From clean water to detecting ailments, nanotech holds key
(Tuesday, 04th January 2011 , Times of India)
EXCELLENCE HONOURED: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh presenting an award to Nobel laureate Venkatraman Ramakrishnan at the inauguration of the Science Congress in Chennai on Monday as science congress president K C Pandey and deputy chief minister M K Stalin (right) look on
Chennai:Nanotechnology could hold the key to affordable clean water,sustainable energy solutions,sequestration of greenhouse gases and a host of other things,said experts at the 98th Indian Science Congress.Interaction of nanotechnology with biology has produced some exciting results and can be used to create new materials.The bio-nano interface could help solve problems of water,food,health and environment, said Dr T Pradeep of IIT Madras,talking about the scope of nanochemistry.
He said that nanotechnology could help meet the need for affordable clean water through inexpensive water purification and detection of hazardous impurities.Hazardous and toxic impurities like arsenic could be removed from drinking water in a cheap and effective manner using nanotechnology, Pradeep said.
Dr C N R Rao,national research professor at the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) and former president of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC),said that chemistry was slated to become more fascinating and interesting in this decade with nanotechnology revolutionizing the field.Chemical approaches to energy storage and generation can be made possible with the application of nanomaterials.Nanotechnology can be used in fuel cells and the day is not far when a car could run on water alone by separating hydrogen from water and using hydrogen fuel cells, he said.Speaking about the vast uses of nanochemistry,experts said that gold nano particles could be used to detect Alzheimers at an early stage and in reconstructive surgery.
With 2011 being declared as the International Year of Chemistry,experts felt that India had a long way to go and better interaction between chemists and biologists was necessary and students must be taught modern chemistry and not just pharmacology.Of the 300 new drugs which have been approved by the USFDA in the past 10 years,Indias contribution has been nil, said Dr Uday Maitra of Indian Institute of Science,Bangalore.
The Prime Minister had more questions on why Indias outstanding discoveries were being converted into marketable products by firms abroad.Why is the translation of good science and research in products so weak in our country How do we strengthen the link between universities,research laboratories and industry I would like the science congress to discuss and come out with actionable recommendations, he said.