Start date: 10/06/2019

  End date: 11/06/2019

Location: Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (IAA-CSIC), Granada

Organiser: Lourdes Verdes-Montenegro (IAA-CSIC)

Description of the Meeting:

In June 2018, Spain became the eleventh member of the Square Kilometre Array Organization (SKA) along with Australia, Canada, China, India, Italy, New Zealand, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, South Africa and Sweden, with France joining as well a few months later. On March 12th took place in Rome the signing ceremony of the international treaty establishing the Intergovernmental Organization (IGO) that will be responsible for the construction and operation of the Square Kilometre Array Observatory. This is a big step forward for the SKA, whose construction is closer to become a reality, with the first observations estimated to start in 2023-2024. The project gathers more than 1000 scientists and engineers from 20 countries and 270 institutions to build the world’s most powerful radio telescope, operating at centimetre and metre wavelengths (frequency range: ~50 MHz – 25 GHz). The SKA radiointerferometer has the potential to make revolutionary contributions to Astrophysics, Astrobiology and Fundamental Physics. SKA science cases are described in detail in the book “Advancing Astrophysics with the Square Kilometre Array” published in 2015, with more than 2000 pages and about 1300 authors.

Spain has been participating since 1990 in SKA-related activities, coordinated since 2011 by the IAA (CSIC). Currently 31 Spanish astrophysicists from 11 research centers are members of 9 of the 11 SKA Science Working Groups. They are also actively engaged in the preparation of the Key Science Projects, which will be assigned, on a competitive basis, between 50% and 75% of the time of the first 5 years of SKA operations. In 2015 “The Spanish Square Kilometre Array White Book” was published, as a result of a coordinated effort made by 120 Spanish researchers, whose contributions are compiled in 30 chapters covering all areas of interest of SKA. There is also wide involvement in numerous observing programs with SKA’s precursor telescopes and pathfinders. At the technological level, more than 20 Spanish research centers and companies have participated in 8 of SKA’s international design consortia. This positions us to compete for specialized contracts with a high level of innovation for the construction of SKA. As Spain joins the SKA implies a new phase for the Spanish community and this Workshop is an opportunity to achieve an even stronger and more cohesive community around the construction and exploitation of what will be the largest scientific infrastructure on the planet.

*More information about Spain’s activities in SKA can be found in the Spanish website.

Goals and Format of the Workshop:

In this Meeting we will celebrate the Spanish membership of the SKA Organization, offering a toast and by bringing together Spanish scientists interested in SKA in order to generate the necessary synergies that will ensure the highest scientific return. Apart from offering an overall perspective about SKA and its most recent aspects, time will be allocated to discussions aiming to facilitate multifrequency/multi-messenger collaborations so strengthening our community in the presentation of competitive proposals for the Key Science Projects and PI projects.

To achieve these goals, we will organize a two days Workshop. The first day will consist of invited talks plus oral contributions which will be selected among the requested ones. Special consideration will be given to abstracts submitted by PhD students and post-doctoral researchers, as they will be the future users of SKA. The second day the participants will be divided in several thematic parallel sessions, focused on the discussions of the above indicated collaborations. Some SKA Project Scientists will be attending and available to answer specific questions. We will end the Workshop by putting together a summary of the conclusions of each session.

Preliminary programme:

June 10th: 9:30 h – 18:00 h

For the Opening of the Workshop we will count with Rafael Rodrigo (General Secretary for the Coordination of Science Policy), Phil Diamond (Director General of the SKA Organization), Inmaculada Figueroa (Vice Deputy Director General for the Internationalisation of Science and Innovation), Vicent Martínez (RIA Coordinator), representation of the Regional Government of Andalusia (TBC) and the City Council of Granada (TBC).

This will be followed by several presentations revising the current status of the project, the Spanish contribution and future prospects. Emphasis will be laid on preparatory activities on the challenge that the analysis of SKA Big Data constitutes, such as the development of the SKA Regional Centres or the Data challenges proposed by the SKA Office. This section will finish with a presentation about the innovating activities that SKA carries out in areas as dissemination, incentivization of STEM vocations, or policies related with equality and inclusion. Thereafter ample time for questions will be allocated.

In the second half of the morning the program will continue with selected oral contributions about on-going preparatory activities with SKA’s precursors and pathfinders, as well as complementary projects from the Spanish community, both theoretical and observational.

We will end the journey (after 18h) by celebrating with a cocktail the entry of Spain in the SKA.

June 11th: 9:30 h – 13:30 h (end of the Meeting)

The second day of the Workshop will start with a joint meeting in order to define the overall goals and the organization of different groups which will celebrate joint sessions. It is expected that meetings about, e.g. the formation of planetary systems, search for exoplanets and prebiotic molecules, the history of the evolution of galaxies, or cosmology, will be held, although the final meetings will be defined according to the interest of the participants (which will be gathered via the registration form).

Finally, in a joint session, a representative of each working group will summarize the discussions hold ending with the final conclusions of the Workshop and future steps.

Scientific Organizing Committee (SOC):

  • Pablo De Vicente Abad, IGN
  • Julián Garrido Sánchez, IAA-CSIC
  • Armando Gil de Paz, UCM
  • José Carlos Guirado Puerta, UV
  • Diego Herranz Muñoz, IFCA (CSIC-UC)
  • Izaskun Jiménez Serra, CAB (CSIC-INTA)
  • Mar Mezcua Pellerola, ICE-CSIC
  • José Miguel Rodríguez Espinosa, IAC
  • Patricia Sánchez-Blázquez, UAM
  • Lourdes Verdes-Montenegro Atalaya (chair), IAA-CSIC

Local Organizing Committe(LOC):

  • Susana Sánchez Expósito (LOC coordinator), IAA-CSIC
  • Ester Calle Martín, RIA
  • MªTeresa Castillo Sánchez, IAA-CSIC
  • Ancor Damas Segovia, IAA-CSIC
  • Ana Karla Díaz-Rodríguez, IAA-CSIC
  • Sebastián Luna Valero, IAA-CSIC
  • Alicia Pelegrina López, IAA-CSIC

Relevant dates:

Registration is free. This meeting is funded by the RIA (Red de Excelencia, AYA2017-90868-REDI).

  • Call for contributions – Deadline for abstracts: April 30th
  • Deadline for registration (excluding oral contributions): May 20th
  • Selected contributions and detailed program – middle of May
  • Meeting: June 10-11

More information: