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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Siting of SKA in Africa excites scientists


The choice of Africa for the siting of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), a global scientific enterprise, is one of the largest instruments ever envisaged, has continued to excite African scientists.

Just as Nigeria, has been named as one those nations in Africa to also benefit immensely from the location of the SKA project on the continent.

Some of African scientists who commented on the choice, include an Associate Director: Science and Engineering, SKA South Africa, Prof. Justin Jonas, and South Africa’s Minister of Science and Technology, Ms Naledi Pandor among others.

For Prof. Jonas who teaches Physics at the University of Rhodes said he was very relieved on getting the news on the decision to site this wonderful project on African soil and precisely in South Africa.

“We’ve been waiting for this decision for a very long time – it has been a long, hard road. I always knew that our bid was very competitive,” he said, stressing that after the bid was shortlisted for hosting the SKA in 2006, his team worked even harder to fine-tune the site bid and presented an exceptionally viable and robust implementation plan for the SKA.

He also noted that in developing and defending South Africa’s SKA site bid since 2001, the announcement was a major share of the gigantic SKA telescope coming to Africa is a fantastic outcome.

This project, he said, would maximize South Africa’s scientific and engineering contribution and means that all the work done up till date, and everything did onwards will contribute to the SKA.

“We chose our site very carefully – remote enough to do the science, but not so remote that infrastructure development and operations becomes too difficult and too expensive.

These, he said, were deliberate and calculated decisions based on thorough analysis of the requirements of the SKA and it paid off!

Also reacting, South African Minister of Science and Technology, Ms Naledi Pandor applauded her colleagues in government, South Africa’s SKA team, partners across Africa and the many participating scientists and students for their excellent work over the last nine years that helped to secure the majority of the SKA for Africa.

“I am ecstatic! I’m happy for our scientists, I’m happy for our country, I’m happy for Africa! We’ve done it! Who would have thought? ” the Minister said.
After nine years of rigorous work, Africa has been named the preferred site of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA).

The SKA project is a global scientific enterprise to build one of its largest instruments ever envisaged. 

It is being designed to answer fundamental questions in physics, astronomy and cosmology in order for us to understand the origin and workings of the universe better, and to reveal new and unexpected phenomena that will enthrall and challenge us. 

The independent SKA Site Advisory Committee (SSAC) composed of world-renowned experts carried out an objective technical and scientific assessment of the sites in South Africa and Australia and by consensus picked Africa.

The SKA project is being designed to answer fundamental questions in physics, astronomy and cosmology in order for us to understand the origin and workings of the Universe better, and to reveal new and unexpected phenomena that will enthrall and challenge us.  

Remmy Nweke

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

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