Thursday, April 09, 2009

International Year of Astronomy in Pakistan

I love the above picture - not only the facial expression of the kid at the telescope but also the anticipating eyes just above his right shoulder. Here is a face of Pakistan that rarely gets attention. Khwarizmi Science Society (KSS) has been doing a fantastic job of popularizing science in Pakistan. They have been organizing a series of events to mark the International Year of Astronomy (IYA). They have so far held two Falakayati Melas (Astronomy festivals) where they have made telescopes available for free public viewing. In addition, the focus of activities is not just the metropolitan areas but they are also taking telescopes to underprivileged areas also:

Keeping in view their impact and popular appeal, the KSS has now resolved to take these melas to distant and underprivileged areas as well. Consequently, the second falakayati mela was held on the 9th of March at Government High School Number 1, Phoolnagar. Phoolnagar is the new name of Bhai Pheru, located about 50km on Multan Road, southwards from Lahore. The school has an outstanding history of producing excellent results in Board examinations. The headmaster proudly claims the fifty year old traditions of the school which currently has 1500 students and 50 teachers. Demographically, the area belongs to a deprived economic setting and most students come from poor and oppressed families where the parents cherish in their hearts, the lasting dreams of their children aspiring for strong and respectable careers.

Read the full article here. Below are some pictures from their Falakayati Melas and also from a lecture at the Government school in Phool Nagar (Qasoor):

(Pic above) Packed house at an astronomy lecture at the Government High School in Phool Nagar.

(Pic above) No no. Not looking for drones. I think they are gazing a bit further out - about 400 light years - and checking the progress of young stars in Pleiades.

Umair Asim being attacked by a mob of men, women and kids for not finding Saturn quickly enough (above left) - then having to explain the origins of Saturn's rings (above right). (please note that I actually don't know what they were actually looking at - but from the interest alone I am guessing it was Saturn :) )

(above) Khwarizmi Science Society under the arm of Sabieh Anwar.


Asad said...

This is just great. One thing that i want to know is whether the events being held around the world for IYA by various org are being catalogued. If so whether Pakistani orgs like khawarzimi are there or not. If they are then it will be a great source of recognition for astronomy in Pakistan.

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