Science melas in connection with national science campaign
The controlled arrangement of DNA molecules on surfaces represents one challenging contribution of nanotechnology to biology and medicine. In particular, one of the open issues in the field of DNA-based sensors is detecting the hybridization process with high precision in a real-life biological environment. Towards this end, we have studied the hybridization of single stranded (ss)-DNA anchored on a gold surface using the increase in height of the molecules upon hybridization with a label free target which is due to the much larger rigidity of ds- vs. ss-DNA. Nano-scale ss-DNA patches are assembled within oligo-ethylene-glycol terminated alkylthiol self-assembled monolayer on a gold substrate using nanografting (an atomic force microscopy-based nanolithography technique). Differential height measurements indicate that ss-DNA nano-patches do not show significant increase in height upon hybridization with complementary strands in high density regime. Moreover, the advantage of this system for biosensors and genomics applications will be discussed briefly in the end.
Quantum computers have occupied the imagination, time, energy and resources of many researchers worldwide. About ten years after the first prototypes became implementable in labs worldwide, are we still too far removed from a practical, useful realization? This talk will cover the basics of what quantum computers are, what they (or might) look like and why is there so much hype about them. This will be an elementary introduction aimed at the college-level science students.
From elementary particles to superconductors, nature of vacuum to electronics industry, radioactivity to black holes, quantum mechanics has emerged as one of the most brilliant outcomes of the modern mind. But quantum mechanics is also riddled with paradoxes and counter-intuitive observations. It has cast doubts on the nature of "reality" itself! Does the moon really exist, whether we look at it or not? Come and explore how the greatest minds of our times have made attempts at reconciling quantum theory with reality, if at all possible? All in the words of one of Pakistan's most distinguished scientists.
Biomaterials are defined as materials that are used in medical devices or are in contact with biological systems. Their application can range from skeletal systems (bone implants, knee joints, dental implants etc), cardiovascular systems (stents, catheter, heart valve etc), organs (artificial kidney, heart lung machine, skin etc) and senses (contact lens, corneal bandage etc). The field of biomaterials uses ideas from medicine, biology, physics, chemistry, materials sciences, engineering, ethics, law and health care. Biomaterials are usually integrated into devices or implants hence the interdisciplinary aspect is important for progress. The field brings together researchers from diverse academic backgrounds. They must communicate clearly. Some disciplines that intersect in the development, study and application of biomaterials include: bioengineer, chemist, chemical engineer, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, materials scientist, biologist, microbiologist, physician, veterinarian, ethicist, nurse, lawyer, regulatory specialist and venture capitalist. Biomaterials can be metals, ceramics, polymers, glasses, carbons, and composite materials. Such materials are used as molded or machined parts, coatings, fibers, films, foams and fabrics. One of the major applications of biomaterials is in the field of tissue engineering. This field combines the knowledge of engineering, life sciences and clinical practice to solve the problem of tissue loss or damage, aimed at facilitating the regeneration of damaged or diseased tissue. The essence of tissue engineering is the use of living cells, together with degradable scaffolds and growth factors in development of implantable parts or devices for the restoration of body function. A major component in the revolutionary field of tissue engineering is the development of the suitable scaffold for seeding cells, growth factors and subsequent growth of tissues. There has been a considerable effort devoted to improving material and biological properties of scaffolds used in bone tissue engineering during the past decade. We developed and investigated different porous scaffolds with improved material properties and biological functions. An introduction to various scaffold materials developed in the lab along with future challenges will be presented towards the end.
General Relativity tells us that all massive objects deform the backgrounds into which they are placed so that the very shape of space is changed by their presence. If, in addition, these objects happen to be charged, they give rise to a flux which distorts the background still further. In the talk, we will apply these simple ideas to gather information about the elusive 11-dimensional M-theory which gives rise to string theory. We will try to categorize some of the geometries that are allowed in M-Theory by studying what happens to a background when stable hyper-dimensional objects called BPS M-branes are brought into it.
Islam and the Transformation of Greek Science
(Dr. George A. Saliba)
This illustrated talk examines the often repeated characterization of the role of Islamic science as preserving the Greek scientific legacy. It will demonstrate with concrete examples the extent to which Greek science had to be transformed in order to respond to ritual and cultural requirements of Islam, thus critiquing that science and eventually replacing it with a science that was more scientifically consistent. It was this transformed Islamic science that inspired later on the Renaissance scientists.
Islamic Science and the Making of the European Renaissance
(Dr. George A. Saliba)
This illustrated talk will examine the scientific ideas that were first developed in the Islamic world, especially those dealing with planetary theories, and later used in the Latin sources that were produced during the European Renaissance, and in particular in the works of Copernicus. All the evidence for these ideas comes from pages of original Arabic and Latin manuscripts.
Double Incoherence and Double Jeopardy:
Retelling the Story of Attitudes to Science in Islamic Societies
(Dr. Syed Nomanul Haq)
Living as we do in the twilight of the Enlightenment, a simple ready-made myth about the career of science in Islamic societies still lurks about. This myth has two pseudo-historical elements that fit nicely into a comforting ideological framework. These two elements can be described as reductionism and double-marginalism. The first has it that any achievement made by scientists in the classical Islamic world is reducible to a linear growth of Greek science; the second that those who engaged in genuine science in the Islamic culture were marginal to their society’s mainstream, and that science itself is marginal to Islam. It is an inevitable expression of this alien nature of science in relation to the Arabo-Islamic milieu, so the pseudo-history announces, that Ghazali wrote his Incoherence of the Philophers, an attack that was refuted by Ibn Rushd’s Incoherence of the Incoherence: but Ibn Rushd was fighting a losing battle, and science came to a grinding halt after Ghazali in the early 12th century. My lecture promises to revisit this story and to demonstrate (1) that it is historically absurd and that (2) it stands on the ideological ground that science—that rational, naturalistic study of nature which is doing wonders for us—is essentially a Western phenomenon.
With Friends Like These Who Needs Enemies:
The Irrationality of Supporting Science by Attacking Religion
(Dr. Basit B. Koshul)
A number of recently published books claiming to support and defend science in the face of mounting threats from the dark forces of religion have made it to different best-selling lists. Almost invariably their support and defense of science is premised on (or requires) an attack on religion. The line of reasoning adopted in these books is based on the claim that science equals rationality and religion equals irrationality. Looking at this argument from the perspective of Max Weber's study of the historical development of rationality it is clear that this argument is held together by an insidious sleight of hand—changing the definition of "rationality" in the middle of the argument and then changing it again just before the conclusion. Weber's thoroughly researched findings at the beginning of the 20th century shed light on the current discussion in two ways: a) his research lays bare the intellectual chicanery of those whose support of science necessitates an attack on religion, b) his insights demonstrate that this irrational and unethical attack on religion is actually a frontal assault on the integrity of science. In short, Weber's work helps us to see that science has very little to fear from (some of) its enemies in comparison to threat that it faces from (many of) its friends.
Powder X-Ray Diffraction is now a common technique used in the structure determination of different crystals. Read this Article on the Workshop on structure determination using powder X-ray diffraction.
Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) is a technique that exploits the spin of certain nuclei to obtain a tell-tale signatures of the molecule. This technique finds immense use in diagnostic imaging of human tissue. We will explore the origins of the NMR effect. In addition to its medical uses, we will also address other novel and esoteric applications, such as quantum computing, low-field NMR, explosives detection, polymer and foodstuff characterization, single-cell and nanoparticle MRI.
Science is not only provides a base for modern technology but it is also a part of human culture. It enriches the human civilization because of its intrinsic value. There is another aspect of culture which is concerned with cultural traits of society and its social evolution. Science has made tremendous contributions in the social evolution of humankind. In my talk, I want to explore this relationship between evolution of science and social evolution. After briefly discussing the contributions of Greeks to human civilization, passing through the era of contributions of Muslims; I come to 17th Century in which the foundations of modern science were laid. After discussing the two conceptual revolutions associated with the names of Maxwell and Darwin in the 19th Century, we come to 20th century; a century which has witnessed the best of science with two conceptual revolutions via special and general theories relativity and quantum mechanics, and discovery of structure of DNA. These discoveries laid a foundation of modern technology.