The Public Outreach and Education Committee was constituted by the Astronomical Society in 2014, during the annual meeting that was held at IISER Mohali. The current POEC has 10 members representing a diversity of experience and backgrounds. The POEC is currently chaired by Aniket Sule.

POEC members

  • Samir Dhurde (Secretary, 2014-2018)
    Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Pune

    Samir Dhurde is in-charge of the popular outreach programme - SciPOP , at the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy & Astrophysics (IUCAA) in Pune, India. He believes that very simple methods can be used to make Science learning fun and to take scientific fervour to everyone. Trained as a Radio Astronomer, he loves to travel across his vast and beautiful country to work with children, share Astronomy with the people and inspire amateur astronomers to contribute to Science. Over the last decade he has been in many EPO advisory groups such as the ASI-POEC, TMT-WEPOC, LIGO-India, ISRO-TOT, IAU-NOC etc. putting in efforts to design large-scale educational programmes and resources in India and abroad.

  • Priya Hasan
    Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad

    Dr Priya Hasan did her Integrated Masters in Physics specialising in Astrophysics from the Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia in 1996. She did her PhD in Astronomy at Osmania University, Hyderabad in 2004. She did post-doctoral research in France and IUCAA, Pune. She was awarded the Women Scientist Award by Department of Science and Technology, New Delhi. The US Consulate, Hyderabad selected her for the International Visitors Leadership Program to visit and deliver lectures at select universities in the US like MIT, Harvard, CalTech, etc. She has presented her work in various conferences in India, Europe and US. Her research interests are in observational astronomy, star formation, star clusters and galaxies. At present she collaborates with groups in India, US and even Egypt! Priya recently visited The Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, USA on a Summer Internship Program of the International Astronomical Union. She is a member of the International Science Driven Team of the Thirty Meter Telescope. Priya is actively involved in olympiads, public outreach and science popularization programs for children and adults. At present she is an Asst Professor in Physics at the Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad

  • Harvinder Kaur Jassal
    Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Mohali

    Currently working as a faculty member at IISER Mohali, Harvinder Kaur Jassal has been involved in teaching Astronomy and Astrophysics at undergraduate as well as post graduate level. She has also given several talks at schools and to general audiences.

  • Rathnasree Nandivada (Chairperson, Mar 2014 - Nov 2016)
    Nehru Planetarium, New Delhi

    Currently working as the Director, Nehru Planetarium, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi, her concerns have been towards creating learning environment for school/college students with an Astronomy interest who visit the planetarium regularly. One of her endeavors has been towards creating an awareness about the Jantar Mantar observatories of India located at Delhi, Jaipur, Ujjain and Varanasi, through encouraging students to take actual positional Astronomy observations with the masonary instruments therein. Working with groups of students she has also been aiding the restoration of instrument surfaces at the Delhi observatory, by creating templates through observations, which would be useful for the final restoration by the Archaeological Survey of India. She has also been intensely involved towards creation of substantial localised and timely in-house content to be used as planetarium shows and student presentations, for the Full Dome sky theater of the planetarium. She has a deep and abiding interest in those areas of research and explorations where Astronomy and History meet. More recently she has also been undertaking explorations in areas where cultural connections with Astronomy exist, in the Indian context. During an earlier phase as an Astronomy researcher, her interests were in the areas of stellar evolution and Radio pulsars.

  • Arvind Paranjpye
    Nehru Planetarium, Mumbai

    He has been an avid amateur astronomer who worked in professional organizations starting with Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangaluru where he worked in the photographic lab and was part of the first Indian team that discovered new asteroids from India. He moved to IUCAA where he first worked in its instrumentation lab. He had been part of IUCAA’s public outreach programme from its very first committee and had been in-charge of its public outreach programme, until he moved to Mumbai to take charge of Nehru Planetarium as a Director. He is interested in promoting amateur astronomy (clubs, telescope making and various amateur observational activities such as occultations, variable stars, binary stars etc).

  • Niruj Mohan Ramanujam (Chairperson, Dec 2016 - Apr 2018)
    Formerly at National Centre for Radio Astrophysics, TIFR, Pune

    Niruj is a radio astronomer by training, and is a scientfiic officer at NCRA-TIFR in Pune. He used to work on star formation in starbursts and quasars and currently works on radio interferometery algorithms and pipelines. His interests in astronomy outreach are in design, implementation and evaluation of national astronomy campaigns, creating resource material for school students, and social media.

  • Aniket Sule (Chairperson)
    Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, Mumbai

    Aniket Sule is a faculty member at Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education (HBCSE-TIFR) in Mumbai. He did his Ph.D. in Solar Magnetohydrodynamics from Astrophysical Institute Potsdam. He presently works on astronomy education research, mathematics education research and history of astronomy in India. He looks after Astronomy Olympiad programme in India and is also general secretary of International Olympiad in Astronomy and Astrophysics.

  • Mayank Vahia
    Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai

    Mayank Vahia has recently retired from TIFR Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics. His interests in Astronomy was in all aspects of high energy astrophysics including high energy events in the Earth's magnetosphere to quasars. He was also involved in making astronomical telescopes that were flown on NASA's Space Shuttle, on on a Russian Satellite and three on Indian Satellites. He is also interested in astronomy popularisation and gives lectures on various aspects of astronomy to all those interested in listening to him. He is closely associated with the Indian Astronomy Olympiad programme from its inception and was the National Coordinator until recently. His current passion is history of astronomy including ancient monuments, tribal astronomy as well as astronomy in ancient literature. Currently he is the Dean of a newly formed School of Mathematical Sciences at the Naresee Monjee Institute of Management Studied a deemed university in Mumbai.

  • T. V. Venkateswaran
    Vigyan Prasar, New Delhi

    He is a science writer, chief-editor of India Science Wire, hosts a weekly TV science conversation show ‘Eureka’ in Rajya Sabha TV, produced a number of television and radio shows on science, authored more than 40 popular science books in Tamil and English and works with Vigyan Prasar, DST, New Delhi. Interested in the history of science, in particular the encounter with modern science in colonial India, he is currently studying Chintamani Ragoonathachary, an astronomer who lived around 1860s. Design and development of low cost/no cost astronomy popularisation knowledge products, nurturing astronomy enthusiast clubs are some of his interests.

  • Sarita Vig
    IIST, Thiruvanathapuram

    Sarita Vig is a faculty member at the Indian Institute of Space science and Technology (IIST), Thiruvananthapuram. She completed her PhD in the area of Galactic star formation from the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai. Thereafter, she did her post-doctoral fellowship in Italy and then spent a year at IIT-Madras before joining IIST. Her research interests include early phases in massive star formation, interstellar medium, Galactic structure, Globular clusters, application of machine learning algorithms in astronomy, and laboratory experiments with Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs). She has been teaching Astronomy and Astrophysics courses to undergraduate and post-graduate students. She is a member of Astrosat-Training and Outreach Team (TOT) as part of her interest in education and public outreach. She is involved with the Astronomy Olympiad program for past few years and likes to talk to school and college students about the natural wonders of the sky.

Past members

  • Joe Jacob
    Newman College, Thodupuzha

    Joe Jacob is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physics of Newman College, Thodupuzha, affiliated to Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, Kerala. He is a Visiting Associate of Inter University Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), Pune from 2006 onward and is actively involved in Research in Astronomy and Science popularization & education. His research interests are in the fields of radio emissions from galaxies and galaxy clusters, galaxy super-clusters and microwave.

  • Biman Nath
    Raman Research Institute, Bengaluru

    Biman Nath is an astrophysicist at the Raman Research Institute, Bangalore. He is interested in science popularisation, as well as in the history of astronomy. He writes popular astronomy articles in English and Bengali for newspapers, and has also authored astronomy books in English and Bengali aimed at school students. For more information, please see

  • B. S. Shylaja
    Former Director, Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium, Bengaluru

    Shylaja is an astrophysicist whose specialisation is on hot binary stars, comets and novae. She has also worked extensively on history of astronomy. She is currently engaged in teaching, creating planetarium programmes, research and science communication. She is also a resource person for various academic programmes for teachers, encyclopedia writing, board of studies, olympiads and science centers. She has authored 5 books in English, 17 in Kannada, more than 12 small booklets and over 300 popular articles (in English and Kannada) . She has also written a Sky Watch column in Kannada since 1999, and conducted many programmes for All India Radio and Doordarshan. She won the Karnataka Sahitya Academy awards in 2004 and 2009, and the H. N. Endowment Award as well.

  • Ranjeev Misra
    Inter University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Pune

    Ranjeev is a faculty at IUCAA and specializes in the study of systems having black holes or neutron stars. He headed the science popularization division of IUCAA for several years. As part of IUCAA's mandate, he organizes many workshops in Universities/Colleges across the country whose primary aim is to introduce and enthuse Bachelors and Masters students to current research in astrophysics. He guides several Ph.D students in different Universities to carry out front-line research in Astrophysics.