2009 – Year of …

I decided to see how many themes for 2009 I could find as I tend to hear about them midway through the year – when all the cool events have passed.

I think the most exciting one is:
The International Year of Astronomy
which encompasses a whole bunch of anniversarys including a celebration of Galileo who created the telescope 400 years ago, 400 years since Kepler published his Astronomia Nova which contained the first two Laws of Planetary Motion and 400 years of the Telescope.
The New Zealand chapter of this theme has a Secondary Schools Art Competition[linkdead] happening, where students can win their school a telescope.

On the 2-5 April there will be the Global 100 Hours of Astronomy Event which has the goal of giving as many people as possible the chance to look through a telescope. All participating groups and observatories will be providing this opportunity for free which is great. Looks like there will be some resources available to people who don’t end up with access to a local event, like the Live 24-hour Research Observatory Webcast.

The US have a National Year of Science this year (though a number of organisations around the world are joining in), which notably celebrates the anniversaries in the field of Astronomy as well as the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth and the 150th Anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species (British Natural History website), the 200th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln (whose contributions to science include founding the National Academy of Sciences), and the 100th anniversary of the discovery of the Burgess Shale by the paleontologist Charles D. Walcott.
They’ve also decided to break the celebration up by themes per month which sounds like an excellent idea to me:

  • January – Process and Nature of Science; Communicating Science
  • February – Evolution
  • March – Physics and Technology
  • April – Energy Resources
  • May – Sustainabililty and the Environment
  • June – Oceans and Water
  • July – Astronomy
  • August – Weather and Climate
  • September – Biodiversity and Conservation
  • October – Geosciences and Planet Earth
  • November – Chemistry
  • December – Science and health
  • It’s also the Year of the Gorrilla – though I haven’t been able to find much in the way of events or ways to participate (other than buying posters or cuddly gorrillas) for now – but it’s definitely an excuse to do a unit study on primates this year.

    The International Year of Planet Earth – which is actually a triennium – is in it’s last year. Unfortunately, this is really all I could think of to say.

    The United Nations website is a little thin on the ground for up to date details on events/special days/anniversaries for 2009 but I did find these 3 themes for the year:
    International Year of Reconciliation – Rather than try and rephrase the information on the UN website, the gist of this theme is to provide countries the opportunity to reconcile their differences with other nations under the guise of “hey this theme was such a good idea we just had to join in”. If it works, good on the UN but excuse me while I have a moment of cynicism.

    International Year of Human Rights Learning (beginning on 10 December 2008) – The Year is a chance to be devoted to activities undertaken to broaden and deepen human rights learning on the basis of the principles of universality, indivisibility, interdependency, impartiality, objectivity and non-selectivity, constructive dialogue and cooperation, with a view to enhancing the promotion and protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right to development, bearing in mind the duty of the State, regardless of the political, economic and cultural system, to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the significance of national and regional particularities and various historical, cultural and religious backgrounds. Sorry this is pretty much verbatim from the UN website as all I can do is blink each time I read it.

    International Year of Natural Fibres – The Year is a chance to increase awareness of the importance of the diverse range of natural fibres produced in many countries which provide an important source of income for farmers and therefore play an important role in improving food security and eradicating poverty.

    And of course a “Year of …” post wouldn’t be one without mentioning that the Chinese Year of the Ox starts on the 26th January.

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