PrepSKA III

Lead Research Organisation: University of Cambridge
Department Name: Physics

Abstract

Astronomers are developing the next generation of instruments to probe to the furthest reaches of the Universe. To understand the complex phenomena that are seen scientists need to observe across the electromagnetic spectrum since radio waves provide a different view of an object than is seen in the mm/sub-mm, infrared, optical or X-ray bands. ALMA, the Atacama Large Millimetre Array, is under construction in the Chilean Andes; Europe's optical/infrared astronomers are developing the E-ELT, a 42m telescope; the X-ray community is planning Xeus, a sophisticated orbiting observatory. In the radio band plans are well advanced for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). The SKA will be one of the most complex scientific instruments ever built. It will, when fully deployed, consist of a continent-sized array of ~4000 dishes, with an aperture array component allowing huge fields-of-view, working in the frequency range 70 MHz to ~25 GHz. The array will be supported by an IT infrastructure designed to handle data rates comparable to the current internet traffic of the Earth. Two sites are under consideration, in Australia and Southern Africa. The SKA, uniquely amongst major scientific instruments and only made possible by its phased construction plan, will be able to deliver ground-breaking science while still under construction. The breadth of science that the SKA will address is truly remarkable; one should regard it as a physics machine rather than just a telescope. It will be used to explore many of the major outstanding problems in astrophysics, cosmology and particle-astrophysics today. These include our understanding of the birth of the first stars and galaxies, study of the large-scale structure of the universe and the role of dark energy and hot and cold dark matter. Astronomers will also use the SKA to determine whether general relativity holds in the strong gravitational fields associated with massive black holes, understand the origin and evolution of cosmic magnetism, and explore the conditions required for life elsewhere in our galaxy. In this proposal, three Universities (Cambridge, Manchester and Oxford) are continuing their highly-successful technology R&D programme (the STFC and EC-funded SKA Design Study). The project, UK-Prep-SKA, will be fully integrated with the global Preparatory Study for the SKA (PrepSKA), which has been awarded 5.5M Euros to coordinate the massive development programme underway in 19 different countries and to develop plans for the governance structure, legal framework and procurement policy under which the SKA will be constructed and operated. STFC are the coordinators of PrepSKA. UK-PrepSKA will run until Q1 2012, matching the global programme. The principal deliverable of the project is to develop a detailed design for Phase 1 of the SKA to enable the partners to go to governments for construction funding for the first 15-20% of the complete SKA.

Publications


10 25 50
publication icon
Alexander, P (2012) System design for SKA capable Aperture Arrays in 2012 INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON ELECTROMAGNETICS IN ADVANCED APPLICATIONS (ICEAA)

publication icon
De Lera Acedo, E.,Ghods, N.R.,Scott, P.,Doherty, P.,Grainge, K.,Faulkner, A.,Alexander, P.,Drought, N.,Troop, N.,González-Ovejero, D.,Raucy, C.,Craeye, C.,Van Der Merwe, P.,Reader, H.C. (2012) SKA AA-low front-end developments (At Cambridge University) in Proceedings of 6th European Conference on Antennas and Propagation, EuCAP 2012

publication icon
De Lera-Acedo, E.,Razavi-Ghods, N.,Garcia, E.,Duffett-Smith, P.,Alexander, P. (2009) System noise analysis of an ultra wide band aperture array element for low frequency radio astronomy

publication icon
Geisbuesch J (2009) Cosmic magnetic fields in clusters of galaxies and their analysis in Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union

publication icon
Geisbuesch J (2009) Cosmic magnetic fields in galaxies, groups and clusters in Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union

publication icon
Geisbuesch, J.,Alexander, P. (2010) Applying Bayesian Analysis to Radio Polarization Data

publication icon
Graff P (2012) BAMBI: blind accelerated multimodal Bayesian inference in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

publication icon
Green D. A. (2011) A colour scheme for the display of astronomical intensity images in BULLETIN OF THE ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY OF INDIA

publication icon
Grigorescu G (2009) Cost-effective infrastructure in a multi-antenna telescope layout in Experimental Astronomy

publication icon
Huarte-Espinosa M (2011) 3D magnetohydrodynamic simulations of the evolution of magnetic fields in Fanaroff-Riley class II radio sources in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

 
Description This grant supported the Square Kilometre Array design Studies. These Research and Development studies addressed key technology issues for the the SKA, the next generation radio telescope. The main advances made include: development of a full system description and costing model; development of an early design for a low-frequency antenna; analysis of the computing requirements for the SKA.
Exploitation Route The SKA is the next generation radio telescope. It is also a major BigData challenge. The results form this work enabled the project to progress through to its current stage and importantly defined the project as one of the main global infrastructural projects. The SKA is now a major Big Data iconic project.
Sectors Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Electronics
URL http://www.skatelescope.org
 
Description he findings of this work have been used to take forward the global Square Kilometre Array Project. The SKA is the next generation radio telescope. It is also a major BigData challenge. The results form this work enabled the project to progress through to its current stage and importantly defined the project as one of the main global infrastructural projects. The SKA is now a major Big Data iconic project. We are now working on the detailed design of the SKA software and computing system as well as the low-frequency aperture array. The former is of significant impact on the ICT industry and the latter has many design implications for Digital communications.
First Year Of Impact 2012
Sector Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Electronics
Impact Types Societal,Economic
 
Description EC FW6 SSA
Amount £485,925 (GBP)
Funding ID RIDS 011938 
Organisation European Commission (EC) 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 07/2005 
End 12/2009
 
Description LOFAR-UK 
Organisation Royal Observatory Edinburgh
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution The LOw Frequency ARray, LOFAR,is a radio telescope working at the lowest frequencies accessible from Earth. Combining many thousands of simple dipole receivers (just like the one in your radio at home) with the latest in high tech computing, LOFAR will be able to survey wide areas of the sky all at once and will open up a new window for astronomers. When completed, LOFAR will consist of over 5,000 separate antennas spread in "stations" all over Europe. The main project is based in the Netherlands, and most of the array will be there, but outposts are planned in Germany, France, Sweden, Poland and the UK. Several stations are now working, and the array was officially opened in June 2010.
Collaborator Contribution As above
Impact As above
Start Year 2007
 
Description LOFAR-UK 
Organisation University of Southampton
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The LOw Frequency ARray, LOFAR,is a radio telescope working at the lowest frequencies accessible from Earth. Combining many thousands of simple dipole receivers (just like the one in your radio at home) with the latest in high tech computing, LOFAR will be able to survey wide areas of the sky all at once and will open up a new window for astronomers. When completed, LOFAR will consist of over 5,000 separate antennas spread in "stations" all over Europe. The main project is based in the Netherlands, and most of the array will be there, but outposts are planned in Germany, France, Sweden, Poland and the UK. Several stations are now working, and the array was officially opened in June 2010.
Collaborator Contribution As above
Impact As above
Start Year 2007
 
Description SKADS 
Organisation Autonomous University of Madrid (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid UAM)
Department Astrophysics and Cosmology
Country Spain, Kingdom of 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution SKADS collaboration was an EC funded programme in addition to STFC/PPARC funded. ASTRON were the lead organisation.
Collaborator Contribution ASTRON was the lead organisation. Cambridge led work package 3
Impact All publications prior to 2010
 
Description SKADS 
Organisation Cardiff University
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution SKADS collaboration was an EC funded programme in addition to STFC/PPARC funded. ASTRON were the lead organisation.
Collaborator Contribution ASTRON was the lead organisation. Cambridge led work package 3
Impact All publications prior to 2010
 
Description SKADS 
Organisation Leiden University
Department Leiden Observatory
Country Netherlands, Kingdom of the 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution SKADS collaboration was an EC funded programme in addition to STFC/PPARC funded. ASTRON were the lead organisation.
Collaborator Contribution ASTRON was the lead organisation. Cambridge led work package 3
Impact All publications prior to 2010
 
Description SKADS 
Organisation Mathematical, Physical & Life Sciences Division
Department Department of Physics; University of Oxford
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution SKADS collaboration was an EC funded programme in addition to STFC/PPARC funded. ASTRON were the lead organisation.
Collaborator Contribution ASTRON was the lead organisation. Cambridge led work package 3
Impact All publications prior to 2010
 
Description SKADS 
Organisation Max Planck Society
Department Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy
Country Germany, Federal Republic of 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution SKADS collaboration was an EC funded programme in addition to STFC/PPARC funded. ASTRON were the lead organisation.
Collaborator Contribution ASTRON was the lead organisation. Cambridge led work package 3
Impact All publications prior to 2010
 
Description SKADS 
Organisation National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF)
Department Bologna Observatory
Country Italy, Italian Republic 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution SKADS collaboration was an EC funded programme in addition to STFC/PPARC funded. ASTRON were the lead organisation.
Collaborator Contribution ASTRON was the lead organisation. Cambridge led work package 3
Impact All publications prior to 2010
 
Description SKADS 
Organisation Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy
Country Netherlands, Kingdom of the 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution SKADS collaboration was an EC funded programme in addition to STFC/PPARC funded. ASTRON were the lead organisation.
Collaborator Contribution ASTRON was the lead organisation. Cambridge led work package 3
Impact All publications prior to 2010
 
Description SKADS 
Organisation Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Africa
Country South Africa, Republic of 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution SKADS collaboration was an EC funded programme in addition to STFC/PPARC funded. ASTRON were the lead organisation.
Collaborator Contribution ASTRON was the lead organisation. Cambridge led work package 3
Impact All publications prior to 2010
 
Description SKADS 
Organisation University of Glasgow
Department Physics and Astronomy Department
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution SKADS collaboration was an EC funded programme in addition to STFC/PPARC funded. ASTRON were the lead organisation.
Collaborator Contribution ASTRON was the lead organisation. Cambridge led work package 3
Impact All publications prior to 2010
 
Description SKADS 
Organisation University of Lisbon
Country Portugal, Portuguese Republic 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution SKADS collaboration was an EC funded programme in addition to STFC/PPARC funded. ASTRON were the lead organisation.
Collaborator Contribution ASTRON was the lead organisation. Cambridge led work package 3
Impact All publications prior to 2010
 
Description SKADS 
Organisation University of Manchester
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution SKADS collaboration was an EC funded programme in addition to STFC/PPARC funded. ASTRON were the lead organisation.
Collaborator Contribution ASTRON was the lead organisation. Cambridge led work package 3
Impact All publications prior to 2010
 
Description SKADS 
Organisation University of Paris VII: Denis Diderot (Université Paris Diderot - Paris 7)
Department Observatoire de Paris
Country France, French Republic 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution SKADS collaboration was an EC funded programme in addition to STFC/PPARC funded. ASTRON were the lead organisation.
Collaborator Contribution ASTRON was the lead organisation. Cambridge led work package 3
Impact All publications prior to 2010
 
Title Costing tool 
Description The Costing Tool is a software tool to facilitate the costing by a team of engineers of a large project. It implements model based and component-based costing methodologies and enables cost models as well as cost estimates to be made. The tool is used by the SKA Organisation for developing the cost estimates of SKA Phase 1. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2010 
Impact The software tool has the potential to be a commercial product aimed at the Engineering / construction large project market. It is currently fit for purpose and is in use in the SKA project, for a fully commercial product a better user interface and str 
 
Title SKALA 
Description The SKALA is a novel antenna design for low-frequency radio astronomy offering excellent performance over a wide bandwidth from 40-800MHz. The antenna is optimised for low-noise performance and sky coverage. 
Type Of Technology Systems, Materials & Instrumental Engineering 
Year Produced 2013 
Impact This antenna design is currently the favoured design of antenna for the SKA low-freqency aperture arrays. In the final SKA approximately 3,000,000 antennas of this sort will be deployed. The antenna will also likely be adopted (or variants of it) for a 
 
Title Trenchcoat 
Description Trenchcoat is a software tool to optimise trenching routes for a complex data / power network. optimisation is against cost and system complexity. The software optimises the trenching routes subject to fixed nodal points which must be served by the different networks and takes into account geographic and other constraints (e.g. land ownership, cost of access, cost of digging or other costs). 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2010 
Impact The tool is in use for the SKA and was used extensively in developing the site options for the SKA and will continue to be used throughout the detailed design and costing phase. 
 
Description BBC Radio 4 Material World 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Live science show with Quentin Cooper, invited to discuss science with ALMA

Raised research awareness
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
 
Description BBC Sky at Night 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact 2012 - Invited to discuss infrared astronomy and ALMA
2006 - Invited to discuss science with the HARP spectrometer on the JCMT.

Raised research awareness
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2006,2012
 
Description CUAS Talk 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Keynote/Invited Speaker
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Popular talk with questions and answer session at end. Talk to local undergraduate Astronomical Society.

Raised profile of astronomical research
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description Cambridge Science Festival Open Day 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Cambridge Science Festival Open Day 2013: presented ALMA display to several hundred members of the general public

Raised research awareness
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Institute of Astronomy Public Talks 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Keynote/Invited Speaker
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Two public talks at the Institute of Astronomy open evenings: audience of about 150-200 members of the public.

Raised research awareness
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010,2011
 
Description Media Tour of ESO Chilean Observatories 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Media tour of ESO Chilean observatories with UK Science Journalists: A staff member accompanied a large group of UK mainstream science journalists to the Paranal and ALMA Observatories in Chile to act as scientific guide in 2007.

Resulted in a large number of broadsheet and tabloid press articles.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2007
 
Description Naked Scientists Podcast 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Discussion on science with submm astronomy

Raised research awareness
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Newspaper and Magazine Interviews 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Numerous interviews with major newspapers and magazines relating to ALMA science and press releases

Raised research awareness
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2007,2008,2009,2010,2011
 
Description Night School Talk 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Keynote/Invited Speaker
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Seminar with questions and answer session at end

Raised profile of astronomical research
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2007
 
Description Physics Centre Talks 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Keynote/Invited Speaker
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Popular talk with questions and answer session at end for 300 students each time.

Raised profile of astronomical research
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009,2012
 
Description Physics at Work 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Keynote/Invited Speaker
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Talks on current astrophysical research to attendees at "Physics at Work" Exhibition. Part of Department's Physics at Work outreach programme. Talks with question and answers afterwards to groups of about 15.

Raised profile of Physics at Work
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity Pre-2006,2006,2007,2008,
 
Description Sutton Trust Summer Schools 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Tour of Observatory, with informal talks, and questions and answer sessions, for about 20 sixth form students each year. Lecture on current astronomical research related to the Cosmic Microwave Background to Sutton Trust Summer School students.

Raised profile of astronomical research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity Pre-2006,2006,2007,2008,
 
Description Television appearance for SKA and ALMA 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Appearance by Alexander and Cambridge SKA team on a regionally commissioned TV short feature on research at Cambridge and featuring the SKA and ALMA.

National TV reach explaining research
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description Television short programme for SKA 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Appearance and interview by Alexander and Cambridge SKA team in STFC commissioned publicity short movie for SKA opening.

TV boradcast
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Tours of Observatory 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The astrophysics group provides regular tours of the observatory for schools and other interested groups by appointment. Tours are operated by a senior member of staff and one or more graduate students acting as guides.

Impact on visitors explaining our research
Impact on schools encouragement to participate in science
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity Pre-2006,2006,2007,2008,