Reported by Sandeep Sarangi
Bhubaneswar, Dec 13:
Twenty young astronomers from Odisha were awarded by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik at a function organised at Pathani Samanta Planetarium here today on the occasion of the birth anniversary of the great astronomer after whom the planetarium is named.
The young atsronomers were awarded for their projects on the topic “My Manned Spacecraft” as part of the ‘Young Astronomer Talent Search’ (YATS) contest that is jointly organised by Tata Steel and Pathani Samanta Planetarium among school children every year.
Presiding over the function, Chief Minister of Odisha Naveen Patnaik said, “As we can see from the exhibits on display, it has succeeded in igniting the imagination of young children which is the real objective of this exercise.”
“I congratulate all the contestants who have participated today. I am hopeful that such programs shall go a long way in fostering scientific bent of mind amon the youth which is essential for the growth of any civilization,” he said.
The Chief Minister said the State Government 1s working towards establishing a museum in Khandapada, the birth place of Samanta Chandrashekhar Mohapatra, the great astronomer from Odisha. “The museum will display the equipment, tools and belongings used by Pathani Samanta,” he said.
Pradeep Kumar Panigrahy, Minister, Department of Science & Technology revealed that the Government of Odisha is working to come up with a second planetarium of the State at Burla.
Bhubaneswar MP Prasanna Patsani, currently in the line of fire on a land grab charge, sought to use the occasion to please his party chief Naveen Patnaik by likening him to Pathani Samant. “Like Pathani Samant, the great astronomer, NaveenJi guessed the Phailin in advance to save the lives and property pf many Odias. And that’s why he won an award from the UN,” he said to the great amusement of the crowd.
The students were quite excited about the event and the show though. Speaking to OST, one of the winners Barnali Das of DAV school, Jharsuguda said she wants to be an astronaut and visit a space station. “I am proud to win the award and very happy that such a platform was provided to us to showcase our skills. We learnt a lot from other students, teachers and other experts visiting out stalls,” she said.
The “Young Astronomer Talent Search” (YATS) being organised since 2007, reaches out to around 1000 schools spread across all 30 districts of Odisha and motivate them to take to the field of science and astronomy.