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Thursday, Oct 13, 2005
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MADURAI: In continuation of sustained efforts to nurture science-oriented activities and to fulfil long pending demand of students, the Madurai Kamaraj University has taken steps to revive the planetarium, located on its campus, in association with the Tamil Nadu Science and Technology Centre.
The Tamil Nadu Science and Technology Centre, with a funding of Rs.2.7 crores, has envisaged upgrading infrastructure, setting up a 50-seat planetarium with all indoor and outdoor educational facilities like a `science park' on the campus. Besides, extension educational activities would be conducted periodically throughout the year, said V. Ramakrishnan, Professor, School of Physics.
The planetarium would be equipped with an artificial sky where celestial activities would be projected. The projection equipment alone cost around Rs.1.6 crores, he said.
The planetarium was established decades ago with the objective of creating a scientific temper among the student community. The well-equipped planetarium attracted several school students to the campus and lectures were also organised whenever a celestial event happened. The University Grants Commission too had extended support. But, for reasons unknown, the interest waned and the old planetarium was used as a storeroom for keeping old answer scripts for more than a decade.
The initiative to revive the planetarium, which was very active in the 1980s, came from the Vice-Chancellor P. Maruthamuthu, who ordered its rejuvenation recently.
"On hearing the pitiable condition of the planetarium, the Vice-Chancellor delegated me to meet the authorities at the Tamil Nadu Science and Technology Centre, Chennai. When I disclosed the proposals of the university, those at the helm of affairs appreciated our efforts and accepted to fund our science-oriented activities," said Prof. Ramakrishnan.
The goal of the Tamil Nadu Science and Technology Centre is to create scientific temper among students and teaching community and to encourage science-oriented activities in educational institutions. Hence, the centre was happy to associate itself with the MKU to revive the planetarium, said P. Iyamperumal, Executive Director of the centre.
The centre, in association with the MKU, was organising a one-week motivational programme for talented school students in Madurai district at the planetarium from Monday.
The planetarium, once revived, will be opened for the public when any celestial event takes place.
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