Bhubaneswar: Tata Steel Young Astronomer Talent Search (YATS) programme, that aims to create awareness in the field of astronomy and space science among school students, has received an overwhelming response this year with a record participation of over 63,000 students from 300 schools across 30 districts of the state.
After due evaluation, the top two entries of each district have now been invited to participate in the grand finale to be held at Pathani Samata Planetarium, Bhubaneswar, on December 12-13, 2018. The 20 winners, who will be selected after the final round, will be felicitated in the evening function on December 13 and will be later taken on an exposure visit to a facility of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in May 2019.
“Astronomy is a fascinating subject, which makes for a limitless canvas for children to imagine possibilities and possibly lead children to explore career opportunities in the field of space science. The YATS programme has a unique design as its outreach initiative addresses and includes school children even in remote parts of the state. Participation has been increasing every year and it is heartening to see a participation of 63,000 students this year. We are committed to grow this programme and make it an enriching experience for students and teachers,” said Chanakya Chaudhary, vice president, corporate services, Tata Steel.
“Tata Steel believes programmes like YATS offer children the opportunity to think beyond the text book. In fact, our latest campaign #WeAlsoMakeTomorrow celebrates the power of imagination and it features children of diverse ethnicity — makers of tomorrow — who envision the world of the future with their own imagination,” Mr Chaudhary added.
YATS aims to motivate and encourage young minds to become scientists and astronomers. It also provides an opportunity for children in rural and remote areas of the state to exhibit their talent and come to the forefront in the field of astronomy. Last year (2017-18), YATS saw a participation of 32,800 students from 300 schools across all the 30 districts of the state and the finalists visited ISRO’s Space Application Centre at Ahmedabad.
YATS is organised by Tata Steel in association with Pathani Samanta Planetarium since 2007 to acknowledge the exemplary contribution of Pathani Samanta, legendary astronomer of Odisha, and encourage youngsters to display their talents in scientific innovation and concepts on various themes of space science and astronomy.
Each year 20 winners from Odisha are selected based on essay-writing and quiz competitions and are thereafter sent on an exposure trip to different centres of ISRO. The theme for this year’s essay competition was ‘Imagine Space Exploration 50 Years From Now’. The programme kicked off in the first week of July with notification to schools. Engagement with schools (quiz and essay competitions) was conducted between July to November.