The autobiography of the world renowned Sri Lankan Born Astronomer Prof. Asoka Mendis was launched on 23rd May at an event held in Colombo.
Professor Dewamitta Asoka Mendis was born in Sri Lanka and later moved to the United States where he is presently living. After completing Bsc degree from University of Ceylon he worked as a lecturer in the Mathematics Department of the University for several years. in 1964 he moved to England on a University Scholarship where he got his PhD in Astrophysics from the University of Manchester. In 1978 the same university offered him the degree of Doctor of Science for his research contributions on Cosmic physics.
In 1967 he moved back to Sri Lanka and continued as a lecturer in the University of Ceylon for two more years. He joined the faulty of Applied Electrophysics in University of California and retired as a distinguished professor in 1994. But he continued his research work with the University as an Emeritus Professor where he has been recognized as a member of the “Founding Faculty”.
Prof. Mendis has researched extensively over a wide area of Astrophysics, Planetary and Cometary Physics, Space Physics, Physics of Dusty Plasmas and quantum plasma over a long career spanning over five decades. He’s best known for his research work on Physics of Comets and Dusty Plasmas, a field where he is recognized and considered as the founder.
In his autobiography titled “Events on My World Line-Recollections and Reflections of an Asian-American Space Scientist”, he discusses his early days in Sri Lanka, his academic life in Sri Lanka, UK and USA, and also his research work.
During the event another Sri Lankan born astronomer Dr. Nalin Samarasinghe delivered a special lecture on “Understanding Comets- Evolving Perspective over the years”. During the lecture he explained the structure of comets and how the ongoing research work have contributed to the changes in the way we look at this objects. Specially he described the outcomes of the Rosetta mission carried out by European Space Agency where they sent a space craft to orbit a comet for the first time.
The book launch had been organized by the Section E of the Sri Lankan Society of Advancement of Science (SLAAS) and many intellectuals, Astronomy enthusiasts, and members of SLAAS were present on this occasion.