Former scientists of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) took an interactive session at the Emerald Heights International School on December 16, 2019. Dr. Prabhakar Sharma (Retired ISRO Senior Scientist), Dr. Suyash Dake (Former ISRO Scientist and Director, Sunday Science School), and Mr. S.P. Jaiswal (Director, Indore Science Center) addressed our students. The main objective of the programme was to discuss the forthcoming solar eclipse of December 26, 2019.
Dr. Sharma and Dr. Dake explained why a solar eclipse occurs and the various superstitions that persist in the society about the solar as well lunar eclipses. These scientists emphasized that contrary to the popular belief that watching eclipses brings bad luck for the viewers, solar eclipses offer a unique opportunity to study solar atmosphere and the various processes that are associated with it. This is because during an eclipse the solar disc is covered partially/fully which offers scientists a unique opportunity to view it (using appropriate filters) which is normally not possible as the solar disc is very bright and therefore cannot be viewed directly with an unaided eye. Mr. Jaiswal explained the use of special goggles (developed by Dr. Dake) that were brought along by him for viewing the solar disc during a solar eclipse. Students asked several questions concerning the various phenomena associated with solar eclipse, such as the formation of a diamond ring, etc. Dr. Sharma also explained various challenges, opportunities and excitement associated with a career in science, particularly space science. Dr. Suyash Dake is a scientist who created India’s first supercomputer, “Param” along with Mr. Vijay Bhatkar which was 10 times cheaper and 20 times faster than any known super computer of the time. After accomplishing this colossal achievement Mr. Suresh dreamt of making every child of India a scientist. Along with his elder sister Dr. Sujata who is a senior scientist at ISRO, he started reaching out to Indian students to spread practical knowledge. As a part of his initiative he devised a model of scientific education that aimed at boosting practical knowledge through means of projects and models.