Pune, February 24, 2021: The Astronomical Society of India Discovery award was given to Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics scientist Dr Kanak Saha while the Zubin Kembhavi Award for Public Outreach and Education in Astronomy was given to Samir Dhurde. Dhurde jointly shared this award with Vivek Monteiro on behalf of Navanirmiti Foundation.
The awards were given during 39th Annual Meeting ASI to celebrate the work of practitioners of astronomy and astrophysics across the country. These awards were given in an online programme organised on February 20.
ASI New Discovery Award is given every year to an Indian national for a discovery made from India. This year award was given to the team led by Dr Saha for the discovery of “Lyman continuum emission from a galaxy at z=1.42.” This research helped in discovering one of the earliest galaxies in extreme ultraviolet light in the universe and observations were made by using AstroSat of ISRO, which is India’s first multi-wavelength satellite-telescope.
Expressing his feeling about the award Dr. Saha said, “Indeed, it is very satisfying to receive this New Discovery award from the Astronomical Society of India. I, on behalf of the entire team members, thank the ASI. I also take this opportunity to thank the entire AstroSat team and ISRO for making AstroSat available to the Indian Astronomy community. I am so happy to share this incredible award with my entire team members.”
The research done by the team was published in Nature Astronomy. (One can visit this link to read more about discovery made by Dr Saha’s team: https://www.isro.gov.in/
indias-astrosat-discovers-one- of-earliest-galaxies-extreme- ultraviolet-light-and-marks- major )
ASI Zubin Kembhavi Award for Public Outreach and Education in Astronomy was jointly given to Vivek Monteiro on behalf of Navanirmiti Foundation and Samir Dhurde of IUCAA, Pune. This award is instituted by Prof. Ajit and Asha Kembhavi to celebrate the life of a youngster Zubin Kembhavi.
Monterio was felicitated for his work regarding low cost and novel science and hands-on activities for school students. He had pioneered large-scale public eclipse events in India by providing cheap good quality eclipse glasses and facilitating cheap non-telescopic viewing methods on a large scale.
Dhurde was felicitated for his contribution to various levels of public outreach in India as well as international levels along with his significant contribution to rural outreach programes in Maharashtra.
Dhurde said,“An efficient public outreach requires organised team effort. One needs to ensure timely planning, quality of work, adequate percolation time for publicity, goal oriented passion for project completion and systemic provision for feedback and follow-up. Apart from this, one needs a good team of people with skills and resources like the capacity to engage students with formal-informal education methods, reaching audiences beyond your sphere and also within the science community, focus on content as well as web-platform development, creative exploration in illustrations-infographics and latest engrossing medium of videos.”
In conclusion, he said, “Outreach is done not only to inform people and explain out one`s work but also to inspire and elevate the next generation’s achievements. This award will go a long way in inspiring the next generation of science communicators of India and it will give a great visibility to science communicators.”