Bengaluru: Indian physicists and astronomers put on a glittering show at the International Astronomical Union’s (IAU’s) first physical event since 2018 in South Korea.
The IAU’s General Assembly, the world’s largest astronomy meet, took place in Busan between 2 and 11 August. Not only was there a pavilion showcasing Indian space projects at the event, but the presentation of awards for PhD theses saw Indian scholars, including one from a university in Oslo, bag four prizes.
a year owing to the Covid pandemic.
“I was surprised as well as extremely pleased,” Prantika Bhowmik told ThePrint about winning the PhD at-large prize for the year 2019. “It is, in a way, the highest recognition any young astronomer can hope to get from the international research community just after finishing their PhD.”
The IAU PhD Prizes were first instituted in 2016. There are ten categories of prizes, ranging from fundamental astronomy, bioastronomy, high energy phenomena to astrophysics education.
At every award ceremony, the PhD at-large prize in astrophysics, which is independent of these divisions, is also given out.
Prizes for each category are selected by a panel of experts within the topics of research. Thesis topics for the award are solicited using an online application form that candidates fill out about their work, and have representatives from their institute provide references.
All four Indian recipients also presented their thesis work in the form of oral presentations.
Telescopes, science missions showcased at India pavilion
At the IAU General Assembly, the Astronomical Society of India (ASI) hosted an India pavilion showcasing major astronomy facilities of the country for the first time in its 50-year history, said Dibyendu Nandi, chairperson of the ASI’s public outreach and education committee, in a press release.
Indian astronomical facilities like the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (Pune), the Indian Astronomical Observatory (Hanle), the Devasthal Optical Telescope (Nainital), and the Kodaikanal and Udaipur solar observatories were showcased at the Indian pavilion.
Science missions like Chandrayaan, AstroSAT, and Aditya-L1 were also on display, as well as India’s contribution to mega physics projects like Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (spread over the US, Italy, and India), the upcoming Thirty Meter Telescope (Hawaii), and upcoming Square Kilometre Array (in Australia and South Africa).
(Edited by Tony Rai)
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