Twenty two year old Shyon Niles produced this wonderful essay during our Christmas 2019 Essay Competition. Worth reading.
I would agree that astronomy does not have many practical benefits to people’s lives. However, the reason we study astronomy is because people are intrigued by astronomy. People want to know how the universe came into being, what our place in it is, and what exists in it. Basically, we are curious, and astronomy enriches our lives that way.
Therefore, I strongly agree that Guyana should have a National Astronomical Observatory because it will not only ignite our interest but it would also create job opportunities for our youths of Guyana. Think of it as a safe zone for youths who are aroused just by the thought of the universe, a place for them to utilize the full capacity of their potentials, a place to keep them off the streets and out of trouble, a place for them to learn, a place for the financially deprived to learn and socialize and be interactive with fellow youths. Astronomy can do this.
Although the study of astronomy has provided a wealth of monetary and technological gains, perhaps the most important aspect of astronomy is not one of economical measure but of social significance. A national Astronomical Observatory in Guyana may also be a form of Tourist attraction, thus, increasing tourism in our country which may result in putting our country further on the map. Scientific discoveries can also be made right here whereby we would be able to contribute to the field, potentially alarm of any dangerous astronomical threat that may be lurking.
Astronomy has and continues to revolutionize our thinking on a worldwide scale. In the past, astronomy has been used to measure time, mark the seasons, and navigate the vast oceans. As one of the oldest sciences, astronomy is part of every culture’s history and roots, including Guyanese indigenous cultures. It inspires us with beautiful images and promises answers to the big questions. It acts as a window into the immense size and complexity of space, putting Earth into perspective and promoting global citizenship and pride on our home planet.
In today’s Guyanese society, most career choices are limited in the sciences, so having a National Astronomical Observatory in Guyana creates another career path for persons who are interested in furthering their science careers. It can also be considered as hands on experience for persons who do not have any knowledge about Astronomy. Knowledge is power and we are never too old to learn, therefore, it can be a meaningful experience for citizens of Guyana, especially youths.
On a personal level, teaching astronomy to our youths adds great value. Students who engage in astronomy related educational activities in schools are more likely to pursue careers in science and technology, and to keep up to date with scientific discoveries.
“One People, One Sky”.