CSIRO’s SKA Executive Officer Dr Michelle Storey has been awarded a Public Service Medal in this year’s Australia Day Honours list. The medal recognises outstanding service of employees across the Commonwealth, state, territory and local governments.
Dr Storey was granted the award for her exceptional and tireless efforts in supporting CSIRO’s radio astronomy objectives and more specifically, in working with the Australian, Western Australian and New Zealand Governments, in their bid to host the future $2.5b Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope project.
The SKA, one of the largest and most ambitious international science projects ever realised, is likely to consist of 3000 antennas spread over a land area the size of a continent. The telescope once completed will help answer fundamental questions about the evolution of the Universe. Australia (and its bid partner New Zealand) and Southern Africa are the two regions shortlisted to host the SKA site.
Working on SKA related activity for CSIRO since 1999, a large part of Dr Storey’s work has involved the provision of scientific advice to the Governments, inputting into Government policy and strategy and working with a wide range of stakeholders.
She has also worked extensively on the Australian SKA Pathfinder telescope project, a precursor SKA instrument currently being built by CSIRO. Her work has particularly focused on the establishment of the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in the Mid West of Western Australia, and the establishment of the Mid West Radio Quiet Zone surrounding the MRO. The MRO is the site for ASKAP and is Australia’s candidate core site for the SKA.
Dr Storey commented, “I’m immensely proud to have been recognised with this award. But more importantly, the Australia – New Zealand SKA team is committed to showing the international community just how exceptional the MRO site is for radio astronomy. I think we have a compelling case to host the SKA here.”