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Friday, May 6, 2011

Star Quest 2011 Organized by Mathematical & Astronomical Society, University of Colombo

Astronomy has been nourishing since as early as Babylonian, Egyptian and Greek civilizations and today it has yielded a great portion of intellect enabling the humans to reach beyond their own horizons far beyond what anybody could possibly imagine. In presence it’s a foreseen attempt that all the countries trying to make their way ahead in the space science, whereas there’s no exception in Sri Lanka as well. In such a context, the Mathematical & Astronomical Society based in University of Colombo can be introduced as an alliance of such likeminded students, bonded together in the ties of science.

The eminent Sri Lankan astronomers Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe and Professor V K Samaranayake took the initiative in founding this society back in 1959, playing the roles of very first president and the secretary. This move can be referred to as the first scientific collaboration towards astronomy in Sri Lanka. Further, Professor L S R Wijewardena & Professor Valentine Joseph were prominent members of the society and today senior lecturer Dr. Chandana Jayaratne serves as the senior adviser.

The society conducts occasional observation camps, regular series of lectures and other astronomy activities both for university undergraduates as well as school students upon request. Moreover the official website is kept updated on recent news plus educational material so that visitors are equipped with some knowhow on astronomy. Mathematical & Astronomical Society also has in its possession the Molesworth telescope which is a telescope with 32 cm, thought to be the largest telescope in Sri Lanka during time of its owner major P B Molesworth. Currently the scope is housed in the small observatory / dome near the university grounds.

It is our firm conviction that the school students should be made aware of knowledge for a concurrent progress of astronomy in Sri Lanka, which is the very fact behind many of the outreach projects organized by us. We contribute to school level astronomy by offering both material and immaterial resources for ‘Astronomy Days’ and ‘Science Days’. Additionally we’ve been continuing an interschool astronomy quiz competition and a workshop consecutively for last 4 years and it’s famous among students as ‘Star Quest’. In last year’s program Sirimavo Bandaranaike Balika Vidyalaya and Ananda College, Colombo emerged as winners and runners-up respectively.

It is with great pleasure we inform you that arrangements have been made for a similar attempt in this year as well under the name ‘Star Quest 2011’ to be held on 07th of May 2011 at the university premises. Mathematical & Astronomical Society extends an open invitation to all the school-based astronomy clubs, whereby interested clubs/ societies may apply with as teams representing their entity. More information can be obtained from and through following contacts.

Chethya Vidanapathirana – 0718135177
Muditha Bandara – 0712371914