Scientists from around the world gathered in Shanghai yesterday to discuss the latest developments in the Square Kilometer Array project.
China is one of 10 countries involved in the construction of the SKA — a massive, multi-site radio telescope — and Shanghai is hoping to host one of the five data processing centers that will be needed to serve it.
Hong Xiaoyu, head of the Shanghai Astronomical Observatory, said the city applied to China's central government last year to host the Asian center — the other four will be in Australia, South Africa, Canada and Europe — but has yet to hear back.
Being selected as a host city would help Shanghai "attract top level scientists ... and create a better platform for young research scientists," he said.
Philip Diamond, director-general of the SKA Organization, which has its headquarters in the UK, said that he has no role to play in the selection of the location for the Asian center, but described Shanghai's astronomical observatory as "a center of excellence for radio astronomy."
The eight countries involved in the SKA project — which aims to answer questions about the origin of the universe — are Australia, South Africa, the Netherlands, Italy, New Zealand, Canada, Sweden and India.