‘Once Upon a Try’ highlights greatest stories of science

ST CORRESPONDENT
Friday, 8 March 2019

he fascinating life of Professor Govind Swarup and the story of how he conceived and led the construction of two of the world’s largest radio telescopes in India at the National Centre for Radio Astrophysics (NCRA), are one of the highlights of the exhibition ‘Once Upon a Try’.

Pune: The fascinating life of Professor Govind Swarup and the story of how he conceived and led the construction of two of the world’s largest radio telescopes in India at the National Centre for Radio Astrophysics (NCRA), are one of the highlights of the exhibition ‘Once Upon a Try’. The online exhibition was launched on March 6 globally by Google Arts and Culture which curates stories and knowledge from over 110 renowned institutions across 23 countries and showcases millennia of major breakthroughs and the great minds behind them.

The NCRA collection on Google Arts and Culture Prof Govind Swarup, who turns 90 this month, is a global pioneer in radio astronomy, and a torch-bearer for building scientific capacity in Independent India. Upon his return to India in 1963, he joined the Tata Institute of  Fundamental Research, where he was driven by the quest to answer some of the frontline questions in astronomy as well as an urge to develop indigenous science and technology. Thus was born the Ooty Radio Telescope in Tamil Nadu in 1970, a behemoth that was the world’s largest radio telescope!
 
Swarup took the young engineers and astronomers that joined him and trained and mentored them over many years into a team of expert radio telescope designers and builders. This team went on to conceptualise and lead the construction of the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) near Pune, as a part of the National Centre for Radio Astrophysics of TIFR. Built during the 1990s, this once again made India the home of the world’s largest telescope at low radio frequencies. Both telescopes are now being upgraded to ensure their continued global competitiveness.

NCRA, Pune has partnered with Google Arts and Culture in creating three online exhibits that have been released globally on Wednesday. The three interactive stories are on the life of Prof Swarup, the construction of the Ooty Radio Telescope, and the motivation for the GMRT. These exhibits are curated with the storytelling tools of Google Arts and Culture to showcase never seen before historical photographs and letters, along with a time lapse videography of the radio telescopes. In addition, a short documentary video on the life and work of Prof Govind Swarup will be released.
 
Besides the content from NCRA, ‘Once Upon a Try’ includes more than 400 interactive exhibitions that pay tribute to humanity’s greatest leaps in science and technology and the visionaries that shaped our world, as well as tales of epic fails and happy accidents.

‘Once Upon A Try’ also lets you dive into virtual tours to sites of great discoveries, from deep underground inside CERN’s Large Hadron Collider to high in the sky onboard the International Space Station; zoom into more than 2,00,000 artifacts in high definition, including the first recorded map of the Americas from 1508, and Albert Einstein’s letters, never before published online.

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