May 12, 2010

Square Kilometre Array Strengthens Team With Two New Positions

The SKA Program Development Office (SPDO) announced on May 11 the appointment of Mr Kobus Cloete to the role of Project Manager and Dr Minh Huynh to the role of Deputy International SKA Project Scientist. The appointments are made at a crucial stage in the finalization of the design for the world's largest radio telescope.

Kobus will lead the growing international SKA development team and coordinate work on the technical design of the telescope. He gained extensive experience working in the defense industry in South Africa before joining the South African MeerKAT radio astronomy project as Engineering Project Manager. He moved to the SPDO in 2008 as System Engineer for the PrepSKA phase of the SKA project and will assume his new role immediately. Commenting on his appointment, Kobus said: "ËœI am very much looking forward to building on the strengths of the SKA project team and tackling the challenges of this ambitious and hugely exciting international project.'

Minh will work with Dr. Joseph Lazio, the International SKA Project Scientist, along with scientists and engineers world-wide to further develop the pioneering science case for the SKA. Minh has experience with several international telescopes, including NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and CSIRO's Australia Telescope Compact Array, and has been a leading member of international teams working on projects such as the Planck mission. The appointment, which starts on 1st October 2010, will be based at ICRAR in Australia with extended periods spent at the SPDO in the UK. Speaking about her appointment, Minh commented: "ËœBalancing the aspirations of the astronomy community with the engineering design of the telescope will become increasingly important as the project grows, particularly during the development of cost models.'

Richard Schilizzi, Director of the SKA, added: "ËœAs the SKA telescope moves from concept to reality, these two critical appointments bring not only world-class technical ability but also highly relevant scientific and engineering experience to the SPDO. I look forward to working with both Kobus and Minh as the SKA enters the next stage of development.'

The SKA will be the most sensitive radio telescope on Earth, with the fastest survey speed. It will be capable of answering some of the most exciting and fundamental questions about the Universe. The SPDO is based at the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics at the University of Manchester.


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