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Leading astronomer visits Wellington


6 September 2013

Leading astronomer visits Wellington

A top Australian astronomer will visit Wellington next week to give a public lecture on one of the world’s largest science projects. 

Professor Steven Tingay from Curtin University in Perth is also Director of the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) radio telescope project. He will be giving a public talk on Tuesday 10 September, hosted by Victoria University of Wellington, about the development of the telescope which is located in Western Australia and has recently become fully operational.

The powerful telescope is a precursor to the Square Kilometre Array radio telescope—a multi-billion dollar global project that will be the world’s biggest, most sensitive radio telescope, and is anticipated to reveal new information about the origins of our universe and its 13.7 billion year history.


Professor Tingay will share some of the early science the MWA telescope is producing, and how researchers working on the MWA are making fundamental contributions to the larger, global Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project. He will also outline some of the science goals it is hoped the SKA project will achieve.

Victoria University is a partner in the Murchison Widefield Array project, involving staff and postgraduate students from the School of Chemistry and Physical Sciences.

Dr Melanie Johnston-Hollitt, a senior astrophysics lecturer in the School, is the New Zealand Primary Investigator on the MWA project and Vice-Chair of the MWA Executive Board. She says Professor Tingay’s talk is an excellent opportunity for people interested in astronomy.

“Steven’s talk will give a glimpse of some of the cutting-edge research taking place through this project in which New Zealand is a partner, and which has the potential to help us learn an incredible amount about how the universe, galaxies and our solar system were created.” 

Professor Tingay is the Western Australia Premier’s Research Fellow, Director of the Curtin Institute of Radio Astronomy, Deputy Director of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, and Director of the Murchison Widefield Array project.

He has authored or co-authored over 120 papers in international refereed journals and has attracted over $40m of research funding over the last decade. His main interests are in radio astronomy and astrophysics. He has been responsible for the development of instrumentation and software that is now used around the world, and was the Western Australia Science Ambassador of the Year in 20102 for his efforts to communicate the significance of the MWA project.

Event details
Public lecture: Reinventing astronomy with radio telescopes: the Murchison Widefield Array and the Square Kilometre Array
6.00pm, Tuesday 10 September, Old Government Buildings Lecture Theatre 2
55 Lambton Quay, Wellington
To attend, rsvp to or 04-463 6517 by Monday 9 September.


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