His Excellency, Malcolm McCusker, Governor of Western Australia, and Mrs Tonya McCusker, Federal and State Ministers, astronomers and other scientists were among the guests celebrating Australia's share in the $2 billion international radio telescope project, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA).
Friday's celebration, at Government House, was hosted by The University of Western Australia and Curtin University, partners in the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research - the centre that forms the nucleus of radio-astronomy research in Australia.
Senator Chris Evans, Federal Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research, State Minister for Science and Innovation John Day a representative of the Murchison-based Wajarri Yamaji people, and members of the Murchison Shire Council (where the SKA will be built) joined UWA Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Johnson and Curtin's acting Vice-Chancellor Professor David Wood.
Members of the CSIRO and iVEC, which is establishing one of the world's 20 most powerful supercomputers in Perth, also attended. iVEC involves UWA, Curtin, Murdoch and Edith Cowan Universities and the CSIRO.
Professor Johnson said the $400 million invested by Federal and State Governments in the SKA had already had a transformative effect on WA and enabled UWA and Curtin to attract some of the world's best researchers at the forefront of radio astronomy.
"The SKA's potential to inspire a nation, excite future generations of scientists and ignite collaborations both within academia and the wider community should not be underestimated," Professor Johnson said.
"At an international level, the SKA should ensure that Australia maintains a key role in generating new knowledge of global significance; at a State level, Western Australia will add new cutting edge science to its portfolio of globally competitive resources; and at a university level, the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research will continue to be a very important collaboration between Curtin University and The University of Western Australia.
"The SKA project is likely to attract many of the world's top scientists and researchers in fields such as astronomy, computer science, engineering, geology, environmental management and renewable energy," Professor Johnson said.
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