UKZN and the National Astronomical Observatory China (NAOC) have officially launched a new Joint Centre for Computational Astrophysics.
The ground-breaking initiative is based on common research interests in astrophysics and cosmology, and in particular in radio astronomy and computational astrophysics.
It is hoped the Centre will facilitate the exchange of students to work on computational astrophysics related to new observational facilities in South Africa and China; employ joint postdoctoral fellows to work on cutting edge astronomy supervised by scientists from South Africa and China; open facilities - observational, technological and computational - in the two countries to maximise resource usage; to engage with the general public in terms of frontier scientific knowledge and expertise, and to attract funding from the public and private sectors.
The programme was originally proposed in 2015 and is the culmination of tireless efforts by UKZN’s Dr Yin-Zhe Ma, who is based in the School of Chemistry and Physics and with the Astrophysics and Cosmology Research Unit (ACRU), and NAOC’s Professor Xuelei Chen.
The Centre was officially opened by Deputy Director-General for Research Development and Support at the Department of Science and Technology, Dr Thomas Auf der Heyde, and the Consul General of the People's Republic of China in Durban, Mr Wang Jianzhou.
The Memorandum of Understanding between UKZN and NAOC was signed at the opening ceremony by the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of UKZN, Dr Albert van Jaarsveld, and Professor Jun Yan, Director General of NAOC.
The opening of the Centre coincided with the inaugural China-South Africa Bilateral Conference on Cosmology with Large Surveys.
An evening of public talks on current areas of interest in astronomy added to the programme.