Training Future Astronomers in Botswana and NamibiaFrom University of Namibia
The Development in Africa with Radio Astronomy (DARA) project, supported by the UK’s Newton Fund through the University of Namibia (UNAM) and Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST), recently concluded their two week Radio Astronomy training programme.
Dr Michael Backes, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Physics at the University of Namibia explained that the SKA radio astronomy project is one of the biggest astronomical projects in the world. “The first phase of the SKA project is to build telescope dishes all over South Africa, and the second phase is to go across the borders and build dishes in the African partnering countries” he said, “From the experience in South Africa, we are aware that it takes roughly 10 years to build a human capacity base needed for the project, and this workshop is part early on capacity building, needed for SKA phase two, which is expected to start in roughly ten years from now”.
The participants of the two weeks training programme were graduates and postgraduate students in physics, electronics engineering, and computer science from BIUST, Namibia University of Science and Technology, University of Botswana and UNAM. The training was conducted by Professor Garret Cotter from the University of Oxford, supported by two of his PhD students. The Namibian and Botswanan students will be invited to South Africa for a 4 week hands-on training at the Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory before taking a 2 week training in data analysis conducted in Botswana.