Tuesday, September 29, 2015

THE 1ST SOUTHEAST ASIA ASTRONOMICAL NETWORK (SEAAN)

Professor Wayne Orchiston presenting the participation certificate to Dr. Shahir Akram
On 19 September 2015, ISDEV Senior Lecturer Dr. Shahir Akram Hassan attended the 1st SEAAN Malaysian Astronomical History and Heritage Working Group Meeting. The meeting was held at  Sheikh Tahir Astronomy Centre, Pantai Acheh, Balik Pulau, Penang with the theme “Exploring Astronomical Knowledge and Traditions”. The meeting was organised by The Southeast Asia Astronomical Network (SEAAN) and National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand (NARIT) with co-operations of Penang State Mufti Department.

According to Dr. Shahir Akram Hassan, this meeting becomes the platform for 20 researchers and students from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) as well as Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM) to explore and discuss about the future prospects and possibilities of astronomical knowledge in Malaysia and other Asia Countries. 
The participants during the 1st SEAAN Meeting
This 1st SEAAN meeting brings closer networking relationship  and strengthen the research work and education activities in astronomy and related fields among the ten member countries in South East Asia namely, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. It is shown in this meeting that astronomy is not a limited scientific research field only but it is an exploratory research field that can be expand in history, archaeoastronomy, ethnoastronomy as well as meteoritics studies.
Group photo of The 1st SEAAN Malaysian Astronomical History and Heritage Working Group Meeting participants
The meeting was officiated by the welcoming speech from Penang State Mufti, Dato’ Dr. Haji Wan Salim Wan Mohd Noor and continued with Keynote Address delivered by Professor Wayne Orchiston from NARIT on “Studying the History of Malaysian Astronomy: Future Prospects and Possibilities”. 
Professor Wayne Orchiston (right) receiving a token of appreciation from Penang State Mufti, Dato’ Dr. Haji Wan Salim Wan Mohd Noor (left)
Other main presenters in the meeting were Associate Professor Dr. Fatan Hamamah Yayaha (School of Distance Education, USM), Dr. Chong Hon Yew (School of Physics, USM cum Astronomical Society of Penang), Professor Mokhtar Saidin (Centre for Global Archaeological Research, USM), Nor Azam Mat Noor (Freelance Researcher) and Nurul Fatini Jaafar (ISDEV, USM). Nurul Fatini, presented her papers in ethnoastronomy category entitled “ Piama: Traditional Calendar of Wetland Padi Farmers and Fishermen of Kedah” and "Astronomy Heritage of the Orang Asli in Malaysia".
Nurul Fatini Jaafar presenting her paper with full spirit
Questions and answers session come right after the presentations. All participants are very eager to ask questions, giving their comments and views after the end of the presentations. It can be conclude from the meeting that they agreed the meeting will be conducted once a year and will be hosted by other SEAAN country members. They hope more researchers and others who are interested in astronomy and its related field will participate next time. This will enable the development of a collaborative research network in astronomy both regionally and globally.

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