev.
Email: Establishment, DRDO, Kanpur.

5. Joshodeep Boruwa, Ph.D. 6. Pankaj Bharali,

Université Louis Pasteur (ULP), Indian Institute of Chemical Technology,
France: Email : Hyderabad, India.

7. Pranjal Saikia 8. Sasanka Deka, Ph.D.

Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, National Nanotechnology Laboratory, Lecce,
IICT, Hyderabad, India Italy
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9. Shanta Laishram, Ph. D. 10. Áshim Thakur, Ph.D.

Dept of Pure Mathematics, 11. Utpal Borah, Ph.D.
University of Waterloo, Canada 12. Arindam Adhikari, Ph.D.

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Manab Sharma, Ph.D.