Yelena Baturina’s philanthropic foundation ‘Noosphere’ launches ambitious scientific initiative Disc

A pioneering science initiative has been piloted in London schools by Russian philanthropic

foundation Noosphere in partnership with the Mayor’s Fund for London. The initiative is also

supported by the BE OPEN foundation. Its aim is to introduce young people from

disadvantaged areas of London to the fascinating world of astronomy. The project ‘Discovery

within a Week’ brings together PHD astronomy students from UCL’s Physics and

Astronomy department to mentor secondary school pupils and guide them through the

materials and technology.

A number of London schools have already signed up for the programme; with more schools

set to join up with the onset of the new academic year in autumn. The aim is to continue to

extend the scope of this initiative to a broader range of London schools over the next few


Over the course of the project, school children from both London and Moscow join

professional astronomers from their respective countries, in order to exchange their

astronomical experience and ideas during weekly Skype conferences. The objective of this

continued interaction is to create a wide network of enthusiastic young observers and

researchers. In conducting their research under the expert tutelage of scientists from different

countries, children discover the universal laws of physics and realise that science truly knows

no borders.

“The ultimate goal of ‘Noosphere’ is to encourage younger generations to think globally by

approaching the world with an informed, open and universal perspective – that, I am sure,

will keep our society from sliding into the chaos of differences and conflicts. We should show

both children and adults the universal aesthetic and scientific principles that unite people

from all parts of the world”, Yelena Baturina, Noosphere founder, business woman and


This is a fantastic new collaboration between East and West, bringing cutting-edge science

and astronomy into London classrooms and broadening children's perceptions of the world

they live in. We want more schools in London to join this journey of discovery, Matthew

Patten, Chief Executive of the Mayor's Fund for London.

Noosphere’s initiative is profoundly innovative in its methodology. During the course of the

project, the students not only enhance their theoretical knowledge, but also make real

astronomic discoveries. The stars they discover will be recorded in the International Variable

Star Index, while the coordinates of the asteroids detected will be sent to the Minor Planet

Center at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Harvard.

The Foundation’s programmes are universal and can be implemented anywhere in the world

– over the years Noosphere has realised a variety of projects in India, Israel, Bulgaria,

Romania and Austria.

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