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Award winning astronomer communicates path to SKA

Media release

Curtin University astronomer Steven Tingay has been named the inaugural Science Ambassador of the Year at the 2012 WA Science Awards.

Professor Tingay, Director of the Curtin Institute of Radio Astronomy and Deputy Director of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR), has been awarded for his key role in communicating the significance of radio astronomy and the Square Kilometre Array project to the Western Australian public and to national and international general and science communities.

Professor Tingay is also Director of the Murchison Widefield Array, the international collaborative project creating a groundbreaking low frequency radio telescope on the path to the Square Kilometre Array.

He said bringing the $50m MWA to completion in WA was a major achievement, ready to embark on its exploration of the Universe in early 2013. 

The Murchison Widefield Array is the only low frequency precursor for the SKA and the first SKA precursor to be operational for science. 

“It has been an honour to lead the team that has delivered this important project for WA and it will be a major stepping stone into the SKA era. The SKA could be a game changer for mega-science in WA over the coming decades,” Professor Tingay said.

“My current work, and that of colleagues in ICRAR, is focused on delivering the SKA for WA, with scientific, social and economic benefits for the state and the nation. This award gives these efforts a real boost.”

Professor Tingay has also inspired young Indigenous people to consider careers in science and technology related fields, as co-instigator of Ilgarijiri – Things Belonging to the Sky, an art-meets-astronomy project.

As an internationally renowned researcher, Professor Tingay has published 113 papers in international refereed journals and a further 187 in conference proceedings and other un‐refereed outlets.

Professor Graeme Wright, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Development, said Professor Tingay’s achievement is not only another example of Curtin’s strong history of achievement in science, but also demonstrates a Curtin researcher’s willingness to go beyond the science community and engage the general public.

“Communicating the world’s biggest radio astronomy project to the community is no easy feat, yet Professor Tingay has done this, creating many opportunities to engage young people and demonstrating that careers in science are diverse, challenging, enjoyable and highly relevant to modern society,” he said.

The WA Science Awards are a State Government initiative rewarding excellence across science research, engagement and education, and promoting the importance of science and innovation in the State.

Contact:
Professor Steven Tingay, Curtin Institute of Radio Astronomy, Curtin University
Mobile: 0425 771 856. Email: s.tingay@curtin.edu.au 

Megan Meates, Public Relations, Curtin University
Tel: 08 9266 4241, Mobile: 0401 103 755, Email: megan.meates@curtin.edu.au