Page 69 - UCT Research Report 2011

Basic HTML Version

Widening the net of collaboration
The Department of Astronomy is not neglecting the
importance of collaboration with other university
departments and groups in and outside Cape Town.
There is inter-departmental co-operation within the
Astrophysics, Cosmology, and Gravity Centre (ACGC),
close co-operation with the departments of electrical
engineering and computer science, the traditional close
ties – and joint positions – with the South African
Astronomical Observatory and, more recently, with the
KAT-office in Pinelands, the recently formed astronomy
group at the University of the Western Cape, the African
Institute of Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), the University
of the Witwatersrand, and the newly-established SKA
DST/NRF SARChI Chair at Rhodes University.
Professor Kraan-Korteweg is confident that South African
astronomy and science in general will benefit from
these collaborations. “We still need human resources
Chairs associated with this theme
Multi-wavelength Astronomy at UCT
Professor Claude Carignan completed his PhD (1983) at Mount Stromlo and Siding Spring
Observatory of the Australian National University, where he pioneered the multicomponent
analysis technique of galaxies’ rotation curves using both radio HI and optical Ha kinematical
data. He pursued his formation in HI radio synthesis work through a postdoctoral fellowship at
the Rijksuniversiteit in Groningen, using data from the Westerbork array. He then moved to the
Université de Montréal as a research associate and became a full professor in 1998. In 1998,
he took over the directorship of the Observatoire du Mont-Mégantic Research Centre and in
2002 became Director of the Observatoire du Mont-Mégantic (OMM).
In 2007, he became adjunct professor at the Université de Ouagadougou, in Burkina Faso, where he has set up
an astrophysics programme and built a small observatory for teaching purposes. At the end of 2009, he moved
a telescope from Chile to Burkina Faso, which was to form part of a new research observatory that is currently
under construction and should be completed in 2012. Finally, he was awarded the SARChI Research Chair in
Multi-wavelength Astronomy at UCT in 2011.
Astrophysics and Space Science
UCT was awarded this Chair in view of astronomy as a strategic priority
nationally and within UCT (the only university in the country with an academic
astronomy department), and the national bid for the hosting of the Square
Kilometre Array (SKA). Professor Erwin de Blok held this position until the
end of 2011, with Dr Tom Jarrett (far left) succeeding him in 2012. Dr Jarrett
joins UCT from the California Institute of Technology. His research interests
and expertise lie in the extragalactic large-scale structure – and visualisation
thereof – of the nearby Universe, the Zone of Avoidance, interacting galaxies,
star formation processes and galaxy evolution.
for instrumentation development, software and hardware
development, and data analysis tools. The majority of the
work that needs to be developed does not purely involve
scientists in astronomy, but also in other groups like
engineering and computer science.”
“We are becoming the astronomy hub in Africa,” says
Associate Professor Woudt. “It’s a very exciting and
vibrant community, so the SKA will, of course, be
a huge science engineering project leading to the
further development of science and engineering on the
continent. It will enable many deeper, better, faster views,
and there are plenty of potential Nobel prizes in there.
There is groundbreaking science to be done.”
“SKA wi l l enable many deeper,
better, faster views, and there are
plenty of potent ial Nobel pr izes
in there.”