Minister Pandor congratulates the South African Astronomical Observatory
25 May 2010
Minister Pandor today congratulated the South African Astronomical Observatory in Cape Town on winning a bid to host the International Astronomical Union’s Office for Astronomy Development.
South Africa was chosen as the winner from a total of about 20 countries which had submitted proposals. The Office for Astronomy Development is the key component of a challenging mission to take astronomy to the developing world. It will play a central role in the coordination and management of all the existing International Astronomical Union’s educational activities, as well as in the recruitment and mobilisation of participating volunteers.
Minister Pandor said, “This award represents a boost to all our current astronomy-related activities, including our bid to host the SKA. South African universities will benefit from their proximity to the Office, because of the opportunities for workshops and sharing of experiences. The Office is potentially a breeding ground for African leaders in the field of astronomy and development, with many opportunities for volunteer, contract and part-time work at specific projects. South Africans will have access to the biggest network for astronomy outreach and education in the world a wonderful injection of energy into an already active and effective science education community.
“One objective of the Office is to take astronomy into parts of the world where there is none at all. Poor rural parts of South Africa provide an ideal close location to test and validate projects for wider implementation. These communities will therefore be the first to benefit.
“Everyone is an astronomer at heart - all young people are curious about the universe and their part in it. It is not about turning people into professional astronomers; it’s about harnessing their natural curiosity about their environment and turning that into a desire to learn more.”
Tel: 012 843 6802
Cell: 082 566 0446
Issued by: Department of Science and Technology
25 May 2010