South Africa has invested in the development of a large and vibrant radio astronomy community by building a greenfield observatory, protecting it by law from radio frequency interference, designing and building the MeerKAT array and participating very actively in the design of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). SKA has also invested in a large human capital development programme, to bring young people into science and technology related to radio astronomy and to create a training pipeline from undergraduate to postgraduate and post-doctoral study. The work in South Africa is being extended to eight other African countries through the African VLBI Network (AVN), which is converting redundant satellite communication dishes for radio astronomy and training scientists and engineers. The huge data rates flowing from the MeerKAT and SKA mean that there is a need to focus on machine learning and other data processing and data analytics areas. The Big Data Africa programme launched by SKA South Africa is developing skills and expertise in these areas in South Africa and the other African partner countries. The talk will describe SKA programmes and will also describe the science to be done with the MeerKAT and SKA telescopes.
This lecture is part of Extragalactic Relativistic Jets: Cause and Effect