The Square Kilometer Array Observatory (SKAO) has appointed Dr Sarah Pearce and Dr Lindsay Magnus as its telescope directors in Australia and South Africa. These positions are the apex of SKAO operations representatives in Australia and South Africa.
Dr Sarah Pearce, currently Acting Chief Scientist of Australia’s national science agency CSIRO, will be the SKAO’s low-frequency telescope’s Director in Australia. Dr Sarah said: “This is a unique and exciting opportunity to establish the SKA Observatory team in Australia and help deliver the world’s next-generation radio telescopes. I’m honoured to continue my work on the SKA Project in this new role, and I look forward to building a long-lasting partnership between the SKA Observatory and CSIRO.”
Dr Lindsay Magnus, currently Head of Operations at the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO), will be the director of the SKAO’s mid-frequency telescope in South Africa. Dr Lindsay commented: “As a South African, I am proud to have been chosen to play a key role in the realisation of this iconic international scientific instrument. I am humbled to undertake this task to transform the lives of South Africa citizens and the whole world.” Prof. Phil Diamond, SKAO Director-General, said that “Their expertise on the SKA Project, deep knowledge of the telescope sites and related infrastructure, and their established relationships with our partner organisations in each country means they will be able to hit the ground running as we begin the construction phase this year.”
Throughout the construction phase scheduled to last until 2028, Dr Pearce and Dr Magnus will establish and lead the SKAO’s operations in each country, overseeing staff and all elements of the respective telescope systems distributed across several locations. The Telescope Directors will be members of the SKAO Senior Leadership Team and report to the SKA Director of Operations, Dr Lewis Ball. More staff will be recruited for both sites in the coming months, as the team expands out from SKAO Global HQ in the UK in preparation for this new exciting phase.