Professor Ajay Sood

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IISc Professor Ajay Sood becomes Royal Society Fellow

  • Professor Ajay Sood from the Department of Physics at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) has been elected as the fellow of  prestigious Royal Society.

  • Prof Sood is India’s leading experimental physicist working in the field of  Quantum Condensed Matter with focus on nanomaterials since 35 years. He is presently a faculty at the Department of Physics, IISc. 

  • Sood  and his team have designed Field Effect Transistors (FETs) using materials like carbon nanotubes, graphene, Molybdenum disulphide and black phosphorus and superconductors such as iron pnictides.

Prof Ajay Sood's field of research :-

  • Ajay Sood and his team works on ‘time-resolved pump probe spectroscopy’ in which they perform Raman spectroscopy on the device, while it is working, in order to study the electron-phonon coupling process.

  • This technique helps them understand and optimise device performance. Additionally, they study the opto-electronic properties of such materials by exciting them with the help of ultrafast (femtosecond) LASERs.

  • Through his experiments he investigate the amount of time optically excited electrical carriers take to return to their ground state. Such analysis can aid, for example, in the design of photovoltaic devices


Sood’s team was the first to show that flocking can be achieved even going beyond  nearest  neighbour interactions. The team has also recently designed a protein detector that was made from optical fibre Bragg grating. They have used this device to detect a protein called CRP which is a marker for heart attacks in the human body.

Sania Mirza to be conferred Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna

  •  Tennis ace Sania Mirza's name has been approved for Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award after the sports ministry had earlier recommended to forward her name to the committee.

  • Sania is only the second tennis player after Leander Paes to be named for the top award. Paes had been bestowed the honour way back in 1996 after his bronze medal in the Atlanta Olympics.

  • Sania, currently ranked world number one in women's doubles and created history by becoming the first Indian to clinch a women's doubles Grand Slam when she partnered Swiss great Martina Hingis for the Wimbledon trophy earlier this year.

  • Sania had won the Arjuna award in 2004 and was the favourite for the top award this year. In 2006, she was bestowed the Padma Shri the country's fourth highest civillian honour.

Recommendation for the award:-

Sania's name for Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award was recommended by awards committee which was constituted by Sports Ministry. The award committee headed by Justice V K Bali, the retired Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court.

About Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award:-

The Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna (RGKR) is India’s highest honour given for achievement in sports, given by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, government of India.The Award carries a medal, a scroll of honour and a substantial cash component. In 2005, the money has been increased from Rs. 500,000 to Rs. 750,000.

Complete list of athletes recommended for Arjuna Award 2015

  • The Sports Ministry appointed selection committee has recommended 17 names for the prestigious Arjuna award. Cricketer Rohit Sharma who hit a World record score of 264 runs against Sri Lanka in November and shooter Jitu Rai the winner of six medals last year are among the prominent names.

  • Dipa has been rewarded for becoming the first Indian woman gymnast to win a medal at the Commonwealth Games, while Wrestlers Babita and Bajrang, Boxer Mandeep Jangra, Weightlifter Sathish Kumar and athlete MR Poovamma are all part of the awardees after successful campaigns in the Asian and Commonwealth Games

  • Indian hockey vice captain and goalkeeper PR Sreejesh has been recommended for his outstanding show as India's goalkeeper. He was part of the team that won the Asian Games gold medal last year, which also fetched the side a direct qualification for next year's Olympics.

Here is the complete list of athletes recommended for Arjuna Awards 2015:-

  1. Sandeep Kumar - Archery

  2. MR Poovamma - Athletics

  3. Mandeep Jangra - Boxing

  4. Rohit Sharma - Cricket

  5. Dipa Karmakar - Gymnastics

  6. PR Sreejesh - Hockey

  7. K Srikanth - Badminton

  8. Jitu Rai - Shooting

  9. Sathish Kumar - Weightlifting

  10. Bajrang - Wrestling

  11. Babita- Wrestling

  12. Sanathoi Devi - Wushu

  13. Sharath Gayakwad - Para-Swimming

  14. Manjeet Chillar - Kabaddi

  15. Abhilasha Mhatre - Kabaddi

  16. Anup Kumar Yama - Roller Skating

  17. Swaran Singh - Rowin

Uttam Galva, Posco to set up steel plant in Maharashtra

  • South Korea's steel giant POSCO have signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with Uttam Galva group to set up an estimated $3 billion steel plant in Maharashtra .

  • This will be the first integrated steel plant for Posco in India as it continues to battle regulatory hurdles for a 10 years to set up a mega $12 billion steel plant in the eastern Odisha state.

  • The proposed Joint Venture plans to set up 3 million tonne per annum (mtpa) integrated steel plant at Satarda in Maharashtra which will come up in two phases. The first phase of 1.5 mt will entail an investment of about $1.5 billion, 

  • The joint venture will intially be a 80:20 venture, with 80% equity from the Miglani family while Posco will have the option to increase its stake as the project progresses

  • Earlier this year POSCO inaugurated its state of art $ 709 million Cold Rolling Mill in Mangaon, Maharashtra with 1.8 mtpa capacity. 

  • It should be noted that both POSCO and ArcelorMittal (ISPA.AS), the world's largest steelmaker, have scrapped a number of other projects in India over the past two years, citing difficulties in acquiring land and mines


  • POSCO is a multinational steel-making company headquartered in Pohang, South Korea it is the world's fourth-largest steelmaker by this measure

  • POSCO already has steel processing centres in the cities of Pune, Chennai and near New Delhi

  • In 2005, it signed a memorandum of understanding to set up a 12 mt integrated steel plant project worth $12 billion in Odisha 

  • It is temporarily suspending the Odisha project due to lack of clearances. Protests by local tribals have also held up the project.

Superstar Amitabh Bachchan will be Maharashtra's new ambassador for the tiger conservation

  • In the meeting of the Tiger Protection Foundation in Nagpur in July, state finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar, who is also the state's forest minister, had directed that Bachchan be requested to be the tiger ambassador. 

  • Superstar Amitabh Bachchan accepted  the proposal by the Maharashtra State government to work for Tiger conservation and agreed to represent the State as its Tiger Ambassador. Bachchan is also brand ambassador of the state of Gujarat. 

  • Maharashtra has six tiger reserves including Melghat Tiger Reserve in Amravati, Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve in Mungantiwar’s home district of Chandrapur, Pench and Nagzira-Navegan Tiger Reserves near Nagpur, Sahyadri sanctuary which includes CHandoli National Par and Koyna Sanctuary and Bor tiger reserve in Wardha district

  • The tiger census, results for which were released in 2014, shows that India has 2,226 tigers, up from 1,706 in 2010. Maharashtra has around 190 such big cats, more than 169 in 2010. Tadoba-Andhari tiger reserve in Vidarbha accounts for 72 big cats, including 60 in the core area and 12 in the buffer zone. 

  • Some other countries which have tiger habitats are Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Thailand, China, Cambodia and Bhutan

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway to buy Precision Castparts for $37.2 billion

  • Renowned billionaire Warren Buffett led Berkshire Hathaway  agreed to buy Precision Castparts Corp the maker of equipment for the aerospace and energy industries, in a deal valued at $37.2 billion, including debt.

  • This will be the one of the largest purchase ever undertaken by the billionaire’s company, Berkshire Hathaway as Berkshire is paying $235 per share for Precision Castparts  which represents a 21.2 percent premium on its closing share price and 17.5 times projected 12-month profit.

  • Buffett is known for buying  undervalued and often unloved companies but he acknowledged paying a steep price for Precision Castparts, which has been hurt by falling oil and gas prices

  • After the acquisition  Precision Castparts Corp (PCC) will work independently under same name under Berkshire conglomerate and will also retain its headquarters in Portland, Oregon, US.

About Precision Castparts (PCC) ;-

  • Precision Castparts Corp. is a United States based industrial goods and metal fabrication company that manufactures investment castings, forged components, and airfoil castings for use in the aerospace, industrial gas turbine, and defense industries

  • The Toxic 100 Air polluters index from the University of Massachusetts lists Precision Castparts as the number one air polluter in the U.S. in the August 2013 edition,

About Berkshire Hathaway Inc. :-

  • Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is an American multinational conglomerate holding company headquartered in United States.

  • The company is known for its control and leadership by Warren Buffett, who is the company's Chairman of the Board, President, and Chief Executive Officer

  • Berkshire  owns a diverse range of businesses including confectionery, retail, railroad, home furnishings, encyclopedias, manufacturers of vacuum cleaners, jewelry and many other

Japan restarts nuclear reactor for first time since Fukushima Nuclear disaster

  • Japan has restarted one of its nuclear reactors for the first time nearly two years after all nuclear power stations were closed following Fukushima disaster of 2011.

  • New safety requirements were introduced after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, due to which all the reactors had been offline.

  • Kyushu Electric Power Co. has started removing control rods from the No. 1 reactor at the Sendai nuclear power plant in southern Japan.

  • The reactor should begin generating electricity by the end of the week and resume commercial operation by early September following inspections. The plant’s second reactor is scheduled to be brought back online later this year.

  • Japan has 43 operable nuclear reactors. All had been shut since September 2013 and efforts to restart some of them have faced repeated delays because their operators struggled to comply with stricter regulations introduced after the March 2011 earthquake 

  • Before the Fukushima accident, in which three reactors suffered meltdowns, nuclear power accounted for around 30% of Japan’s electricity.

  • After Fukushima accident, Japan is dependent on coal, liquefied natural gas and oil for nearly 90% of its power needs

 Sanjay Jalona appointed as the MD and CEO of L&T Infotech 

  • Larsen and Toubro has appointed former Infosys executive Sanjay Jalona as the Managing Director and CEO of its IT arm, L&T Infotech.

  • Jalona will operate L&T Infotech from its New Jersey office in Edison, New Jersey, USA and boost profitable growth and strengthen its presence in the Americas, Europe, GCC countries and the Far East

  • Prior to joining L&T Infotech, Jalona was with Infosys as executive vice president and global head of high-tech manufacturing & engineering services. During his15 years at Infosys, he had held senior leadership positions across USA, Europe and India

 Dr. Najma Heptulla launched a new central sector scheme – Nai Manzil in Patna 

Dr. Najma Heptulla, the Union Minister for Minority Affairs has launched  a new Central Sector Scheme Nai Manzil address educational and livelihood needs of minority communities in general and muslims in particular as it lags behind other minority communities in terms of educational attainments. 

Nai Manzil will target the students who have dropped out of Class XII and Class X and those studying in Madrasas.It is so because they will not be getting formal Class XII and Class X Certificates rendering them largely un employed in organised sector. 

The scheme aims at providing educational intervention by giving the bridge courses to the trainees and getting them Certificates for Class XII and X from distance medium educational system and at the same time also provide them trade basis skill training in 4 courses :-

  1. Manufacturing 

  2. Engineering 

  3. Services 

  4. Soft skills 

The scheme is intended to cover people in between 17 to 35 age group from all minority communities as well as Madrasa students. This scheme will provide avenues for continuing higher education and also open up employment opportunities in the organised sector.

Veteran Marathi stage actor Bhalchandra Pendharkar passes away

  • Renowned Marathi stage actor, drama producer and singer Bhalchandra Pendharkar passed away in Mumbai after a brief illness. He was 94.

  • Born on November 25, 1921, at Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh, Pendharkar was affectionately known as Anna and gained immense popularity through his play Duritanche Timir Javo

  •  He received many honours and awards, including the Bal Gandharva award and the Vishnudas Bhave award. He was also a recipient of the Sangeet Natak Akademi award in 2004.

President presents 24th Saraswati Samman to Veerappa Moily

President Pranab Mukherjee presented the 24th Saraswati Samman for 2014 to Congress leader M.Veerappa Moily for his epic "Sri Ramayana Mahanveshanam" written in Kannada.

About Sri Ramayana Mahanveshanam:-

  • In his magnificent composition of 43,000 lines inspired by the original epic of Valmiki, Dr. Moily has shared with us his unique insight into contemporary situations.

  • He has then addressed them through the prism of the eternal principles of good governance, high morality and righteousness.

  • He has shared his belief that present day India has a lot to learn from the Ramayana  especially that our nation-building effort must be based on the strong foundation of tolerance, pluralism and inclusiveness.



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