International Year of Astronomy 2009

Did you know that 2009 is the International Year of Astronomy? It will be 400 years since Galileo Galilei, the starry messenger, demonstrated his telescope to the world (actually, Venetian politicians) in August 1609. To commemorate that event, IAU and UNESCO are going to release a movie.

The vision of the International Year of Astronomy 2009 is to help the citizens of the world rediscover their place in the Universe through the day- and night time sky, and thereby engage a personal sense of wonder and discovery. All humans should realize the impact of astronomy and basic sciences on our daily lives, and understand better how scientific knowledge can contribute to a more equitable and peaceful society.

Go watch the trailer on YouTube. Or better still, download one of the many high resolution versions from here.

Totally thrilling stuff.

Big Change on a Tiny Screen

Big Change on a Tiny Screen is the title the editors of Indian Express chose for my column on the mobile phone I did for them today.

The greatest technological advancement of the modern world, after the personal computer, has to be the cell phone. The power that it gives its approximately three billion users around the world arises from its participatory nature. Consider the recent protests against the Chinese repression of Tibetans. The use of mobile phones to send pictures of the protests in Lhasa and elsewhere and regular updates of rapidly unfolding stories is power that is hard to contain.

Nothing new for the regulars of this blog. So don’t even bother.