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2023-02-02 Jessica Dempsey (ASTRON)

Harnessing the opportunities in the approaching radio astronomy renaissance

Abstract: Radio astronomy is about to step into a new era of technical and scientific capability. ASTRON leads the expansion of LOFAR, while SKA enters construction of the largest radio observatory ever built. On the horizon, to complement and compete, are the ngVLA and DSA-2000. ASTRON, as the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy, looks now to its role in this renaissance, and in its opportunities with our LOFAR and SKA partners. ASTRON is developing a science data centre to lead the world in providing the broadest accessibility to science-ready data products in the radio regime, committed to lowering the barrier of access to the radio universe for the widest community of astronomers possible, in advance of hosting the upcoming SKA regional centre. The coming renaissance is not without challenge – particularly in facing and overcoming the daunting data collection, processing and storage bottlenecks and to develop green solutions for our expanding environmental impacts. ASTRON is developing its long-look strategic plan around these goals with our national and international community, focusing on ensuring in this decade of world-spanning facilities, we maintain agency and opportunity for our researchers to lead impactful science and technology developments.

Bio: Jessica Dempsey is the Director of the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy, ASTRON. She previously spent over a decade in Hawaii, as the Deputy Director of the East Asian Observatory, which operates the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope. She is a member of Event Horizon Telescope team. Dempsey has a background in radio and submillimeter instrumentation and interferometry, with a scientific focus on wide-field and transient surveys of the diverse molecules in the galaxy at radio wavelengths and on the frontiers of challenge in big data science pipelines for astronomy. She has a passionate commitment to creating greater inclusion and diverse opportunity at all levels of astronomy and for girls to become future leaders in science and technology careers. Dempsey was the first Australian female scientist to work at the geographic South Pole, where she spent five summers building site-testing instruments and a robotic telescope before wintering at the South Pole station in 2005 for the cosmic microwave background (ACBAR CMB) experiment.