Monday, February 11, 2013

Astronomical Heritage: An Indo-French Seminar. 13-14 February. New Delhi

Astronomical Heritage: An Indo-French Seminar

13-14 February 2013

Venue: Nehru Planetarium & Jantar Mantar Observatory, New Delhi


« Where there is an observatory and a telescope, we expect that any eyes will see new worlds at once.»


With Prof. Denis Savoie and Jean-Marc Bonnet-Bidaud

a collaboration with the Nehru Planetarium, Delhi


Way back between 1761 and 1769, French astronomer Le Gentil, came to India to observe the transits of Venus. His work in Pondicherry and his interaction with Indian astronomers gives us valuable information about history of astronomy in India. India played an important role with respect to astronomical knowledge from the 6th century until today as testified by historical sites, manuscripts, scientific objects and miniatures. Important astronomical observatories were constructed in the 18th century by Jai Singh in Delhi, Mathura, Ujjain and Jaipur.

In September 2011, the World Heritage Department of the French Ministry of External Affairs and the French National Commission attached to UNESCO, organized a seminar, "Protecting and Developing Astronomical Heritage", in collaboration with the Astrophysics Institute of Paris (IAP) and under the aegis of UNESCO. Dr. Rathnashree Nandivada of the Nehru Planetarium in New Delhi represented India on the Jantar Mantar observatories. Towards a need to promote astronomical education and exchange between India and France, a scientific seminar on astronomy will be organized featuring Prof Denis Savoie and Mr Jean-Marc Bonnet-Bidaud along with Indian specialists.

Jean-Marc Bonnet-Bidaud is an astrophysicist at the Astrophysical Department of the French Atomic Energy Commission (C.E.A.), a specialist in high energy astrophysics and in the study of highly condensed stars in the Galaxy (white dwarfs, neutrons stars and black holes).

Jean-Marc Bonnet-Bidaud has also a deep interest in the history and popularization of astronomy. He is at present the scientific adviser of the French astronomy magazine "Ciel et Espace".

He is currently carrying out research on the roots of astronomy in Africa and China.

Prof. Denis Savoie is a French astronomer who specialises in the history of science (astronomical tables). He is the Director and Head of Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the Palais de Découverte in Paris. Denis Savoie has authored the popular astronomy book, "Sundials: Design, Construction & Use" by Springer Praxis Books. Denis Savoie earlier presided over the Commission for Sundials of the Astronomical Society of France for 20 years. He is also a researcher associated with SYRTE (Department for Time Space Reference System of the Paris Observatory). His expertise in gnomonics or the art of constructing sundials has led him to make several contributions to the history of astronomy. Denis Savoie collaborated with Robert Queudot of La Nef solaire, one of the biggest sundials in the world



Program in Delhi:


13th February 2013 – At the Nehru Planetarium


9:30 AM - 10:30 AM - Public Lecture in the sky theatre, on "Cosmic Illusions" - by Prof. Jayant Narlikar

10:30 AM -11:30 AM - Public lecture on "Journey to the center of the Galaxy" by Prof. J. M. Bonnet-Bidaud (from the Astrophysical Department, French Atomic Energy Commission).

11:30 AM - 12:15 PM - Viewing the planetarium program on the Jantar Mantar observatories

12:30 PM - 1:30 PM - Public Lecture on sundials by Prof. Savoie, Director, Palais de la Découverte Planetarium, Paris, and President of the French sundial commission.

The public lectures will be with full dome visuals in the planetarium sky theater.

Panel Discussion : 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM

"Astronomical Heritage : Identification, Conservation and Public Awareness - Some Indo-French Collaborative possibilities"

Panelists : 1.) Prof. Jayant Narlikar, 2.) Prof. Bonnet Bidaud, 3.) Prof. Dennis Savoie, 4.) ASI representative, 5.) Prof. Panchapakesan, Delhi University 6.) Prof. Tushar Prabhu, Indian Institute of Astrophyscs, Bangalore 7.) Prof. Patrick Das Gupta, University of Delhi, 8.) Smita Vats, ITIHAAS, 9.) Anisha Shekhar Mukherjee, Archeologist, 10.) Representative from the National Highways Authority of India, 11.) Representatives from the Amateur Astronomy community, 12.) Dr. Rathnasree


14th February 2013 – At the Jantar Mantar Observatory


10:30 AM to 1:00 PM - A festival of astronomical measurements with the Jantar Mantar Observatory instruments will be organized for public visitors and invited groups of school/college participants. (Open to all the visitors at the observatory - Visitors will get to appreciate through hands on measurements, the usage and possible accuracies of the instruments of the observatory. Visitors' observations will be compiled and included in the report on the observatory instruments being prepared to be submitted to the Archeological Survey of India)


All are welcome.

RSVP at the Planetarium ( / 2301 4504)

Further Details:

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