Irish ambassador to South Africa visits

On July 12th 2018, a group of dignitaries visited the UCD Space Science Lab (Room 328 in Science North). Hosted by Dr. Antonio Martin-Carrillo and David Murphy, the visitors were shown the Telescope Operations Centre, from which they could see the view from the webcams installed in and around the Watcher building at Boyden Observatory, Bloemfontein, South Africa.   The guests were extremely interested to hear about our long term collaboration with the University of the Free State in South Africa. They were also informed about our nanosatellite project, EIRSAT-1, and our spin-out company, Parameter Space Ltd. The visitors included: Trevor Manuel, special economic envoy and former minister of finance in Nelson Mandela’s first post-apartheid government; Irish ambassador to South Africa, His Excellency Liam MacGabhann and His Excellency Mr Ahlangene Cyprian Sigcau, South African ambassador to Ireland. Their visit to UCD formed part of a wider initiative of the South African government that includes meetings with Irish companies and commemorating 25 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries. The opening of the Nelson Mandela centenary exhibition at Kilmainham Gaol Museum in Dublin is a highlight of the visit.     Further information:

Official opening of Watcher telescope operations centre

On December 6th 2017 we were privileged to have with us the Minister of Science & Technology of the Republic of South Africa, Ms. Naledi Pandor, to open the Watcher Telescope Operations Centre. (L-R)  Drs. Morgan Fraser,  Antonio Martin-Carrillo, Lorraine Hanlon and Sheila McBreen with Minister Pandor (centre) cutting the ribbon to mark the opening of the Watcher Telescope Operations Centre in UCD. Minister Pandor has dedicated her career to education and science policy, based on her long-held belief that these form the twin pillars of sustainable social and economic transformation, with a fundamental role in reducing inequality. Ms. Pandor was born in Durban, but left South Africa with her family, going into exile from 1961 to 1984, first in Lesotho and Zambia, then to England and, later, Botswana. She matriculated at Gaborone Secondary School in Botswana, and completed a professional qualification in teaching, before returning to London to complete a postgraduate diploma and a Master’s degree in Education, focusing on: “Education in South Africa and the issues of race.” She later obtained a Master’s degree in General Linguistics from the University of Stellenbosch. Minister Pandor with members of the UCD School of Physics and the Space Science group. Ms. Pandor taught English in London and Botswana before joining the University of Cape Town as a senior lecturer in 1989. She left the university to become Executive Director of the Desmond Tutu Educational Trust. By the time South Africa held its landmark democratic elections in 1994, she had taken a leading role in the formation of ANC education policies and became a Member of Parliament in the first post-apartheid Government,...