Bhubaneswar: The grand finale of the 16th edition of Tata Steel Young Astronomer Talent Search (YATS) was organised today at Pathani Samanta Planetarium, Bhubaneswar. Chief Minister of Odisha, Shri Naveen Patnaik, addressed the students with a video message and congratulated the top 20 winners of the contest, which has been organised in association with Pathani Samanta Planetarium.
More than 77, 500 students from 300 schools across 30 districts of Odisha participated in the annual flagship event of Tata Steel in the state. The theme for this edition was “Time to unravel the universe”.
The winners will get the opportunity to visit one of the premier facilities of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and receive a first-hand experience of space science in May 2023.
Among others present on the occasion were Bhaskar Jyoti Sharma (IAS), Commissioner-cum-Secretary to Government, Science & Technology Department, Smt Sanjulata Behera, Additional Secretary, Science & Technology Department, Government of Odisha and Director, Pathani Samanta Planetarium, Bhubaneswar, Dr Karuna Kar Nanda, Director, Institute of Physics, Bhubaneswar, Sarvesh Kumar, Chief Corporate Communications, Tata Steel.
Addressing the students with a video message, chief minister of Odisha, Naveen Patnaik said, “YATS has evolved as a platform that ignites young minds to think out of the box and kindle their interest in the field of astronomy. YATS will go a long way in furthering the course of research in astronomy and space sciences.’’
Complimenting Tata Steel and the planetarium for the initiative, Ashok Chandra Panda, minister science & technology,said through a video message, “In the coming days, we look up to this platform as a launchpad for emerging space scientists. My best wishes to the winners and the finalists of YATS 2022.”
Bhaskar Jyoti Sarma, secretary science & technology said, “I thank Tata steel for organising such a platform for the young generation. My heartiest congratulations to the 20 winners and all the participants. This kind of platforms certainly have the potential to enhance the quality of education”.
Congratulating the winners and participants of the 16th edition of YATS, T. V. Narendran, CEO & MD, Tata Steel, said in a video message: ‘’The young students in schools who are interested in science are a very important part of our future as India steps into a crucial stage of its development and growth. We are very happy to contribute in this journey’’.
Dr Karuna Kar Nanda, Director, Institute of Physics, Bhubaneswar had an interactive session with the finalists of YATS during the day, who had come from all corners of the state.
Dr Anshuman Swain, YATS alumnus of 2009 shared experience of his career journey with the inquisitive participants. Dr Swain is currently a Harvard Society Fellow and James McDonnell Foundation Complexity Fellow at Harvard University, Cambridge with additional research appointments at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, USA. A special science exhibition was organised at the planetarium by Regional Science Centre, Bhubaneswar that captivated the students visiting the grand finale.
YATS, organised since 2007, is aimed at creating awareness in the field of astronomy and space science among the students and popularise the great contribution of the legendary Odia astronomer Pathani Samanata to the field. The platform provides an opportunity to the students in rural and remote areas of the State to exhibit their talent and come to the forefront in the field of space science.
YATS 2022-23 included an open quiz- conducted physically in schools (for students of classes 6th to 10th) and a written competition: conducted in schools as well as online (for students of classes 9th and 10th).
While the winners of the open quiz were felicitated on the spot, the essay competition required students to write an essay on the topic “Time to unravel the universe”. The essays were evaluated by an independent jury. The top two participants from each district were invited to the grand finale. After further evaluation based on personal interactions, the top 20 winners were felicitated.
More than 2 lakh young science enthusiasts of the state have participated in YATS in the last 16 years and 160 winning students had the opportunity to visit various facilities of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) across India.