Business Briefing: Square Kilometre Array Project Update

Event Date: 
06 June 2013
Duxton Hotel Perth

Join AmCham for a panel discussion moderated by Prof Lyn Beazley AO, to learn an overivew about the SKA Project and what it will mean for Western Australia.

The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) will be a next generation radio telescope that has a discovery potential 10,000 times greater than the best present-day instruments. It will give astronomers remarkable insights into the formation of the early Universe, including the emergence of the first stars, galaxies and other structures. 

Designing such a telescope will require vigorous technological developments in computing, communications and radio frequency devices.

The international SKA program is being progressed by a consortium of institutions from 20 countries, including Australia and New Zealand and countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas.

CSIRO, on behalf of the Australasian SKA Consortium, submitted a proposal to host the SKA in Australia in December 2005. In September 2006 the Australian site was short listed, along with southern Africa, to host this global facility. In August 2009 Australia and New Zealand signed an agreement to make a joint bid for the SKA. On May 25 2012, the SKA Organisation announced its intention to share the SKA between Australia-New Zealand and southern Africa.

The Australian SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP) telescope is CSIRO's innovative new radio telescope nearing completion at the MRO. It is made of 36 identical 12-metre wide dish antennas and will form the basis of a 100-dish survey telescope to be built in SKA's first phase.

ASKAP is equipped with innovative Phased Array Feed (PAF) receivers designed and built by CSIRO. PAF receivers provide multi-pixel images of the sky, allowing it to survey large areas of the sky quickly. This 'radio camera' is a vast improvement on existing radio telescopes, helping to more easily identify changing items of interest, as well as map large scale structures in the universe. Technologies developed for ASKAP will be used in the further 64 dish antennas to be built at the MRO in the SKA's first phase.

Professor Lyn Beazley was appointed Chief Scientist of Western Australia in 2006. She was awarded Officer of the Order of Australia in January 2009 and made a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering later that year. Lyn is a member of the Technology and Industry Advisory Council (TIAC) to the Western Australian Government. In March 2011, she was inducted into the inaugural Western Australian Women’s Hall of Fame, and in October 2012 she became the second recipient of the Governor's Award for Giving, bestowed on her by His Excellency, The Governor of Western Australia, Malcolm McCusker AC.

Dr Carole Jackson, CSIRO SKA Technologies Leader
For the past 10 years, Carole has led strategic technology developments for CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science, combining business and astrophysics. She has led the delivery of the dish antennas for the Australian SKA pathfinder (ASKAP) and currently heads up the international R&D team for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) dish array. Prior to studying, Carole worked in dealing systems in the City of London and worked for a major system integrator for the car industry. Carole has a BA (Hons) in Natural Science and PhD in astrophysics from the University of Cambridge (UK) and has authored more than 85 scientific papers. She is a Fellow of both the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) and the Astronomy Society of Australia, and holds an RAS outstanding achievement award. In August 2013 Carole will be moving to Curtin University as a newly-appointed WA Fellow, to lead astrophysics research with the MWA into the SKA era. 

Prof. Steven Tingay is a Western Australian Premier's Research Fellow, Director of the Curtin Institute of Radio Astronomy, Deputy Director of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, and Director of the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) project. Steven has authored or co-authored over 100 papers in international refereed journals and has attracted over $40m of research funding. His main interests are in radio astronomy and astrophysics. He currently leads the MWA project, a $50m international (Australia, USA, India, New Zealand) radio telescope recently completed in the remote Murchison region of Western Australia. The MWA is a Precursor for the multi-billion dollar Square Kilometre Array (SKA). Steven has been an active contributor to the international SKA project for the last decade and in 2012 was the Western Australian Science Ambassador of the Year.

American Chamber of Commerce in Australia
9325 9540
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