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Megacities
 I
n 2007, humanity reached a significant demographic milestone: for the first time in history more people are now living in cities than the countryside. According to projections made by the United Nations, by 2030, cities will be home to over 60 per cent of people. The megacities listed by the United Nations already have a total population of nearly 300 million. Needless to say, the megacities are increasingly becoming growth engines of their respective national economies. Megacities are the reality of the 21 century. But at the same time their unprecedented size and complexity and their critical role as gateways in the global economy , pose huge challenges for sustainable urban development.

About the author

T V Jayan is a New Delhi based science journalist currently working The Telegraph newspaper, published from Kolkata.  

                                                                                                                  

Deserts: Driest Places on Earth
Deserts constitute the second most extensive environment system of the Earth. They are an important sub-component of the global climate system.  The book briefly describes how deserts are formed, some great deserts of the words, and desertification, desert landforms, mineral resources in deserts, water in deserts, desert plants, desert animals, and people living in deserts.  The book provides a bird's eye view of the factors accelerating process of desertification and how it will have devastating consequences for both humans and the environment and its possible impact on   the climate of even those regions that are quite remote from the actual desert areas and how to stop it.


About the author

Dr. Subodh Mahanti did his BSc (Honours) from Burdwan University (1976) and MSc from Banaras Hindu University (1978). He was awarded BHU Gold Medal for standing first in MSc. He did his PhD in Organic Chemistry (1982) and subsequently worked in Molecular Biology. For the last 14 years he has been working  in Vigyan Prasar. Besides his research papers, he has written more than 300 popular science articles. He has edited/authored/co-authored more than 20 books. Dr. Mahanti has been awarded FIE Foundation National Award (2000), NCSTC National Award (2003), Delhi Hindi Academy Award (2006) and Dr. Maghnad Saha Award (2005) for his contributions in the field of Science Popularisation. Dr. Mahanti is a Fellow of the NCSTC Network.
                                                                                                                       

Earth's Changing Climate
Historically, climate has had important economic implications for agriculture, transportation, and settlement. But climate is not same every where. It ranges from extremely dry, hot deserts to humid tropics and sub-zero polar icy expanses, depending on a variety of factors.  In this book an attempt has been made to provide an overview of what makes up Earth's climate and how reckless human activities are posing a threat to it. It also discusses how every individual can contribute to reducing greenhouse emissions by a change of lifestyle and switching over to more energy-efficient technologies.

About the author
A retired scientist of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Biman Basu is a former Editor of the popular science monthly Science Reporter. He has been a regular broadcaster over All India Radio for more than 30 years, has scripted several TV documentaries, and published more than 1,000 articles on popular science topics in various publications. He has 27 popular science books to his credit. Some of his books have also been translated into other Indian languages including Assamese, Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Tamil, and Urdu and have gone into multiple reprints. He is a winner of the 1994 NCSTC National Award for Science Popularisation, awarded annually by the Department of Science and Technology.


                                                                                                                                              

Life on Earth
The first life forms  bacteria-like organisms  appeared on Earth some 3,500 million years ago. The blue-algae, or cyanobacteria, were the first photosynthesising organisms that brought life-giving oxygen to Earth's atmosphere making proliferation of life possible and leading to the appearance of the first modern humans some 120,000 years ago. This book is an attempt to etch out in simple language the very basic underpinnings of life. It is an endeavor to outline the many paths that Life traversed, from the time that the Earth was torn as flaming ball of fire to the present day.

About the author
Sukanya Datta acquired her doctorate in zoology from the University of Calcutta, before joining the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research as a Scientist. She has authored many books (including an encyclopedia of S&T) both singly and jointly with co-authors. She  has had a long stint as Associate Editor, Science Reporter-India's premier popular science magazine. She has been actively involved in the popularisation of science for the last sixteen years and has many published articles, radio scripts and book reviews to her credit.



                                                                                                                                              

Mangroves: The Tidal Forest
The word “mangrove” is a term used to describe a diverse group of plants that are adopted to a wet, saline habitat, typically, refer to an individual species which are salt tolerant plants of tropical and subtropical intertidal regions of the word. These are the plants which live at the edge of the sea not only have an interesting e morphology, anatomy but also constitute a peculiar ecosystem which is extremely sensitive and fragile but very productive like rain forest. The book would help in understanding the ecological role and economical value of mangrove forest and why there forest need to be protected and deserve our continuous attention.

About the author
After completing his M.Sc and Ph.D in Botany from Annamalai University, Dr R.Paneerselvam joined the Botany department as a Lecturer, where he is now heading the department.  His specialization is environmental physiology and Bio-diversity.  Apart from authoring a large number of research papers in various scientific journals, he has edited science text books at various level. He evinces keen interest in popularizing science at school and college level.


                                                                                                                                          

MOUNTAINS Under Siege
The mountains beckon one and all. High mountain vistas provide an intense experience of natural beauty and a mountain excursion is a healthy vacation. But there is more to the beauty of mountains. Mountains are an important source of water, energy, mineral, forest products and biological diversity. Some of the most exotic and rare species of animals and plants are found only on the mountains. The book is an effort to familiarize the readers with the various types of mountains in nature and how they are formed, the innumerable benefits that mountains have to offer mankind, the threats to mountain ecosystems from human activities and the adverse consequences for the entire mankind, and finally, what is being done to turn the clock back on the environmental degradation that is destroying the serene beauty of the mountains of the world.

About the author
Hasan Jawaid Khan is Editor of Science Reporter, the popular science monthly magazine published by the National Institute of Science Communication And Information Resources (NISCAIR), CSIR, New Delhi. He has been with the magazine for over 16 years. He has to his credit over 300 articles/news reports in English and Hindi published in various magazines and newspapers. He has delivered more than 30 radio talks and authored/co-authored ten books. He was awarded the National Science Popularization Award by the Indian Science Writers’ Association (ISWA) in 2000.

                                                                                                                                             

Planet Earth in a Nutshell
The origin of Earth has always been a mystery for humans. According to the currently accepted theory our Solar System began as a spinning cloud of gas and dust  sometime between 5,000 million and 4,600 million years ago. As the cloud contracted, the atoms got closer together and became denser. The spinning cloud eventually flattened out, with a bulge in the middle from which the Sun was born.  Over time, materials in the disc around the Sun turned into solid, dust-like particles, which grew in size by accretion and eventually formed the planets.  Earth  after r formation some 4,500 million years ago, has undergone several upheavals in its structure to come to its present shape.  The book is  an attempt  to present an overview of Planet Earth, from its origins to its evolution over aeons and the impact of humans on Earth's biosphere and natural resources and looks at the possibilities of stopping further degradation of Earth's ecosystems with effective use of the new knowledge of natural and human history.

About the author
A retired scientist of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Biman Basu is a former Editor of the popular science monthly Science Reporter. He has been a regular broadcaster over All India Radio for more than 30 years, has scripted several TV documentaries, and published more than 1,000 articles on popular science topics in various publications. He has 27 popular science books to his credit. Some of his books have also been translated into other Indian languages including Assamese, Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Tamil, and Urdu and have gone into multiple reprints. He is a winner of the 1994 NCSTC National Award for Science Popularisation, awarded annually by the Department of Science and Technology.


                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Snakes
No one denies the need to understand the interactions of air, soil, water and living elements Earth's atmosphere, land, oceans, ice and life as a single, connected system. We need to do this to really study the Earth as a single connected system. And to be able to do so, we need to appreciate the beauty and importance of every denizen on Earth…including the most humble and the most insignificant.

            Snakes are perhaps the most misunderstood and therefore, the most maligned creatures on Earth. Human attitude towards this group of animals has been strangely paradoxical. We either worship them or else we kill them on sight. They are one of Life's great treasures themselves, misunderstood, persecuted and now, brought to the brink of extinction by habitats degraded or encroached upon by man. We owe it to ourselves to learn a little bit more about Snakes, our co-inhabitants of Planet Earth and this booklet is a small effort in that direction.

About the author
Sukanya Datta acquired her doctorate in zoology from the University of Calcutta, before joining the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research as a Scientist. She has authored many books (including an encyclopedia of S&T) both singly and jointly with co-authors. She  has had a long stint as Associate Editor, Science Reporter-India's premier popular science magazine. She has been actively involved in the popularisation of science for the last sixteen years and has many published articles, radio scripts and book reviews to her credit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  

The Violent Earth: Earthquakes, Volcanoes and Tsunamis
The Earth is always active, regardless of whether we can sense it or not. Its interior is restless. There is no part of Earth that is not continually being subject to change. Generally the changes are very slow, occurring through erosion by agents such as water, wind and slow movements of great masses of rock called tectonic plates.  But some time the changes are rapid and violent caused by events like earthquakes etc.  This book briefly describes in detail three natural phenomena- earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis, caused by the violent activities going on inside the Earth and consequences thereof. Different concepts and effects related to these phenomena are the special   highlights of the book.

About the author
Dr. Subodh Mahanti did his BSc (Honours) from Burdwan University (1976) and MSc from Banaras Hindu University (1978). He was awarded BHU Gold Medal for standing first in MSc. He did his PhD in Organic Chemistry (1982) and subsequently worked in Molecular Biology. For the last 14 years he has been working  in Vigyan Prasar. Besides his research papers, he has written more than 300 popular science articles. He has edited/authored/co-authored more than 20 books. Dr. Mahanti has been awarded FIE Foundation National Award (2000), NCSTC National Award (2003), Delhi Hindi Academy Award (2006) and Dr. Maghnad Saha Award (2005) for his contributions in the field of Science Popularisation. Dr. Mahanti is a Fellow of the NCSTC Network.

                                                                                                                                                                                                

WATER: KEY DRIVING FORCE
Water is by far the most common substance on earth; and has always been an essential component for survival of human, animal or plant. Its supply is diminishing very rapidly. It is being generally abused, and is often ignored or taken for granted. For communicating the value of this commodity, it is essential to examine the occurrence of water, its conservation, its distribution and its use for irrigation, industrial developments and domestic purposes. This book is an attempt to  provide information and understanding needed for wise management and the over all importance of Nation's water resources in developmental process  besides creating   awareness on water related issues and aspects.

About the author
Dr. P.S. Datta (b. 3rd June, 1950; Ph.D., IIT, Kanpur) is currently Project Director in Nuclear Research Laboratory, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi. His major research interest has been in the field of applications of isotope techniques in hydrological investigations for water resources assessment and management and environmental impact assessment in river basins in the Indo-Gangetic Alluvial Plains; Sabarmati  River  Basin and Agroecosystems of semi arid and arid regions.

                                                                                                                                          


The Weather Riddle
All weather phenomena  clouds, rain, snow, storms, and cyclones  occur within a narrow region of Earth's atmosphere called the troposphere. It is the Sun's heat that creates winds, clouds, cyclones, and other weather phenomena. Sometime weather can also turn violent and cause widespread destruction of life and property. But modern space and computer technology has made it possible to track the paths of approaching cyclones and also issue advance flood warnings, thereby reducing loss of life considerably.  In this book an attempt has been made to present an overview of the weather phenomenon and the various forces at work, and to look at the various techniques used to make weather forecasts more reliable.

About the author
A retired scientist of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Biman Basu is a former Editor of the popular science monthly Science Reporter. He has been a regular broadcaster over All India Radio for more than 30 years, has scripted several TV documentaries, and published more than 1,000 articles on popular science topics in various publications. He has 27 popular science books to his credit. Some of his books have also been translated into other Indian languages including Assamese, Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Tamil, and Urdu and have gone into multiple reprints. He is a winner of the 1994 NCSTC National Award for Science Popularisation, awarded annually by the Department of Science and Technology.

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                              


Global Warming and Health
Global warming, as the term indicates, is the increase in the average temperature of the Earth's near-surface air and oceans. It is now established beyond doubt that the warming of the Earth is largely the result of human activities. Apart from affecting Earth's climate, global warming is going to have major impacts on human health, either by directly influencing disease patterns or through indirect pathways involving food production, water distribution or international economics. That global warming will harshly impact the already poor and struggling nations of the developing word including India. Global warming will exacerbate the effect of heat stress and may raise the all- causes mortality rate and increase the disease burden. We are already experiencing the adverse effects and the warming  trend will inevitably continue for several decades. The book is an attempt to provide an understanding on the issue of climatic change as a global problem and its impact on health, which is viewed primarily within a national and local framework

About the author

Alok Mukherjee received his MTech in Earth Sciences in 1992 and MSc in Geology in 1991 from Vikram University, Ujjain.  He obtained Post Graduate Diploma in Remote Sensing and GIS from United Nations affiliated Centre For Space Science and Technology Education for Asia-Pacific at Indian Institute for Remote Sensing, Dehradun in 1998 . Currently he is working as Scientific Secretary, South Asian Start Committee, he is working as Scientific Secretary, South Asian START Committee, at Centre on Global Change, National Physical laboratory, New Delhi. Being conversant with many fields of natural, physical and earth sciences and with acumen for multidisciplinary approach, his major contribution has been in dealing sustainable development in ecosystems with a holistic approach integrating earth and atmospheric sciences parameters together with socio economic consideration.  Presently he is working on the Impact of climate change on human health, biodiversity change and ecological adjustment at higher Himalayas and many more related issues.  He is also involved in science popularization activities and delivering a series of talk on different issued relating to climate change.