China-SA Bilateral Collaboration in Astronomy on the Cards
A China/South Africa bilateral collaboration in astronomy meeting was held at the National Astronomical Observatory in China (NAOC) at which UKZN’s Dr Yin-Zhe Ma of the School of Chemistry and Physics was invited to do a presentation on: “South Africa: Astronomy Projects, Prospects for Bilateral Collaboration, and a Brief History and Travel Guide”.
Delegates at the meeting included professional Astronomers from the National Astronomical Observatory of China; Peking University; Tsinghua University, the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics and the Institute of High Energy Physics. Chinese colleagues actively discussed the possibility of collaboration with South Africa’s astronomy community after Ma’s talk.
‘China and South Africa are BRICS countries who share a lot of common interests in astronomy and astrophysics,’ explained Ma. ‘UKZN is involved in the SKA, MeerKAT, CHIME, SALT, Planck, HIRAX, BINGO, HERA and PAPER collaborations, which all provide significant contributions to the world’s astronomy development.’
Delegates expressed their strong interest in establishing bilateral collaboration with South Africa, especially UKZN, on cosmology and low-frequency radio astronomy.
Planning for a UKZN-NAOC Joint Centre for Computational Astrophysics is now underway. In addition, an NRF bilateral workshop, titled “Cosmology with Large Surveys”, is planned in Durban in November.
‘We hope that this Centre will move UKZN’s astronomy forward and also lead to much broader collaboration with China,’ said Ma.