Many of Australia's top scientists and some of the next generation of scientists will help launch Western Australia's biggest telescope at The University of Western Australia next Wednesday, April 1, 2009.
The Zadko telescope, co-located with the Gravity Discovery Centre near Gingin, is part of a global network of telescopes linked to a NASA satellite ground station. It will search for massive cosmic explosions known as gamma ray bursts which herald the formation of black holes at the edge of the known universe.
The Zadko's unique geographical position in Western Australia makes it a vital global facility for the study of the transient universe, allowing it to explore of a huge section of uncharted and previously unmonitored space.
The Zadko will also be involved in joint international projects such as searching for potentially hazardous near-earth asteroids and tracing dangerous space junk while helping scientists learn about the formation of our own planet. The Zadko has already detected one of the biggest explosions in the universe. It occurred more than 11 billion years ago (before the Earth was formed), resulting in the death of a star.
The official launch, to be held at 5pm at UWA, will include the family of telescope donor Jim Zadko, CEO of Claire Energy; Mr Lionel Majesté-Larrouy, the French Consul General in Australia; Mr Michael Wood, the French Honorary Consul in Perth; Chief Scientist for Australia, Professor Penny Sackett; Chief Scientist for Western Australia, Professor Lyn Beazley; UWA Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alan Robson; UWA Senior Research Fellow and Zadko project leader, Dr David Coward; UWA physicist and Director of the International Gravity Research Centre at Gingin, Professor David Blair; and ABC science broadcaster Robyn Williams.
At the launch, there will be a live cross from UWA to the telescope at Gingin which will be operated remotely, as well as a live cross to a sister project at the Observatoire de Haute-Provence in France.
ZADKO MEDIA OPPORTUNITY
WHAT: Press conference with Professor Sackett, Professor Beazley and
Dr Coward as well as Premier's Science Student of the Year Jacinta
WHERE: The Centre for Learning Technology, UWA Physics Building.
Media representatives are also free to attend the evening event, but must RSVP to Janine MacDonald on 0432 637 716.
Janine MacDonald (UWA Public Affairs) (+61 8) 6488 5563 / (+61 4) 32 637 716