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Elon Musk calls Peter Higgs a ‘smart human’ on his demise

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New Delhi, April 10 (IANS) Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk, on Wednesday, called Peter Higgs, the physicist who proposed the Higgs Boson particle, a “smart human.”

“He was an especially smart human,” Musk wrote in a post on X.com.

The Nobel winner physicist, known for his theory that explains how elementary particles get their mass, died aged 94 on Monday, at his home following a short illness, according to a statement from Edinburgh University, UK.

He was “truly a gifted scientist whose vision and imagination have enriched our knowledge of the world that surrounds us.”

Peter first proposed the existence of a new particle in 1964, while working as a lecturer at Edinburgh University. Its existence was confirmed about 50 years later in 2012 by researchers at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, in Switzerland.

Higgs’ theory revealed the existence of a field that is spread in the universe, with a particle of its own called Higgs, after the physicist.

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According to him, this field gave mass to particles after the great Big Bang.

“His name will be remembered as long as we do physics in the form of the Higgs Boson,” said Brian Cox, Professor of particle physics at the University of Manchester, UK, in a post on X.

–IANS

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Smart city technologies expected to become $100 bn industry in 2024: Report

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New Delhi, May 29 (IANS) Smart city technologies are expected to become a $100 billion industry in 2024 as more and more cities look for innovative solutions for urban challenges, a new report showed on Wednesday.

According to data presented by Stocklytics.com, the market size of smart city technologies has increased by an impressive 140 per cent over the past five years. Smart cities use the Internet of Things (IoT) and various software, user interfaces, and communication networks to deliver connected, innovative solutions for urban challenges, from public and cybersecurity threats, traffic congestion and energy management to e-governance.

As per Statista, the global revenue from smart city technologies amounted to $37.5 billion in 2018. Since then, this figure has grown by 140 per cent and reached almost $90 billion last year.

According to the report, China will remain the largest and fastest-growing market. Chinese smart city revenues will increase by 18.5 per cent and $43.5 billion this year. Outside China, Europe has appeared as the leading smart city technology adopter, but North America still represents the second-largest market, the report said.

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As per the projections, the sector will continue to grow, with worldwide smart city technology revenues increasing by an average of $15 billion per year to $165.8 billion in 2028.

–IANS

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CCMB, Aganitha to apply Generative AI for therapeutic design, research

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Hyderabad, May 29 (IANS) The Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology (CCMB) and Aganitha, a new generation ‘in silico’ solutions provider, signed a framework agreement to apply Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions for designing novel therapeutics and research tools addressing needs in multiple disease areas.

CCMB, a part of the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), and Aganitha, which combines the power of deep science and deep tech to bring novel medicines to market faster, signed an umbrella memorandum of understanding (MoU) to apply Aganitha’s Generative AI solutions for small molecule and antibody design for translation of CCMB’s R&D findings into therapeutic candidates.

Initial areas of collaboration include target analysis, small molecule design, and antibody and nanobody engineering for addressing malaria, tuberculosis (TB), and neurological disorders.

This strategic collaboration is designed to translate discoveries from the globally acclaimed research labs of CCMB into therapeutic candidates through the application of Aganitha’s Generative AI solutions for biopharma R&D, said a joint statement on Wednesday.

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“We continue to struggle with controlling malaria due to drug resistance of the pathogen, lack of broadly available vaccines, and insecticide resistance of mosquitoes. Collaborative efforts of interdisciplinary experts are necessary to develop new drugs and vaccines for malaria. Towards this goal, we are leveraging Aganitha’s Generative AI capabilities in small molecules space for validated parasite drug targets to predict, test, and optimize potential antimalarial compounds,” said Dr Puran Singh Sijwali, Senior Principal Scientist at CCMB.

Dr Raghunand Tirumalai, also a Senior Principal Scientist at the CCMB, said that they would work towards the structure-based discovery of small molecule inhibitors targeting essential proteins of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, adding that he expects this will lead to the identification of multiple novel anti-TB therapeutic leads.

“The collaboration between CSIR-CCMB and Aganitha to develop nanobody binders targeting a class of neurotransmitter receptors, called the GluD1 receptors, marks a significant stride in neuroscience and pharmacology. These nanobodies might serve as precise molecular tools to modulate GluD1 receptor activity, potentially unlocking novel therapeutic avenues for neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s and epilepsy. With their small size and high specificity, nanobodies hold promise for targeted drug delivery and imaging applications, paving the way for tailored treatments with reduced side effects” said Dr Janesh Kumar, Senior Principal Scientist at CCMB.

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“The collaboration with Aganitha is forward-looking, utilising CCMB’s strength in fundamental research on disease biology and Aganitha’s expertise in AI-driven solutions. It is timely for us to forge such a collaboration to take our lab leads towards more real-life solutions,” CCMB Director Dr Vinay Nandicoori said.

Prasad Chodavarapu, co-founder and MD of Aganitha, sees the relationship between CCMB and Aganitha as a great example of the academia-industry collaboration needed to make a significant impact towards solving human diseases and suffering.

“We are a multi-disciplinary team of researchers specialising in multi-scale systems biology, quantum chemistry, and Generative AI, taking the here-and-now opportunity to leverage the virtual loop of innovation happening between Deep Science and Deep Tech, to transform global life sciences R&D,” he said.

–IANS

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D2C shipments market in India set to reach $2.7 bn by 2028: Report

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New Delhi, May 29 (IANS) The D2C (direct-to-consumer) market in India is set to hit $2.2 to 2.7 billion by 2028, growing at 35-40 per cent (year-on-year) from 2023 to 2028, a new report said on Wednesday.

According to strategy consulting firm Redseer Strategy Consultants, the annual D2C shipments have skyrocketed from 0.1 billion in 2019 to 0.6 billion in 2023.

A significant portion of these shipments is attributed to the services of the 3PL (third-party logistics) providers, who play a major role in delivering superior customer service.

3PL providers offer tailored and comprehensive end-to-end logistics services, including warehousing, inventory management, shipment intelligence, and transportation.

“3PL providers are integral to the value-chain of the new age D2C brands. They are continuously innovating to address the unique needs of these brands, fostering partnerships from the early stages of the brand journey”, said Kanishka Mohan, Partner, Redseer Strategy Consultants.

The report highlighted how 3PL logistics players are innovating to meet the growing demands of new-age D2C brands. As per the report, 3PL providers are investing heavily in technology and infrastructure, offering accelerated delivery times, real-time tracking, non-delivery reports, and predictive analytics for returns.

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They provide seamless cash-on-delivery (COD) solutions with swift remittance, typically within 48 hours, which is vital for the working capital of smaller brands. They help new-age firms expand into offline markets by providing integrated logistics and supply chain solutions such as warehousing, express part-truckload and full-truckload freight and streamlined distribution to brick-and-mortar stores, the report said.

–IANS

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Axis Bank partners with Mastercard to launch NFC Soundbox

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New Delhi, May 29 (IANS) Axis Bank on Wednesday said that it partnered with Mastercard to launch NFC Soundbox. The new soundbox will act as an all-in-one solution that will allow the users to accept Bharat QR, UPI, Tap & Pay and Tap + Pin payments.

“This device aligns with the Bank’s asset lite strategy to provide products/solutions of superior quality at an affordable price. The NFC Soundbox will help the Bank further penetrate the small merchant segments with cost-effective and simple payment solutions that are secure and compliant with PCI standards,” Sanjeev Moghe, President & Head – Cards & Payments, Axis Bank, said in a statement.

The bank said that the device will be powered with a dual confirmation feature, providing audio cues through its speaker and visual feedback on the screen in more than seven languages, ensuring a smooth and reassuring transaction experience for both merchants and consumers.

The Tap + Pin capability will enable merchants to accept transactions greater than Rs 5,000 via card instruments.

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“The launch of NFC Soundbox is another example of a form factor which provides consumers with access to quick and highly secure card transactions. At the same time, small merchants will be able to use a cost-effective all-encompassing payment solution,” said Gautam Aggarwal, Division President, South Asia at Mastercard.

The new Soundbox will be powered with 4G + Wifi capability. It will also be available on all leading payment networks, such as Visa, RuPay, and American Express.

–IANS

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IT Ministry, MEA sign MoU to provide eMigrate services via common services centres

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New Delhi, May 29 (IANS) The Centre on Wednesday announced to provide eMigrate services through Common Services Centres (CSCs) to assist blue-collar workers at the grassroot level.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed between the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and CSC eGovernance Services, the IT Ministry said in a statement.

As part of the MoU, the eMigrate portal of MEA would be integrated with CSC’s portal to provide several services to citizens through CSCs.

The services being provided are registration of applicants on eMigrate portal through CSCs; uploading and processing the required documents for the applicants on eMigrate portal; supporting booking for medical and other services required by migrant workers or applicants registered on eMigrate portal through CSC; and creating awareness about eMigrate services amongst citizens across the country.

Over the years, the number of Indians going abroad for employment has been increasing as well as the contribution of remittances sent by them has been significant, said the Ministry.

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The eMigrate project was launched to address issues faced by the migrant workers by making the emigration process online seamless, and bring foreign employers and registered recruitment agents and insurance companies on one common platform for safe and legal migration.

Currently, more than 5.50 lakh CSCs are delivering more than 700 digital services to citizens in assisted mode with enhanced ease and convenience.

“The MoU has been signed with an aim of expanding channels of safe & legal migration at grassroots level, with the particular aim of preventing exploitation from unscrupulous elements of Indian citizens when they seek employment overseas,” said the IT Ministry.

–IANS

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