Germany has become the 10th member of the organisation that will participate in the detailed design of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope, joining existing members Australia, Canada, China, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden and the United Kingdom. India is an associate member.
Construction on what will be the world’s largest and most sensitive radio telescope is due to begin in South Africa and Australia in 2016.
Professor John Womersley, chair of the board of the SKA Organisation, welcomed the membership of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), representing Germany.
“Germany has an excellent track record not only in radio astronomy but also in the management and delivery of science megaprojects and associated engineering. This expertise will be of great benefit to the SKA project as we move towards the construction phase of this inspirational telescope”, Womersley said in a statement last month
Dr Beatrix Vierkorn-Rudolph, Deputy Director General, Federal Ministry of Education and Research and Professor Michael Kramer, Director of Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, an institute of the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft (MPG), have been appointed to represent Germany on the SKA Board of Directors.
Germany will contribute €1-million to the SKA Organisation, financed 50% each by the BMBF and the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft (MPG).
Professor Michael Kramer, director of the Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, an institute of the MPG, said the unprecedented scale of the multi-national SKA project “ensures that we will continue to be able to push the boundaries of physics and astronomy.
“The SKA genuinely has the potential to completely transform our understanding of the universe as we know it today”, Kramer said in the statement.