South Africa Listens Hard

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Science  02 Mar 2007:
Vol. 315, Issue 5816, pp. 1207d
DOI: 10.1126/science.315.5816.1207d

PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA—South Africa's new proposed budget aims to improve the country's chances of beating out Australia for the world's most powerful radio telescope, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). About 40% of the government's proposed $172 million budget increase for science and technology (S&T) would fund an upgraded pilot instrument, the Karoo Array Telescope (KAT).

The nation's SKA project manager, Bernie Fanaroff, says an expanded version of the demonstrator array, called the MeerKAT, will “optimize the science we can do” with available funds. Although some scientists question devoting so much of the budget to KAT, zoologist Robin Crewe, who is president of South Africa's leading science academy, predicts that a successful bid's information network would benefit other areas of South African research.

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