We are used up seeing Indian streets and buildings named after politicians but now a rare honour has been bestowed upon a Keralite environmentalist, Dr. Sainudeen Pattazhy by naming a minor planet of the solar system after him which shall be now called "5718 Pattazhy".
Dr. Sainudeen Pattazhy is professor of zoology at the
“I was so happy when NASA informed me that my name has been selected for naming a minor planet. It’s known as 5178 Pattazhy. Actually, a US-based scientist of Indian origin Mr. Rajamohan had discovered it in 1989. He proposed my name and NASA accepted it,” Pattazhy said.
Pattazhy came into prominence for his study on the red rain phenomenon of Kerala which occurred in 2001. His research proved that the red colour of the rains was due to a geological process and had nothing to do with alien life. Before his work there was an argument that it had some alien connections .He showed that the queer phenomenon was due to certain peculiar environment prevailing in Kerala during the period in question. Pattazhy’s suggestions on the health hazards posed by mobile towers are still pending with the Union Ministry of Environment. According to him, the radiation would affect people residing within 300 meters of the towers.Sainudeen said that he felt elated that his non- descript village Pattazhy in Kollam district of Kerala was now in prominence and found a 'celestial niche' of its own.