Two-year MSc programme in astrophysics, Presidency University


The Presidency University has started a school of astrophysics and a two-year MSc programme in astrophysics from this academic year. It has 10 seats and the syllabus has been designed in a way where there is a combination of theoretical papers, projects that will give the students exposure to doing research and hands-on experience at the observatory centre of the university as well as internship facilities.
Explaining the emergence of astrophysics, a teacher in the department said in the past two decades, India has built or been part of building large projects related to observational astrophysics in and outside the country.
Through the school, Presidency wants to draw a pool of young talent from West Bengal and the Northeast and train them as future scientists for “mega projects in astronomy” the teacher said.
“We are in the process of setting up a new telescope in the observatory (formerly known as the Calcutta Observatory), which was set up in 1905. The university is doing the necessary civil work for renovating the observatory. We have resourced funds for the telescope and other equipment from the research grant” said Suchetana Chatterjee, one of the three teachers associated with the school.
The telescope was in operation till the 1960s when students of the astronomy course in the mathematics department used it.
“Astronomy was excluded from the mathematics syllabus in the new degree course and the well-equipped astronomical observatory attached to the department lost its significance” said a teacher of the mathematics department.
“We are now restoring this heritage of astronomy research at Presidency and renovating the observatory with a new 12” optical telescope,” said Chatterjee.

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