2012 was an extraordinary year for Physics. You may have heard that the long sought-after Higgs particle was discovered in the supercollider at CERN. Closer to home, WA was awarded the low frequency part of the Square Kilometre Array, with the high frequency part going to Southern Africa. The SKA will be the third largest scientific project on the planet and the largest radio telescope ever constructed.
One significant factor that ensured WA's success was the Curtin Institute of Radio Astronomy, known as CIRA. CIRA built and operates the first of the SKA Precursor telescopes, called the Murchison Widefield Array, a $50m instrument located north east of Geralton. Curtin leads the collaboration, including Harvard and MIT, two of the worlds top ten universities. It's continued success showed that WA truly was the world's best site for low-frequency radio astronomy. Currently, CIRA leads the designing, prototyping and building of the SKA.
The Director of CIRA is Professor Steven Tingay, who played a pivotal role in securing the SKA for WA. Later on in the year he will be giving a public lecture entitled "The Murchison Widefield Array, blazing a trail to the SKA in Western Australia". If you are interested, your science teachers will have all of the information, closer to the date.
The building of the billion dollar SKA will begin in 2015, with a working lifespan of over thirty years.
If you want to get involved with the SKA project as a career, Curtin has created a special double degree that combines Physics with Electronic and Communication Engineering. This degree will provide you with the science, engineering and super-computing skills necessary to work on a project such as this.
The book-prize for this year is entitled "Extreme Cosmos" and is written by Prof Bryan Gaensler, who is also a member of Steve's collaboration. It gives me great pleasure to award this prize to ...
mailto: Igor Bray
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