Bangladesh has had remarkable achievements in innovations at different sectors in 2016. Several Bangladeshi scientists have brought international laurels and have attributed their discoveries to the country.
Here are the five innovations by Bangladeshi scientists who are in forefront of major discoveries around the world – in the realm of astrophysics, electronics engineering, physics and health.
Five giant stars: Rubab Khan
Bangladeshi scientist Rubab Khan has made a major breakthrough in astronomy.
Khan, of Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Centre, and his team has discovered five supersize stars "Eta twins" in other galaxies on par with a monstrous stellar system in our own Milky Way.
During the annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society in the USA this year, Rubab placed his findings on the discovery of five "Eta twins". They were identified with the help of the Hubble Space Telescope and Nasa's Spitzer Space Telescope.
Working with Scott Adams and Christopher Kochanek at Ohio State and George Sonneborn at Goddard, Rubab developed a kind of optical and infrared fingerprint for identifying possible Eta twins. According to Nasa, Rubab and his team surveyed seven galaxies from 2012 to 2014 to look for Eta twins.
The team found two candidates in the galaxy M83, located 15 million light years away, and one each in NGC 6946, M101 and M51, located between 18 and 26 million light years away. These five objects mimic the optical and infrared properties of Eta Carinae, indicating that each very likely contains a high mass star buried in five to 10 solar masses of gas and dust.
Further study will let astronomers determine more precisely their physical properties. The findings were published in the December 20 edition of The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
Gravitational waves: Selim Shahriar
US-based Bangladeshi Professor Selim Shariar discovered gravitational waves – which now confirm Albert Einstein's famous theory of relativity.
A team of scientists at Northwestern University led by Shahriar confirmed the existence of gravitational waves created by the collision of two black holes in the universe. This collision took place 1.3 billion light years away from earth. (A light year is the distance that a ray of light travels in a vacuum in 1 year, equivalent to 5.88 trillion miles or 9.46 trillion kilometres).
Shahriar, who had been working to “improve the sensitivity of LIGO detectors and broaden the spectrum” for the last ten years, placed two L-shaped antennae on opposite sides of the US – one in Washington State in west USA and the other in the eastern sea board. And then, on the same day, he noticed a small blip lasting for 0.2 seconds, which was 1000 times smaller than a proton. Such blips gave extensive information to scientists about the birth and nature of the universe. It also confirmed Albert Einstein's idea of gravitational wave in the universe.
Gravitational waves and ripples in space: Dipankar Talukdar
Scientist Dipanker Talukdar brought fame to Bangladesh detecting gravitational waves and ripples in space.
The 39-year-old former student of Physics Department of Dhaka University along with his team used a pair of giant laser detectors in the US. One of these detectors was in Lousiana and the other in Washington. The Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) received a wave signal about which scientists came to know. They found that the waves were the product of a collision between two black holes 30 times more massive than our sun and located about 1.3 billion light years from earth.
Nano-scale electronic and spintronic devices: Sayeef Salahuddin
Bangladeshi scientist Sayeef Salahuddin developed nanoscale electronic and spintronic devices for low power logic and memory applications.
The devices use the properties of electrons to transmit, process and store information. Electronic devices use the electrical charge of an electron to encode data. Spintronic devices instead use another fundamental property known as spin, which is the intrinsic angular momentum of the electron.
An associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science in UC Berkeley, Salahuddin was named as a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers in February. It is the highest honor bestowed by the US government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers.
Sayeef Salahuddin received his B.Sc. in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from BUET (Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology) in 2003 and PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Purdue University in 2007. He joined the faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at University of California, Berkeley in 2008.
Turning algae into biofuel: Dr Tamjidul Hoque
Tamjidul Hoque, assistant professor of computer science, has been awarded $141,453 by the Louisiana Board of Regents Industrial Ties Research Subprogram to develop the software tools and theoretical underpinning needed to help convert algae into biofuel. The grant also has a three-year institutional match of $36,720.
“Algae are found to have good potential for providing biofuel at a higher rate compared to any other plants,” according to Hoque. “Algae can be developed as an excellent microbial cell factory that can harvest solar energy and convert atmospheric carbon-dioxide to useful products and thus can establish the missing link in the fuel-cycle.”
Hoque’s project is a collaboration among UNO, BHO Technology and the Louisiana Emerging Technology Centre in Baton Rouge. His lab will develop advanced algorithms for analysing and optimising gene regulatory network-based biofuel production modeling in algae.
Genetical mutation responsible for Parkinson's disease: Dr Miratul Mohamid Khan Muqit
British-Bangladeshi Dr Miratul Mohamid Khan Muqit, a leading scientist based at the University of Dundee, has been named as one of this year's awardees of the prestigious European Molecular Biology Organisation Young Investigator Programme (EMBO YIP).
His research has made several important breakthroughs in the genetical mutation responsible for Parkinson's disease, according to a press release put up on the university website.
A Welcome Trust Clinical Investigator in the MRC Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit, part of the university's School of Life Sciences, Dr Muqit has been using his cutting edge research to better understand the causes of the disease.
A consultant neurologist at Ninewells Hospital, he treats patients with the disabling conditions.
Muqit was born in Glasgow, Scotland on October 12, 1973. His father Abdul Muqit, a general practitioner, and his mother Mamataz Begum, a psychiatrist, are now living in Dhaka.
Muqit completed MBChB from the University of Edinburgh in 1997. He did his MD in Harvard University and Phd in the University of London. He was also awarded Kennedy Scholarship. He is now serving as a Scottish clinical neurologist and scientist at the University of Dundee Medical Research Council.