Now, you can learn more about the much-awaited rare astronomical phenomenon Transit of Venus (ToV) in more than thirteen languages, including Kannada. The National Centre for Radio Astrophysics (NCRA) has brought out a graphic novel written in simple language to educate the general public about the ToV.
NCRA scientist Niruj Mohan Ramanujam, who has authored the graphic novel in English and later collaborated with other translators, started work on the novel in March 2012. “There was a national campaign by many science popularisation groups to get a large number of people to see the ToV. The stories behind the attempts to observe the ToV over the last 200 years are incredibly interesting and I thought we could use them to motivate students,” Niruj told Express.
The idea to write the novel in a comic format came when Niruj collaborated with illustrator Reshma Barve and Prof Arvind Gupta on a comic on Solar Energy. The book on ToV is written in simple language, keeping middle and high school students in mind.
Available for free in pdf formats online, the book has received ‘huge’ response till date. “We get emails from astronomy groups, individuals and school students from many cities and towns about the book. Many groups have written that they are printing copies for nearby schools. It also helped as people can read about it in their own language, showing us the need to have multi-lingual science material in our country,” he said.
He added that while there were still takers for basic sciences, many moved towards professional education for pragmatic employment reasons. “Better awareness in basic sciences, more funding for non-monetisable and non-market driven disciplines from the government and universities and an overall increase in basic science literacy among the public would help a lot,” he said.
The books have been made available with a Creative Commons licence, and can be downloaded for free from transitofvenusncra.wordpress.com.