1. Space Related
    1. Saturn opposition
    2. Extra-galactic Background Light (EBL)
    3. Microgravity and human survival
    4. Herschel retired
    5. GSLV MK3
    6. Cartosat-3
    7. Antares Rocket
  2. Electronics related
    1. Graphene and Harddisk
    2. A Boy and His Atom
    3. Quantum computer
    4. Hydrogen sensor for breedor reactors
    5. Increasing microprocessor speed
    6. Li-ion battery
  3. Misc
  4. Mock Questions
    1. MCQs for CSAT Preliminary Exam
    2. General Studies (Mains) Paper 1
    3. General Studies (Mains) Paper 3

Space Related

Saturn opposition

  • Two celestial bodies (in this case the sun and Saturn) are said to be in ‘opposition’ when they are on opposite sides of the sky when viewed from Earth.
  • On April 28 2013, Earth was exactly in between the sun and Saturn.
  • This day is when Saturn is the closest to Earth in the whole year.
  • Saturn was only about ~130 crore km away from Earth. The farthest distance between Saturn and Earth =165 crore km.
  • Saturn can be seen with the naked eye as a bright non-twinkling star.
  • But if we use a simple telescope we can observe its rings and perhaps even some of its satellites.

Extra-galactic Background Light (EBL)

  • EBL is all the electromagnetic energy ever in the universe.
  • These include energy in the visible, radio, ultraviolet, etc. wavelengths.
  • EBL are mostly produced by stars and galaxies.
  • If we can know the distribution of Extra-Galactic background light, it would give us important clues about how mass is distributed and how galaxies have formed and evolved + the shape of the early universe.
  • Problem: Since Earth is inside a bright Solar System and a bright galaxy, it is extremely difficult to distinguish and detect the faint EBL.
  • Furthermore, it is impossible to send an instrument so far way in the space, to separately detect the EBL.
  • Now researchers are working on a different solution =Instead of directly measuring the EBL, they have measured how much light from other sources is blocked by the EBL.

Microgravity and human survival

  • gravity is necessary for all life forms, they undergo various physiological changes when exposed to microgravity.
  • Since man wants to colonise moon and other planets in future, scientists have been trying to understand the effect of microgravity or zero gravity from organism to molecular levels
  • This can help developing strategies to survive in hostile environments.
  • microgravity is bad for survival of organisms: because it causes osteoporosis, atrophy of muscles, immune dysfunction, sleep disturbances, cardiovascular de-conditioning, decreases rate of photosynthesis etc.
  • CSIR are studying effects of simulated microgravity on E. coli.

Herschel retired

  • Europe’s Herschel space observatory — the largest infrared telescope ever launched
  • served for ~4 years.
  • It has stopped working after exhausting its supply of liquid helium coolant


Evolution of Launch Vehicles

Evolution of Launch Vehicles

  • Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle.
  • heaviest satellite launch vehicle of IRSO
  • will be launched in 2014
  • Can carry satellites weighing between four and five tonnes.
  • Can put a four tonne satellite in orbit
  • will help Antrix Corporation, ISRO’s commercial arm, to offer cheapest space launches in the niche market.
  • This will also be a first time that ISRO scientists would undertake an experimental flight of a launch vehicle which would fall into the sea after reaching a height of 120 km


  • remote sensing satellite,
  • capable of taking images of the earth with a resolution of 0.25 metres.
  • Currently, GeoEye-1 produces the highest resolution earth images taken by a commercial satellite.

Antares Rocket

  • Sputnik: world’s first artificial satellite, and sent Yuri Gagarin on a journey that made him the first human to venture into space.
  • February 1969, five months before Apollo 11
  • U.S. President John F. Kennedy responded by vowing to land men on the Moon by the end of the 1960s.
  • 1969: Apollo 11 was launched, using Saturn V rockets.
  • To continue in this space race, USSR needed a powerful rocket like America’s Saturn V (used in Apollo mission). So they developed N1 rocket.
  • Now after 4 decades, American too are using an improved version of Russian N1 Rocket. (=
  • Orbital Sciences Corporation’s Antares rocket)
  • The Antares is intended to take cargo to the International Space Station on commercial terms. (recall a similar topic: Dragon capsule)

by the way, lot of topics related to Space-tech already covered in an earlier article. Click me

Electronics related

Graphene and Harddisk

  • Graphene= one-atom thick lattice of graphite
  • It is a synthetic material with diverse applications ranging from solar cells to diagnostics.
  • Researchers have demonstrated how graphene could facilitate the formation of a magnetic field under certain conditions.
  • application: graphene’s could be used in computers, because hard drives store information using magnetic fields.

A Boy and His Atom

  • It is the tiniest stop-motion movie ever.
  • made by IBM.
  • It is  a one-minute video of individual carbon monoxide molecules repeatedly rearranged to show a boy dancing, throwing a ball and bouncing on a trampoline.

Quantum computer

  • Classical computers use electronic devices called transistors to perform mathematical operations with input electric signals.
  • Because of transistors’ technical limitations, classical computers take exponential amounts of time to solve more complex problems.
  • quantum computer uses the exotic properties of extremely tiny particles like electrons to perform operations much faster than a classical computer would.
  • femtosecond is a millionth of a billionth of a second)

Hydrogen sensor for breedor reactors

  • In a breeder reactor, coolant is required for extracting heat from the extremely hot core (where nuclear fission takes place).
  • Fast breeder nuclear reactors use of liquid sodium (and not water) as a coolant.
  • because liquid sodium has excellent heat transfer properties compared with water.
  • However, there is a possibility of tube failure.
  • Steam, which is at a higher pressure than sodium, tends to leak into the coolant when the tube develops a leak.
  • On reaction with sodium, hydrogen and sodium hydroxide are formed. Sodium hydroxide, which is a caustic material, further aggravates the problem.
  • But now Indian scientists have developed an electrochemical hydrogen meter (being tested in Kalpakkam, near Chennai.)

Increasing microprocessor speed

  • Microprocessor is a small programmable device comprised of smaller devices called transistors
  • Transistors are circuits that switch electric signals from ‘on’ to ‘off’ and vice versa. They are based on  CMOS technology (complementary metal-oxide semiconductor).
  • Now researchers are putting a special layer of germanium over silicon in those microprocessors to increase the computing speed.

Li-ion battery

  • Lithium ion batteries
  • Rechargeable.
  • Li-ion battery contains several cells. Each cell consists of a cathode, an anode and a separator between the two, electrolyte and current collectors.
  • The cell generates power due to the motion of Li-ions.
  • Li-ion batteries are reliable and their failure rate is 1 in 10 million cells.
  • they’re used in airplanes to start jet engines for two reasons:
    • have high energy density
    • Occupies less space than Ni-CD batteries to provide same amount of energy.
  • Li-ion battery is in the news because of two incidents in the Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, involving smoke and fire.


Glass fibre reinforced gypsum (GFRG) panels

  • During an earthquake or strong wind, buildings tend to sway and the walls are subjected to enormous loads exerted laterally.
  • GFRG panels reinforced with concrete are capable of resisting lateral loads caused by earthquakes.
  • IIT Madras Researchers have developed a technology to make GFRG panels to be also used as floor/roof, thus eliminating the use of RCC slabs + Since the panels have a smooth finish, the need to plaster them (as in the case of brick walls) does not arise. = less cement used= cost reduced.
  • This also makes rapid construction of houses possible, because panels are prefabricated and cut to desired sizes based on room sizes with openings for doors and windows.


Fungal infestation in potato

Black widow spider

  • Female black widow spider consumes a potential mate.
  • But that also happens in some types of male spider.  for example Male spiders of the Micaria sociabilis species are more likely to eat the females than be eaten.

Black holes

  • are exotic space phenomena whose gravitation pulls are so strong that not even light can escape.
  • They are formed when heavy stars exhaust all their hydrogen and collapse under their own weight.


  • closely related to the penguin, scientists confirmed that a wing that is good for flying cannot also be good for diving and swimming. Penguin’s underwater prowess may have cost it its flying ability.


  • Any fruit crop is perennial in nature and takes a minimum of three years after planting to bear the first fruits.


  • amphibian animal salamander is able to completely repair its eye parts by itself. Is such a mechanism lying dormant in the human eye? American research want to find out.


  • announced that it had spotted a Higgs boson-like particle on July 4, 2012, their flagship Large Hadron Collider (LHC),
  • has continued running experiments to gather more data on the elusive particle.

unprocessed raw horse gram

  • possess anti-hyperglycemic properties (anti diabetes)
  • and also have qualities to reduce insulin resistance.

Sun’s heartbeat

  • sun’s magnetic field, dubbed its “heartbeat,” evolves in a cycle,
  • Most prominent activity takes place every eleven years, which coincides with the sunspot appearances.

Mock Questions

MCQs for CSAT Preliminary Exam

  1. Correct Statement about Polymetalic nodules
    1. Can occur only below 6000 meters.
    2. Indian Ocean doesn’t contain polymetalic Nodues in its sea bed.
    3. Both
    4. None
  2. Correct Statements
    1. H7N9 is a swine flu virus.
    2. Influenza viruses are inactivated by normal temperatures used for cooking.
    3. Both
    4. None
  3. correct statements
    1. Egg cell is an undifferentiated cell
    2. Sperm cell is a differentiated cell
    3. Both
    4. None
  4. 3Nethra is a
    1. UAV designed by DRDO
    2. Device to carry out LASIK surgery
    3. Device to carry out cataract surgery using Laser.
    4. None of above
  5. E-cigarette
    1. Contains tobacco in a very fine power form.
    2. Delivers nicotine via aerosol mist.
    3. Both correct
    4. None correct
  6. Correct Statement about Sebum
    1. Sebum glands are present on all areas of body
    2. Sebum production decreases during adolescence, pregnancy and menopause.
    3. One of the functions of Sebum is to dehydrate the skin.
    4. None of above
  7. Correct Statements about Caffeine
    1. Tea contains Tannin but Not Caffeine
    2. Caffeine protects the plant from herbivores
    3. Both
    4. None
  8. Correct Statements
    1. India is self-reliant in the production of Potash fertilizers
    2. Citrus greening is a method of improving yield in commercial plantations of oranges.
    3. Both
    4. None
  9. Silage is a
    1. biofertilizer
    2. biopesticide
    3. Animal fodder
    4. Weed
  10. Correct Statements about Silage
    1. It contains Low Moisture content.
    2. It can be fed to sheep and goats but not to cattle.
    3. It is made up from grass, maize, sorghum or other cereals using the entire green plant.
    4. None of Above
  11. systematic rice intensification method involves
    1. Planting seedlings in narrow spacing, to improve per hectre yield.
    2. Intensive use of fertilizer and pesticides
    3. Taking measures to make the soil anoxic.
    4. None of Above
  12. High Density planting is a technique primarily meant for
    1. cotton
    2. wheat
    3. rice
    4. fruit plantations
  13. Correct Statements
    1. Arabian sea is less salty than Bay of Bengal.
    2. El Nino Modoki is considered to be responsible for supressing cyclone formation in Arabian sea
    3. Both
    4. None
  14. Correct Statements
    1. The Descending limb of walker cell promotes cyclone formation
    2. The Heating of Tibetan plateu promotes monsoon
    3. Both
    4. None
  15. Incorrect Statement about Insect blood
    1. doesn’t makes direct contact with organs and tissues.
    2. doesn’t transport oxygen
    3. Both
    4. None
  16. Why are the young leaves in Mango trees are red colored?
    1. To protect the leaves from herbivores
    2. To protect the leaves from UV radiation
    3. Both
    4. None
  17. Incorrect Statements
    1. Extra Galactic background light oncludes visible, radio, ultraviolet wavelengths
    2. Black Holes are formed when heavy stars exhaust all their hydrogen and collapse under their own weight.
    3. During the “Saturn Opposition” phenomenon, the distance between earth and Saturn is maximum.
    4. None of above
  18. Why do Fast breeder reactors use liquid sodium?
    1. As Catalyst for the nuclear reaction
    2. As Neutron moderator for the nuclear reaction
    3. As a coolant to extract hear from the core.
    4. None of Above
  19. What is CMOS?
    1. complementary micro processing operating system
    2. Complementary metal-oxide semiconductor
    3. Conductor Microprocessor Onboard System
    4. None of Above
  20. Which of the following can completely repair its eye parts by itself?
    1. Male spiders of the Micaria sociabilis species
    2. Salamander
    3. Black widow spider
    4. None of Above

General Studies (Mains) Paper 1

Write a note on following (10 marks)

  1. El Nino Modoki
  2. El Nino-Southern Oscillation
  3. Walker cells
  4. Polymetalic nodules

General Studies (Mains) Paper 3


  1. Write the benefits of following (5 marks each)
    1. KMB biofertilizer
    2. Farm Ponds
    3. Silage
    4. E-Velanmai
    5. High Density Planting
  2. Explain the Systematic rice intensification method. (10m)
  3. Write a note on Ornamental fish farming in India. (10m)


  1. Write the benefits of following (5 marks each)
    1. Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC)
    2. Bhringaraj-extracted bio-compatible gold nanoparticles
    3. 3Nethra
    4. Eye-PAC computing technology
    5. cholangioscope
    6. Double mastectomy
  2. 12 marks each
    1. Write a note on mechanism and applications of Monoclonal antibodies.
    2. What are the applications of Nanotechnology in medical treatment?
    3. Make a list of preventive measures necessary for an influenza pandemic.
  3. 15 marks each
    1. What do you understand by Gene Patenting? Should India permit or prohibit Gene Patenting? List the points to justify your stand.
    2. Write a note on the Role of private sector to improve healthcare in rural India. (btw, this question belongs to Paper II>social sector>health)


  1. 5 marks each
    1. Sagar Nidhi
    2. GSLV MK3
    3. Antares Rocket
    4. Cartosat-3
    5. Herschel space observatory
    6. Graphene
    7. Quantam Computer
    8. CMOS
  2. Milestone achievements of ISRO during 2012 and 2013. (10 marks)

For more on science-tech, visit Mrunal.org/snt