Bhubaneswar: The grand final of the 16th edition of the Tata Steel Young Astronomer Talent Search (YATS) was held today at the Pathani Samanta Planetarium, Bhubaneswar. The Chief Minister of Odisha, Shri Naveen Patnaik, delivered a video message to the students and congratulated the top 20 winners of the contest, which had been organized in collaboration with the Pathani Samanta Planetarium.

More than 77,500 students from 300 schools across 30 districts in Odisha participated in Tata Steel’s annual flagship event in the state. The theme of this edition is “It’s Time to Unravel the Universe”.

The winners will get the opportunity to visit one of the main facilities of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and get hands-on experience of space science in May 2023.

Present at the occasion included Shri Bhaskar Jyoti Sharma (IAS), Commissioner and Secretary to the Department of Government, Science & Technology, Smt Sanjulata Behera, Additional Secretary, Department of Science & Technology, Government of Odisha and Director, Planetarium Pathani Samanta, Bhubaneswar, Dr Karuna Kar Nanda, Director, Institute of Physics, Bhubaneswar, Sarvesh Kumar, Head of Corporate Communications, Tata Steel.

Addressing students via video message, Chief Minister of Odisha, Shri Naveen Patnaik said, “YATS has grown as a platform that sparks young minds to think outside the box and awaken their interest in astronomy. YATS will greatly assist in advancing research in the fields of astronomy and space science.”

Praising Tata Steel and the planetarium for the initiative, Shri Ashok Chandra Panda, Minister, Science & Technology, Public Enterprise, Social Security & Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Government of Odisha, said via video message, “In coming days, we see this platform as a cornerstone launch for emerging space scientists. My best wishes to the 2022 YATS winners and finalists.”

Shri Bhaskar Jyoti Sarma, Commissioner and Secretary of Department of Government, Science & Technology, Government of Odisha said, “I thank Tata steel for organizing such a platform for the young generation. Congratulations to the 20 winners and all participants. Such a platform certainly has the potential to improve the quality of education.”

Congratulating the winners and participants of the 16th edition of YATS, TV Narendran, CEO & MD, Tata Steel, said in a video message: ”Young students in schools who are interested in science are a very important part of our future as India. step to an important stage of its development and growth. We are very happy to be able to contribute to this journey”.

Dr. Karuna Kar Nanda, Director, Institute of Physics, Bhubaneswar held an interactive session during the day with YATS finalists who came from all over the country.

Dr Anshuman Swain, a 2009 YATS alumnus shared his career journey with curious attendees. 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 organized at the planetarium by the Regional Science Centre, Bhubaneswar which captivated the students who visited the grand finale.

YATS which has been held since 2007 aims to create awareness in the fields of astronomy and space science among university students and popularize the great contribution of the legendary Odia astronomer Pathani Samanata in these fields. The platform provides students in rural and remote areas of the State with the opportunity to showcase their talents and stay at the forefront of the space science field.

YATS 2022-23 includes open quizzes conducted physically in school (for students in grades 6 to 10) and written competitions: conducted both in school and online (for students in grades 9 and 10).

While the winner of the open quiz is announced on the spot, the essay competition requires students to write an essay on the topic “Time to reveal the universe”. Essays are evaluated by an independent jury. The top two entrants from each district are invited to the grand finals. After further evaluation based on personal interaction, the top 20 winners were announced.

Over 2 lakh state young science enthusiasts have participated in YATS in the last 16 years and 160 winning students had the opportunity to visit various Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) facilities across India.

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