India has carved its place among the topmost countries in the world in the field of scientific research and positioned itself as one of the top five nations in the field of space research. Science in India has witnessed major advancements in the last few years. All thanks to the wonderful talent and the infrastructural facilities available in the country. Present-day India is strongly focusing on the field of science and technology, realizing that it plays a major role in the economic growth of the country.
The 2017-18 has been a year of scientific breakthroughs for India in which Indian scientists gave us a sight of what future holds in terms of science and technology; from successfully conducting India’s first womb transplant at a Pune hospital, to the discovery of supercluster of galaxies named Saraswati in July.
One can proudly say that the Indian researchers and scientists have worked tirelessly to make our lives safer, easier and more advanced in every way. So, it’s worthwhile to take a step back and appreciate their tremendous efforts. Below are some scientific breakthroughs during the year which changed the face of Indian science massively.
1.Saraswati – A supercluster of galaxies discovered by Indian researchers (2017)
The Indian astronomers discovered a supercluster of galaxies, which they named ‘Saraswati’, in July 2017. Analyzing this four-billion-year-old supercluster had helped the astronomers to understand the composition and formation of our universe. The supercluster is likely to contain billions of stars, planets, gases, dark matter and other bodies.
2.Discovery of the most complete fossil of a rare dinosaur, Ichthyosaur in Gujarat (2017)
The first-ever, most complete fossil of an Ichthyosaur was found in Gujarat in October 2017. The Ichthyosaurs were aquatic reptiles similar to the dolphins or whales of their time but more predator-like. They had huge eyes, narrow jaws, and cone-shaped teeth. These fossils are very helpful to the paleontologists as they can understand how aquatic life functioned back in the Jurassic age.
3.Successful launch of world’s smallest spacecraft by ISRO (2017)
On 23rd June 2017, the world’s first-ever smallest spacecraft, Sprites was successfully launched by ISRO PSLV rocket and placed in low Earth orbit. The 3.5cm x 3.5cm space probe weighs just 4 grams and runs on sunlight. The main aim of launching such a tiny spacecraft into space is to collect data which could help to throw light on the possibility of life beyond Earth.
4.India’s first uterus transplant successfully conducted in Pune (2017)
The doctors at Pune’s Galaxy Care Laparoscopy Institute (GCLI) successfully conducted India’s first uterus transplant in May last year. The patient was a 21-year-old woman from Solapur who was born without a uterus and was unable to conceive a child. The procedure took nine hours using a laparoscopic technique.
5.37 Indian scientists co-authored Physics Nobel-winning paper (2017)
A total of 37 Indian scientists from nine institutes, who co-authored the research paper on the first gravitational waves detection, were awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics. The team of these scientists was led by Sanjeev Dhurandhar of Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics’, Pune (IUCAA). Sanjeev is a pioneer in gravitational waves astronomy in India who was working on this subject for 30 years.
6.GSLV Mark III, India’s heaviest rocket successfully launched by ISRO (2017)
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) was successful in launching India’s heaviest rocket, ‘Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mark III’ which carried the 3,136 kg communication satellite GSAT-19 into space in June last year. Itis yet another major leap towards being self-reliant in the country’s space programme.The rocket could be used to launch Indians into space as stated by ISRO.
7.Raja Chari, the third Indian-origin astronaut selected by NASA (2017)
US Air Force’s Lieutenant Colonel Raja Chari is the third Indian-origin NASA astronaut after Sunita Williams and late Kalpana Chawla, who got selected from over 18,300 applicants for its 2017 Astronaut Class. NASA formed a new batch of 12 astronauts among whom Chari was one, and was provided with rigorous training for the distinguished space missions into the Earth’s orbit and deep space.
8.Made-In-India Defibrillator unveiled that can save heart patients during power cuts (2017)
A team of innovators in Pune-based Jeevtronics revealed the world’s first hand-cranked defibrillator which can save cardiac arrest patients in case of power cuts. This device was launched on World Heart Day on September 29 last year. A defibrillator is a device that gives a dose of electric current to the heart. This Indian-made defibrillator costs only a quarter of the imported electric defibrillators. It took four years for Mr. Gawade and his team to develop this device.
9.Asia’s first upper-arm double-hand transplant done in Kerala (2017)
In September 2017, Kochi-based Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences conducted Asia’s first upper-arm double-hand transplant on Shreya Siddanagowda, a 19-year-old student of Manipal Institute of Technology, who lost both her hands in a road accident last year. A team of 20 surgeons and 16 anaesthetic experts took 13 hours to complete the transplantation. This is the first transplant in the world in which a male donor’s hand was transplanted on a female recipient.
10.Sohum – The newborn hearing screening device (2017)
Sohum is a low-priced and a rare device, launched by the Ministry of Science and Technology to check for hearing response in a newborn. This innovative medical device was developed by School of International Biodesign (SIB) start-up Sohum Innovation Labs India Pvt. Ltd. As of now, this technology is highly expensive and unavailable to many. Start-up Sohum aims to help nearly 26 million babies born every year in India. Early screening will help in minimising or reversing the damage that is caused by the hearing loss.
11.World’s Lightest satellite designed by Indian teen launched by NASA (2017)
Rifath Sharook, an 18-year-old from Karur in Tamil Nadu, made history by designing the world’s lightest satellite, ‘KalamSat’, which was launched by NASA in June. He honored the former Indian President APJ Abdul Kalam by naming this satellite after him. The satellite is 64-grams in weight and made of reinforced carbon fibre polymer. It is reportedly the first time that NASA has carried out an Indian students’ experiment.
12.TeamIndus’, an Indian startup chosen to land a spacecraft on Moon (2017)
Bengaluru-based ‘TeamIndus’, India’s first private space startup was selected by Google Lunar XPRIZE among the five international finalists for a $20-million award to land a spacecraft on Moon in January. The company is building the world’s first private mission to land a robot on the moon that travels at least 500 meters and sends high-definition video and images back to Earth. TeamIndus has also entered into a contract with ISRO to launch its unmanned spacecraft.
13.ISRO launched 104 satellites in one go creating a world record (2018)
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) had successfully launched 104 satellites in one go, breaking the world record in February 2018. This was the first launch in which the maximum number of satellites were launched from the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), which carried a 714-kg Cartosat-2 series earth observing satellite and 103 co-passenger satellites together weighing 664 kg.
India, again plans to land on the Moon in a big way with the ambitious Chandrayaan-2, which will include an orbiter, lander, and a small rover. If India succeeds in this plan, Chandrayaan-2 will be the first-evermission to land a rover near the unexplored lunar south pole of the moon.’Chandrayaan-2′ is expected to be launched around October-November this year.
15.Discovery of a new planet 600 light years away (2018)
The Indian scientists of Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Ahmedabad, has discovered a new planet which is 600 light years away. This exoplanet is smaller than Saturn but bigger than Neptune. It was found around a Sun-like star and completes a round around the star in about 19.5 days. With this discovery, India has joined a group of countries which are successful in discovering planets around stars.