Staff Correspondent

International conference on frontiers of astronomy begins

‘Science can make or mar a civilisation’

The three-day conference is being held at Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa College

Madikeri: Science and celestial bodies are not an exclusive preserve of scientists as they have always inspired humankind in one form or the other, thanks to their mysteries, Registrar of the Mangalore University K. Chinnappa Gowda said here on Monday.

“Science can make or mar a civilisation,” he said, addressing a gathering of scientists and students at the inauguration of the “International intra-disciplinary conference on the frontiers of astronomy (IICFA)-2009”, at the Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa College, a constituent college of the university.

Contribution by illustrious persons such as Copernicus, Kepler and Galileo had changed the notion of the universe on astronomy, he said. Mr. Gowda said that science should not be hypothecated to any religion or ideology of convenience.

Humankind had always drawn inspiration from the universe. For instance, sun had been seen as a symbol of tremendous source energy while the moon was associated with romance and “flights of fancy”, Mr. Gowda said.

The university was proud to host the three-day conference which also coincided with the diamond jubilee of the college, he said. The event would provide a spectrum to spread scientific knowledge among students.

Earlier, the conference was inaugurated by Arun Cariappa, chairman of the Cauvery Group.


President of the Karnataka Kodava Sahitya Academy Rani Machaiah led the guests to an exhibition of rare Kodava artefacts organised on the occasion. The exhibition was inaugurated by Jagadeesh S. Moodera, scientist from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), U.S.

Vinay Kashyap, from the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics, U.S., who gave an account of the programme earlier, said the primary objective of the conference was to communicate knowledge on astronomy to all.

Observing that the event was significant in view of the fact that 2009 was being celebrated as the International Year of Astronomy, Dr. Kashyap said it also heralded the 400th anniversary of the first use of the telescope by Galileo.

He presented a replica of the Galileo telescope to Pushpa Kuttanna, principal of the college.

Jagadeesh S. Moodera said that spintronics was poised to replace electronics in another 15 years. It would help enlarge the horizon of scientific knowledge, benefiting humankind, he said.

Geeta Berera, also from the MIT, said 200 participants were taking part in the event.

P.D. Devamma, the former principal of the college and member of the Syndicate of the university, spoke. Jagannatha, convener of the IICFA-2009, was present.