Monthly Archives: May 2015

Creating a mini sun on the earth: ITER

Of all kinds of energies, the heat energy is most disorganised. This is because heat energy is the reflection of speeds and collisions of the atoms. Third law of thermodynamics states that entropy of universe is always increasing. Since entropy of a system is the measure of randomness or chaos, this means all kinds of energies when used for doing useful work waste a part in the form of heat energy.

Most of the stars are made of hydrogen. It is the fuel that they burn everyday to produced light and heat. Hydrogen atoms exist in 3 forms called isotopes namely H, D and T called hydrogen, deturium and tritium. Hydrogen contains 1 proton and 1 electron and is the simplest of all atoms found in the nature. Deturium contain 1 proton and 1 neutron in the nucleus and 1 electron on the orbit. Tritium nucleus contains 1 proton and 2 neutrons and 1 orbiting electron. The abundance of deturium and tritium atoms is very low on the surface if the earth. Also the tritium atoms are radioactive. 

Chemical reactions occur using only the electrons present in the outer shells through exchange. This process of combining atoms into molecules involves very small energies. Since in nature every thing tends to settle down to state of lowest energy, it means when these molecules are formed energy is liberated. We know most of the elements on the earth are found in the form of ores which are stable forms. 

There are other reactions which involve changes in the nucleus. In these reactions the atom of given element transmutes altogether into another   atom and tremendous amount of energy is liberated. The atoms which have very heavy nuclii are prone to disintegration. Such type of reactions are called Fission reactions. 

There is yet another category of reactions in atoms combine to form bigger atoms and release of energies. Such reactions start with lighter elements most prominently Hydrogen and its isotopes. These reactions are called Fusion reactions. Fusion reactions are source of energy liberated by the stars including our own Sun. 

Nucleus of atom is very compact as compared to the size of atom. Protons which reside in the nucleus along with neutrons must overcome the forces of repulsion to be confined into such a tiny space. There is a energy which is called binding energy which results from the continuous exchanges between protons and neutron through other fundamental particles.

Similarly for such atoms to fuse require that repulsion is overcome. Atoms as we know are in constant motion with spread of different speeds which follows Boltzmann distribution. As said earlier, the speeds increase as the temperature is increased. Then they collide with each with more force and a stage is reached when they overcome the repulsion and fuse into a single entity. 

In the Sun’s core temperatures reach  never to 15,000,000° Celsius. Hydrogen atoms are in a constant state of agitation, colliding at very great speeds. The natural electrostatic repulsion that exists between the positive charges of their nuclei is overcome, and the atoms fuse. The fusion of light hydrogen atoms (H-H) produces a heavier element, helium.

Mass and energy are the same identities. Mass can be converted into energy and we see the examples everyday in our lives. Reverse is also true and since lots of energy is condensed to turn it into mass, so lots of energy is liberated by a very small of mass. Einstein gave us a very compact beautiful equation of energy mass equivalence. 


Since c which is speed of light and highest possible speed with a value of 300000000 meters/sec, squaring it results in enormous number. So even if mass is small, energy obtained is phenomenal. This is explained of law of conservation of mass. In any reaction, mass and energy cannot be destroyed or created. This means the mass of all the reactants should be equal to the mass of all the products. 

It so happens that the final mass of products is smaller than the starting mass of the reactants. Take for example the following fusion reaction in which 1 atom of deturium combines with 1 atom of tritium to form 1 atom of Helium and 1 neutron. The reaction is written as follows.

3H1+2H1 = 4He2 + 1n0

Masses of some elements and neutron are given below in kilograms. 

particle {}_0^1 {\rm{n}} {}_{92}^{235} {\rm{U}} {}_{37}^{93} {\rm{Rb}} {}_{55}^{141} {\rm{Cs}} {}_1^3 {\rm{H}} {}_1^2 {\rm{H}} {}_2^4 {\rm{He}}
mass (x 10-27 kg) 1.675 390.173 154.248 233.927 5.007 3.343 6.645

Since 10-27 kg is common to all, let’s keep it out for later use and do the arithmetic with given values. 

Mass of the reactants

= (5.007 + 3.343) =8.350 

Mass of products

=(6.645 + 1.675) =8.320

So the mass lost =(8.350 -8.320)= 0. 030 x 10-27 Kgs 

So this loss of mass results in the creation of equivalent amout of energy. Using the formula of Einstein we get,

E =0. 030 x 10-27 x(3×108)2=0.27×10-11 joules= 17.1 MeV 

This is the energy  which is generated by 1 atom of deturium and 1 atom of tritium. 1 gram of this fuel will yield energy which is sufficient to heat 9.8 cubic meters of water from 0 degree Celsius to 100 degree Celsius.

Our sun produces the light and heat by burning every second 600 million tons of hydrogen into helium, releasing an enormous amount of energy. But without the benefit of gravitational forces at work in our Universe, achieving fusion on Earth has required a different approach.

At such high temperatures as are inside the sun, atoms are ionised and all the matter exists in the form of plasma or the charged ions gas. Due to enormous gravitation pull whole mass remains constrained and does not disintegrate away.

Now scientists of many countries like France, USA, Russia, India and European countries have pooled resources to create a mini sun on the earth and this project is going on in France. It is called ITER (originally an acronym of International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor and Latin for “the way”) is an international venture. To stimulate the internal conditions existing inside the sun on the earth reactor, temperature has to be 10 times that of sun. Most crucial step is to contain the plasma because of the absence of sun like enormous gravitation force. In this reactor, the plasma will be contained in a container but will not touch the container walls. This container is very high magnetic field which will force the ions to move inside the walls without touching them.

When this project will become successful, it will open the way to provide the world with much needed energy. This energy will be non polluting and clean with no hazardous emissions like fossil fuels.


Piling on weight at workplace

Redshift Research conducted a study on the employees in workplace and found out that in general, employees tend to put on weight after joining the job. These findings can be useful to employers to take steps to provide facilities at workplace like breaks in work schedule for a walk or light exercises and giving the employees passes to gymnasium. The deterioration in physical health affects the mental wellbeing also which results in reduced output both in quality and quantity. Investment by employers can go a long way in terms of fitness of employees and in return quality and quantity work output from employees.
Major contributing factors to this problems have been identified as follows :
1. Sitting at the desk most of the day.
2. Eating because of work stress.
3. Having to skip meals because of time constraints.
4. Too tired from work to exercise.
5. Celebrations at workplace.
6. Pressure to eat food brought by coworkers.
7. No time to exercise before and after work hours.
8. Temptation of the biscuit cans in the office table.
9. Frequently eating out.
10. Happy hours.

MD of CarrierBuilder India says,
“Work related stress, lack of sleep and overly packed schedules can often get in the way of healthy eating and exercise habits. Poor physical health can also take a toll on mental health and work quality. So it is important for workers to stay active, even if it just means taking small breaks throughout the day to walk around or stretch”

10 Common Tech Myths

Much of information available on the internet is not exactly true. Putting information on the Internet is easy. Some information is deliberately spread by the vested interests to sell their products.

In case of smart gadgets like mobile phones, tablets and personal computers which are common and most popular and owned by most people also many myths about viruses, battery and chargers and data security are commonplace. Here are some myths.

  1. Mac computers are immune from viruses: This claim by Apple was debunked when a Trojan virus affected thousands MacBooks in 2012. 
  2. Private/incognito browsing keeps you anonymous: this kind of browsing can keep your browsing secret from the users on same machine. Your IP address is completely known to the sites you visit as well as your Internet Service Providet (ISP).
  3. Leaving your phone plugged destroys its battery: Batteries used in modern smartphones are lithium based and as soon as the charging is complete, the charging process is stopped.
  4. Charge batteries only when drained: The batteries become weak and require frequent charging if they have already used many charge cycles. It happens with time. 
  5. More megapixels always mean a better camera: Quality of image depends on how much light the sensor picks up. Bigger sensors have bigger pixels which absorb more light. Hence it is not the number of pixels but the size that matters.
  6. Higher display resolution is better on smartphone: Research has shown that human eye cannot discern the finer details if the display packs more than 300 pixels per inch. This means the ability to see the finer details are limited up to this density. Many smartphones like iPhone tend to focus on brightness rather than pixel density.
  7. iPad charger should not be used to charge iPhone: It is bad to use it on the regular basis but if there are circumstances you have no choice, there is no problem. If it goes on for a year at least, the effect on battery will be discernible.
  8. You should not shut down your PC everyday: Shutting down saves power as well as the stress on different components of your computer.
  9. A magnet can erase data from hard drive: It really requires a extra strong magnetic field to scramble and erase the stored data on the hard drive.
  10. More signal bars guarantee more cell service: The signal bars or tower lines only indicate how close you are to the cell tower. The real speed or service depends on the number of users using this tower.

Cactus Garden in Panchkula Haryana India


Panchkula in Haryana India is a part of what is called Tricity. Tricity is Chandigarh, the capital of Punjab and Haryana and also a union territory. The adjacent areas of Chandigarh were developed following the pattern of Chandigarh. So there is Mohali in Punjab and Panchkula in Haryana adjoining the Chandigarh. These three comprise the Tricity.

There are many attractions both natural, historical, religious and man made in the tricity. One of these is Cactus Garden located in Sector 5, of Panchkula. It is Asia’s biggest garden devoted to rare and endangered species of Indian succulents, was named after its founder Dr J S Sarkaria.

The Cactus Garden is a regional collection of cacti grouped by growth forms and specific genera. While walking through the garden you will be able to view dozens of species. Popular groups are Opuntias (prickly pears and chollas), Ferocactus (barrels), other succulents include Agaves, Columnar cacti, Echinocereus (hedgehogs), and Mammillarias (pincushions). There are beautiful adenium plants also called desert roses which bear numerous beautiful flowers.

There are lawns, fountain and shady trees thoughtfully placed around the periphery of the garden. In short the garden is very lovely. It is just opposite the market where one can have meals, snacks and there are big showrooms of major companies.

The majority of cactus species are pollinated by numerous species of bees, a number of which specialize in cacti. Cactus bees are all solitary, but in some species the females congregate by hundreds of thousands at nesting sites to dig their individual nest burrows, which are densely concentrated in an area of a few thousand square feet. Cactus pollen is packed into these burrows to feed the grubs, which the parents do not tend. Some cacti are pollinated by birds, moths, or bats.

Here are some pictures we took in the garden.

Desires unfullfilled due to religious bigotry 

Guru Nanak, the first Guru and founder of Sikh religion, had two constant companions namely Bala and Mardana. Mardana played Rabab while Guru sang. He was a Muslim. Guru preached to the world love, compassion, and communal harmony. He also enlightened the people about the falsehood spread by some religious groups both Muslims and Hindus. It was all based on solid logic and illustrated through simple examples.

Mardana playing Rabab (illustration)

The future generations of Mardana remained attached to the succeeding Gurus of Sikhs. Of them was Bhai Ghulam Mohammad Chand, who lived in Lahore Pakistan and breathed his last on 29th April 2015 after illness.

Although he died with one unfulfilled desire. It was to recite kirtan in the Golden Temple at Amritsar. His request in 2008  was declined by Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) on the grounds that he was not a Sikh who was not baptized a rule that was enacted in 1947.

He has performed Kirtans in many Gurudwaras both in Pakistan and abroad. He was the sixth generation of Bhai Sadha and Bhai Madha, who sang during the lifetimes of ninth and tenth Guru Teg Bahadur and Guru Gobind Singh.

His father Bhai Sunder Giani was one of the last rababis to perform in Darbar Sahib (Golden Temple) before 1947. Navtej Kaur Purewal, deputy director, South Asia Institute, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London also sponsored Ghulam Mohammad’s historic visit to the UK in 2011 and also wrote a research paper on the History of the Rababi Tradition of Shabad Kirtan.

Born in Rajasansi village near Amritsar in 1927, Bhai Ghulam Mohammad had migrated to Pakistan.

bhai chand

Bhai Ghulam Mohammad Chand

England-based Punjabi writer Amarjit Chandan, said, “Bhai Ghulam virtually died the day he was not allowed to perform kirtan in Darbar Sahib in 2008 for not being an `Amritdhari’. They didn’t know his forefather Bhai Mardana was not one either. But he was Baba Nanak’s true and first Sikh, his lifelong companion and rababi.“

Such was the pain that he carried after the refusal to perform kirtan in the Darbar Sahib that in an interview with Purewal in 2011, he said, “Who bothered to ask whether we were Gursikh (baptized Sikhs) in those days (in the days of Gurus)? Were my ancestors Gursikhs? Did they wear the `dastaar’ (turban) and show the signs of being a Sikh? No. But that never stopped them from having a passion for music and their work… Those people (the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee that manage gurdwaras in Punjab) have a short vision…“

You can listen to his shabad kirtan from the youtube links below

Bhini Rainarie

 Aawal Alla Noor Upaye