Thursday, January 13, 2005

It’s your sky, have a star trek

It’s your sky, have a star trek
The Times of India

Bangalore: If you are at the planetarium, and want to pitch a classic conversational gambit with the kids — “What do you want to become when you grow up,’’ — you will get the stock reply: “Space scientist or an astronaut.’’ The inspirational 10-minute documentary on Kalpana Chawla being aired at the beginning of every film show at the Sky Theatre is just a launch pad to a wonderland of space adventure which the Planetarium offers.

Located amid the salubrious environs behind the Raj Bhavan, Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium, managed by the Bangalore Association for Science Education (BASE), has been nurturing an increasing number of curious little minds with a scientific tempo on the solar system and beyond.

With a daily average of 1,000 visitors, 800 of whom are schoolchildren, the Planetarium offers activities which are primarily designed to suit school curriculum. The programmes were designed when some teachers expressed difficulty in theoretically conveying certain scientific concepts to the students. At the Planetarium, basic science and its concepts are made seemingly easy to comprehend, be it film shows at the 200-seater sky theatre, exhibition hall on the solar system and the nebula galaxy or the open air exhibits in front of the Planetarium.
According to the visitors, the place is so much fun. “Like the parabolic dish (enabling two people to hear whispers of each other as they stand back to back and metres away), the vertical sun dial, the kaleidoscope, know your weight in different planets, film shows and so on.’’

“With regular updates and new programmes, guest lectures from Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Raman Research Institute, National Centre for Biological Sciences and the like, regular telescope viewing for the public, science laboratory for students and so on, we want to build this place as a science centre. No doubt the planetarium has managed, to an extent, to attract students towards basic sciences, but many more children can avail the opportunity,’’ feels educator, BASE B.S.Shylaja.

Contact: Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium, T Chowdaiah Road, High Grounds. 22266084 / 22203234 .


Special shows for schoolchildren: 10.30 am, 11.30 am, 12.30 pm. Public shows: 3 pm (Kannada), 4 pm (English). Public shows on Sundays: 11.30 am and 3 pm (Kannada); 12.45 pm and 4.30 pm English. Mondays and second Tuesdays are holidays. TICKETS: Rs 25 per head for general public; children, part of school trips Rs 15 per head. Prior booking for school trips recommended.


Monthly sky-watching programme “Know your stars’’. Interactive weekend sessions in science, mathematics and astrophysics for high school and BSc students. Science exhibitions “Science in action.’’ Workshops to foster creativity in teachers and students. Workshops for teachers in astronomy, physics, chemistry, mathematics and biology. Activity based summer camps in science for middle and high school students. Research Education Advancement Programme for BSc students.
This is the third of a weekly column highlighting spots where you can take your kids on an outing. A guide to help them discover recreational, cultural, natural or scientific facts.


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