Meril Jeffery John.J

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Brief description: If This is God's Will then no man can Fight it
Sex: Male
Relationship Status: Single

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"Do not be Afraid, Abram (Meril). I will shield you from danger and give you a great reward." (Genesis 15:1) 

"Coincidence is God's way of staying anonymous."

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          • You're the Best Scientist, You're the Best President, You're the Best Inspiration for the Youth, You're the Father of Indian Nuclear & Space Technology above all You're the Best Human Being ~ Though you have gone far away from this world You're Memories & Great Work will Stay with this Mighty Nation Allways.
            RIP ~ Dr.APJ Abdul Kalam

          • People say "I Lost My Heart" well I had the Heart but Lost the BEAT In It ..

          • In Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein, Victor Frankenstein created a living being out of lifeless limbs, challenging the laws of nature and science in his dark laboratory.

            In Wil Srubar’s lab at CU Boulder, they may end up doing the same — though in a much cleaner, brighter lab and with much less monstrous results. Their goal is to create a living hybrid building material that exhibits both structural and biological function.

            Think of the sand and cement used in a mortar. It’s inorganic. Not living. But Srubar’s work has shown that inorganic particles, like sand, can provide a rigid framework for a biological component like bacteria to grow and thrive. Combine the two, and you end up with a living material that has not only a structural load-bearing function, but also a beneficial biological one.

            “We use bacteria to help grow the bulk of the material needed for construction,” Srubar said. “We know bacteria grow at an exponential rate, so rather than manufacturing bricks one-by-one, you may be able to make one brick and have it split into two, then four, and so on. That would revolutionize not only what we think of a structural material, but also how we fabricate structural materials at an exponential scale.”

            Srubar, a faculty member in civil, environmental and architectural engineering and the Materials Science & Engineering Program, said the possibilities for his work are endless and especially interesting in extreme environments and military applications. Bricks could self-heal after natural disasters or enemy fire, or act as alarms by changing color when there are toxins in the air.

            Srubar and his colleagues are aware of the connections to Shelley’s work, going so far as to title their four-year, $1.9 million DARPA project Programmable Resurrection of Materials Engineered to Heal Exponentially Using Switches. That’s PROMETHEUS for short, a nod to the subtitle of Shelley’s work, “the Modern Prometheus,” and the Greek myth that inspired it.

            In classical mythology, Prometheus created mankind out of clay, taught them how to survive and gave them fire stolen from the gods, earning him the gods’ punishment. Shelley references the myth with Frankenstein’s creation of the monster from dead parts and the eventual loss of control over it despite his best intentions to better civilization.

            Srubar notes this aspect of the myth wryly.

            “What was intriguing to us as a team was that we were also trying to create a Frankenstein material while learning from our predecessors and avoiding the same fate by not losing control of our technology,” Srubar said. “We often speak of this project as ‘The Post-Modern Prometheus,’ where we have finally, after three tries, wielded the technology we have created.”

            At the center of the project are cyanobacteria, photosynthetic saltwater bacteria that can sequester carbon dioxide. Placing genetically altered versions of these bacteria into the building material would provide an environmental benefit, especially in terms of lowered carbon emissions from manufacturing materials.

            “Cyanobacteria are actually green, so it really does look like a Frankenstein material,” Srubar said, laughing.

            Srubar is conducting the work with Assistant Professors Mija Hubler and Sherri Cook in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering, and Professor Jeff Cameron in the Department of Biochemistry. They bring experience in the biological sciences, gene editing and structural mechanics — needed perspectives on an interdisciplinary project this large, Srubar said.

            “They opened my eyes not only to different ways of looking at science and engineering, but also to ways in which we can address some of the challenges we encounter and then spin those challenges into opportunities,” he said. “Sharing some of the common challenges in materials science has bolstered our work in micro- and synthetic biology, for example. That is leading us in wildly cool and crazy directions in the project.”

            Srubar feels as though his lab is truly pioneering a new field despite being deeply rooted in fundamental disciplines.

            “For the first time we are questioning the paradigm of cementitious materials, and that is incredible because cement technology hasn’t changed in 100 years,” Srubar said. “While we are still some years away from seeing a true application, we do feel that we are creating this new discipline.”

             

            Article Referral: colorado.edu

          • The center of our galaxy, the Milky Way, can be a strange place. It's notoriously hard to see, obscured from our viewpoint by clouds of gas and dust in one of the galaxy's spiral arms.

            But 13 years worth of near-infrared wavelength data from the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii has captured the bizarre reality behind the haze.

            The supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy, Sagittarius A*, is behaving strangely and eating voraciously. And now, astronomers have spotted a weird new class of objects not far from the black hole, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature.

            "These objects look like gas and behave like stars," said Andrea Ghez, study author, director of the UCLA Galactic Center Group and the university's Lauren B. Leichtman and Arthur E. Levine Professor of Astrophysics.

            Normally, these objects appear compact. But they stretch out when they near the black hole during their orbits, which can last from 100 to 1,000 years.

            This is the latest detection in a mystery that's been unfolding since 2005, when Ghez's research team spotted an object in the center of our galaxy they dubbed G1. In 2012, a second object called G2 was found, and it came close to the black hole in 2014.

            The astronomers believe G2 was once really two stars that orbited the black hole together, but merged into one massive star and became obscured by a thick gas and dust cloud.

            "At the time of closest approach, G2 had a really strange signature," Ghez said. "We had seen it before, but it didn't look too peculiar until it got close to the black hole and became elongated, and much of its gas was torn apart. It went from being a pretty innocuous object when it was far from the black hole to one that was really stretched out and distorted at its closest approach and lost its outer shell, and now it's getting more compact again."

            Now, Ghez's research group has discovered four more objects and determined their orbits: G3, G4. G5 and G6. They're incredibly different orbits from G1 and G2, which were similar to one another.

            "One of the things that has gotten everyone excited about the G objects is that the stuff that gets pulled off of them by tidal forces as they sweep by the central black hole must inevitably fall into the black hole," said Mark Morris, study co-author and UCLA professor of physics and astronomy. "When that happens, it might be able to produce an impressive fireworks show since the material eaten by the black hole will heat up and emit copious radiation before it disappears across the event horizon."

            binary stars -- or pairs of stars that orbit one another -- that were forced together due to the strong gravity of Sagittarius A*.

            Ghez said that mergers of stars may be happening in the universe more often than we thought and likely are quite common.

            "Black holes may be driving binary stars to merge. It's possible that many of the stars we've been watching and not understanding may be the end product of mergers that are calm now, " Ghez said. "We are learning how galaxies and black holes evolve. The way binary stars interact with each other and with the black hole is very different from how single stars interact with other single stars and with the black hole."

            G2 differs from the rest of the objects because it didn't undergo as much stretching as the others.

            "Something must have kept it compact and enabled it to survive its encounter with the black hole," said Anna Ciurlo, study author and postdoctoral researcher at UCLA. "This is evidence for a stellar object inside G2."

            Now, the astronomers have enough evidence to show a small group of G objects -- rather than a couple of instances -- meaning they can continue analyzing them while searching for others.

            The fact that these objects have been found near Sagittarius A*, which likely swallowed up the gas it ripped off the stars, means they could actually be feeding the constantly voracious black hole.

            It's further proof that chaos is constantly unfolding at the center of not just the Milky Way but many galaxies in the universe.

            "The Earth is in the suburbs compared to the center of the galaxy, which is some 26,000 light-years away," Ghez said. "The center of our galaxy has a density of stars 1 billion times higher than our part of the galaxy. The gravitational pull is so much stronger. The magnetic fields are more extreme. The center of the galaxy is where extreme astrophysics occurs -- the X-sports of astrophysics."

             

          • After analyzing data from the 1950s through 2019, an international team of scientists determined that the average temperature of the world's oceans in 2019 was 0.075 degrees Celsius (0.135 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than the 1981–2010 average.

            That might not seem like a significant amount of warming, but given the massive volume of the oceans, an increase even that small would require a staggering influx of heat - 228 sextillion Joules' worth, according to the scientists' study, which was published in the journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences on Monday.

            That's a hard number to contextualize, so one of the scientists behind the study did the math to put it into an explosive frame of reference - by comparing it to the amount of energy released by the atomic bomb the United States military dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, in 1945.

            "The Hiroshima atom-bomb exploded with an energy of about 63,000,000,000,000 Joules," author Lijing Cheng from the Chinese Academy of Sciences said in a press release.

            "The amount of heat we have put in the world's oceans in the past 25 years equals to 3.6 billion Hiroshima atom-bomb explosions."

            That averages out to four Hiroshima bombs' worth of energy entering the oceans every second for the past 25 years. But even more troubling, the rate isn't holding steady at that alarming figure - it's increasing.

            In 2019, ocean warming was equivalent to "about five Hiroshima bombs of heat, every second, day and night, 365 days a year," study author John Abraham, from the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, told Vice.

            And in case atomic bombs are still too abstract of a comparative unit, the 2019 rate is equivalent to every person on Earth constantly pointing 100 hair dryers at the oceans, Abraham told Vice.

            "The less technical term is: It's a s***-ton of energy," he said - and it's already having a huge impacting the environment.

            Ice is melting faster, causing sea levels to rise. Dolphins and other marine life are dying because they can't adapt quickly enough. Even the increase in the amount of water evaporating into the atmosphere due to the heat is negatively impacting on our planet.

            "It makes hurricanes and typhoons more powerful, and it makes rainfall more intense," Abraham told Vice.

            "It puts our weather on steroids."

            And remember, the rate is increasing - meaning that every moment we delay taking action to slow or reverse the warming, the situation is only going to get worse.

          • Researchers said Monday that new techniques have allowed them to identify the oldest solid material ever found on earth.

            The stardust, formed five to seven billion years ago, came from a meteorite that fell to Earth 50 years ago in Australia, they said in a paper published in the journal PNAS.

            It came down in 1969 in Murchison, Victoria state, and scientists from Chicago’s Field Museum have possessed a piece of it for five decades.

            The teensy tiny microscopic grains of dust were forged in a distant star somewhere between 5 and 7 billion years ago, according to new research. By comparison, our Sun is just 4.6 billion years old. Eventually, these grains were carried to Earth in a meteorite.

            Philipp Heck, curator of meteorites at the museum, examined pre-solar grains, "This is one of the most exciting studies I've worked on," said cosmochemist Philipp Heck of the Field Museum of Natural History and the University of Chicago.

            "These are the oldest solid materials ever found, and they tell us about how stars formed in our galaxy."

            “They’re solid samples of stars, real stardust,” Heck said in a statement.

            When the first stars died after two billion years of life they left behind the stardust, which formed into the block which fell to earth as the meteorite in Australia.

            While it's actually not unheard of for meteorites to contain grains of material that predate the Solar System - they're called "presolar grains" - they are rare, and difficult to identify because the bits of material are so small, and deeply embedded in the rock.

            Although researchers first identified the grains in 1987 their age could not be determined.

            But Heck and other colleagues recently used a new method to date these grains, which are microscopic in size. They are from silicon carbide, the first mineral formed when a star cools.

            To separate the ancient grains from the relatively younger ones, scientists crushed fragments of the meteorite into a powder. Then they dissolved it in acid, which left only the pre-solar particles.

            “It’s like burning down the haystack to find the needle,” says Heck.

            When dust is in space it is exposed to cosmic rays which slowly change its composition. This allows researchers to date it.

            A decade ago, only 20 grains from the meteorite were dated by a different method. Now, researchers have been able to determine the age of 40 grains, most of which are between 4.6 billion and 4.9 billion years old.

            These ages correspond to the moment when the first stars began to break up, and since that type of star lived for two to 2.5 billion years, the stardust can be as old as seven billion years.

            “These are the oldest solid materials ever found, and they tell us about how stars formed in our galaxy,” Heck said.

            The new dating by this team confirms an astronomical theory which predicted a baby boom of stars before the formation of our sun, instead of a constant rhythm of star formation.

            “We basically came to the conclusion that there must have been a time in our galaxy when more stars formed than normal, and at the end of their lives they become dust producing,” Heck told AFP.

            The task now is to apply the same method on other meteorites.

            But according to Heck, there are fewer than five known to be in collections and big enough to give up such secrets.

             

          • The xenobots, named after the African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis), are self-healing micro robots. Xenobot is a biological machine under one millimeter wide, small enough to travel inside human bodies. They are made of skin cells and heart cells, stem cells harvested from frog embryos.University of Vermont & Tufts University scientists have created this living machine that one day might safely deliver drugs inside the human body—and pave the way for understanding how to form organs for regenerative medicine.

            Xenobots can walk and swim, survive for weeks without food and work together in groups, can heal on their own and keep working.

            Applications:

             

             to clean radioactive wastes; collect microplastics in the oceans, carry medicine into human bodies or even travel to our arteries to remove plaque. Xenobots can survive in aqueous environments without additional nutrients for weeks; thus, making them suitable for internal administration of medicines.

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            Named xenobots after the African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis) from which they take their stem cells, the machines are less than a millimeter (0.04 inches) wide -- small enough to travel inside human bodies. They can walk and swim, survive for weeks without food, and work together in groups.

            These are "entirely new life-forms," said the University of Vermont, which conducted the research with Tufts University's Allen Discovery Center.

            Stem cells are unspecialized cells that have the ability to develop into different cell types. The researchers scraped living stem cells from frog embryos, and left them to incubate. Then, the cells were cut and reshaped into specific "body forms" designed by a supercomputer -- forms "never seen in nature," according to a news release from the University of Vermont.

            The cells then began to work on their own -- skin cells bonded to form structure, while pulsing heart muscle cells allowed the robot to move on its own. Xenobots even have self-healing capabilities; when the scientists sliced into one robot, it healed by itself and kept moving.

            "These are novel living machines," said Joshua Bongard, one of the lead researchers at the University of Vermont, in the news release. "They're neither a traditional robot nor a known species of animal. It's a new class of artifact: a living, programmable organism."

            Xenobots don't look like traditional robots -- they have no shiny gears or robotic arms. Instead, they look more like a tiny blob of moving pink flesh. The researchers say this is deliberate -- this "biological machine" can achieve things typical robots of steel and plastic cannot.


            Traditional robots "degrade over time and can produce harmful ecological and health side effects," researchers said in the study, which was published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. As biological machines, xenobots are more environmentally friendly and safer for human health, the study said.

            The xenobots could potentially be used toward a host of tasks, according to the study, which was partially funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, a federal agency that oversees the development of technology for military use.

            Xenobots could be used to clean up radioactive waste, collect microplastics in the oceans, carry medicine inside human bodies, or even travel into our arteries to scrape out plaque. The xenobots can survive in aqueous environments without additional nutrients for days or weeks -- making them suitable for internal drug delivery.

            Aside from these immediate practical tasks, the xenobots could also help researchers to learn more about cell biology -- opening the doors to future advancement in human health and longevity.

            "If we could make 3D biological form on demand, we could repair birth defects, reprogram tumors into normal tissue, regenerate after traumatic injury or degenerative disease, and defeat aging," said the researchers' website. This research could have "a massive impact on regenerative medicine (building body parts and inducing regeneration.)"

            It may all sound like something from a dystopian sci-fi movie, but the researchers say there is no need for alarm.

            The organisms come pre-loaded with their own food source of lipid and protein deposits, allowing them to live for a little over a week -- but they can't reproduce or evolve. However, their lifespan can increase to several weeks in nutrient-rich environments.

            And although the supercomputer -- a powerful piece of artificial intelligence -- plays a big role in building these robots, it's "unlikely" that the AI could have evil intentions.

            "At the moment though it is difficult to see how an AI could create harmful organisms any easier than a talented biologist with bad intentions could," said the researchers' website.

            Article Referral: cnn.com, Wikipedia,github

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