Boyden Observatory celebrates new facilities
On the 5th of October a celebration was held at Boyden Observatory, located 25 km outside of Bloemfontein, following the completion of new educational facilities at the Observatory. Three years of planning and hard work by a variety of people and institutions went into the project.
The celebration had several objectives. Firstly it was to officially introduce the new education facilities to the Free State Department of Education. Boyden Observatory is a unique facility of the University of the Free State (UFS), providing an opportunity to raise the awareness of learners, teachers and the general public on science and technology. A variety of educational programs have already been presented at Boyden during 2004.
To accommodate the greater number of people now visiting Boyden, several improvements were made to the existing facilities. A new auditorium was built that can accommodate people indoors and on its roof. A reception area was constructed and upgrades to the pathways and other buildings undertaken.
Secondly, the celebration acknowledged the contribution of sponsors, with emphasis on the AngloGold Fund (lead donor), Shuttleworth Foundation (founder donor), Lilla Theron Trust, Charl van der Merwe Trust, and the National Research Foundation, as well as assistance from various individuals and the Friends of Boyden. Representatives of the AngloGold Fund (Mr Ian Heyns) and of the Shuttleworth Foundation (Ms Zeenat Patel-Kaskar) attended the evening on behalf of their institutions.
The celebration also contributed to the centenary festivals of the UFS and the Department of Physics, and launched the next phase of fund-raising for further improvements and expansion of facilities at the Observatory.
The impressive guest list included Dr MCNwaila (Superintendent General: Free State Department of Education), DrT Seekoe (Director: Science Platforms of the Department of Science and Technology) and Prof A Schoch (Chairman: Friends of Boyden).
Several speakers, including the Rector of the UFS, Prof FCVN Fourie and the Dean of the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, Prof H D van Schalkwyk, addressed the attendees. A video-message from Mark Shuttleworth was also viewed.
The Auditorium was formally opened by Ms Edma Pelzer (Director: Physical Support Services and Special Projects) and Ms Zeenat Patel-Kaskar.
A demonstration of the technology used in the auditorium was given by three of the amateur astronomers, before guests were taken on a tour of the facilities that included observations through several of the Boyden telescopes.
[From mnassa, 63(11&12), 172-173] (includes photographs)