On 25 May 2012, the SKA (Square Kilometre Array) Organisation announced that Australia, along with New Zealand and South Africa, will host components of what will be the largest and most powerful radio telescope ever made. According to the organisation, it would take 2 million years to listen to the data collected by the telescope in a single day on an iPod, and with the combination of 3,000 dishes and a collecting area of a million square metres, scientists claim the telescope will actually be able to “see” back in time! The project will provide insight into mysteries such as the evolution of galaxies, the results of Big Bang, the nature of “dark energy,” and perhaps even the existence of other intelligent life. The best part is that the telescope will probably be completed in 2024 and have a working life of 50 years – meaning a large portion of the project will depend on the help of young and aspiring scientists. Study in Australia and you too could be a part of this amazing project!
Australian National University (ANU) is a fantastic choice for students looking to learn more about space. The Canberra-based University has been ranked 10th in the world for Space Science, and the Astronomy & Astrophysics department’s quality of research was given the highest rating possible by Australia’s Excellence in Research (ERA) National Report. Not to mention that if you choose to attend, you may have the opportunity to learn from Brian Schmidt — the 2011 co-recipient of the Nobel Prize — or one of the staff members listed on Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Research. On top of their impressive credentials, ANU operates Australia’s largest optical observatory — a perfect place to take advantage of Australia’s especially clear view of outer space.
The University of Melbourne also has a highly regarded Astrophysics program that is currently ranked 14th in the world by US News — just ahead of Columbia, Cornell, and Yale. In addition, not only does the university receive the highest number of research grants of any Australian university, but its graduates are ranked sixth in the world for employability. If you choose to enrol in their new Masters of Science – Physics degree program, you will have the unique opportunity to complete an astro research project supervised by a member of the University of Melbourne staff.
Success in Australian programs such as these could be just what you need to jump-start your career as an SKA scientist. Just make sure to have Tim Tams ready when you make contact with the aliens!