THE WORLD'S FOREMOST RADIO ASTRONOMICAL TALENTS GATHER IN CANADA


Winnipeg, June 15, 2004 – Some of this generation's most innovative people are coming to Canada in July to work on plans to build the World's largest telescope, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA).

A scientific giant, the SKA will use its million square meters of area to collect weak radio waves from the far reaches of the early Universe, and tackle the great scientific enigmas of our time. "SKA observations will lead to new understanding of the nature of dark energy dark matter, and the conditions of space surrounding black holes, notes University of Calgary professor Russ Taylor, Canadian SKA Project Scientist.

Canadian scientists and engineers were involved in the inception of this ambitious project over ten years ago, and are now hot on the track of the technology needed to bring the SKA to fruition. "Innovative technology is needed that can confer a hundred-fold advance in performance of radio telescopes and antennas", says Canadian project manager, Peter Dewdney from the National Research Council.

Canadian technology may hold the key to these challenges, a new design known as the Canadian Large Adaptive Reflector (CLAR). Engineering teams at the National Research Council, AMEC Dynamic Structures in Coquitlam B.C., the University of Calgary, McGill University, University of British Columbia, and Laval University are collaborating to put together advanced technology solutions in aerodynamics, structural engineering, telecommunications, and computer technology - to create a giant radio reflector. If all goes well, this telescope will be more sensitive, cover more wavelengths, and "see" more sky at once than existing telescopes, and yet cost much less.

The scientific projects that can be done by this innovative telescope will be described on June 15th by Gilles Joncas, from Laval University, to 600 astronomers, physicists, and medical physicists at the CASCA meeting hosted by the University of Manitoba at the Delta Hotel in Winnipeg

The International gathering of astronomers and engineers who are planning the Square Kilometre Array will take place from July 19 to 24 at Penticton, B.C., hosted by the National Research Council of Canada.

More information, as well as images, for the SKA and the CLAR can be found at:
http://www.clar.ca

For more information, contact:

Peter Dewdney
National Research Council of Canada
Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory
Phone: (250) 493-2277

Russ Taylor
Department of Physics and Astronomy
University of Calgary
Phone: (403) 220-2556

Gilles Joncas
Departement de physique, de génie physique et d'optique
Universite Laval
Phone: (418) 656-5982

David Halliday
AMEC Dynamic Structures
Coquitlam, B.C.
Phone: (604) 941-9481

Sean Dougherty
National Research Council of Canada
Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory
Phone: (250) 493-2277

Meyer Nahon
Department of Mechanical Engineering
McGill University
Phone: (514) 398-2383