Monday, 13 November 2017

Don't get hacked! Time to get serious about password safety

Top tips for locking down your online security

We all know hiding your house key under the doormat is a terrible idea, but we do it anyway because it's a convenient backup. When it comes to safeguarding passwords, especially in a family setting, people often choose convenience over safety.

As families manage their digital information and online accounts, many end up opting for that less secure key-under-the-doormat solution. People are already sharing passwords, and their methods of sharing are not always the best. Some 41 percent of adults with online accounts admit to sharing passwords with friends and family, according to a Cybersecurity survey by Pew Research Center. Yet, 90.8 percent of respondents say they know that having strong passwords helps them better protect their families.

Consider the number of security breaches that continue to make national news:

* In 2016, we learned the Yahoo data breach compromised 1 billion accounts.
* In that same month, we learned 167 million email addresses and passwords were stolen from LinkedIn.

* In September 2017, a security breach at Equifax was reported, exposing Social Security numbers and other personal data of 143 million users, which is nearly half the U.S. population.

Now more than ever, it's clear how important it is to protect our personal information online. According to a Verizon 2017 Data Breach Investigations Report, 81 percent of data breaches involve weak, reused or stolen credentials. That's significantly higher than the 63 percent it was in 2016.

"If you were to dig into the reasons behind these repeated, overly simple, shared passwords, it's actually pretty understandable as to how this happens," according to LastPass Senior Director of Product, Steve Schult. "The average person has some 200-plus logins. If you were to give each its own strong, unique password, that's way too many for one person to keep track of and remember, let alone all the other family members that might also use some of those accounts."

But there's no need to trade security for the convenience of digital access. With a password manager designed for individual or family use, you can create those strong passwords for all the accounts you and your family use, and store them within a secure vault that's accessed by a single master password only you know. These digital lockboxes protect your information under multiple layers of security, making it impossible for digital thieves to hack and access.

If you're debating whether to make the switch to a digital password manager, here's a few ways it can improve your family's online security and help stop the struggle with passwords.

Create rock-solid passwords: Most password managers offer a secure password generator that allows you to set and create a long, strong and unique password for every online account. You can create a password up to 100 characters long, including numbers and symbols. Another way to do it is by using the "passphrase" approach, meaning string together words that create a phrase. Be sure to steer clear of birthdays, anniversaries, street names and other specific personal details that can be found through a simple social media search.

Secure more than just passwords: There's an endless number of passwords and sensitive information you can store in your password manager, including banking logins, passport and license numbers, shopping accounts, email and social media passwords and more. By storing all of this information in your secure vault, you'll always have access to the information whenever and wherever you may need it.

Safely share passwords with family members: One benefit of a password manager that's designed for family use is that it lets you safely and conveniently store passwords and valuable documents in folders for flexible sharing with others in the family. LastPass Families includes unlimited shared folders, which means you can create multiple folders and store an endless number of passwords and share with those in your family. For example, you could put your banking account password into one folder and share access with your spouse, have another folder for your favorite streaming services and securely share access with the whole family. All the while, you can keep your personal accounts private.

Use it as a teaching moment: Have a talk with your family about how passwords are the keys to our digital lives, and how good password habits help protect everything from personal details to finances. Show them how to build a good password, and how tools like a password manager can create a safe way to access and share accounts. It's an important life skill that will help them protect themselves for years to come.

Plan for the digital afterlife: When there's a death or serious emergency, it turns out that laws, along with service agreements, can block your family from getting access to your online accounts. With a password manager that allows emergency access, family members can get into your password vault and have access to whatever they need.

Friday, 3 November 2017

Mars study yields clues to possible cradle of life



The discovery of evidence for ancient sea-floor hydrothermal deposits on Mars identifies an area on the planet that may offer clues about the origin of life on Earth.

A recent international report examines observations by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) of massive deposits in a basin on southern Mars. The authors interpret the data as evidence that these deposits were formed by heated water from a volcanically active part of the planet's crust entering the bottom of a large sea long ago.

"Even if we never find evidence that there's been life on Mars, this site can tell us about the type of environment where life may have begun on Earth," said Paul Niles of NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston. "Volcanic activity combined with standing water provided conditions that were likely similar to conditions that existed on Earth at about the same time -- when early life was evolving here."

Mars today has neither standing water nor volcanic activity. Researchers estimate an age of about 3.7 billion years for the Martian deposits attributed to seafloor hydrothermal activity. Undersea hydrothermal conditions on Earth at about that same time are a strong candidate for where and when life on Earth began. Earth still has such conditions, where many forms of life thrive on chemical energy extracted from rocks, without sunlight. But due to Earth's active crust, our planet holds little direct geological evidence preserved from the time when life began. The possibility of undersea hydrothermal activity inside icy moons such as Europa at Jupiter and Enceladus at Saturn feeds interest in them as destinations in the quest to find extraterrestrial life.

Observations by MRO's Compact Reconnaissance Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) provided the data for identifying minerals in massive deposits within Mars' Eridania basin, which lies in a region with some of the Red Planet's most ancient exposed crust.

"This site gives us a compelling story for a deep, long-lived sea and a deep-sea hydrothermal environment," Niles said. "It is evocative of the deep-sea hydrothermal environments on Earth, similar to environments where life might be found on other worlds -- life that doesn't need a nice atmosphere or temperate surface, but just rocks, heat and water."

Niles co-authored the recent report in the journal Nature Communications with lead author Joseph Michalski, who began the analysis while at the Natural History Museum, London, and co-authors at the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona, and the Natural History Museum.

The researchers estimate the ancient Eridania sea held about 50,000 cubic miles (210,000 cubic kilometers) of water. That is as much as all other lakes and seas on ancient Mars combined and about nine times more than the combined volume of all of North America's Great Lakes. The mix of minerals identified from the spectrometer data, including serpentine, talc and carbonate, and the shape and texture of the thick bedrock layers, led to identifying possible seafloor hydrothermal deposits. The area has lava flows that post-date the disappearance of the sea. The researchers cite these as evidence that this is an area of Mars' crust with a volcanic susceptibility that also could have produced effects earlier, when the sea was present.

The new work adds to the diversity of types of wet environments for which evidence exists on Mars, including rivers, lakes, deltas, seas, hot springs, groundwater, and volcanic eruptions beneath ice.

"Ancient, deep-water hydrothermal deposits in Eridania basin represent a new category of astrobiological target on Mars," the report states. It also says, "Eridania seafloor deposits are not only of interest for Mars exploration, they represent a window into early Earth." That is because the earliest evidence of life on Earth comes from seafloor deposits of similar origin and age, but the geological record of those early-Earth environments is poorly preserved.

Monday, 23 October 2017

5 secrets of success: Traits to help you live without fear and reach your full potential

Do you ever wonder what's holding you back? A lot of people have all the skills and opportunities they need to reach their personal and professional goals, yet they fail to truly succeed.

In reality, the path to success isn't so clear, and when you add fear and doubt into the mix, it's easy to lose drive. Smart entrepreneurs know that success is more than just raw ability; it comes from having certain traits and staying dedicated through all the highs and lows of the journey.
Connie Tang is the perfect example of someone who's harnessed fear, set difficult goals and reached success throughout her life. Born in Hong Kong and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Tang became the first woman president and CEO of Princess House, a premier direct selling company of unique and exclusive cookware, food storage and home and entertainment products. Throughout her career she's learned to be strategic, intentional and resilient.

Her book, "Fearless Living: 8 Life-Changing Values for Breakthrough Success," offers insight into specific traits that, when put into practice, will enable anyone to navigate through virtually any business or personal situation with grace and without fear.

Tang shares some of the most important aspects of those traits to help people reach their full potential:

Determination: Do what needs to be done even when you don't feel like doing it. One of the most crucial elements of determination is daily discipline. Set small, achievable goals for each day and set out to crush them. Do not procrastinate! Putting things off can snowball and cause you to become overwhelmed and lose focus.

Accountability: Own and take full responsibility for your decisions, your actions and your results - good, bad or ugly. Don't play the blame game or the victim card. Understand that you can rise above your circumstances and demonstrate ownership in order to achieve the results you want.

Drive for results: Equip yourself to do whatever it takes to achieve your goals. Put together a plan of action and allow it to become a living document, referencing it often. Execute daily action to make your goals a reality. When things change or don't go as planned, be agile and resilient. Seek solutions and be a problem-solver.

Passion: Passion is often sparked by something you've experienced or maybe something you've heard or read. It rises up from deep within to becoming a driving force in your life. Let your passion rage like a fire. It's one of the most important elements of success, and when it's truly present, work rarely feels like work.

Collaboration: You can't do it alone. You must collaborate and come together with others to bring projects and strategic initiatives to fruition. Successful outcomes are easier when it's a team effort. Collaboration allows you to maximize the knowledge and expertise of the people around you, which can be incredibly satisfying.

Want to learn more about these traits and others? You can visit Tang's website at www.8fearlessvalues.com. The website also includes an opportunity to join the Fearless Living movement and receive a free fearless bracelet. The book is available for purchase on Amazon and other websites.

Monday, 16 October 2017

A refreshing inside story

“At the core, Hit Refresh is about us humans and the unique quality we call empathy, which will become ever more valuable in a world where the torrent of technology will disrupt the status quo like never before, " says Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft, in his latest book Hit Refresh.

Microsoft’s CEO tells the inside story of the company’s continuing transformation, tracing his own personal journey from a childhood in India to leading some of the most significant technological changes in the digital era. Satya Nadella explores a fascinating childhood before immigrating to the U.S. and how he learned to lead along the way. He then shares his meditations as a sitting CEO—one who is mostly unknown following the brainy Bill Gates and energetic Steve Ballmer.

He reveals how a company rediscovered its soul—transforming everything from culture to their fiercely competitive landscape and industry partnerships. As much a humanist as engineer and executive, Nadella concludes with his vision for the coming wave of technology and by exploring the potential impact to society and delivering call to action for world leaders.

“Ideas excite me,” Nadella explains. “Empathy grounds and centers me.” Hit Refresh is a set of reflections, meditations, and recommendations presented as algorithms from a principled, deliberative leader searching for improvement—for himself, for a storied company, and for society.

The foreword has been penned by Microsoft's legendary founder Bill Gates. "Satya has a lot of interesting things to say about the transformation of both Microsoft and the tech industry at large. I’ve benefitted from his insights for decades, and I’m glad everyone else will now have the same opportunity to learn from him."

Read the foreword from Gates

I’ve known Satya Nadella for more than twenty years. I got to know him in the mid-nineties, when I was CEO of Microsoft and he was working on our server software, which was just taking off at the time. We took a long-term approach to building the business, which had two benefits: It gave the company another growth engine, and it fostered many of the new leaders who run Microsoft today, including Satya.

Later I worked really intensely with him when he moved over to run our efforts to build a world-class search engine. We had fallen behind Google, and our original search team had moved on. Satya was part of the group that came in to turn things around. He was humble, forward-looking, and pragmatic. He raised smart questions about our strategy. And he worked well with the hardcore engineers.

So it was no surprise to me that once Satya became Microsoft’s CEO, he immediately put his mark on the company. As the title of this book implies, he didn’t completely break with the past—when you hit refresh on your browser, some of what’s on the page stays the same. But under Satya’s leadership, Microsoft has been able to transition away from a purely Windows-centric approach. He led the adoption of a bold new mission for the company. He is part of a constant conversation, reaching out to customers, top researchers, and executives. And, most crucially, he is making big bets on a few key technologies, like artificial intelligence and cloud computing, where Microsoft will differentiate itself.

It is a smart approach not just for Microsoft, but for any company that wants to succeed in the digital age. The computing industry has never been more complex. Today lots of big companies besides Microsoft are doing innovative work—Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and others. There are cutting-edge users all around the world, not just in the United States. The PC is no longer the only computing device, or even the main one, that most users interact with.

Despite all this rapid change in the computing industry, we are still at the beginning of the digital revolution. Take artificial intelligence (AI) as an example. Think of all the time we spend manually organizing and performing mundane activities, from scheduling meetings to paying the bills. In the future, an AI agent will know that you are at work and have ten minutes free, and then help you accomplish something that is high on your to-do list. AI is on the verge of making our lives more productive and creative.

Innovation will improve many other areas of life too. It’s the biggest piece of my work with the Gates Foundation, which is focused on reducing the world’s worst inequities. Digital tracking tools and genetic sequencing are helping us get achingly close to eradicating polio, which would be just the second human disease ever wiped out. In Kenya, Tanzania, and other countries, digital money is letting low-income users save, borrow, and transfer funds like never before. In classrooms across the United States, personalized-learning software allows students to move at their own pace and zero in on the skills they most need to improve.

Of course, with every new technology, there are challenges. How do we help people whose jobs are replaced by AI agents and robots? Will users trust their AI agent with all their information?


If an agent could advise you on your work style, would you want it to?

That is what makes books like Hit Refresh so valuable. Satya has charted a course for making the most of the opportunities created by technology while also facing up to the hard questions. And he offers his own fascinating personal story, more literary quotations than you might expect, and even a few lessons from his beloved game of cricket.

We should all be optimistic about what’s to come. The world is getting better, and progress is coming faster than ever. This book is a thoughtful guide to an exciting, challenging future.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

5 food trends impacting what, and how, we eat

Today's consumers market view their food choices with a more critical eye than ever before, and this pressure is placing higher expectations on food manufacturers, not only in terms of how consumers' food is made but what it's made from, where it's sourced and how it's delivered.

To discuss these topics and more, investors, scientists and food makers recently gathered at the Future of Food Tech summit in New York City to talk about what's behind the trends in food innovation and investment. Of all the topics discussed at the summit, these five key takeaways stood out the most.

1. Personalization is key

From meal delivery services that customize meals for dietary needs to companies that create products tailored to an individual's health, there's no one-size-fits-all when it comes to food. In fact, today's consumers are starting a movement toward personalization, which in turn is changing the way people shop. "The food industry is getting closer to the consumer," says Raven Kropf, director of emerging customers with Cargill's protein business.

2. Ethical production matters

Consumers continue to seek products that align with their values and are responsibly produced. The same goes for investors looking to participate in the food industry. In fact, many investors today are choosing projects based on ideology and a drive toward ethical food consumption.

3. There's growing interest in alternative proteins

A burger made entirely from lab-cultured meat and sushi made from eggplant are just two of the innovations showcased at the summit. "There's a lot of excitement around alternative sources of protein, but consumer acceptance is key," said Dominique Harris, business development adviser for Cargill's protein business. "We want to provide what consumers want, and in protein that means offering a variety of options. It doesn't have to be either/or."

4. Consumers want to know where their food comes from

Imagine being able to trace any food product back to the field or the animal from which it came. That's the potential promise of blockchain technology, which could essentially create a digitalized traceability system for food. From supply chain management to food safety, the potential for this technology is nearly limitless.

5. Food start-ups are on the rise

As more entrepreneurs get into the food business, they're looking for investors of all kinds. Likewise, traditional consumer packaged goods companies and ingredient suppliers are keeping their eyes on the newcomers for opportunities to connect. "I would encourage start-ups to seek out strategic partners in the food industry," said Chris Mallett, corporate vice president of research and development at Cargill. "Together we can create and sustain a healthy ecosystem for innovation in the industry."

These five trends are grabbing 2017 by storm. As the calendar rolls toward 2018, it will be interesting to see what the future of food has in store.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Feeling stressed? Have some salt

Stress. No one wants it, but we all experience it from time to time. Higher levels of stress can cause problems at work and at home. But stress is not just hard on your mental well-being; it is also hard on your body and can lead to many negative health outcomes.

Stress levels can also increase significantly when economic times are tough. In England, the British Health and Social Care Information Centre found that stress had increased by 47 percent during that country's recession and that stress was the single biggest cause of sickness in the UK, affecting 20 percent of the population. Professor Cary Cooper of Lancaster University, an expert on stress, was alarmed and told The Independent, "I have never seen figures like this before. Stress is a trigger mechanism for a whole range of conditions, from heart attacks to immune system disorders, mental illness and depression and anxiety."

Everyone is familiar with comfort foods, but the key comfort foods that have been shown to actually reduce stress all contain salt. Stress is characterized in the human body by high levels of the hormone cortisol, referred to as the "stress hormone." Scientific research has shown, in animals and in humans, that increased levels of salt consumption are effective in reducing levels of cortisol.

Research from the University of Haifa, published in the science journal Appetite, confirmed the relationship between salt and stress in humans. Researchers found an inverse correlation between salt and depression/stress, especially in women. Craving salty foods may very well be a biological defense mechanism we evolved to cope with daily stress.

The researchers reviewed data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) using 10,000 individuals and demonstrated that depression and stress were higher in individuals who consumed less salt, a trend more prevalent in women than men. They noted that the relationship of higher depression with lower salt intake in humans was consistent with the results of other animal studies. They also found that young people, up to the age of 19, selectively choose foods that are higher in salt, indicating a natural feedback mechanism driving them to consume higher salt foods and rewarding them with more vigorous growth.

Other good stress-relieving tips include getting a good night's sleep and taking time off to focus on relaxation and regular exercise, which has added health benefits. Of course, with exercise, another benefit of salt becomes apparent, as this vital nutrient is necessary to remain properly hydrated and healthy. When you sweat, you lose not just water but also electrolytes (including sodium) which need to be replenished.

The fact remains that whether they are called comfort foods or mood stabilizers, research indicates salty foods are effective at making us feel better and reducing our heightened stress levels, a common condition in today's ever-changing world. So, the next time you finish a stressful day and want to wind down and relax, don't be surprised if you instinctively reach for a salty snack.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Getting to the truth behind news sources

We need help understanding the source and the truth behind news media, says Kelly Walsh, the brain behind EmergingEdTech, a weblog he runs to interact with a worldwide community of other educators and technologists. Here's an interesting article from him.

For centuries, it has been important for people to realize that “news” is often delivered with a specific agenda in mind and to have an eye open for that. Here in the early decades of the 21st century, our web-enabled, media-drenched, smartphone-tapping lifestyles add more layers of obfuscation … too much, too fast, with too little effort to understand what we are sharing or “reporting”. Top all of that off with an American President who has a rather bizarre relationship with the media and the truth, and you have a real formula for fogginess and “news” fatigue.

We are losing our connection with, and perhaps even our respect for, real information, from genuine, unbiased sources.

We need to try and make sure that our students can understand what lies between the tremendous volume of media many consume every day and the actual truth and intent of a news items. I think that having an understanding of these “layers” can go a long way towards opening students' eyes and minds.

Layer 1: Social Media

Often, the first we may hear of some new event or announcement may come to us through social media. This article, “Information Wars: A Window into the Alternative Media Ecosystem” by Kate Starbird, Asst. Professor of Human Centered Design & Engineering at the University of Wisconsin, provides an in-depth look at how social media is often used by non-mainstream media sources to drive alternative narratives.

Social media is a powerful platform for spreading misinformation, twisting the truth, and promoting an agenda. It is rarely a primary source of original reporting. Of course, there certainly can be original content published on blogs or reported via YouTube, but far more often, social media is used to rebroadcast content (with or without a “spin”). If your first awareness of some new information comes via social media, dig deeper to try to identify and understand the source.

Layer 2: Sponsored Content

Next on the list of scourges that cloud our perceptions of what is or is not news is the ever-growing use of sponsored content. Yes, organizations, even legitimate news organizations, need the income from these sources to help keep the lights on, but I wish many would try a little harder to differentiate sponsored content from other content.

Most major news outlets do this sort of thing now. Perhaps it is just a necessity of today's business environment for news publishers, which makes it a necessity for us as readers (and teachers) to keep an eye out to differentiation news from what are essentially just ads.

Layer 3: Syndicated and Recycled Content

News agencies like The Associated Press have been supplying news to publishers for decades, and that's fine. We just need to be attuned to it. It is interesting to note that sometimes this results in “left leaning” publications publishing “right leaning” content and vice-versa. (Well maybe that's one way of achieving some sort of balance.)

A similar “syndication” that has grown rapidly thanks to shrinking news budgets and the ease with which anyone can publish via the web is the re-reporting of news items. We've all seen or heard the “as reported by …” news piece, wherein one newspaper or program reports something that they picked up from another news source. This is logical – if something new is reported that you think your audience should know about, then it should be shared. As long as it is labelled appropriately, with the source cited, it's perfectly okay. Unfortunately, sometimes the original source is not noted, and that is not good practice.

In any case, this is one more layer that exists between the original source of a news item those who consume the news.

Layer 4: The Original Source!

So, if we can drill down and peel away social media, sponsored content and “advertorials”, the tremendous amount of re-published content … somewhere under all of that we will find some original news sources. (Kind of leaves you wondering what percent of all of the media we see is original source content? 10%, 5%, less than 1%?!)

Layer 5: Underlying Agendas: Do the owners of the news outlet or the original source have an “agenda” that influenced the piece?

Okay, so we've found some original source news content. Perhaps an article a journalist wrote while researching a topic. There is still another set of questions to ask, which are similar in nature.

Did the journalist, or the organization he or she works for, have an agenda to push that may have influenced what was reported and how it was reported? For example, in my experience, many people believe that Fox News is conservative leaning and CNN in more liberal. Don't these “leanings” stand a good chance of influencing what they publish?

Lastly, there is the same consideration to be given to the sources in the story itself. We often hear about scientific studies that have been conducted, written up, and published (and maybe even peer reviewed). These studies are common sources for news items. But what, if anything, was the agenda driving the people who worked on those studies, the organizations they worked for, and/or the organizations or people who paid for those studies to be completed?

Of course, this is not to conclude that all news items are published with some alternative agenda, this is clearly not the case. Many news pieces are simply efforts to share something new someone learned or experienced. But having a sense of the many things that can cloud the picture and mislead can help students to differentiate real and “fake” or influenced news items.

Courtesy: EmergingEdTech

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Transformed by the Internet


In the last two decades, the Internet revolution has destroyed traditional ways of working but has also created entire industries with countless opportunities for innovation.

We take a quick look at 5 industries radically transformed by the Internet. According to marketing expert Douglas Karr, these five industries are music, retail, publishing, travel, and transport.


Let's start with music


With physical sales largely redundant and digital revenue growth slow, many high street music sellers are facing the music and artists are now finding additional revenue sources in live gigs and music festivals. The power has now shifted from big corporates to consumers and artists.

Retail

The convenience of online shopping where items can be searched for, purchased and delivered with just a few clicks of a mouse has to lead to the death of the high street, with beloved brands having faced cutbacks or liquidation including HMV, Woolworths, and Blockbuster. In UK, one in 4 pounds spent at Christmas on entertainment goods went to Amazon

Publishing

Physical book sales are down as the popularity of e-readers like the Amazon Kindle continues to grow. Traditional publishers dealing in books, newspapers or magazines, have had to find new efficiencies to avoid becoming obsolete. The internet has also enabled the growth of self-publishing, giving authors greater control.

Travel

Holidaymakers are now saying bon voyage to the travel agent because there's no need for a middle man when you can book flights and hotels online and organize activities once you've arrived using your smartphone. The internet has also rocked the hotel industry by allowing people to rent out their own accommodation. Airbnb gets more than 4 million guests in a year.

Transport

Traditional cab drivers are being pushed aside as mobile apps make it easier for consumers to book their next ride. The internet has also given rise to a number of digital companies focused on transport, whether it's apps helping people to get around a city or urban planners tracking the movements of vehicles. Uber is said to have earned over 26 billion dollars in 2016.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Two-faced 2-D material: flat sandwich of sulfur, molybdenum and selenium

Materials scientists at Rice University replace all the atoms on top of a three-layer, two-dimensional crystal to make a transition-metal dichalcogenide with sulfur, molybdenum, and selenium. The new material has unique electronic properties that may make it a suitable catalyst, says Mike Williams in an article written for Science Daily.

Hear the experts talk about trends like these and discoveries sweeping Chemistry at the 2-day lecture cum workshop on Aug 28 and 29. For details: bit.ly/2wPhqVy

Like a sandwich with wheat on the bottom and rye on the top, Rice University scientists have cooked up a tasty new twist on two-dimensional materials.



The Rice laboratory of materials scientist Jun Lou has made a semiconducting transition-metal dichalcogenide (TMD) that starts as a monolayer of molybdenum diselenide. They then strip the top layer of the lattice and replace precisely half the selenium atoms with sulfur.

The new material they call Janus sulfur molybdenum selenium (SMoSe) has a crystalline construction the researchers said can host an intrinsic electric field and that also shows promise for catalytic production of hydrogen.

The work is detailed this month in the American Chemical Society journal ACS Nano.

The two-faced material is technically two-dimensional, but like molybdenum diselenide, it consists of three stacked layers of atoms arranged in a grid. From the top, they look like hexagonal rings a la graphene, but from any other angle, the grid is more like a nanoscale jungle gym.

Tight control of the conditions in a typical chemical vapor deposition furnace -- 800 degrees Celsius (1,872 degrees Fahrenheit) at atmospheric pressure -- allowed the sulfur to interact with only the top layer of selenium atoms and leave the bottom untouched, the researchers said. If the temperature drifts above 850, all the selenium is replaced.

"Like the intercalation of many other molecules demonstrated to have the ability to diffuse into the layered materials, diffusion of gaseous sulfur molecules in between the layers of these Van der Waals crystals, as well as the space between them and the substrates, requires sufficient driving force," said Rice postdoctoral researcher Jing Zhang, co-lead author of the paper with graduate student Shuai Jia. "And the driving force in our experiments is controlled by the reaction temperature."

Close examination showed the presence of sulfur gave the material a larger band gap than molybdenum diselenide, the researchers said.

"This type of two-faced structure has long been predicted theoretically but very rarely realized in the 2-D research community," Lou said. "The break of symmetry in the out-of-plane direction of 2-D TMDs could lead to many applications, such as a basal-plane active 2-D catalyst, robust piezoelectricity-enabled sensors, and actuators at the 2-D limit."

He said preparation of the Janus material should be universal to layered materials with similar structures. "It will be quite interesting to look at the properties of the Janus configuration of other 2-D materials," Lou said.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Nanotechnology 101

Physicist Richard Feynman, the father of nanotechnology.
Does Nanotechnology excite you? To begin with, it is science, engineering, and technology conducted at the nanoscale, which is about 1 to 100 nanometers.

Physicist Richard Feynman is considered the father of nanotechnology. Nanoscience and nanotechnology are the study and application of extremely small things and can be used across all the other science fields, such as chemistry, biology, physics, materials science, and engineering.

The ideas and concepts behind nanoscience and nanotechnology started with a talk entitled “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom” by physicist Richard Feynman at an American Physical Society meeting at the California Institute of Technology (CalTech) on December 29, 1959, long before the term nanotechnology was used.

In his talk, Feynman described a process in which scientists would be able to manipulate and control individual atoms and molecules. Over a decade later, in his explorations of ultraprecision machining, Professor Norio Taniguchi coined the term nanotechnology.

It wasn't until 1981, with the development of the scanning tunneling microscope that could "see" individual atoms, that modern nanotechnology began.

Medieval stained glass windows are an example of how nanotechnology was used in the pre-modern era.

It’s hard to imagine just how small nanotechnology is. One nanometer is a billionth of a meter, or 10-9 of a meter. Here are a few illustrative examples:

There are 25,400,000 nanometers in an inch

A sheet of newspaper is about 100,000 nanometers thick

On a comparative scale, if a marble were a nanometer, then one meter would be the size of the Earth

Nanoscience and nanotechnology involve the ability to see and to control individual atoms and molecules. Everything on Earth is made up of atoms—the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the buildings and houses we live in, and our own bodies.

But something as small as an atom is impossible to see with the naked eye. In fact, it’s impossible to see with the microscopes typically used in a high school science classes. The microscopes needed to see things at the nanoscale were invented relatively recently—about 30 years ago.

Once scientists had the right tools, such as the scanning tunneling microscope (STM) and the atomic force microscope (AFM), the age of nanotechnology was born.

Although modern nanoscience and nanotechnology are quite new, nanoscale materials were used for centuries. Alternate-sized gold and silver particles created colors in the stained glass windows of medieval churches hundreds of years ago. The artists back then just didn’t know that the process they used to create these beautiful works of art actually led to changes in the composition of the materials they were working with.

Today's scientists and engineers are finding a wide variety of ways to deliberately make materials at the nanoscale to take advantage of their enhanced properties such as higher strength, lighter weight, increased control of light spectrum, and greater chemical reactivity than their larger-scale counterparts.

What's so special about nanoscale?

Nanoscale particles are not new in either nature or science. However, the recent leaps in areas such as microscopy have given scientists new tools to understand and take advantage of phenomena that occur naturally when matter is organized at the nanoscale.

In essence, these phenomena are based on "quantum effects" and other simple physical effects such as expanded surface area (more on these below). In addition, the fact that a majority of biological processes occur at the nanoscale gives scientists models and templates to imagine and construct new processes that can enhance their work in medicine, imaging, computing, printing, chemical catalysis, materials synthesis, and many other fields.

Nanotechnology is not simply working at ever smaller dimensions; rather, working at the nanoscale enables scientists to utilize the unique physical, chemical, mechanical, and optical properties of materials that naturally occur at that scale.

Monday, 31 July 2017

20 Surprising Facts About Warren Buffett

From buying his first stock at age 11 to having his face on Cherry Coke cans in China, these Warren Buffett facts might surprise you.

From using a Nokia flip phone to pledging 85 percent of his Berkshire Hathaway stocks to various charitable foundations, check out these 20 Warren Buffett facts that might surprise you.

1. He bought his first stock when he was 11-years-old.

While most 11-year-old boys were playing T-ball and reading comic books, Buffett bought stocks. In the spring of 1942, at 11-years-old, Buffett purchased shares of Cities Service Preferred for $38 a piece.

2. He made $53,000 by the age of 16.

Even since he was young, Buffett’s not only been tactful, but also an extremely hard worker. When his family moved to Omaha, Buffett delivered The Washington Post every morning and brought in about $175 a month (that’s more than most teachers made during that time).

He also pursued a few side gigs such as selling used golf balls and collector stamps. By the time he turned 16, he had amassed the equivalent of $53,000.

3. He was rejected from Harvard Business School.

After graduating from the University of Nebraska in three years, Buffett applied to Harvard Business School. But during a brief interview with the school that would determine his acceptance, the staff said to Buffett: “Forget it. You’re not going to Harvard.”

After much disappointment from the rejection, Buffett discovered that his idols Benjamin Graham (“the father of value investing”) and David Dodd were professors at Columbia Business School.

“I wrote them a letter in mid-August," Buffett shares. "I said, 'Dear Professor Dodd. I thought you guys were dead, but now that I found out that you're alive and teaching at Columbia, I would really like to come.' And he admitted me."


4. He eats like a 6-year-old.

Buffett’s secret to staying young? Coca-Cola and ice cream.

In an interview with Fortune, Buffett claimed he is “one quarter Coca-Cola” -- "If I eat 2,700 calories a day, a quarter of that is Coca-Cola. I drink at least five 12-ounce servings. I do it every day."

Sometimes for breakfast, he eats a can of Utz potato sticks (yes -- a can, not a bag) to accompany his soda. Other times he takes a sweeter approach and indulges in a bowl of ice cream to jump start his day.

When asked how he’s managed to stay healthy with such a salty and sugary diet, he said, "I checked the actuarial tables, and the lowest death rate is among 6-year-olds. So I decided to eat like a 6-year-old."

5. He’s lived in the same house since 1958.

When you think of a billionaire, you typically think of mansions, vacation homes and expensive cars. That’s never been the case for Buffett. (Perhaps that’s why we’re all so fascinated by him.)

Buffett has lived in the same Omaha house since 1958 that he originally bought for $31,500. The house is a simple five-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom house.

6. His father-in-law told him he would fail.

After proposing to his wife in 1951, Buffett’s father-in-law asked him to come over for a “talk.” Turns out, his father-in-law didn’t have much faith in Buffett and his plans for the future. In fact, he was adamant that Buffett would fail.

Buffett recalled the words from his father-in-law during an interview with CNBC: "I just want to absolve you from any worries. You're going to fail. And the reason you're going to fail -- my daughter may starve to death and you're going to fail, but I'm not going to blame you because it's because the Democrats are in and they're all Communists."

7. People will pay millions to have lunch with him.

Who wouldn’t want to have lunch with the Oracle of Omaha? Without a doubt, there’s a lot he could teach you. Some people are so eager to sit down with Buffett that they’ve bid up to $3.4 million to have lunch with him.

Since 2000, Buffett has held an annual fundraiser, auctioning off a charity lunch with him on eBay. In 2012 and 2016, people were so eager to sit down with Buffett they placed bids for more than $3.4 million. The money raised went to the San Francisco-based anti-poverty charity GLIDE, and the winner (who typically remains anonymous) gets to invite seven friends to lunch with Buffett at Smith and Wollensky steakhouse in New York City.

The auction has raised more than $20 million in total.

8. In 2013, Buffett earned $37 million a day.

By the end of 2013, Buffett had a net worth of $59 billion -- up from $46 billion at the beginning of the year. On average, Buffett made $37 million a day in 2013, which was fueled by rising stock prices.

9. Nearly 94 percent of his wealth was earned after he turned 60.

Success comes at any age. Although Buffett was extremely successful before the age of 60 -- his net worth was a noted $376 million when he was 52-years-old -- nearly 94 percent of his wealth came after he turned 60. At 60, he was worth more than $3.8 billion.

10. He’s never tweeted before.

Although Buffett has a Twitter account (@WarrenBuffett) with more than 1.25 million followers -- it only has nine published tweets, and it turns out none of them were written by him.

“I have this friend that talked me into getting a Twitter feed. She's put up a couple things. But, the answer is I've never tweeted anything really myself,” he told CNBC.

11. Buffett owns 20 suits, but has never paid for any.

Buffett owns close to 20 suits, all made by the same designer -- Madam Lee. There's an interesting story here.

During a trip to China, upon arriving to his hotel, “Two guys jumped in the room. … They started sticking tape measures around me and everything, then they showed me a book with a whole bunch of samples and said ‘pick out a suit. Madam Lee wants to give you one,’” Buffett shared with CNBC.

Without meeting her, Buffett picked out a suit and later picked out another. Finally meeting the mysterious designer, Buffett developed a professional relationship with Madam Lee and she continued sending Buffett suits. Lee has attended Buffett’s annual meetings and she’s even begun making suits for other successful executives such as Bill Gates.

12. He spends 80 percent of his day reading.

From the moment he wakes up, Buffett has his nose in a newspaper. In fact, he estimates that he spends around 80 percent of his day reading.

When asked the key to his success, Buffett pointed to a stack of books and said, “Read 500 pages like this every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest.”

13. Buffett will give an employee $1 million every year for the rest of his or her life if they can guess the NCAA’s sweet 16 teams.

Since 2014, Buffett has held a contest among all of his employees, challenging them to guess who the sweet 16 teams will be during NCAA March Madness, he tells CNBC. If someone guesses all of the teams correctly, he promises to pay them $1 million every year for the rest of his or her life.


No one has ever won the $1 million prize -- the person who gets the closest will win $100,000. In 2016, two employees tied and each took home $50,000.

14. He uses a Nokia flip phone.

In a 2013 CNN interview with Piers Morgan, Buffett shared his take on everything from politics to parenting to technology. Buffett even revealed that he was still using a Nokia flip phone. “This is the one Alexander Graham Bell gave me,” Buffett joked. "I don't throw anything away until I've had it 20 or 25 years."

15. He takes a dozen kids to Dairy Queen every Sunday.

Buffett, whose holdings include Dairy Queen, treats a group of 12 kids -- usually his grandchildren and their friends -- to DQ every Sunday, he shared with Joe Kernan on CNBC’s Squawk Box.

Watching them, he can’t help but notice how glued they are to their iPhones -- “they barely can talk to me except if I'm ordering ice cream or something like that,” he said. Buffett will ask them questions such as what they are doing on them and how, and if they could live without these tech tools. “The stickiness really is something. I mean, they do build their lives around it. … They love it.”

16. Buffett rarely emails.

Buffett rarely emails -- in fact, he claims that he’s only sent one email in his life and it ended up in federal court.

In 1997, Buffett responded to an email from a close friend, former Microsoft executive Jeff Raikes, that read, "Doesn't Microsoft meet all your tests for a wonderful business.” In his response, Buffett laid out all the reasons why he doesn’t use Microsoft. The U.S. government pulled in the email as support for Microsoft’s position in the economy, and Buffett later saw his email in a Wall Street Journal article, he shared in an interview with CNBC.

17. He plays the ukulele.

When he was 18-years-old, Buffett developed a crush on a local Omaha girl, Betty Gallagher, Hear Nebraska Radio reports. To his dismay, Gallagher had a boyfriend at the time. So Buffett brainstormed what he could do that Gallagher’s boyfriend could not, and that was to play the ukulele.

After Buffet learned to play the instrument, he serenaded Gallagher, but she still chose the other guy. He still uses his ukulele skills, and you can catch Buffett performing at meetings and during interviews and conventions, sometimes with pal Bill Gates singing along.

18. Buffett pledged to donate 85 percent of his Berkshire Hathaway stocks to charitable foundations. On top of being a successful investor and business executive, Buffett is also a huge philanthropist. In 2006, he announced that he planned to gradually give 85 percent of his Berkshire Hathaway stock to five foundations -- and he’s been fulfilling his promise since.

In July 2016, Buffett donated more than $2.86 billion worth of Berkshire Hathaway stock to the five foundations -- one of which is The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He donated around $2.8 billion in both 2014 and 2015.

19. He was awarded the “Presidential Medal of Freedom” by Barack Obama.

On Feb. 16, 2011, Buffett was awarded the highest civilian honor, the “Presidential Medal of Freedom,” by former President Barack Obama. Due to his philanthropic donations -- since 2014, Buffett has donated more than $2 billion to charitable foundations -- Buffett was chosen to receive such a prestigious award.

Obama described Buffett as "not only as one of the world's richest men but also one of the most admired and respected" who had "demonstrated that integrity isn't just a good trait, it is good for business."

20. Out of all investing legends, Buffett has the best track record for beating the market.

From Charles Munger to Peter Lynch, out of all the world’s biggest investors, the 86-year-old investing tycoon has the best track record of beating the market.

Monday, 24 July 2017

What is innovation, and how can we awaken its dormant traits and cultivate them?



'We do not need to try to create innovative characteristics in the individual, we simply need to show them how to cultivate innovative thought.'

What innovation is and how it can be cultivated are two of the compelling questions raised in a paper exploring the potential for fostering innovation in students in the new issue of Technology and Innovation, Journal of the National Academy of Inventors.

"Relatively little is known about how we can cultivate innovative thinking," said paper lead author Victor Poirier of the Institute for Advanced Discovery & Innovation at the University of South Florida (USF), "and even less is known about how we can help individuals use and improve their innovative powers."

According to the authors, innovation can be defined as "the introduction of something new and different" that is created by inspiration and creativity. Innovation, they said, is "critical to improvements in how we live" and provides "social value." The beginning of the innovative process is usually associated with "a fragmented inspiration" that is further developed by "joining with other fragmented thoughts to finally arrive at a creative inspiration."

The authors pointed to six key characteristics of innovation:

* The timing of an innovative idea;

* The environment in which the idea is formulated and developed;

* The time to develop an idea or inspiration;

* The time and organizational environment that allows for idea cross-fertilization;

* Learning from errors; and

* The development of an idea in one field that can be adapted in another.


While education may not be able to create innovative traits in individuals, education may be able to improve the ability of individuals to better utilize the traits of creativity and innovation they already possess. However, how do we cultivate innovative thinking processes and unleash the creative powers of the individual? And, by what processes can educators help individuals to better utilize their innovative traits?

"It takes a village," explained Poirier, pointing out that Thomas Edison's Menlo Park was an environment in which a variety of minds and skills came together to achieve innovative processes. Innovative industries such as Bell Labs, Xerox, Apple, and Google, as well as many of the federal government's laboratory systems, such as NIH and NASA, are examples of creative environments that foster innovation collaboratively.

Innovative processes do not always create something new, said the authors. Sometimes they greatly improve something already in existence or help to solve a problem. Motivation, persistence, and goal setting may also be keys to this process.

"Contrary to the view that inspiration is purely mystic or divine, [it] is best viewed as an interaction between one's current knowledge and the information one receives from the world," suggested the authors. "We do not need to try to create innovative characteristics; rather, we simply need to show individuals how to cultivate innovative thought."

The first step in encouraging and nurturing inspiration and innovation, said Poirier, is to identify the characteristics and traits that can be fostered and developed through education. These include: abstract thinking and problem solving; a desire to 'fill gaps'; motivation; creativity; curiosity; taking risks with no fear of failure; a positive attitude; persistence and passion; dissatisfaction with what exists; open-mindedness; and vision.

These characteristics can be foundational to an educational process aimed at unleashing the creative and innovative potential that students possess. Therefore, as Poirier explains, our goal is "to develop an educational process whereby we could show individuals how to fully utilize the [innovative] traits they have, [and] awaken traits that are dormant."

The authors acknowledged that there may be roadblocks or resistance to this process from both students and faculty, as there are many who think that innovative thinking is something inborn in the individual and cannot be learned. However, the potential rewards -- including an increase in innovative production -- are substantial and warrant meeting and overcoming these challenges.

To that end, Poirier and his co-authors are part of a team at the University of South Florida involved in an experimental training program in innovation.

Albert Einstein on Education and the Secret to Learning

In 1915 Einstein, who was then 36, was living in wartime Berlin with his cousin Elsa, who would eventually become his second wife. His two sons, Hans Albert Einstein and Eduard “Tete” Einstein were with his estranged wife Mileva in neutral Zurich.

After eight long years of effort his theory of general relativity, which would propel him to international celebrity, was finally summed up in just two pages. Flush with his recent accomplishment, he sent his 11-year-old Hans Albert the following letter, which is found in Posterity: Letters of Great Americans to Their Children.


My dear Albert,

Yesterday I received your dear letter and was very happy with it. I was already afraid you wouldn’t write to me at all any more. You told me when I was in Zurich, that it is awkward for you when I come to Zurich. Therefore I think it is better if we get together in a different place, where nobody will interfere with our comfort. I will in any case urge that each year we spend a whole month together, so that you see that you have a father who is fond of you and who loves you. You can also learn many good and beautiful things from me, something another cannot as easily offer you. What I have achieved through such a lot of strenuous work shall not only be there for strangers but especially for my own boys. These days I have completed one of the most beautiful works of my life, when you are bigger, I will tell you about it.

I am very pleased that you find joy with the piano. This and carpentry are in my opinion for your age the best pursuits, better even than school. Because those are things which fit a young person such as you very well. Mainly play the things on the piano which please you, even if the teacher does not assign those. That is the way to learn the most, that when you are doing something with such enjoyment that you don’t notice that the time passes. I am sometimes so wrapped up in my work that I forget about the noon meal. Also play ringtoss with Tete. That teaches you agility. Also go to my friend Zangger sometimes. He is a dear man.

Be with Tete kissed by your

Papa.

Regards to Mama.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Great Start To The Year

Let A Thousand Ideas Bloom!
The Vice Chancellor of B.S.Abdur Rahman Crescent University, Prof. Emeritus Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Prof. Ir. Dr. Sahol Hamid Bin Abu Bakar addressed the 1st year B.Tech. students and their parents on the Orientation Day for Freshers on 17.07.2017 held at the Convention Center of the University.
He welcomed the students and the parents to the Crescent family and showed them the pictures of the green campus that was before Vardah cyclone. He outlined the Vision and Mission statement of the University. He said that the Vision that “the University aspires to be a leader in Education, Training and Research in Engineering, Science, Technology and Management and to play a vital role in the Socio-Economic progress of the Country” is set to be achieved through the hard working team comprising the Registrar, Deans, Heads and faculty members.
The Vice chancellor enlisted the Mission of the University and his ideas for achieving them, as follows:
  • To blossom into an internationally renowned University & to empower the youth through quality education and to provide professional leadership – is done through providing quality education. In our University, “no faculty can escape from teaching and no students can escape from learning.”
  • To achieve excellence in all its endeavors to face global challenges & to provide excellent teaching and research ambiance – is achieved by arranging guest lectures for students by inviting experts from the industry. High priority is given to achieving excellence in education at Crescent University.
  • To network with global Institutions of Excellence, Business, Industry and Research Organizations – is already being done by signing MoUs and collaboration with foreign universities and industries.
  • To contribute to the knowledge base through Scientific enquiry, Applied Research and Innovation – is attained by giving inputs through practical sessions and practice of each course. Students are encouraged to carry out research.
The Vice Chancellor introduced his family to the audience, as he felt that a Vice Chancellor is one among the audience, a family man who wants good things for his children of Crescent family.
The Vice Chancellor highlighted the following distinguishing aspects of the University:
  • The University goes by the new tagline “We Create Employers”, which sets us apart from the other institutions and guarantees a better future for the students.
  • The University is the first to offer a course on CEO Training and Social Entrepreneurship, to all the students of B.Tech programme. Internship is also made mandatory, which would give them exposure to the functioning of an organization.
  • The Vice Chancellor aspires to have a different approach to the Student – Teacher relationship and Student – Vice Chancellor relationship. He said that the students are welcome to meet him on Fridays to address any issue. He said suggestions will be more welcome than just complaints. He stressed that this never happens in any University. He also said that he would go around and interact with students.
  • A Town Hall Talk is organized where students meet with the Vice Chancellor as a group and discuss issues and come out with suggestions for the development of the University.
  • Adjunct Professors from foreign universities and industry are appointed in all the schools and departments. This would give the students different exposure towards understanding concepts and gaining knowledge.
  • The curricula and syllabi are prepared in line with industry expectations.
  • The University has a strong alumni bonding, which results in MoU with industries. This is also realized through our Crescent Alumni spread all over the world, like the USA, Oman, Duabi, Australia, Singapore, etc., who excel in the overseas scenario.
  • All the faculty members
The Vice Chancellor insisted on the ground rules to be followed by the students, and to be noted down by the parents:
Students must
  • respect the teachers; greet them.
  • wear ID card.
  • come on time to the classes or they will not be permitted to enter the class.
  • be neatly dressed and wear shoes.
  • should take care of the cleanliness of the campus.
  • must maintain discipline
  • should not damage university property
  • should not use mobile phones during class hours
  • should not consume alcohol or drugs – if found, they will be expelled from the University. (No mercy will be shown to such students).
The Vice Chancellor appealed to the parents to cooperate with the University authorities to help make their wards successful in their life and career. As parents are spending a fortune on their wards, the University takes measures to ensure that the money does not go waste.
Apart from academics, the University also gives importance to sports and other co-curricular activities. AC facility in labs, Mosque, gym, wifi facility, hostel for men and women, 24/7 lab and library facility is made available for the students. He said that students can write to him to vc.connect@bsauniv.ac.in, which he would personally answer.
The Vice Chancellor ended by saying that he cares for all in the University – the students, faculty members, Heads – everyone. That is his style of management, where everyone is accounted for.

Friday, 7 July 2017

Warren Buffett and his No. 1 rule for success

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett admits a surprising secret to his success: the word "no," according to a CNBC article.

The Berkshire Hathaway chairman used to be eager to chase every opportunity that presented itself. But he says that being more purposeful with his time and energy has quite literally made him richer.


In an interview with Investment News, Buffett was asked, "What's your secret to your consistently amazing growth every year?"

His answer? "I've said 'No' more than any other time in my career."

"In the past, I was the guy chasing shiny objects," he tells Investment News' Brad Johnson, "so I'd be the guinea pig and test a handful of them each year in my practice. I would try three, four, five or more new ideas every year. Maybe one of them would pan out and lead to modest results, but the others were usually flops."

Now, his way of approaching things is totally different. Over the years he learned that following every lead was only going to wear him out and weigh on his margins.

"I no longer try any ideas that are merely good," he tells Johnson.

According to author and journalist James Clear, Buffett's personal pilot asked him how to best pursue his career goals. Buffett told the man to jot down 25 goals he had for himself over the next year. After he'd finished the list, Buffett instructed him to circle the five most important goals.

And the others? Cross them out and forget about them, Buffett reportedly said

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Protein Engineering Makes Rapid Strides

Does Protein Engineering or the process of developing useful proteins excite you? Then do sign up for the summer school on “Rational Approaches towards Protein Engineering & Design” (RATPED – 2017) between July 10- July 14​, ​2017. It's organized by the School of Life sciences, Crescent University. For info, visit http://bit.ly/2tg3PXU

The global protein engineering market size was valued at US$ 823.0 million in 2016 and is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 15.9% till 2025. The market is predominantly driven by increasing preference for protein therapeutics over non protein drugs. The high preference is a consequence of positive clinical outcomes associated with these drugs.

Crescent University is home to one of the most dynamic and research-oriented Life Sciences School in the country, providing students, faculty, and staff with the opportunity to learn and perform research in a highly integrative and interactive setting.

It has over 12 active faculty research laboratories studying areas spanning biotechnology, biochemistry, microbiology, molecular biology, and genetics.

The school is dedicated to achieving excellence in graduate training and undergraduate learning. Undergraduates benefit from having world experts present the topics of their research passions in the classroom, exposing them to both the fundamental principles and the latest advancements or breakthroughs in biotechnology.

Graduate students pursue both M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees. Our upper level curriculum offers advanced training and specialization through course work and formative research experiences.

PhD students join research teams either through our own extremely flexible graduate program in Biosciences or through a diverse array of interdisciplinary programs, such as Polymer Technology.

The school also offers many short term diploma courses well-suited for employment in corporate hospitals and industry.

Protein engineering is broadly used to circumvent weaknesses associated with drugs, and it possesses the potential to enhance affinity & efficacy of molecules for wide range applications, such as cardiac repair. The engineered molecules exhibit enhanced efficacy, reduced immunogenicity, greater safety, and improved delivery. Humulin (human insulin), the first protein therapeutic developed through recombinant DNA technology, was approved by U.S.FDA in 1982.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Today is World Refugee Day!

A group of rescued people on the deck of an Italian naval vessel as the sun sets in the Mediterranean. ©UNHCR/A. D'Amato
Each day war forces thousands of families to flee their homes.People like you, people like me. To escape the violence, they leave everything behind – everything except their hopes and dreams for a safer future. UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency believes all refugees deserve to live in safety.

Take the case of Wafaa Tabra. She dreams of making her family whole again. She fled the war in Syria with her three children. Wafaa, 33, says: “I used to be a fashion designer in Syria. I studied sewing and fashion design at the Mamoun International Center in Damascus. Most of all, I loved making wedding dresses.”

“Then the war came. It destroyed everything. My husband left our home eleven months ago. I haven’t seen him since. He managed to reach Germany. I hoped to join him via the reunification program, but it was taking too long. Then, my children’s school was destroyed. My brother died in a bombing, and friends and relatives were killed. We lived in constant fear. Staying in Syria was too dangerous. Maybe I could have endured it, but they couldn’t [her children]. I decided I had to leave.”

“I’ve been in Greece for two months. We slept in a small tent in a gas station. For weeks, we hoped the border would open. Then, a month ago, we moved to another camp. We have a large tent to ourselves now. We draw, paint and play. Art helps us to forget our difficulties. But my children miss their father.”

“ Now, I dream. I dream of continuing my education, of making dresses again. I dream of my children returning to school. Most of all, I dream of making my family whole again.”

Wafaa fled her hometown of Aleppo, Syria, in February 2016. She had hoped to join her husband in Germany, who left their war-torn home one year ago. But her family’s flight from war came to a halt in Greece, after countries along the Balkans route tightened borders in March.

June 20 is the day the world commemorates the strength, courage, and perseverance of millions of refugees like Wafaa. Held every year, World Refugee Day also marks a key moment for the public to show support for families forced to flee.

In September 2016, global leaders agreed to work towards a Global Compact for refugees in 2018 where all parts of society stand together #WithRefugees and do their fair share instead of leaving individual states to bear the burden of mass forced displacement.

The UN Refugee Agency is working to ensure the following:

  • Every refugee child gets an education
  • Every refugee family has somewhere safe to live
  • Every refugee can work or learn new skills to support their families.

In a world where one in every 113 people have been forced to flee their homes because of war or persecution it’s vital we demonstrate the global public stands #WithRefugees.

Please stand #WithRefugees!