The Minister of Higher Education and Research Dr Sarath Amunugama declared the government’s objective of promoting a science culture in Sri Lanka, particularly among the young. The Minister made this declaration at a meeting held at the ministry on July 8 to discuss the implementation of his proposal to establish an Exploratorium, on the model of the one at San Fransisco, in the premises of the Planetarium in Colombo. His proposal has been accepted by the government. The meeting was attended by senior ministry officials and the senior officers of the Planetarium and the Sir Arthur Clarke Center.

The Minister explained that Sri Lanka’s development effort required that its citizens, especially the youth must have an adequate awareness of modern scientific advancement. An Exploratorium is a kind of scientific museum where the visitors are provided facilities not only to view exhibits, but to actively gather knowledge in a participatory process through the use of modern technology. The visitors in fact will explore the frontiers of modern scientific knowledge.  The Exploratorium will form an integrated complex with the Planetarium which will be transformed in to a visitor-friendly and lively exhibition and learning center. The Minister directed the officials to formulate and submit expeditiously the comprehensive feasibility report which the Cabinet wishes to have.

The Minister requested the Sir Arthur Clarke Center to assist the new complex in its work program on the basis of a collaboration of high scientific research with popular science. He also requested this institution to revamp its programs in order to contribute significantly to the country’s development effort, and he pointed out the feasibility of establishing links with expatriate Sri Lankan scientists and obtaining their assistance. The Minister also directed that the institution explores the possibility of obtaining the collaboration of renowned international scientists as well, making use of various exchange programs available to the scientific and academic community.

The participants at the meeting were Ministry secretary P. Ranepura, Moratuwa University VC Prof. Ananda Jayawardane, Colombo University Prof. Chandana Jayarathne, Sri Lanka Planetarium Head Mrs. Priyanka Koralagama, Arthur Clarke Center Director General Panawennage, Finance Ministry Director General P. Rathnayake and Addition Secretary A. Elleperuma.