Africa needs skills for SKA

2012-07-09 16:05
Die sewe skottel-antennas van die KAT7 in die Noord-Kaap naby Carnarvon in die Karoo. Dié teleskoop is ’n voorganger tot die MeerKAT-radioteleskoop, wat ’n voorganger tot die SKA sal wees. Foto: Danielle Karallis

Die sewe skottel-antennas van die KAT7 in die Noord-Kaap naby Carnarvon in die Karoo. Dié teleskoop is ’n voorganger tot die MeerKAT-radioteleskoop, wat ’n voorganger tot die SKA sal wees. Foto: Danielle Karallis

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Pretoria - African countries need more scientists for research on the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope to succeed, an official said in Pretoria on Monday.

Head of astronomy at the National Research Foundation (NRF), Nithaya Chetty, said it was essential for the continent to start investing in human capacity development.

"It is going to be absolutely tragic, if all we do is build up the infrastructure and we don't have sufficient African scientists to utilise the excellent facilities," he said.

"The question around human capital is certainly relevant not only to South Africa but throughout Africa. Remember, the SKA is not a South Africa project but an African one," said Chetty.

"The plan is to develop radio astronomy into the rest of Africa. We will be building telescopes in various other African counties including Namibia, Botswana, Kenya, Zambia and Ghana."

He said the NRF was prioritising the development of human capacity to work on the landmark project.

South Africa partnered with other countries in the southern hemisphere in its bid to be selected as the location of what will be the largest radio telescope ever built.

The central part of the telescope would be in the Karoo region of Northern Cape province whilst outlying stations would be erected in Botswana, Madagascar, Namibia, Ghana, Mozambique, Zambia, Kenya and Mauritius.

The other segment of the SKA would be built in Australia and New Zealand.

Outreach programmes

Chetty said there were numerous outreach programmes currently underway to attract new astronomers and develop existing human capacity.

He said there had been intensified interest from schools across South Africa, since the announcement of the SKA decision.

"Astronomy is such an interesting vehicle for getting young people into science. If you take a telescope to any school and show them [students] the other structures in our galaxy, they start imagining and thinking beyond immediate confines.

"It is a fantastic way to excite young children into science and that is ultimately what we want. We want to produce more scientists and more graduates," he said.

Chetty said the NRF's outreach projects were also covering rural areas, where mainly economically disadvantaged children were found.

During an SKA-Meerkat Schools Competition prize-giving event on Monday, Pandor said the milestone project presented an unrivalled opportunity for the development of high-level skills and expertise in Africa.

"We don't want to rely on extracting raw materials from mines and exporting them to other countries any longer. Many leading economies in the world produce no mining raw materials at all. They rely on knowledge and innovation for economic growth," she said.

The SKA, valued at €1.5bn, is expected to be completed in 2024.

- SAPA
Read more on:    ska  |  astronomy
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
22 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!
13 things you might not know about Disneyland
The craziest deaths of 2014
How to make this a sensual, sexy summer!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

At last you are able to see the light. You are able to break through obstacles in an innovative and original way. Visualisation is...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.