5178 Pattazhy

From Shahjahan to Shah Rukh Khan, one may be able to recall many names that have left an impact on India and Indians. You might know who Akbar was; you might know who Mahatma Gandhi was, you might know who the Ambanis are; but where are the names of the people who emerge from nowhere and leave a legendary mark for future generations? Recently, another name has been added to the list of the legends, that of Sainudeen Pattazhy, the first Indian after the great scientist Homi J Baba to get his name “stamped” on a celestial body. The National Aeronautical Space Association (NASA) has selected Pattazhy’s name for a minor planet that it discovered in 1989. For him, it’s just the credit of his work in the field of environmental research.

“I was so happy when NASA informed me on Wednesday evening that my name has been selected for naming a minor planet. It’s known as 5178 Pattazhy. Actually, Rajamohan had discovered it in 1989. He proposed my name and NASA accepted it,” Pattazhy said.

Pattazhy’s works include research on Red rains, which were common in Kerala, but their source was mystified. It was thought to be caused by some alien factors. After a great deal of research, he found it to be just a natural phenomenon. The professor’s research proved that the red colour of the rains were due to a geological process and had nothing to do with alien life.

“Regarding red rain, there was an argument that it was alien presence. But that’s just like science fiction. During 2001-02, peculiar geological situation was prevailing in Kerala like caving in of wells and landslides,” he added.

It is a good news that Pattazhy ‘s hardwork has paid off and he has got his due credit. I hope that many scientists whose contributions have been “silently” noteworthy, too get their due credit for their contributions to humanity.

Sanjay Kataria

[Image courtesy:  http://img.thesun.co.uk/multimedia/archive/00385/planet1_682_385561a.jpg]