University of Malta Institute of Space Sciences and Astronomy inaugurated

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University of Malta Institute of Space Sciences and Astronomy inauguratedThe new golden age of astronomy is upon us, with massive instruments currently being built around the world. This is being reflected even locally, with the inauguration of the University of Malta’s Institute of Space Sciences and Astronomy (ISSA) on Wednesday at the Aula Magna, Valletta Campus.

The inauguration ceremony included speeches by Chris Agius, Parliamentary Secretary for Research, Innovation, Youth and Sport, by Prof. Emmanuel Sinagra, Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Science, and by the Institute’s first director, Dr Kristian Zarb Adami.

The inauguration ceremony was followed by a public talk by the globally acclaimed astrophysicist, Prof. George Fitzgerald Smoot III, who won the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physics with Prof. John Mather for discovering fluctuations in the radiation signature left over from the Big Bang. University of Malta Institute of Space Sciences and Astronomy inauguratedThis talk, titled ‘The Big Bang Theory,’ presented a review of the current state of cosmology based on astronomical observations, and discussed the mysteries which still need to be solved. Emphasis was put on the need for continuous mapping of the matter in the universe which allows us to trace its history in detail.

This talk also opened ISSA’s first workshop ‘Cosmos in the Med’ which will end on Friday and culminate with the annual science festival, Science in the City. Prof. Smoot will also be taking part in this festival. The workshop is part of a larger series of workshops taking place every year in different countries around the world. Prof. Smoot will also be joined by world renowned scientists Prof. Jim Rich, Dr Chiara Ferrari and Dr Edward Porter.

ISSA is composed of members from the Faculties of Science, Engineering and ICT, and is thus one of the first multidisciplinary bodies within the University of Malta. ISSA’s members are working on numerous projects, with collaborations that cross the globe, while building up in-house infrastructure for a broad range of disciplines such as supercomputing capacities, advanced electromagnetic instruments for antenna design, and new theoretical physics.

They are heavily involved in several international projects and consortia, including the Square Kilometer Array, the Euclid Telescope and the Einstein Telescope, among others. The Institute is also offering a research-based Master course in Astroinformatics.

For more information visit the Institute webpage on www.um.edu.mt/issa, send an email to issa@um.edu.mt or call on 2340 2524. Research and updates can also be followed on the Facebook page, www.facebook.com/uom.issa.

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