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The Fourth East African Astronomical Society Workshop

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Brussels, 16 July 2014: The Fourth East African Astronomical Society Workshop, organised by the East African Astronomical Society (EAAS), took place from 30 June to 04 July 2014 at the University of Rwanda - College of Education, Kigali-Rwanda.

Centred around the “Role of Astronomy in Socio-Economic Transformation,” this workshop aimed at strengthening capacity building in Astronomy, Astrophysics and Space Science in general, while providing a forum for astronomers from the region to train young and upcoming scientists. This workshop provided an excellent opportunity for exchange of ideas, cross border co-supervision and sharing of resources. 

African universities have made significant progress in incorporating Space Science disciplines in their curricula, which can also be demonstrated by the example of the University of Nairobi, Kenya now offering a Bachelor’s degree programme in Astronomy and Astrophysics. 

A number of other universities in the region are in the process of developing similar curricula, which can to a large extent be attributed to the successful networking and sharing of expertise between the countries. These practices prove crucially important for teaching and supervising students across East Africa.

The objectives of the workshop were as follows: 

  • Strengthen the vision and understanding of the importance of research in astronomy to the development of mankind;
  • Create an opportunity for senior and young astronomers as well as potential astronomers to interact with young professionals in the astronomy discipline;
  • Establish a forum for the astronomers and other scientists in the Eastern African region to interact and share knowledge and experiences in astronomy;
  • Keep the Eastern African astronomical fraternity informed about the latest developments in the fields of astronomy, astrophysics and cosmology;
  • Enhance and develop more ways of cooperation among Eastern African astronomers and institutions involved in the development of astronomy in the region.

The workshop sessions covered the following topics:

  • Solar system and exo-planets;
  • Stellar Astrophysics;
  • High energy astrophysics and compact objects;
  • Cosmology;
  • Galaxies and Interstellar medium;
  • Data reduction and analysis from virtual observatories;
  • Archaeoastronomy (the study of cultural beliefs and practices relating to the sky);
  • Solar physics;
  • Astronomy Education/outreach;
  • Astronomy and Human Space Technology.

Mr Takalani Nemaungani, Director of SKA and AVN at the Department of Science and Technology in South Africa, contributed to the workshop by giving a presentation on “Astronomy Landscape in South Africa and progress update on MeerKAT/SKA/AVN”, which took place on 1 July 2014. In his presentation Mr Nemaungani also introduced the African-European Radio Astronomy Platform (AERAP) as an example of a successful platform facilitating collaboration in the area of radio astronomy between Africa and Europe. 

AERAP is a stakeholder platform of industry, academia, the public sector and civil society established to define and implement radio astronomy cooperation initiatives between Africa and Europe. These initiatives cover a wide range of research areas and industry sectors as well as human capital development and researcher mobility programmes.

The overall goal of this platform is to strengthen research and innovation in Europe and Africa, harnessing science and technology to promote sustainable development and competitiveness across both continents.

 

Further information on AERAP: www.aerap.org 

Further information on the Fourth East African Astronomical Society Workshop: https://sites.google.com/site/eaasconference2014/ 

 

 

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Editor’s Note

The African-European Radio Astronomy Platform (AERAP)

The African European Radio Astronomy Platform (AERAP) was launched in May 2012 as a response to Written Declaration 45/2011 on “Science Capacity Building in Africa: promoting European-African radio astronomy partnerships”, which was adopted by the European Parliament on 15 March 2012 and which recognised the value of research infrastructures in facilitating cooperation with Africa, promoting human capital development and addressing societal challenges. 

AERAP’s main objectives are to 1) harness research and technological advances through radio astronomy cooperation, 2) facilitate high-level interaction with policy and decision-makers of the European Union and African Union and their Member States regarding radio astronomy cooperation, 3) promote science capacity building as a tool for competitiveness and 4) improve knowledge transfer between industry/SMEs and academia.

Further information on AERAP: www.aerap.org

 

Agenda