Transformational Science with the SKA – symposium Stellenbosch Feb 2014


In 2014 it will be over twenty years since the first discussions of the SKA and the ambitious call for a radio telescope with a considerable increase in sensitivity (two orders of magnitude) over existing instruments. It will also be ten years since the publication of the rationale for the SKA in ‘Science with the SKA’ (Carilli and Rawlings). These years have seen much progress in radio astronomy, especially in the development of instruments covering the full radio wavelength range from millimetres to metres (ALMA to LOFAR). In May 2012, the sites for the putative SKA were decided, with the bulk of the collecting area to be built in Africa.

This symposium will discuss progress in SKA science, as well as its relationship to scientific results from other contemporary instruments. Meeting sessions will encompass all aspects of contemporary radio astronomy, including the early Universe, HI in galaxies, star formation, galaxy evolution, pulsars and transients.

The symposium will include student poster presentations, as well as interaction with public audiences and high school learners.

Date: 17 to 21 February, 2014

Location: Stellenbosch, South Africa

Symposium goals:

A clearer understanding of the SKA scientific goals and their role in contemporary astrophysics.

A broadening of our understanding of current themes in radio astronomy and the experimental and theoretical methodology used to tackle them.

A new experience in outreach, where our research students interact directly with high school learners.

Wednesday afternoon school:

The school for teachers and learners will be conducted in a way suggested by Dr Mary Kay Hemenway, President of the IAU ‘Education’ Division (who will also attend the meeting) in which our research students and postdocs will be encouraged to present their talks also to senior high-school learners in a special session, in such a way that will make the science or the aims of their work comprehensible. A test of the success of these learner presentations will be conducted by a small team led by Jocelyn Bell, who will discuss the papers with the high-school students and assess their degree of comprehension. Both our outreach group and that of SAAO are very keen to help with the high-school exercise, as are the members of the IAU ‘Astronomy for Development’ group.


To find out more click here for the SKA web page