Are you in love with the sky? A never ending, eternally bonded love to the space? If then, here is the best news you could hear in this fall. It’s about International Astronomy Olympiad 2018, in none other place, but here, in Sri Lanka.
Sir Arthur C. Clarke once said that, “The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to venture beyond them into the impossible”. So simply, are you ready to venture beyond possibility? Because IAO is not only about testing, but also about craving for the beauty of the knowledge.
The International Astronomy Olympiad is a scientific-educating event for the high school students of 14-18 years old from the countries all around the world. IAO had recognized that the astronomy plays a fundamental role in the human progress and will acquire more global importance in the 21st century. The astronomical knowledge is an important part of the culture of our civilization as well as an essential factor in forming the view of life and the way of thinking of the young people in the modern world.
Hence the Olympiad set itself the aims of attracting the most talented young people to professional careers in the field of astronomy, spreading astronomical knowledge among as many students as possible, stimulating the imagination and creativity of children and cultivating a spirit of correctness and friendship.
With that noble cause in heart, IAO had been taking place in each year in first two months of the Astronomical Autumn (September 22 – November 22) since 1996 and each year Authorized National Representative (Astronomical) Organization [ANRAO] of a different country hosts this amazing event.
All things considered, Sri Lanka Association for Advancement of Science being light years ahead of our School Astronomical Society, stepped up and accepted the challenge of hosting the XXIII International Astronomy Olympiad. Save for some finishing touches, arena is all set up to held the IAO 2018, from 6th to 14th of October 2018 in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The credit goes to the chief organizers of the event: Ministry of Science, Technology and Research, Sri Lanka Association for Advancement of Science, Institute of Physics, Sri Lanka, University of Colombo, Arthur C Clarke Institute for Modern Technologies and Sri Lanka Planetarium.
For the IAO, ANRAO of every participating country may send five students: three students for the group Alpha (14-15 years old) and two students to the group Beta (16-18 years old). They are to be accompanied by two team leaders as representatives of each country. Countries which did not register their ANRAO may send up to three students: two students for the group Alpha and one student to the group Beta, accompanied by two team leaders. Observers may be at the Olympiad as well.
So now, even at the moment as we speak, 150 Contestants, 60 Leaders and 25 Observers from 30 Countries are waiting for the countdown to end and the grand event to begin. On the other hand as host, we can’t wait to warmly welcome all of them to our beautiful island Sri Lanka, the Pearl of the Indian ocean and to gift them with an unforgettable, once in a life time experience. For the fun fact, one should be wishing on a star, even though he/she might be few million light years late and the star might be dead, to be a part of an incredible event like this.
However, as it was mentioned at the beginning, if you are in love with sky and want to know it better and also want to test yourself how well you know the sky, this is the place for you. And we, FoS Media, the Official Media Unit of the University of Colombo, as the Media Partners of this ground breaking event, invite all of you to join with us and get a hang of this starry field of science in a bit of a Sri Lankan way. We wish all the best for everyone to hold another successful episode of IAO.
As Henri Poincaré once said, “Astronomy is useful because it raises us above ourselves; it is useful because it is grand. It shows us how small is man’s body, how great his mind, since his intelligence can embrace the whole of this dazzling immensity, where his body is only an obscure point, and enjoy its silent harmony”. Good luck to you all!