Philip Diamond plenary: The Square Kilometre Array: A Physics Machine for the 21st Century

A plenary talk from SPIE Astronomical Telescopes + Instrumentation 2014

16 July 2014

The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is the next-generation radio-telescope and will be a true mega-science facility. SKA is being designed by and will be built by a global consortium, headquartered in the UK. The consortium currently has 11 member countries but is open for additional members at any time.

The SKA Observatory will have sites in Australia and South Africa, and will build on the two precursor telescopes, ASKAP and MeerKAT, currently under construction on the sites. The SKA is being designed as a physics machine for the 21st Century and will address scientific questions such as the nature of gravity, the origins of the Universe and the origins of life.

The SKA is now in the detailed design phase. Funding exceeding €120M has been committed by the partner nations to deliver that design. The design will be complete at the end of 2016 and, assuming construction funding is secured, the procurement process will begin in 2017 and construction in early 2018. The SKA will deliver early science by 2020.

Philip Diamond is the Director-General of the SKA. He was appointed in October 2012, and leads the team designing and ultimately constructing the SKA. He worked at Onsala, Sweden and MPIfR, Germany before moving to NRAO, USA. He was Deputy Director of the VLA/VLBA before moving to Jodrell Bank in 1999 as the Director of MERLIN. In 2006, he was appointed Director of the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics. From 2010-2012 he was the Chief of CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science (CASS), which operates all of the major radio astronomy facilities in Australia.

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