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A tryst with the stars

Anand Khare was the only Delhi student invited to a science programme at the New Mexico Tech in the US for a six-week training in astrophysics reports Vimal Chander Joshi

education Updated: Aug 25, 2010 12:30 IST
Vimal Chander Joshi

Anand Khare, a Class XII student of DPS, RK Puram, recently came back from the Summer Science Programme, a six-week trip to MIT/Caltech Science programme at the New Mexico Tech. He was one of the 36 youngsters selected from hundreds of astronomy enthusiasts across the world. This programme opened new horizons for this 17-year-old boy who learnt about astronomy from top-notch professors in the States.

This was not his first tryst with astronomy. The light of celestial bodies first caught his eye in Class VIII when he became a member of the astronomy club at DPS, RK Puram. Here, he attended guest lectures by astronomers, followed by night-sky observation sessions.

When he entered Class XI, he was shortlisted for the EPGY (Education Program for Gifted Youth), a programme organised by the Stanford University.

This time round, at the MIT/Caltech programme, Khare says he had quite an enriching experience where he interacted with students from various nationalities such as Romania, France, Japan, and the US, among others.

“I made friends with all of them – those from India and abroad. There were two Indian students, one from Mumbai and the other from Nagaland,” says Khare, who was born in Nagaoka, Japan where his family lived for 11 years before moving to Delhi. At that time, Anand was just four and he developed an inclination for astronomy soon after.

“While growing up, he used to prefer binoculars over toys,” says his mother Chinmai Khare.

At the campus in New Mexico, Anand studied the star-studded skies for two hours through a Takahashi telescope and recorded the images.

In the mornings, he would upload the pictures to a computer and draw inferences from them.

“We used to make inferences such as the movement of asteroids – how much they have moved towards Earth and how much danger they pose to our planet. It was a great learning experience. At every level of our study, we could take guidance from one of the two professors made available to us; Dr Ran Sivron and Dr Bill Anderson. They used to review our daily reports too,” he adds.

Apart from the night watches and visual analysis of celestial images, the participants also attended lecturers given by various astronomy experts every other day.

Attending international programmes
. For details on the Summer Science Programme and its eligibility requirements, visit www.summerscience.org/home/index.php. The application process will start
from December 15
. For EPGY (Educated Program for Gifted Youth) run by the Stanford University, visit epgy.stanford.edu