Astronomer heading to Abu Dhabi for worldwide event

Jarek Osika’s work with radio astronomy has already taken him across Canada and to the stars. Soon, he’ll be heading to the Middle East to show what he’s learned with the world.

The Hapnot Collegiate student was selected to attend the upcoming Expo Science International (ESI) next month in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE). His is one of only 42 Canadian students selected to attend the event.

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Osika was selected to join the group after receiving a berth in this year’s Canada-wide Science Fair for his project, “Radio Eyes Black Hole Hunter”, an expansion on his previous work with radio telescopes, astronomy and computerized instrumentation. Osika applied for the event earlier this year.

“When we applied online, I didn't think I was going to get picked because there's so many people and there wasn't much of a chance. I felt very excited when I got the email,” he said.

Osika first started making radio telescopes based on information obtained online when he was a student at Ecole McIsaac School. Now heading into Grade 10 at Hapnot, Osika has expanded his initial research each year as part of projects for regional and national science fairs, earning spots in the last two national science fairs representing northern Manitoba.

“I’ve always liked space. I started by figuring out what radio telescopes were, then figuring out how to build them. I started from a kind of little, dinky one and I upgraded over the years,” he said.

The ESI event will bring over 1,500 students to the UAE to share their work and experiments in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics from September 22-28. It will be Osika’s first time attending such an event outside of Canada.

“I’m looking forward to experiencing the culture over there and leaving Canada for the first time,” he said.

“I plan to keep going on with my work because it’s a good experience and all the expenses are paid for. It’s not very common that you get to go to Abu Dhabi where all the expenses are covered.”

The trip will mean Osika will miss two weeks of class in late September. Missing some school work isn’t a source of worry - Osika wants to pursue science after he graduates.

“I don’t really know what I want to do yet, but I want to do something to do with space or astrophysics.”

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