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URSI's long arm stretches to Mauritius

Submitter: Arnold van Ardenne
Description: Of course the International Radio Science Union (URSI) has no "long arms". As one of many international science unions like IAU or COSPAR, it is represented through national committees throughout the world in Europe, Asia and the Americas, but less so in Africa.

The latter, and the growing science network connections e.g. through the Africa European Radio Astronomy Platform or AERAP, and Africa as SKA site, made the National Committy of The Netherlands, with support of Belgium, take the initiative to organize an URSI session in Africa. This was supported by the global URSI organisation, and more specifically by its scientific Commissions B, E and J.

The context was provided by the largest engineering meeting in Africa, called Africon 2013. This was organized in the first week of September in Mauritius under the auspices of the IEEE, and "embedded" our meeting. Under the banner "Large Science Projects; Europe-Africa connects", a focussed URSI session was held, involving representatives from various European and African countries, as well as from Australia and the US. To allow students from Africa to attend, support was received from URSI, AERAP and Radionet3.

The picture shows a representative moment capturing participants in the beautiful surrounding of the island of Mauritius. Note the familiar face (and pose) on the far left.

The Radio Sciences cover all aspects and manifestations of electromagnetic waves. It includes radio astronomy and related other fields like antennas. And also the co-existence of systems i.e. having to do with electromagnetic compatibility ("EMC") and provides input to regulatory bodies like the International Telecommunication Union. In view of the developments mentioned earlier, including the SKA and the African VLBI Array, scientists and specialists in these fields met in what turned out to be a high-quality and dedicated meeting. This surely paved the way to other URSI meetings involving the Europe-Africa connect which are relevant to radio astronomy!
Copyright: Dutch National URSI Committee and ASTRON
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