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Journal of the Indian Society for Technical Education ISSUE 01 August 2011

P4. How two amateurs built an A-Bomb

P2. InFocus 3D


P7.The man behind the Rank... Exclusive interview Gokul G.R. IAS

this issue P2.Robotics Tips

 P2.forget about glass houses, now

transparent cement is the way...

How to build your first Robot

We believe in destiny. We believe in seeking the roots of our science. When the world’s best minds come forth from the corners of the earth, We believe in proclaiming their vision. We share their delight, revel in their passion and think alongside their thoughts.

New hopes…


s we humbly start this venture, with the same passion of spirit that led centuries of men knocking at the portals of Gyan, Vigyaan and Pragyan, with unnerving hope that one day, each new inspiration, by inspiration, we’ll take our campus, our society and ultimately our world to greater heights of knowledge, awareness, skill, enterprise and development. With the debut issue of oracle, we take our first infant steps towards our collective goal, with …600+ participants ….5 papers of option….1 hour confidence that one day the sparks of inspiration set alight from these pages shall An epic journey to find the gather momentum, and energy to ignite the minds of one and many. . challenges. ...One undying spirit ISTE enters the new academic year

brightest new minds in campus ….7.5 K prize money endowed Abdul Kalam Scholarships!!!

Congratulations to our AKS Winners

We Believe.

~ Editors, Amala Maheswari, Jibin Rajan Varghese

…a quarter year into the making, we present to you..


ISTE interviews our own campus IAS Top Ranker

ISTE conducts mock GRE Entrepreneurship workshop in collaboration with NTA conducted

Techgroups to be launched shortly after Tathva !!!

Govind R Thomas Mathew Parayil Archana Radhakrishnan

An engineer’s saga... 4 years>> Placements>> internships>> GD’s>> GRE >> GATE >> CAT >> Civil Services >>…. Career workshop conducted

Please spare a moment to fill our feedback form


“3D Printing”: a mission Impossible

@ Arun M, Suparna S Nair & Dileep R

Now the art of printing enters the third dimension...


magine creating a solid 3D object – a toy, a gift to your

buddy, the components and circuit

“Robotics”: tips

boards for your next cool project or perhaps robot parts, with just a impossible concept popped out in Star Trek. Printing has acquired a new dimension. With the Rapid Prototyping/ 3D printing technology, it is possible to transform a 3D model from CAD software into a

There are a large number of RP

Biotech firms and academia for its

real solid object by building up the



possible use in tissue engineering.

model layer by layer. With this, you



can simply run your own factory


and see your models materialize




Deposition Object

This technology has been around


for some 30 years. But it started

right in front of your eyes! You

Sintering etc. Though these have

penetrating in India and other

needn't go anywhere else to make

complex names they are all based


the stuffs you want.

on the same theme, with variations

What's more, 3D printing has gone

in the methods and materials used.

open source. One such open source

In Rapid prototyping technology,

They build models out of different

3D printer is the RepRap, devel-

you first create a blueprint of the

materials like epoxy resins and

oped by Adrian Bowyer at the

3D object you want to make, in


University Of Bath, UK. It is a self


plaster, paper and even metals.




@ Jibin Rajan

Tips on building your first robot

mouse click! Well, this is not just an

Laminated Selective




between the machine and the




replicating printer that spawns new, improved versions of itself.

software is the STL file format.

The 3D printing technology spans

Converting the model to STL format

several industries and applications.


will transform it into a number of

You can print a wide range of

possibilities. The ways in which

thin horizontal slices which is then

consumer products, architectural

Rapid Prototyping technology could

fed to the prototyping machine.


change future manufacturing and

This process of creating 3D objects



industrial engineering are amazing.

by laying successive layers of the

automotive materials and many

With 3D printing leaping forward,

material is called additive manufac-



you can imagine a future in which


applications include reconstructing

there is a 3D printer in every home-

fossils, replicating ancient artifacts

in the list of consumer's 'must

etc. It is also being studied by

have' home gadgets.









Why build a robot? What are your motivations? Do they look cool? Want to join a robotics contest such as those in Tathva? Robotics can teach you so much. Irrespective of your branch, you will learn skills from electronics, mechanics, control, programming, and even as broad as understanding animal behavior and human psychology. Following are tips from some of the experienced pros (on and off campus)  The first robot is always the hardest. So take KISS approach: Keep It Simple, Stupid!  Don't reinvent the wheel! Search the web for how other people did things, and copy them! It may be unoriginal, but on your first robot, don't expect to develop the theory of relativity on your first try.  Ok I am ready, what do I need to start? Obviously the first is MONEY. Robots can get expensive. Expect a decent budget of Rs. 5 to 6K, so form a group…(You may also approach us @ ISTE)  The basic parts in a robot are: Body, Microcontroller, Motors, Servos, sensors and Wheels, Batteries etc.  Ok now you got all this stuff, but still no robot. Now it is time to DESIGN, THEN BUILD, a robot chassis. Every hour spent on design is one less hour spent on construction. This article is to be continued...

“TRANSPARENT CEMENT: forget about glass houses, now transparent cement is the way...


n the general sense of the word cement is a binder that sets and hardens by itself. It is one of the basic and essential materials in construction. In a recent breakthrough Italian architects have developed a new transparent cement. It will enable daylight to flood in and make the walls appear like giant windows. It was created by researches at Italcementi group, by bonding special resins in a nex mix. The material called I. Light

has dozens of holes and thereby lets light through. However it is very well capable of retaining the structural integrity. On a sunny day it creates an effect similar to light mesh filtering light coming in. This has so far been used only in one building, the Italian pavilion at last years Expo in Shanghai.

amount of electricity that would be required for daytime lighting. Similar effect is generated using fibre optics cable through concrete. However the transparent cement made from plastic resins is much cheaper than one made from optical fibres.

It is believed that the usage of transparent cement could save considerable

So friends, what's your choice of concrete ??

@ Amala Maheswari






































Upcoming Events to watch out for ... ISTE Photoshop Techgroup : Follow us on Facebook : ISTE NITC Students’ Chapter


Discussions: …our portal to discuss science From now on, every issue of oracle will feature a scientific discussion on topics, wherein the readers could send in their views in not less than 50 words. The best entries will be published. This time for instance we have taken a sample of discussions from

ADSPACE!!! Put ad here Is_time_travel_possible_353 .htm

This is a good place to briefly, but effectively, describe your product or services..

We're all time travelers, of course. We're all traveling forward in time at the same rate - the question isis it possible to travel a lot faster or slower than this rate? Theoretically it is possible by use of worm holes in space , which are allowed by Einstein's theory of special relativity...of course none have been found till now but once upon a time black holes were ridiculed as science fantasy hype

EyeOnIt: What engineering students in India are doing now!!! @ Amala Maheswari

Acyut Rocks on!!

I think it is reasonable to assume that since we have not been visited by time travelers from the future - time travel will never be possible.

Remember this crowd puller of Tathva10??

<you get to continue this discussion in the next issue guys>


The Google - ies

It is impossible for any of us to forget the humanoid Acyut which enthralled us during Tathva. Dancing to the catchy tunes, Acyut had become an overnight star at NIT-C. It looks like Acyut has achieved a lot more since Tathva10. Humanoid Acyut4, developed by students of BITS Pilani has won prizes at Robocup Iran 2011 and Robogames 2011. In the Robocup held in Tehran from April 5 to 9 Acyut won a special technical award. It grabbed silver medals both in autonomous and non autonomous categories of Robogames in San Francisco, conducted from

April 15 to 17. Robogames is the biggest robotics competition in the world. Engineers from 17 countries participate in around 50 events this year. More achievements in the making: The BITS Pilani team has successfully achieved a walking algorithm that is close to human beings. The sixaxis inertial measurement unit is the technology that helped in realizing this fete. It detects the external forces the humanoid faces from the environment and balance accordingly. Acyut now runs on two microprocessors, giving it a processing power of about 1.72GHz. One of the microprocessors is used for processing image. This helps the humanoid in detecting objects of different shapes and colours. After processing the surrounding environment the information is passed on in the form of data packets to the other microprocessor which decides on the robotic movement.

Kepler Mission: Quest for earth like planets. Wondering what this is all about?

You are seeing one of the first 3D generated world population maps projected demographically onto the surface of the planet!

Powered by groundbreaking research into the new WEB, This Google development app is an amazing presentation tool for software developers, college students and researchers alike to add some 3D spice to their presentations. Sources at Google have confirmed that the source codes of the app have been made available OPEN SOURCE for such purposes, as with other open source offerings available from Google labs. Visit the above website with Google ‘s Chrome browser for the complete Web2.0 experience.

Named after German astronomer Johannes Kepler, Kepler mission was launched by NASA on March 7, 2009. It has a mission lifetime of 3.5 years. It is a space observatory designed to discover Earth like planets orbiting other stars. It monitors main sequence of stars (about 145000) in a fixed field of view. The photometer attached takes note of the periodic fluctuations in brightness of these stars. This indicates the presence of planets that cross the face of these stars. This is how the study on extra solar planets is carried out. Kepler 10b Kepler 10b is the first rocky planet that was discovered outside solar system. The discovery of

@ Amala Maheswari

this planet is based on more than eight months of data collected by Kepler spacecraft from May 2009 – Jan 2010. NASA said that as of now we know little about the planet. Most of the knowledge was gathered from he star it orbits i.e., Kepler 10. The high frequency variation in the star’s brightness generated by stellar oscillations or star quakes was studied. Further analysis shows that Kepler 10b is a rocky planet with a mass 4.6 times that of earth with average density of 8.8 grams per cc. However Kepler 10b is more than 20 times closer to its star than mercury is to our sun hence is not habitable. Kepler is NASA’s 10th Discovery mission and is funded by NASA Science Mission Directorate. It is a mission under NASA’s Discovery Program of low cost, focused Science missions.

SCISTORY: How two amateurs designed an A bomb

@ Jibin Rajan

To design an A-bomb from scratch would seem a Herculean task, but amateurs did it, 45 years ago...


ave Dobson, now 75, is a modest man, and once he had discovered his vocation - teaching physics at Beloit College, in Wisconsin - felt no need to drop dark hints about his earlier life. You could have taken classes at Beloit with Professor Dobson, until his recent retirement, without having any reason to know that in his mid-20s, working entirely as an amateur and equipped with little more than a notebook and a library card, he designed a nuclear bomb.

"It's a very strange story," says Bob Selden co-partner , then a novice soldier drafted into the army and wondering how to put his talents to use, when he received a message that Edward Teller, the father of the hydrogen wanted to see him. "I went to DC and we spent an evening together. But he began to question me in great detail about the physics of making a nuclear weapon, and I didn't know anything. As the evening wore on, I knew less and less. I went away very, very discouraged. Two days later a call comes through: they want you to come to Livermore." Today their experiences in 1964 - the year they were enlisted into the Nth Country Project - suddenly seem as terrifyingly relevant as ever. The question the project was designed to answer was a simple one: could a couple of non-experts, with brains but no access to classified research, crack the "nuclear secret"? In the aftermath of the Cuban missile crisis, panic had seeped into the arms debate. Only Britain, America, France and the Soviet Union had the bomb; the US military desperately hoped that if the instructions for building it could be kept secret, proliferation - to a fifth country, a sixth country, an "Nth country", hence the project's name - could be averted. Today, the fear is back: we cling, at least, to the belief that not just anyone could figure out how to make an atom bomb. The trouble is that, 45 years ago, someone did. Livermore was the Livermore Radiation Laboratory, a fabled army facility where the institution's head offered them a job. The work would be "interesting", he promised, but he couldn't say more until Dobson and Selden had the required security clearance. And they couldn't get the clearance unless

they accepted the job. They only learned afterwards what they was expected to do. "My first thought," said Bob, with characteristic understatement, "was, 'Oh, my. That sounds like a bit of a challenge.'"

of the bomb. "It gave us a road map," Dobson says. "But we knew there would be important ideas they'd deliberately left out because they were secret. This was one of the things that produced a little bit of paranoia in us. Were we being led down the garden path?"

And thus, on April 1964, the duoâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;Dave Dobson and Bob Selden were enlisted into the A-bomb project.

They faced one key decision, Dobson says: whether to design a gun-style bomb, like the one dropped on Hiroshima, that used a They would be working in a murky limbo sawn-off howitzer to crash two pieces of between the world of military secrets and fissile material together, or a more complex the public domain. They would have an implosion bomb, like that dropped on office at Livermore, but no access to its Nagasaki. By now they were beginning to warrens of restricted offices and corridors; enjoy the challenge, so they went for the they would be banned from consulting harder, more impressive option. "The gun classified device research needed a but, on large Einstein said that if he had only known that his the other amount theories would lead to the development of the atom hand, of bomb, he would have been a locksmith. anything material, they and produced didn't make a diagrams very big Dave Dobson, having made one, got a in bang," job as a teacher. sketchDobson books, says. notes on "The the backs other of envelopes - would be automatically top one was more bang, less material." secret. And since the bomb that they were designing wouldn't, of course, actually be Dobson and Selden assumed that their built and detonated, they were to explain fictional Nth Country had already obtained at length, on paper, what part of their the requisite plutonium (the rules weren't developing design they wanted to test, and as strict then) by some means . "But the they would pass it, through an assigned lab process of designing the weapon - I'm worker, into Livermore's restricted world. always careful to point out that many Days later, the results would come back - people overstate how easy it is. You really though whether as the result of real tests have to do it right, and there are thousands or hypothetical calculations, they would of ways to do it wrong. You can't just guess." never know. The operating rules read â&#x20AC;&#x201D; "A working context for the experiment might be that the participants have been asked to design a nuclear explosive which, if built in small numbers, would give a small nation a significant effect on their foreign relations."

The two amateurs were ironically aided by information published as part of President Dwight Eisenhower's "Atoms for Peace" program, which spread word of the benefits of non-military nuclear power around the world.

Dobson's knowledge of nuclear bombs was rudimentary, to say the least. "I just had the idea that *to make a bomb+ you had to quickly put a bunch of fissile material together somehow," he recalls. Bob Selden found a book on the Manhattan Project that culminated in America's development

Eventually, towards the end of 1966, two and a half years after they began, they were finished. "We produced a short document that described precisely, in engineering terms, what we proposed to build and what materials were involved," says Selden. "The whole works, in great

detail, so that this thing could have been made by Joe's Machine Shop downtown." Agonisingly, though, at the moment they believed they had triumphed, Dobson and Selden were kept in the dark about whether they had succeeded. Instead, for two weeks, the army put them on the lecture circuit, touring them around the upper echelons of Washington, presenting them for cross-questioning at defence and scientific agencies. Their questioners, people with the highest levels of security clearance, were instructed not to ask questions that would reveal secret information. Finally, after a valedictory presentation at Livermore attended by a grumpy Edward Teller, they were pulled aside by a senior researcher, Jim Frank. "Jim said, 'I bet you guys want to know how it turned out,'" Dobson recalls. "We said yes. And he told us that if it had been constructed, it would have made a pretty impressive bang." How impressive, they wanted to know. "On the same order of magnitude as Hiroshima," Frank replied. "It's kind of a depressing thing to know, that it could be that easy," Dobson says. "On the other hand, it's far better to know the truth." And the truth today, he is certain, is that for terrorists, obtaining sufficiently enriched fissile material could be difficult but, when it comes to creating the bomb, "It turns out it's not overwhelmingly difficult. There are some subtleties that are not trivial ... but an awful lot has been published. If you were a grad student today, and you reviewed the literature, a lot of pieces would fall into place." It was, relatively speaking, easy - so easy that both Selden and Dobson seem to have emerged from the Nth Country Experiment deeply troubled by their own capacities. Selden stayed in the military, and he has since been closely involved in planning how the US might respond to a nuclear terrorist incident. Dobson, meanwhile, felt so uncomfortable that he left the sector entirely Einstein was famously said to have commented that if he had only known that his theories would lead to the development of the atom bomb, he would have been a locksmith. Dave Dobson, having designed one, got a job as a teacher.

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he ‘echo of the big bang’ is not audible on a normal radio, cosmic

microwave background radiation peaks at a frequency of 160GHz ,which corresponds to a wavelength of 1mm.By comparison .the VHF band has a frequency of 100MHz and wavelength of3m ,ordinary radio aerials are not at all suitable for receiving the Big Bang’s residual radiation.

o far, half man, half machine creatures, such as the TERMINATOR, or the Borg from the television serial STAR TREK ,are still the stuff of science fiction. However , advances in modern prosthetics are pointing the way forward ,with mechanical limbs controlled by brain waves already boosting the mobility of amputees. However ,cyborgs of an entirely different type have already seen the light of day in a German laboratory .Peter Fromherz of the Max Planck Institute for biochemistry combined living snail cells to a silicon chip .It is possible for electric impulse to be transmitted between this two worlds ,and work such as this is laying the foundations for great improvements in prostheses.

Freezing point of water 1 atm , room temp, …


ntil recently ,this always seemed to be true in case of fresh water ,although sea water only freezes

when the temperature drop slightly lower .However Korean scientists have now discovered that fresh water can turned to ice even at room temperature .Water molecules inside a strong electric field of above 100 volts per meter arrange themselves into ice crystals at temperature well above o Celsius. It is believed that electric field

Cut along these lines >>>

—- Oracle Team spirit of our campus.

Cyborgs already exist…

ing from you, and to improve Oracle further, to serve our readers better and to embody not just the voice of ISTE, but the true undying

Hearing the Bang

@ V Ruthvik

tive opinion about suggestions about any article/column/info what you feel with full freedom and anonymity. We look forward to hear-

Spotlight: Todays emerging technologies , innovations and discoveries

who, we need your valuable opinion. Kindly do us a favour and cut this tear out , and write your valuable comments, positive or nega-


until our voice hears a voice from your side . Together, in an earnest effort to portray the world around us, the why, the how and the

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venture, we admit that though we put in sincere effort in trying to leave no leaf unturned, our work is not an end in itself, at least not

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expression; the soul resides in the combined minds of its esteemed readers. Hence, as we in ISTE NITC Students’ Chapter, bring forth this

realise that no magazine can be complete without a resolve to keep on improving, and lending an open ear to suggestions,

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comments and criticisms. Much like the message that belongs not to the messenger, Oracle is merely the medium of our


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@ jibin Rajan

Techno-mix @ Amala Maheswari

Techno-mix is a fun filled scramble puzzle where the first four questions have some highlighted letter ( grey boxes ) in the answers which when rearranged gives the last answer which is a word or a phrase.

ed that computers would double in power and halve in price every 18 months, which is the company?    

1.Who is the current Chief executive officer of Apple Inc ?     

The real problem is not whether machines “ “

2.Which film is the highest grossing animated franchise?     3.Who is the chief structural engineer who designed Burj Khalifa?         4. One of the founding members of this company predict-

<<< Cut along these lines

... but whether men do… What's the answer? To find out, read our next issue ...

Outreach: Your portal to a successful career

@ Amala Maheswari

Meet Gokul G.R. IAS, the NITian who made us all proud by achieving the 19th rank in Civil Service Examination. An electronics and communication engineering graduate he achieved this fete in the very first attempt. Having made his presence felt in almost all college activities during his student years; he is all geared up to step into new shoes. He has chosen to serve the society by joining the Indian Administrative Service which constitutes the major policy making body of our country. Oracle wishes all the very best to this 23 year old native of Palakkad. We proudly present to our readers some excerpts from the interview with Gokul G.R.

Opportunities @ Arjun R Nair

When did you start your preparation for Civil Services?

towards the end of fourth year for the preparation. However I was very active in the club activities during my college days.

The GRE revised General Test is coming in August!!! The GRE General Test is changing. The GRE General test has become an important step towards achieving the goals of millions of students across the world. Now with the new GRE pattern the students will have a better testing experience. Here is what you can expect from the GRE revised General Test:A new test-taker friendly design: The computer-based test now lets you edit or change your answers, skip questions and more, all within a section, giving you the freedom to use more of your own test-taking strategies. Another new feature: An on-screen calculator. (Calculators issued by ETS are allowed and the scoring range for each section will be 130-170, with score increments of one point instead of 200-800 (with score increments of 10 points)) New types of questions:

I started my preparations towards the end of third year. I started it in the third year End-semester vacations to be exact.

Did you take the help of coaching institutes? No I didn’t take any coaching.

Selection of optionals is a crucial process in Civil Service exam. What did you look for while choosing an optional, or what made you choose Public Administration as one of the optional subjects?

How was the experience in the interview?


In the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections, questions include the real-life scenarios that reflect the kind of thinking you require in present graduate and business school programmes. All the 3 sections of GRE will be revised, (verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning and analytical writing). More questions on data analysis and from reading comprehension will be added. Analogies and antonyms will be removed from the test.

The concise and manageable syllabus was the main reason . Moreover, the optional would aid me in the career of administration too.

Special savings of 50% when you take the GRE revised General Test.

Another optional was physics; please tell more about that choice. What all should we take care while selecting a technical/ science topic?

Choosing Between the Current Test and the Revised Test: To help you decide which of the two tests to take, start by selecting which schools you're most interested in, then find out when they need your scores. Different schools have different admissions deadlines, so knowing when your prospective schools need your scores is an important part of making the decision between the GRE General Test and the GRE revised General Test. If you need the scores before November then you will have to register with the current GRE pattern or else go for the new one as it gives you a better testing experience.

“Whatever be your passion try to develop a social outlook, because at the end of the day you should serve your society.”

Well, technical topics generally tend to lose out in the moderation stage compared to humanities. However my hard work paid off as I did well in the physics paper. How did you strike a balance between electronics and Civil Service preparations? Did you have to sacrifice on extra-curricular activities? I am very grateful for the support extended by my department and teachers without which things would have been difficult. I had to miss some classes

The interview board was very cordial. We must watch out for the thin line between confidence and complacency. Be honest to the board. How did you tackle G.S. (General Studies) which is a concern for most candidates?

G.S. syllabus is very broad. I read newspaper regularly giving emphasis on the relevant articles. I referred many standard books and also used Wikipedia. What do you look forward from the job? I am looking forward to serving the society by staying within the limits set by constitution and political elements. Would you like to offer any advice for our juniors? Whatever be your passion try to develop a social outlook, because at the end of the day you should serve your society.


Newsletter Desigp: Jibio Rajao Varghese email.jrv@gnail.cqm

Journal of The Indian Society for Technical Education, ISSUE 01

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