SKAO Director-General recognised in UK New Year Honours

by Mathieu Isidro on 02 January 2024
Prof. Philip Diamond has been awarded a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) medal in recognition of his services to global radio astronomy.
Prof. Philip Diamond, SKAO Director-General
SKAO Director-General Prof. Philip Diamond was awarded a CBE in the UK New Year Honours List. Credit SKAO/Paul Worpole

Prof. Diamond has been leading the delivery of the international SKA project for over a decade. He was appointed Director-General of the SKA Organisation, the precursor to the current Observatory, in November 2012, shortly after the organisation’s creation.

During his time at the helm of the SKA project, Prof. Diamond has overseen the global engineering activities to design the two SKA telescopes, the policy work to create the intergovernmental organisation now leading the project, the selection of the UK as its headquarters, as well as the start of construction of the telescopes in 2021. In that time, the SKA Observatory has grown from a team of less than a dozen to over 300 individuals from 23 countries distributed across Australia, South Africa, and the UK. In 2022, he was reappointed by the SKAO Council for a further term.

Prior to his SKA role, Prof. Diamond led the CSIRO’s - Australian national research agency - astronomy and space sciences division, and in particular the work to build ASKAP, the Australian SKA Pathfinder telescope on Inyarrimanha Ilgari Bundara, the CSIRO Murchison Radio astronomy Observatory, where the SKA-low telescope is now being built.

He also served as Director of the University of Manchester’s Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics, home of the Lovell telescope and e-MERLIN, a precursor to the SKA; was previously Director of e-MERLIN and Deputy Assistant Director for the Very Large Array and Very Long Baseline Array, operated by the US National Radio Astronomy Observatory NRAO. He previously worked at the German Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy as well as Onsala Space Observatory in Sweden.

Prof. Diamond received his PhD in radio astronomy in 1982 from The University of Manchester, with his scientific interests lying in masers, interferometry, and star-formation.

The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is a British order of chivalry created in 1917 by King George V, rewarding contributions to the arts and sciences, work with charitable and welfare organisations, and public service. CBE is the third highest level in the order.

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