Bhubaneswar: The 20 winners of the 12th edition of Tata Steel’s Young Astronomer Talent Search (YATS) 2018-19 from Odisha after successfully completing a week-long learning trip to Space Application Centre (SAC) of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in Ahmedabad returned yesterday. YATS is a unique initiative of Tata Steel for high school students in Odisha, organised in association with Pathani Samanta Planetarium, under Science and Technology Department, Government of Odisha.
Through special initiatives like YATS, Tata Steel motivates and encourages youngsters to think beyond the textbook and celebrate the power of imagination. The theme for 2018-19 was “Imagine space exploration, 50 years from now” and included an open-quiz for students from classes VI-X as well as an essay competition for students from classes IX-X. After due evaluation, the top two entries from each district were invited to participate in the grand finale held at Pathani Samata Planetarium, Bhubaneswar in December 2018.
The winning group comprising 12 girls and 8 boys from across locations in Odisha visited various laboratories of SAC Ahmedabad and interacted with the scientists-in-charge who explained the finer details of the research work they were engaged in. During his interaction with the students, Mr. Nilesh Desai, Deputy Director, SAC/ISRO, Ahmedabad praised the efforts of Tata Steel and the Planetarium for undertaking such an initiative and facilitating a unique experience for the students in the form of a visit to ISRO facilities. Apart from ISRO visit, students also had the opportunity to visit the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) and interacted with PRL scientists there. The students were given an opportunity to learn about various aspects of operations of ISRO and evolution of the Indian space programme. The students also went for a visit of Gujarat Science City in Ahmedabad.
The exposure visit was earlier flagged off by Chief Minister of Odisha Shri Naveen Patnaik on 3rd June 2019.
YATS was started in 2007 with the aim to create awareness in the field of astronomy and space science among students and motivate and encourage the young minds to become scientists and astronomers. To provide world-class exposure to young talents of Odisha, each year a total of 20 winners from classes IX and X across Odisha are selected based on an essay-writing and quiz competitions and are thereafter sent on an exposure trip to an ISRO centre. More than one lakh thirty-eight thousand young science enthusiasts of the state have participated in YATS in the last 12 years and 160 winning students had the opportunity to visit various facilities of ISRO in India.