Who was Ludwig Boltzmann

Ludwig Boltzmann, in full Ludwig Eduard Boltzmann, (born February 20, 1844, Vienna, Austria—died September 5, 1906, Duino, Italy), physicist whose greatest achievement was in the development of statistical mechanics, which explains and predicts how the properties of atoms (such as mass, charge, and structure) determine. Boltzmann's general law asserts that a system will approach a state of thermodynamic equilibrium because that is the most probable state. He introduced the 'Boltzmann equation' (1877) relating the kinetic energy of a gas atom or molecule to temperature.

In the 1870s Boltzmann published a series of papers in which he showed that the second law of thermodynamics, which concerns energy exchange, could be explained by applying the laws of mechanics and the theory of probability to the motions of the atoms. In so doing, he made clear that the second law is essentially statistical and that a system approaches a state of thermodynamic equilibrium (uniform energy distribution throughout) because equilibrium is overwhelmingly the most probable state of a material system. During these investigations Boltzmann worked out the general law for the distribution of energy among the various parts of a system at a specific temperature and derived the theorem of equipartition of energy (Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution law). This law states that the average amount of energy involved in each different direction of motion of an atom is the same. He derived an equation for the change of the distribution of energy among atoms due to atomic collisions and laid the foundations of statistical mechanics.

Boltzmann was also one of the first continental scientists to recognize the importance of the electromagnetic theory proposed by James Clerk Maxwell of England. Though his work on statistical mechanics was strongly attacked and long-misunderstood, his conclusions were finally supported by the discoveries in atomic physics that began shortly before 1900 and by recognition that fluctuation phenomena, such as Brownian motion (random movement of microscopic particles suspended in a fluid), could be explained only by statistical mechanics.

Credit : Britannica

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I am interested in Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering

I am a student of Std IX and I am interested in Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering. What is the scope of these subjects? How can I get a degree in this course and the institutions where these courses are available?

A Biotechnology is an interdisciplinary science including not only biology but also subjects like Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Microbiology. To pursue a career in this field, take Biology, Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry in 10+2. After that, go for B.Sc./B.Tech. (Biotechnology). The duration of a B.Sc. programme is three years whereas it is four years for B.E. and B.Tech. courses.

Admission is generally through an entrance test. You can also do post-graduation in Biotechnology after B.Sc.

There are many colleges offering these courses. Many IITs and NITS offer B.Tech. in Biotechnology, for which you need to appear in JEE and AIEEE. This field is rapidly growing and offer wonderful opportunities, as many biotech companies are investing heavily into research of new drugs and biological products.

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Do gecko’s tails grow back after they fall off?

Most, but not all, lizards have the ability to "drop" their tails. According to Margaret Wissman, DVM, avian and exotic veterinary consultant, reptiles such as green iguanas and bearded dragons will drop and regrow their tails, while others, such as crested geckos, can lose their tails but will not regrow them.

This defense mechanism, termed “caudal autonomy,” happens when a lizard is grabbed by the tail or feels threatened, says Lisa Abbo, DVM, MS, at Woods Hole Science Aquarium and the Capron Park Zoo in Massachusetts. When this occurs, the tail separates from the body along a natural fracture line and continues to move independently from the body, likely to distract the predator and to allow the lizard to escape. This defense is often a last resort, after the lizard has used other less-costly attempts at escape.

“A lizard’s tail won’t drop if, say, your dog is barking at it,” said Wissman. However, it might drop if a person accidentally steps on it, grabs it, or a heavy object falls on it, she added.

Tail regrowth is a fascinating research topic among scientists, said Abbo. Tail regrowth can take weeks to months and depends upon environment, diet and a host of other factors. The new tail may be shorter and different in color or texture from the original tail, and research has shown that regenerated tails are often made up of long tubes of cartilage (rather than vertebrae) and contain longer muscles that span the length of the new tail. At first, the new tail may look like a stub on your lizard until it is able to grow back to a decent length, said Wissman. Also, the regrown tail may be a more muted brown color than the original, brighter colored tail.

Credit : PetMD

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Many geckos are nocturnal, which means they are active at which time?

Geckos are also able to shed their tails if a predator grabs them.

Most geckos are nocturnal, which means they are active at night, but day geckos are active during the day and nibble on insects, fruits, and flower nectar. Most geckos make noises such as chirping, barking, and clicking when they are defending their territory or attracting a mate.

Nocturnal species have excellent night vision; their color vision in low light is 350 times more sensitive than human color vision. The nocturnal geckos evolved from diurnal species, which had lost the eye rods. The gecko eye, therefore, modified its cones that increased in size into different types, both single and double. Three different photopigments have been retained and are sensitive to UV, blue, and green. They also use a multifocal optical system that allows them to generate a sharp image for at least two different depths. While most gecko species are nocturnal, some species are diurnal and active during the day, which has evolved multiple times independently.

Like most lizards, geckos can lose their tails in defense, a process called autotomy. Many species are well known for their specialised toe pads that enable them to climb smooth and vertical surfaces, and even cross indoor ceilings with ease. Geckos are well known to people who live in warm regions of the world, where several species make their home inside human habitations. These (for example the house gecko) become part of the indoor menagerie and are often welcomed, as they feed on insects, including moths and mosquitoes. Unlike most lizards, geckos are usually nocturnal.

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Career in Genetic Engineering

I am a student of Std IX and I want to be a genetic engineer and work abroad as there is not much scope in India. Please tell me about the institutions that would help me pursue a career in Genetic Engineering. How should I prepare for admission into these institutions?

Genetic Engineering is the process of adding new DNA to a living organism through artificial methods. Some examples of genetic engineering are faster-growing trees, bigger, longer-lasting tomatoes, glow in the dark cats, golden rice, plants that fight pollution, banana vaccine, etc.

Students with backgrounds in Biotechnology, Biological Sciences, etc., are eligible to apply for genetic engineering courses at the graduate level such as M.Sc., M.Tech. and Ph.D. Since Genetic Engineering is not offered as a standalone programme, most students pursue higher studies in Biotechnology, Biological Sciences, etc., and specialize in Genetic Engineering.

To pursue a Master’s course in a reputed university in India, all you need is the GATE/JAM scores. For universities abroad, your GPA, GRE/TOFL scores and research projects are very important. Since Genetic engineering is a highly research-oriented field, a Ph.D. degree is imperative if you want to climb up the ladder at work.

Some good institutes in India are Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. After pursuing courses in Genetic Engineering, you can work in the medical and pharmaceutical industries, research and development departments, agricultural sector, genetic engineering firms, chemical companies, etc. With the increasing number of biotech firms in India, the future scope in genetic engineering is good in India as well as abroad. USA and UK are at the forefront of research in genetic engineering.


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