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      February 28th is celebrated as National Science Day all over the country, commemorating the discovery of the Raman Effect by C.V. Raman, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics.

          Science Day is celebrated regularly at the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) observatory at Khodad. The GMRT, which is the world's most powerful telescope operating at low radio frequencies, has been built and is operated by the National Centre for Radio Astrophysics (NCRA) of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR). Although the prime activity at NCRA and GMRT is to carry out frontline research in radio astronomy and astrophysics, and develop state of the art instrumentation towards this end, NCRA and GMRT observatory also have programmes to popularise science and technology among the general public, especially the student community.

           The Science Day celebrations comprise a major component of our outreach programmes. The Science Day events are usually spread over two days (28th of February and 1st March this year) to be able to cater to the tremendous response from the general public, especially the children from the schools and colleges in the rural and semi-urban talukas and districts in western Maharashtra, especially those near the observatory. It is perhaps one of the largest Science Day events in rural India, with about a hundred schools, colleges and institutions participating, and between twelve and fifteen thousand visitors coming to the observatory for the two-day event.

         The programme consists of a grand Science Exhibition, where children from the schools and colleges exhibit their best projects, and prizes are given for the best entries in different age groups. In addition there are exhibitions illustrating astronomical ideas and themes, exciting results obtained with the GMRT, various subsystems of GMRT and models illustrating some of the concepts. There are also exhibits and live demonstrations from various research institutes and science popularisation groups, as well as teaching institutions such as the University of Pune. There are also programmes to interact with well-known scientists and engineers and film shows on astronomical themes.

           The GMRT and the science exhibition are open to all from 9.30 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. on 28th February and 1st March 2011.



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