10th December 2000
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Lankan star shines bright

Dr. Ray Jayawardhana, a Sri Lankan-born astronomer, has just released a science book for children in the United States. Titled "Star Factories: The Birth of Stars and Planets", it is published and distributed by Steck-Vaughn, a division of the leading publishing house Harcourt. The book is expected to be used as a supplementary science text in select middle schools throughout the US and is available for sale anywhere in the world through Internet bookstores such as and Borders.

Dr. Jayawardhana, 29, studied at St. John's College, Nugegoda and Royal College, Colombo before leaving for the US ten years ago to enter Yale University. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in astronomy and physics from Yale in 1994, and a Ph.D in astronomy from Harvard University last June. Currently, he is a Miller Research Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. Miller is a prestigious fellowship given to promising young scientists to pursue independent research in the natural sciences.

He is also an accomplished science writer. He serves as a Contributing Editor of Astronomy and Muse magazines. Over 100 of his articles have appeared in publications around the world, such as The Economist, Science, New Scientist, Scientific American, Sky & Telescope and Times Higher Education Supplement. His discovery of a possible planet-forming disk around a nearby young star in 1998 received the attention of astronomers as well as the news media. It was reported by Newsweek magazine in a cover story and by many newspapers around the globe, including The Sunday Times in Sri Lanka.

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