Present with Her Royal Highness for the formal ceremony were Phuket Governor Norraphat Plodthong, Patong Mayor Chalermluck Kebsup and Rawai Mayor Aroon Solos.
HRH Princess Sirindhorn was welcomed by the Dean of Prince of Songkhla University to the event, organised by the Faculty of Science and Technology at the Prince of Songkla University Pattani Campus, the Foundation of the Promotion of Academic Olympiads and Development of Science Education under the Patronage of HRH Princess Galyani Vadhana Krom Luang Naradhiwas Rajanagarindra, and the National Astronomical Research Institute.
“The IOAA is an important annual event that allows high school students from around the world to come together to demonstrate their talents in science,” said HRH Princess Sirindhorn.
“Participants include academics, faculties, and students studying astronomy and astrophysics from nearly 50 countries around the world. It is a great honour for Thailand to host a competition in astronomy and astrophysics,” she said.
“It is a great opportunity to make Thailand aware of the importance of this field. It will help stimulate and encourage the Thai people to pay attention to the field of astronomy and astrophysics, and other related fields, to make progress in the study of science in Thailand,” she added.
“It is also an opportunity for academics representing nations around the world to build established relationships and exchange views, familiarise and cultivate mutual understanding to work together in the future,” HRH Princess Sirindhorn said.
Approximately 500 high school students, supervisors, and other observers from 46 different countries are attending the event in Patong, which is being held from Nov 12-21.
Officials thanked various institutions and private organisations for sponsoring and co-sponsoring for materials, equipment, and venue for the event, after which HRH Princess Sirindhorn was then invited to view stars through a telescope.
The Promotion of Academic Olympiad and Development of Science Education Foundation under the patronage of HRH Princess Galyani Vadhana Krom Luang Naradhiwas Rajanagarindra has 13 centres throughout the country, and is responsible for the selection of five to six participants from each centre, whereby Prince of Songkla University Pattani Campus is one of the southern centres.
About 60% of the competition is a theory test, 20% astronomical data analysis, and 20% observation of celestial bodies during the day and night, from which a total of five participants throughout the world are selected to compete in the international competition.