Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Germany joins the SKA Organisation

The Board of Directors of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Organisation has approved Germany, represented by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, as the tenth member of the organisation to participate in the detailed design of the SKA telescope.

Ten countries now involved in the pre-construction phase of the world’s largest telescope.

Artist's impression of SKA antennas of 15 m diameter each. SKA Organisation/Swinburne Astronomy Productions

The SKA World

The Board of Directors of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Organisation has approved Germany, represented by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, as the tenth member of the organisation to participate in the detailed design of the SKA telescope.

The SKA will be the largest and most sensitive radio telescope ever built. It will enable astronomers to glimpse the formation and evolution of the very first stars and galaxies after the Big Bang, investigate the nature of gravity, and possibly even discover life beyond Earth.

Professor John Womersley, chair of the board of the SKA Organisation, welcomed Germany’s membership. “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”, he said.

Dr Beatrix Vierkorn-Rudolph, Deputy Director General, Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), 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. The German contribution to the SKA Organisation amounts to 1 Million Euro.

“We live in an exciting time for science and 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”, says Professor Kramer.

Germany joins the SKA Organisation at the end of what has been an exciting first year for the newly formed organisation. In May 2012 the members of the SKA Organisation agreed on a dual site for the SKA to maximise on investments already made at the candidate sites in Australia and South Africa. Both sites offer exceptionally radio quiet environments for detecting very faint radio waves from the early universe and many thousands of SKA receptors will soon be constructed across these two desert regions. In September Professor Philip Diamond was appointed as the first permanent Director General of the SKA Organisation and in November staff moved into the new purpose-built SKA headquarters at Jodrell Bank Observatory near Manchester in the UK.

As a member of the SKA Organisation, Germany has voting rights and is eligible to appoint two representatives to the Board of Directors. The SKA Board of Directors has the authority to appoint senior staff, decide budgets, admit new project partners to the organisation and direct the work of the global work package consortia in the SKA pre-construction phase.

Germany joins the existing members of the SKA Organisation: Australia, Canada, China, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden and the United Kingdom. India is an associate member.

About the SKA

The Square Kilometre Array will be the world’s largest and most sensitive radio telescope. The total collecting area will be approximately one square kilometre giving 50 times the sensitivity, and 10 000 times the survey speed, of the best current-day telescopes. The SKA will be built in Southern Africa and in Australia. Thousands of receptors will extend to distances of 3 000 km from the central regions. The SKA will address fundamental unanswered questions about our Universe including how the first stars and galaxies formed after the big bang, how dark energy is accelerating the expansion of the Universe, the role of magnetism in the cosmos, the nature of gravity, and the search for life beyond Earth. Construction of Phase one of the SKA is scheduled to start in 2016. The SKA Organisation, with its headquarters at Jodrell Bank Observatory, near Manchester, UK, was established in December 2011 as a not-for-profit company in order to formalise relationships between the international partners and centralise the leadership of the project.

Members of the SKA Organisation as of December 2012:

Australia: Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research
Canada: National Research Council
China: National Astronomical Observatories, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Germany: Federal Ministry of Education and Research
Italy: National Institute for Astrophysics
Netherlands: Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research
New Zealand: Ministry of Economic Development
Republic of South Africa: National Research Foundation
Sweden: Onsala Space Observatory
United Kingdom: Science and Technology Facilities Council
Associate member:
India: National Centre for Radio Astrophysics
Prof. Dr. Michael Kramer,
Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, Bonn
Telefon: +49 228 525-278
Fax: +49 228 525-436
E-Mail: mkramer@­
Dr. Norbert Junkes,
Press and Public Relations
Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, Bonn
Telefon: +49 228 525-399
Fax: +49 228 525-438
E-Mail: njunkes@­
William Garnier,
SKA Organisation
Chief Communications Officer
Telefon: +44 161 306-9613
E-Mail: w.garnier@­

Norbert Junkes | Max-Planck-Institut
Further information:

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht OU-led team discovers rare, newborn tri-star system using ALMA
27.10.2016 | University of Oklahoma

nachricht First results of NSTX-U research operations
26.10.2016 | DOE/Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

How nanoscience will improve our health and lives in the coming years

27.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

OU-led team discovers rare, newborn tri-star system using ALMA

27.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape

27.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>