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NCU calls on students to sign up for summer astronomy camp

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taiwan's National Central University (NCU) urged university and graduate students Wednesday to sign up for its summer astronomy camp, aimed at increasing interest in the field in the International Year of Astronomy (IYA) 2009.

The summer camp, called Asia-Pacific Youth Astronomy Camp, is part of the university's efforts to promote astronomy in Taiwan and to provide a platform for graduate and undergraduate students in the country to interact with other enthusiasts in the Asia-Pacific region, according to NCU.

Chou Yi, a professor in the university's Graduate Institute of Astronomy, said in a press release that IYA 2009 not only marks the 400th anniversary of the first observation of space through a telescope by Galileo Galilei, but also the 200th anniversary of the birth of evolutionist Charles Darwin.

"'Evolution' will be the theme of the summer camp, which will introduce the formation and development of planets, the solar system, galaxies and the universe,”Chou said.

“While we are trying to increase research capabilities in local universities, it is also our obligation to pass on knowledge to a younger generation,”he added.

According to Chou, similar summer astronomy camps have been held in the past by NCU, National Taiwan University and National Tsing Hua University, but they were much smaller in scale.

Funded by the Cabinet-level National Science Council and sponsored by the Astronomical Society of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the local chapter of the IYA activity planning panel, the Asia-Pacific Youth Astronomy Camp will have 120 openings for graduates and undergraduates in the Asia Pacific region, according to NCU.

Participants are preferred to have taken general physics, astronomy, or introduction to astrophysics courses and have good command of English, it added.

Scheduled to be held in Sitou in central Taiwan July 6-10, the event will invite noted astronomers from home and abroad to lecture on the latest astronomical developments.

Among them will be Dina Prialnik, a planetary scientist and the author of“An Introduction to the Theory of Stellar Structure and Evolution, ”and radio astronomer Makoto Inoue, winner of the 2005 International Astronautics Award.

The summer camp is free of charge and those who are interested in joining can sign up before April 30 at http://apyac2009.astro.ncu.edu.tw/.

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