Title: The path less travelled:
The adventures of building the African VLBI Network
Author: Mr Nkululeko Qwabe
The African VLBI Network is a project of SARAO to build a network of VLBI capable stations on the African continent. Most of the work so far has been towards the realisation of the first AVN station, the Ghana Radio Observatory (GRAO) in Kuntunse, Accra. As a boy growing up in the small town of Mtubatuba in Northern KwaZulu-Natal, Nkululeko was always fascinated by the stars and the mystery of what lies beyond what the naked eye can see. This fueled his dream of one day working as a scientist in Astronomy. Working on the AVN project has been eventful, challenging and fulfilling. This talk will take you through the journey travelled by a young man from rural KwaZulu-Natal working at the biggest scientific project in the world. It will also touch on the progress made thus far on the AVN project, with a focus on VLBI instrumentation.
More about the author:
Nkululeko Qwabe is a Software Engineer working in the Software department of the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO) since 2013. He was born in Mtubatuba, a small town in northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. He holds a BSc. Degree in Computer Science and Information Technology from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (Pietermaritzburg) and a BSc. Honours Degree in Computing from the University of South Africa (UNISA). He is currently pursuing his MSc. Degree in Physics at the University of Pretoria. His work includes software development for the African VLBI Network (AVN), with a focus on VLBI digital backend systems and Station Control and Monitoring. He also spends some time participating in science outreach events.