It is not every day you get to spend time in a state-of-the-art laboratory where prototypes are being built for what is arguably the world’s largest science project.
Unless of course you’re David Kenney, one of the go-to guys for all things related to the ICRAR engineering laboratory where ideas for the multi-billion dollar Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope come to life.
This cutting-edge facility is located at Curtin University and allows engineers to build and test components before they are deployed in the field, acting as an interface between ideas and the real world.
The laboratory houses world-class technology in radio-frequency test and measurement equipment, antenna design systems and low-noise microwave engineering, some of which are the only systems of their kind in Australia.
A big part of David’s job is supporting research engineers and students working in the facility as they build and test technology being considered for the SKA.
“The resources in the lab are really quite impressive and it’s a privilege to be able to use this high end gear.”
David also plays a leading role in the development, field deployment and validation of preconstruction systems for the SKA, and has made several trips to the Murchison region where the telescope will eventually be built.
Before coming to ICRAR, David worked in industry as a design engineer, looking at projects including the detection of explosives, narcotics and weapons for aviation security.
He says he loves the hands on nature of his role at ICRAR and the chance to learn new things.
“There’s a lot of new stuff to learn here and there are a lot of clever people,” David says.