USINPAC congratulates Indian-American research associate Vithal Tilvi who is amongst the astronomers who have discovered the most distant galaxy ever

Astronomers, including an Indian-American, have discovered the most distant spectroscopically confirmed galaxy ever found – one created within 700 million years after the Big Bang.

“It’s exciting to know we’re the first people in the world to see this,” said Vithal Tilvi, a post-doctoral research associate at Texas A&M, a research-intensive flagship university, and co-author of the paper published in the latest edition of the journal Nature.

“It raises interesting questions about the origins and the evolution of the universe,” said Tilvi, born in Goa, India.

He attended Goa University and also worked at the National Institute of Oceanography, Dona Paula, and at the National Antarctic Research Centre, Vasco.

The paper’s lead author is Steven Finkelstein, an assistant professor at the University of Texas at Austin and 2011 Hubble Fellow.

Light from the galaxy, designated by scientists as z8_GND_5296, took about 13.1 billion years to reach the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope and the Keck Observatory in Hawaii, both of which detected the galaxy in infrared light.

The researchers suspect they may have zeroed in on the era when the universe made its transition from an opaque state in which most of the hydrogen was neutral to a translucent state in which most of the hydrogen is ionised.

Tilvi notes this is one of two major changes in the fundamental essence of the universe since its beginning – the other being a transition from a plasma state to a neutral state. He is leading the effort on a follow-up paper that will use a sophisticated statistical analysis to explore that transition further.

“Everything seems to have changed since then,” Tilvi said. “If it was neutral everywhere today, the night sky that we see wouldn’t be as beautiful. What I’m working on is studying exactly why and exactly where this happened. Was this transition sudden, or was it gradual?”

The Nature paper is the result of raw data gleaned from a powerful Hubble Space Telescope imaging survey of the distant universe called CANDELS, or Cosmic Assembly Near-Infrared Deep Extragalactic Legacy Survey.

Using that data, the team was armed with 43 potential distant galaxies and set out to confirm their distances.

Tilvi, Finkelstein and his graduate student, Mimi Song, detected only one galaxy during their two nights of observation at Keck, but it turned out to be the most distant ever confirmed.


USINPAC congratulates Nisha Biswal on her confirmation as Asst. Secretary of State

The US Senate has confirmed Indian-American woman administrator Nisha Desai Biswal as the assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia, making her the first person from the community to hold the top diplomatic position.

Biswal, who is currently the assistant administrator for Asia at the US Agency for International Development ( USAID), will replace incumbent Robert Blake to head the key bureau in the state department.

President Barack Obama had nominated her for this top position on July 18.

The Senate foreign relations committee had held her confirmation hearing last month, during which she received bipartisan support and was praised by lawmakers from both the parties.

“I consider you another compelling argument for comprehensive immigration reform,” said Senator John McCain of the Republican Party.

“Despite your misguided political affiliation, I would like to say that you’re a great example to all of us of people who come to this country. I know you were very young … and the opportunities that this country provides,” McCain said in praise of Biswal, who is from the Democratic Party.

McCain who lost out to Obama in the 2008 presidential elections rarely praises someone from the Democratic Party.

From 2005 to 2010, she was the majority clerk for the state department and foreign operations subcommittee on the Committee on appropriations in the US House of Representatives. From 2002 to 2005, she served as the Policy and advocacy director at interaction.

Previously, she served on the professional staff of the US House of Representatives international relations committee from 1999 to 2002.

Daughter of first generation Indian Americans, Biswal draws her inspiration from her parents’ story of journey far from rural India to pursue the American Dream and a better life for their children, which she told lawmakers during the confirmation hearing of her current position on July 21, 2010.

Source: Times of India

USINPAC cheers for Indian American Gurbir Grewal on his nomination as the next Bergen county prosecutor

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has formally nominated an Indian American Sikh lawyer Gurbir Grewal to be the next Bergen county prosecutor.

If confirmed by the State Senate, Grewal would become the first Indian American prosecutor in New Jersey, as well as the first person of Sikh origin to occupy the office.

Since 2010, Grewal has worked at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark as the Deputy Chief of the Economic Crimes Unit and Computer Hacking and IP Crimes Unit.

He previously worked at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of New York as an Assistant U.S. Attorney at the Business and Securities Fraud Unit.

“With his experience as a federal prosecutor in New Jersey and New York, Mr. Grewal has the right credentials and background to be the chief law enforcement officer for Bergen County,” said Christie announcing his intent to nominate Grewal.

“He also brings diversity to a highly diverse county, which will serve him and the community well,” Christie added.

Grewal would replace retiring prosecutor John Molinelli.

Grewal earned his undergraduate degree from Georgetown University, and holds a Juris Doctorate from the Marshall-Wythe School of Law from the College of William & Mary.

He is a past president of the South Asian Bar Association of New York, and a member of the New Jersey Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association.

Source: Business Standard

USINPAC congratulates Indian American Arun M Kumar on his nomination as the Assistant Secretary and Director General of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service, International Trade Administration in the Department of Commerce

Indian-American Arun M Kumar has been nominated by President Barack Obama to a key administration post, making him in charge of international trade at a critical juncture, when the U.S. is looking to increase it’s export.

Arun M Kumar, till recently a partner and member of the Board of Directors at consultancy firm KPMG, was nominated yeasterday, by Obama to be the Assistant Secretary and Director General of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service, International Trade Administration in the Department of Commerce.

“The extraordinary dedication these men and women bring to their new roles will greatly serve the American people,” Obama said as he announced nomination to several other key administration positions.

“I am grateful they have agreed to serve in this Administration and I look forward to working with them in the months and years to come,” he said.

Kumar joined KPMG in 1995 as a Finance Management Leader. and from 2005 until his retirement in September 2013, he led the firm’s West Coast Finance Management Consulting practice.

He also led the firm’s US-India practice from 2007 to 2013.

Kumar received a Bachelors degree in Physics from the University of Kerala in India, and an S M in Management from the Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US.

From 1993 to 1995, he was the founder and CEO of Planning & Logic, Inc, a software company. Prior to that, he was co-founder and CFO of Netlabs, Inc from 1991 to 1993; the CFO of Elite Microelectronics, Inc from 1990 to 1991.He also held important positions in several organisations from 1980 to 1990.

Source: Business Standard

USINPAC welcomes a delegation of 16 city-based businessmen from Kolhapur, India to United States

A delegation of 16 city-based businessmen, mainly from the auto ancillary industry, will be on a trip to the United States from October 8 to 18 to explore opportunities arising from the prevailing economic conditions in the country.

“The delegation comprises businessmen who have been in the auto ancillary industry for the past 10 to 30 years. The automobile industry in the United States is very sophisticated and we are visiting Detroit with a purpose. The conditions in that country could create opportunities for the founding and casting industry in Kolhapur,” Birnale said.

The delegation will be meeting with industrialists in the U.S. especially in the automobile sector. It has received confirmation about the meetings that will be held from the Indo-American Chamber Of Commerce, the Queens Chamber of Commerce, the USA Chamber of Commerce, the USA-India business council and the USA commerce department.

“We are optimistic about that our trip there will translate into business for Kolhapur. The Indian consulate in New York has helped the delegation to reach proper institutions in the US,” said Kulbhushan Birnale, the president of Converse International Network, the organization facilitating the study tour.

Converse International Network is a joint venture between the Global Organization for People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) and the Dnyaneshwar Mulay Education Society (DMES). Mulay is currently the consul general of India in New York.

At Albany in New York, the city businessmen will be meeting their counterparts in the casting industry and will hold dialogue with the Empire State Development Corporation, New York’s major economic development agency. The delegation will also be visiting tool and dye companies in three states in the US.

“Many such visits have been planned that will give local business houses a view of how the U.S. industry is shaped and what opportunities there are. GOPIO will be welcoming the delegation and arrange a meeting at Washington Chamber of Commerce,” Birnale added.

Kolhapur is one of the top Indian cities the foundry and casting industries. Around 350 founding units have been established here in the past five decades. These industries are presently facing the heat of the international economic slowdown and are looking for global opportunities.

Source: Times of India