The IYA, 2009 is observed as the 400th anniversary celebrations of Galileo Galilei's astronomical telescope by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Announcing his appointment on Wednesday, Feb 4, IAU said, "it is proud to have Dr Mani Bhaumik as dedicated supporter of IYA 2009's global activities."
Speaking further it said, "Dr Mani Bhuamik (is a) physicist, internationally bestselling author, celebrated lecturer, entrepreneur, and a philanthropist. He is a laser physicist who announced the successful demonstration of the world's first efficient excimer laser at the Denver, Colorado meeting of the Optical Society of America in May 1973. This is the class of laser that would eventually eliminate the need for glasses or contact lenses in many cases requiring vision correction. The procedure popularly known as Lasik takes less than a minute and has helped over fifteen million people worldwide.''
The veteran physicist was born in a hut in Midnapore district of pre-partition Bengal. Bhaumik was the first person to have received a PhD from the IIT systemin 1958. The PhD secured him a Sloan Foundation fellowship to the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA).
His invention of the excimer laser for eyesight correction and hundreds of other patents fetched him honour and millions of dollars.
Speaking to sources from his posh home in Bel Air in Los Angeles, Bhaumik said, "I am thrilled by this rare honour. I am happy that the UN has recognised my work on astronomy and cosmology. I have been appointed not only as a patron but also media partner for year-long celebrations to promote understanding of the cosmos.''
Bhaumi, who is specialised in quantum physics and cosmology, said, "The celebrations would not have come at a better time. The year marks the 400th anniversary of Galileo's telescope and his pioneering work. Astronomer Johannes Kelper also published two laws the same year - 1609. The world should know that what we are celebrating is the beginning of the modern scientific era - kicked off by Galileo and Kepler.''
OneIndia News (With inputs from Agencies)