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    He gave the country its first spacecraft

    Udupi Ramachandra Rao, former chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation, acclaimed space scientist acknowledged as the father of Indian satellite technology, is no more.

    The celebrated cosmic ray scientist with an MIT scholarship and experience with early NASA projects in the 1960s is best remembered as the man who gave the country its first spacecraft Aryabhata from out of modest un-space-like industrial sheds of Peenya in Bengaluru.

    His demise at age 85 somewhat brings the curtain on the starry era of pioneering space troika of Vikram Sarabhai, Satish Dhawan and U.R. Rao.

    Regulars at Antariksh Bhavan, the headquarters of ISRO and the Department of Space, will miss the gentle genius. A workaholic, Dr. Rao was active until about two weeks back in his office at Antariksh Bhavan, recalled ISRO Publications and Public Relations Director Deviprasad Karnik.

    Guided by Sarabhai

    When Dr. Rao returned in 1966 to India from stints in the US, the Americans and the Russians were flying their spacecraft of their rockets and had reached Moon. Over here, they were the days of low budgets, small human resource but high spirits and goals.

    Dr. Rao’s space journey blossomed under the tutelage of Vikram Sarabhai, his doctoral guide and later boss at ISRO: in 1972, Sarabhai tasked the young Rao — fresh from MIT and the only Indian then who had worked on NASA’s Pioneer and Explorer satellite projects — with building an Indian satellite.

    Then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had come down to see the assembled satellite — Aryabhata — which was launched on a Russian rocket in 1975. Indian satellites had started sprouting.

    As the first director of what is now called ISRO Satellite Centre, Dr. Rao was responsible for 18 early satellites including the landmark Bhaskara, APPLE, the Indian Remote sensing Satellites or IRSs. His mantra was – ‘If others can do, we can do better’.

    In 1984, Dr. Rao succeeded Satish Dhawan as ISRO Chairman and Secretary, Department of Space, going on to have the second longest tenure in the high post – ten years. (Dr. Dhawan headed it for 12 years.) Dr. Rao was the chairman of the governing council of Physical Research Laboratory until the end, apart from many science ad technology bodies.

    Shaped many a project

    At ISRO, there has not been a planetary mission that has not been touched or tweaked by Dr. Rao. As the chairman of overseeing body ADCOS or the Advisory Committee on Space Sciences, he finalised, shaped, refined or designed the Chandrayaan-1 lunar mission of 2008; the Mars Orbiter Mission of 2013; and the upcoming Chandrayaan-2 set for 2018.

    “I look for excitement in any field,” he had said. One of the current unfinished projects of the cosmic ray scientist is Aditya L1 mission – India’s upcoming solar observatory, so to say. Aditya was earlier planned as a near-Earth mission looking at Sun. However, Dr. Rao – close associates say – convinced ISRO to greatly enlarge its feature and scope. For him, the spacecraft must gaze at Sun from an apparently stable point called L1 or Legrangian point. He prevailed and now Aditya-L1, as it is now renamed, will travel million km to do its job from a point undistubed by either Earth or Sun.

    Associates recall that he was always updated of developments in his field and related sciences. He was forthright, had a “sharp, analytical mind, enormous intellectual ability and [could] quickly make back of the envelop computations for complex solutions,” recalled V.Jayaraman, his doctoral student and erstwhile Director of ISRO’s Earth Observation Systems and later National Remote Sensing Agency, in an article in Current Science titled Living legends in Indian Science.(Vol. 106, No.. 1588 11, 10 June 2014.)

    The same article recounts how Dr. Rao ensured that a remote sensing satellite was launched from a Soviet spaceport amidst extraordinary conditions: “Even as [then Soviet] President [Mikhail] Gorbachev resigned as general secretary of the Communist Party of Soviet Union on 24 August 1991, and the mighty Soviet Union collapsed in the next few days, IRS-1B was launched without any hitch on 29 August 1991 from Baikonur. The presence of Rao [in spite of advices to stay back] served as a balm, not only for the ISRO team at the launch pad and helping them to stay focussed and keep a high morale, but also as a great relief for their families back home. For us associated with that historic event, it will remain as [a] lesson as to how a leader should behave in times of crisis and to be with his team, … whatever be the hurdles.”

    Two years back, he was down with cough and fever, yet drove 15 km to his ISRO office to keep his engagements – one of them an appointment with this reporter. When he was told that he could have postponed the meeting, Dr. Rao typically said, “Some people prefer to rest, I prefer to work.

    All through my life I have worked when I am sick – to forget the sickness. Or else I will be a nuisance to others.”

    As chairman, Dr. Rao accelerated the rocket development programmes but with mixed luck. He presided over the fruition of the ASLV early rocket, much of the development of the now-famous PSLV. He laid the foundation for the GSLV by signing a pact with the Russians in 1991 for the cryogenic engine technology for its third stage. Dr. Rao’s joy was blunted as the PSLV clicked after his tenure while the Russians reneged on the cryogenic pact.

    The credit for kickstarting the now working GSLV, however, is undeniably Dr. Rao’s, say ISRO oldtimers.

    U.R.Rao was born on March 10, 1932, to Lakshminarayana Acharya and Krishnaveni Amma in Adamaru near Udupi – a small town that hosts one of the eight famous `Madhwa math’s sacred to Kannada Brahmins. He studied in Udupi’s Christian High School and later did his intermediate course in Bellary’s Veerashaiva College. A B.Sc at the Government Arts and Science College, Ananthapur, then under Madras University. He completed his M.Sc in Physics from Banaras

    Hindu University 1953 and briefly taught in Ahmednagar and Mysore. But space sicence was beckoning and he enrolled for a PhD under none other than Vikram Sarabhai at the Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad, and got the doctoral degree in 1960 from Gujarat University.

    The article by Dr. Jayaraman says the story of a small-town boy’s rise “to a lofty position as Chairman of ISRO, a prestigious organisation and of international fame, should be a motivational force to many young aspirants in our country.”

    source: / The Hindu / Home> Sci-Tech> Science / by Madhumathi D.S / Bengaluru – July 24th, 2017

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    The firm “was founded with the goal of applying modern artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques to solve old problems.”

    Google has acquired Bengaluru-based artificial intelligence startup Halli Labs for an undisclosed sum. The firm said it was founded with the goal of applying modern artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques to solve old problems.

    “Well, what better place than Google to help us achieve this goal,” said the company in a blog post on Medium. It said the company would be joining Google’s Next Billion Users team to help get technology and information into more people’s hands around the world. “We couldn’t be more excited,” said the company.

    Halli Labs was co-founded early this year by Pankaj Gupta, former chief technology officer of online homestay aggregator Stayzilla, which recently closed down its services. An alumnus of Stanford University, Mr.Gupta has also worked as a senior data scientist at Twitter.

    Caesar Sengupta, Google’s vice-president for product management tweeted about the acquisition on Wednesday on his Twitter handle.

    source: / The Hindu / Home>  Business> Industry / by Special Correspondent / Bengaluru – July 12th, 2017

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    Bengaluru :

    Vinaya Seshan, a grade 10 student of  Inventure Academy , won three medals at the 2017 Dance World Cup held recently in Germany .

    The event is considered to be one of the world’s top all-genre dance competition for children and youth. More than 12,000 participants from 47 countries competed in the qualifiers, and over 10,000 from 43 countries made it to the final.

    Vinaya bagged gold in the duet category and a bronze each in the hip-hop group and hip-hop solo categories, adding to her haul of three medals at last year’s World Championships. Vinaya danced in Inventure’s formal blue uniform as she considers it to be her lucky charm.

    Vinaya’s passion for dance began in Grade 1 and she has been a regular in Inventure’s dance teams and musical productions.

    She got her big break when she was selected for Berserk, a week-long dance workshop conducted by the Lourd Vijay Dance School. She was part of their squad that won a bronze in the 2015 World Cup.

    Vinaya also plays the tabla, guitar and piano. “Being versatile is important; at the same time finding the right balance is difficult, but achievable,” she said.

    source: / The Times of India / News> City News> Bangalore News / TNN / July 10th, 2017

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    The Mysore Lancers march at Haifa, a port city in Israel, on Sept 23, 1918. | Photo Credit: from the collection of Mr. Raja

    The Mysore Lancers march at Haifa, a port city in Israel, on Sept 23, 1918. | Photo Credit: from the collection of Mr. Raja

    They fought hard to liberate it in 1918

    A long forgotten slice of martial history related to Mysuru will be revisited when Prime Minister Narendra Modi pays tribute to fallen Indian soldiers at the Haifa cemetery in Israel.

    The Mysore Imperial Service played a big role in the liberation of Haifa on September 23, 1918, from Ottoman Turks and Germans, by allied forces. This is seen as one of the fiercest battles in the west Asian theatre of World War I in which India, as a British colony, fought German and the Ottoman troops.

    The Mysore Lancers were in the 15th Imperial Service as the forces sent by the princely states of Mysore, Jodhpur and Hyderabad. Historian M. Shama Rao in “Modern Mysore” published in 1936 says troops of native States, who were seen as fit only for ceremonial parades, proved their mettle.

    General Sir Edmund Allenby’s despatches of October 31, 1918, on the occupation of Damascus and Aleppo, found in the book, make a special reference to the Mysore Lancers during the capture of Haifa.

    A special recruitment drive was conducted in the princely State and 5,000 men drafted for the war. The then Mysuru Maharaja Nalwudi Krishnaraja Wadiyar sent his troops to defend the empire and even gave nearly ₹50 lakh to the India War Fund.

    Raja Chandra R., son-in-law of the last Maharaja, Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar told The Hindu that the ruler Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV sent a spirited message to the men on the front.

    The book “Mysore’s Part in the War: 1914-1918” cites Sir Allenby and says over 1,350 prisoners and 17 guns were taken in the operation between the spur of Mount Carmel and the marshy banks of river Kishon, about two miles from Haifa road. Mr. Raja Chandra said a memorial at Bengaluru to the participants lies forgotten.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Karnataka / by Sharath S Srivatsa / Mysuru-Bengaluru, July 04th, 2017

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    Recreating heritage: An artistic rendering of the temple with its soaring tower. At right is Adam Hardy, lead architect for the project.

    Recreating heritage: An artistic rendering of the temple with its soaring tower. At right is Adam Hardy, lead architect for the project.

    Cardiff architect revives 800-year-old tradition of building with soapstone in Karnataka

    An architectural style that goes back 800 years, a plan for an ornate 21st century temple built out of soapstone in an obscure village, and an architect from Wales to see it through.

    That is the story of the Hoysala-inspired Lord Venkateshwara temple at Venkatapura, a few km away from Mulbagal in Kolar district of Karnataka. The usually quiet hamlet hums with activity as people make a clearing, where the fields lead to a plateau.

    Funded by donations

    The temple, designed in the striking Hoysala style, will come up on seven acres of land here, funded by donations.

    The structure shuns modern-day cement. Floated by a public trust, it promises to be bigger than the Belur Chennakeshava temple. Leading the team is architect Adam Hardy, Professor of Asian Architecture at the Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University.

    The Vimana, or tower, will stand 108 feet tall.

    The temple has been commissioned by a public trust. “It was my father’s dream to have a temple in Venkatapura,” says Aravind Reddy, from the same village and treasurer of the Sri Kalyana Venkateshwara Hoysala Art Foundation. “I have always been fascinated by Hoysala architecture and wanted to revive the tradition. When we started, we planned a small temple with a budget of ₹15 to ₹20 lakh,” he says. The project is now estimated to cost at least ₹300 crore.

    Classic iconography

    Prof. Hardy says, “The Hoysala style is known for architectural planning, detailed iconography, beautifully carved pillars and use of soapstone instead of sandstone. To replicate it will be no easy job.”

    Quest for the architect

    The planners had no problem sourcing sculptors, artists and even the material. It was the search for an architect who could recreate the Hoysala magic that was the bigger challenge, one that took years to solve.

    A chance meeting with Yashaswini Sharma, architect and author of Bangalore: The Early City AD 1537-1799, in 2009 gave the project its first chance of success. “When I told her I wanted to build a Hoysala temple, She showed me the book written by Mr. Hardy. I found some 60 plans for a Hoysala temple in his book. I knew I had to meet him,” says Mr. Reddy.

    It so happened that the scholar was visiting India at the time. “It was after I met him that the scale of the project became mind-boggling,” says Mr. Reddy. It took eight years of designing and redesigning the plan before construction began a few days ago.

    The trust wants its creation to reflect the best of the three famous temples in Arsikere, Belur and Halebid.

    The foundation for the ambitious plan was laid on June 14, and the ceremony was attended by the erstwhile Maharaja of Mysore Yaduveera Chamaraja Wadiyar.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Karnataka / by Sarumathi K  / Bengaluru – June 15th, 2017

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    Bengaluru :

    Bengalureans Santosh Chandrasekhar, 26, Aiman S, 24 and Sumit Dasgupta , 24 started working on their dream project Rangzen – a 39-minute-long documentary film on Tibetans, hardly did they know it will fetch this trio the award for best documentary in Bangalore Short Film Festival 2017.

    Not just that, this documentary film featuring lives of Tibetans who had escaped Chinese invasion and took refuge in India has made three Bengalureans proud by bagging a special jury award at International Film Festival of Prayag, Delhi and the audience award at Feel the Reel International Film Festival in the UK, this year.

    Santosh Chandrasekhar, assistant professor at a city college, “The movie is all about their struggle to hold on to their Tibetan identity in a foreign land and how they dream to go back to a nation that doesn’t exist anymore. The film has got answers to seeking their identities and their perpetual fight for freedom and a struggle to find their self.”

    “We, through this documentary, were trying to initiate discourses related to the Tibetan struggle for freedom and generate awareness about our ‘guests’ among our fellow Indians. Although in exile for over 56 years, we fail to recognise Tibetans. We ignorantly see them as either northeasterners or Chinese. The Tibetan freedom struggle being one of the longest after the exodus of the Jews can put this documentary film into major political articulation,” added Aiman S, a copy writer and another maker of this documentary. The documentary has also made an entry to official selection category at International Documentary and Short Film Festival, Kerala and Calcutta International Cult Film Festival, 2017.

    source: / The Times of India / News> City News> Bangalore News / by Sreemoyee Chatterjee / TNN / June 13th, 2017

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    Manipal :

    Researchers from the School of Life Sciences (SOLS) and Kasturba Medical College, Manipal University , have identified cancer causing mutations in long standing ulcerative colitis subjects at risk of progressing into colorectal cancer. They have identified cancer causing mutations in new as well as previously identified oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes.

    The mutations identified in the study can be used as marker for early diagnosis of ulcerative colitis associated colorectal cancer. The finding of the study is published in Nature Publishing Group journal British Journal of Cancer entitled “Targeted sequencing based analyses of candidate gene variants in ulcerative colitis-associated colorectal neoplasia”.

    SOLS has been working in the field of cancer biomarker discovery, disease modelling and targeted drug delivery for the past several years, says its Director, Dr K. Satyamoorthy. He said: As there is an increased incidence of ulcerative colitis in India due to altered food habits, increased awareness, surveillance and availability of better diagnosis, it is important that early diagnosis of patients who are at risk of developing colorectal cancer is of paramount interest”.

    Dr. Satyamoorthy who also led the investigations said the major challenge in the study was long-period of follow up required to monitor the patients with the ulcerative colitis and reluctance of the patients to undergo colonoscopy. Innovative discoveries such as this can lead to better management of individuals with the disease for early detection and personalized care”. While congratulating the researchers Dr. H. Vinod Bhat, Vice Chancellor, Manipal University said the University is supporting molecular genetics programme as there is plenty to discover to the benefit of patients. Manipal University is in unique environment that researchers, clinical practitioners and public health experts can work together to bring about change in the society on how the diseases are managed in individuals”.

    Ulcerative colitis is a chronic inflammatory bowel condition with clinical symptoms of ulceration and bleeding of inner lining of colon. The age of onset for ulcerative colitis varies between 30 to 50 years. Ulcerative colitis subjects with more than seven years of pancolitis or more than 10 years of left sided colitis, experience a higher incidence of colorectal cancer than the rest of the population.

    Dr. Sanjiban Chakrabarty, lead author of the manuscript said the DNA mutations discovered in the study could distinguish early dysplastic changes in high risk ulcerative colitis and has the potential to predict an adverse outcome.” Lead clinical investigator Dr. Ganesh Pai said the results of the studies are important in view of the rising incidence of both ulcerative colitis and colorectal cancer in the Asia Pacific in recent years. The results can help to better understand the development of colorectal cancer in ulcerative colitis, to develop tests for early diagnosis and to possibly select the best treatment strategies for subgroups of patients in the future”.

    source: / The Times of India / Home> News> City News> Mangalore News / by Stanley Pinto, TNN / June 07th, 2017

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    Dr. Neeraj Patil who lost to Justine Greening in the British Parliamentary elections held on June 8.

    Dr. Neeraj Patil who lost to Justine Greening in the British Parliamentary elections held on June 8.

    The first Kannadiga ever to stand in the British Parliamentary elections, Neeraj Patil lost to Justine Greening, a Conservative Party candidate and the Education Minister of Britain, in the polls held on June 8. A native of Kamalapur in Kalaburagi district and former Mayor of London Borough of Lambeth, Dr. Neeraj was selected by the Labour Party to represent the constituency of Putney considering his service as an emergency doctor at St George’s Hospital in London, used by the residents of Putney.

    Dr. Patil lost by a narrow margin of 1,554 votes to Ms. Greening who secured 20,679 of 46,894 the votes polled. Though there were six candidates in the fray, the fight was between Mr. Patil and Ms. Greening. Liberal Democrats candidate Ryan Mercer polled 5448 votes followed by Green Party candidate Benjamin Joseph Fletcher (1,107), UK Independent Party candidate Patricia Mary Ward (447) and Independent candidate Catherine Jane Richardson (58). There were 112 invalid votes. The counting of the votes was held at Wandsworth council with James Maddan as returning officer of Putney constituency.

    Addressing the gathering after the vote-count, Dr. Patil congratulated Ms. Greening, who has been retaining the seat since 2005 and thanked the Labour Party for selecting him to run for the British Parliament. Mr. Keith Vaz, the longest serving Labour MP of Indian origin, campaigned for Dr. Patil in Putney constituency.

    Dr. Patil is attributed to have played an instrumental role in getting the statue of the 12th century philosopher and social reformer Basavanna installed at the Albert Embankment Gardens in the London Borough of Lambeth. He was honoured with “The Rajyotsava Award” by the Government of Karnataka in 2008.

    Labour Party had selected 14 Indians, Conservative party 13 and Liberal Democrats 9, respectively as their Parliamentary candidates. The general elections were called following the Brexit referendum by Prime Minister Theresa May.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Karnataka / by Kumar Buradikatti / Kalaburagi – June 09th, 2017

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    Researching the specks of froth on our polluted lakes has led to a city girl getting her name etched in immortality on the night sky.

    Sahithi Pingali, a Class 12 student of Inventure Academy, Bengaluru, joins an elite league of people to have a minor planet in the Milky Way named after them. The honour comes after she excelled in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), the world’s largest pre-college science competition. As one of the 2,000 finalists, Ms. Pingali presented her paper, — “An Innovative Crowdsourcing Approach to Monitoring Freshwater Bodies”— based on her experiences after having developed an integrated mobile phone app and lake monitoring kit that obtains data through crowdsourcing.

    It wasn’t just an award at ISEF that she won. The Lincoln Laboratory of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which has the right to name minor planets, decided to name a planet after her after she came within the top 3% of ISEF. While the Indian contingent took home 21 awards in all, Ms. Pingali won three special awards and was awarded “overall second place” in the Earth and Environment Sciences category. “I definitely didn’t see this coming. I was expecting one special award at most. I haven’t yet digested the fact that I have a planet named after me,” she told The Hindu.

    Currently, she is pursuing an internship at the Civil & Environmental Engineering Department of the University of Michigan to further improve her method to detect water pollution. “I want to make it more accurate and expand it to detect arsenic,” she said.

    Her work on Varthur Lake has already seen her get a Gold Medal at ISWEEEP (The International Sustainable World Engineering Energy Environment Project) Olympiad at Houston (U.S.), earlier this year.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Bengaluru / by Staff Reporter / Bengaluru – June 07th, 2017

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    Kartik Mandaville has wide experience working with start-ups

    Kartik Mandaville has wide experience working with start-ups

    Kartik, 26, spoke at RecTech 2017 in Barcelona, one-of-a-kind forum

    At 26, Kartik Mandaville, chief executive officer (CEO) and founder of SpringRole — a machine learning-based recruiting software in Bengaluru and Los Angeles — is the youngest to address the RecTech 2017, the only conference focused on innovation in recruitment advertising and technology outside of the US.

    The event offers a one-of-a-kind forum for senior executives in publishing and technology companies that offer talent acquisition solutions.

    The conference focussed on mobile transformations, “total candidate focus”, programmatic advertising, artificial intelligence and machine learning.

    Held from May 17-19, it played host to an impressive group of recruitment experts and influential speakers from around the world.

    Sharing his experience with Bangalore Mirror, Kartik Mandaville said it was a wonderful experience to share the stage with leaders from top companies in the USA and Europe. “Moreover, I was probably the youngest there. There was immense learning from the conference, being part of the panel and conducting the workshop. I must admit, I was nervous, but the workshop was well received and I was surprised to find a queue of people waiting to talk to me, which was humbling. Mostly we discussed about the future of recruitment – how artificial intelligence is going to help in the process and make it convenient for HR (human resources) managers,” he said.

    More than 100 high-level executives from recruitment advertising and tech companies attended the conference, mainly from Europe, the US, Latin America and Africa.

    Mandaville is a serial entrepreneur who also serves as senior technical advisor at Science in Santa Monica, California, and other companies.

    He graduated from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) with Masters from the Language Technologies Institute focussing on big data, machine learning, natural language processing and BioTech.

    Mandaville has wide experience working with start-ups. At Science, he worked with early-stage start-ups to architecting out their technology, building the team and scaling.

    He built the Science India team having 40-plus software engineers and product working across the portfolio companies.

    Before joining CMU, he was a full-stack developer working at Shareaholic on the product distribution channel and different web properties. As a student at Manipal University, he launched ‘Autobudder’ in 2010 for Facebook, an application that automatically wishes friends on their birthdays.

    The following year, he was part of the team that launched ‘Let Me Know’, a unique portal that helps students across India find opportunities of various kinds such as internships, workshops, seminars, conferences, tech-fests, literary events and much more.

    source: / Bangalore Mirror / Home> News> State / by Deepthi Sanjiv, Bangalore Mirror Bureau / May 23rd, 2017

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