Finding out how to make the World’s largest Radio Telescope

Last year, Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre received funding from the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Ingenious Award grant scheme, to engage the public and school students with the engineering of the SKA.

The project brought together UK-based engineers working on the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) from the Universities of Manchester, Oxford and Cambridge, as well as SKA Organisation, whose headquarters are located at Jodrell Bank. The Square Kilometre Array is a colossal international engineering endeavour, constructing the largest radio telescope on the planet. It will be made of two huge networks of receivers, built in the deserts of South Africa and Australia, together generating more data traffic than the entire internet. Together with the Education Team at Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, they developed a series of resources in a toolkit to engage and inspire people of all ages on the scope and vast scale of the SKA.

The toolkit has been used at events here at Jodrell Bank like Girl’s Night Out, Easter Holiday hands-on activities and our science-music-culture festival, bluedot. Three toolkits have now been donated to the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge and to SKA Organisation to continue this important outreach work.

The project also developed two workshops for secondary school students (aged 11 to 16), which are available for teachers to download from the TES website. Jamie Sloan, Education Manager at Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, said “We are excited to be inspiring the scientists and engineers of the future by connecting UK-based engineers with schoolchildren and the general public to talk about their work on the SKA project”.

Find out what the scientists and engineers involved thought about this project at our bluedot festival!