The Square Kilometre Array with Rebecca Wheadon (#13)

We talk about the SKA, the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP), and Rebecca's love of cycling.

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Rebecca Wheadon is an experienced manager with a background in project management and Mario Kart. She lives for riding her bike in circles over short distances and also happens to manage the CSIRO Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory in the Mid West region of WA. She is a world champion in track cycling and probably also Mario Kart - the latter of which is not necessarily evidenced by proof. Rebecca has joined CSIRO after working in engineering consulting for the last 12 years, where she was first introduced to the Square Kilometre Array (SKA).

In our conversation, we talk about the SKA, the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP), and Rebecca’s love of cycling.

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Show Notes

[01:08] Rebecca’s journey to the SKA.
[03:39] What drew Rebecca to the SKA Telescope project.
[06:47] Project management is a transferrable skill.
[07:25] Western Australia’s Radio Quiet Zone.
[08:22] The current state of the infrastructure.
[09:23] The applications of the SKA.
[11:01] The state of technology for this scale.
[12:02] Moore’s Law.
[13:05] Rebecca’s role as Site Entity Leader.
[15:09] Managing the radio quiet zone.
[16:54] Coordinating participation between 15 countries.
[17:59] The structure of the SKA Organisation.
[19:39] Design and infrastructure considerations.
[22:31] Taking a unit in astrophysics.
[24:49] Rebecca and her Amstrad.
[27:45] Bonus Question 1: What hobby or interest do you have that is most unrelated to your field of work?
[28:32] Getting into track cycling.
[30:26] Rebecca’s interest in the competitive side of cycling.
[32:32] Juggling work and the training required for competition.
[34:47] At Rebecca’s competitive level, where to from here?
[37:11] Bonus Question 2: Which childhood book holds the strongest memories for you?
[38:42] Bonus Question 3: What advice you would give someone who wants to do what you do? Or what advice should they ignore?
[41:20] Reaching out to Rebecca and the SKA.

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