NCRST supports Unam in hosting first-ever astronomy and space sc

WINDHOEK; The National Commission for Research, Science and Technology (NCRST) donated N.dollars 50 000 to the University of Namibia (Unam) to host the first-ever Astronomy and Space Science Workshop slated for June 2014.

The workshop will enable selected students from Namibia and South Africa, who have a solid foundation in the fields of Mathematics, Physics, Computer Science or Engineering to interact with facilitators with expert knowledge in their fields.

A media statement issued by the NCRST on Wednesday quoted the institution’s chief executive officer, Dr Eino Mvula, as saying that the workshop is key in ensuring active participation and growth for Namibia’s future scientists.

“The importance of investing in research programmes of this nature has to be emphasised, as it has the potential to broaden our country’s existing scientific and technological expertise, and will lead to further industry spin-off benefits,” he said.

The workshop topics and coursework have been carefully selected to ensure that students obtain a broad overview of the various areas of research in the field of Astronomy and Space Science relevant to both Namibia and South Africa.

Unam Lecturer for Physics, Dr Michael Backes said at the end of the school, students will leave with a wealth of information regarding the field of Astronomy and Space Science and its various areas of research.

“This information becomes very useful and can act as a guide and motivation to students who wish to pursue postgraduate studies in the field of Astronomy and Space Science,” he was quoted as saying.

The event will take place under the Joint Exchange Development Initiative (JEDI) – a model which proved to be effective in human capacity development across Africa.

Namibia is home to the world’s largest ground-based gamma-ray telescope, the High Energy Stereoscopic System (H.E.S.S.), and also forms part of the host countries for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope which aims to study the nature of the universe to unprecedented accuracy.

This country will also be home to a number of radio telescope stations which will form an integral part of the big SKA telescope.

Namibia is presently in the running to host an order of magnitude larger gamma-ray observatory, the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA), which aims to study the nature of dark matter in the universe.