Director of SKA Project recognised with Honorary Membership of the International Astronomical Union

August 27, 2021
a portrait of a man wearing a white shirt and red tie
Mr David Luchetti, Honorary Member of the IAU. Source: Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources

The Australian Academy of Science congratulates Mr David Luchetti, who has been selected as an Honorary Member of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) for his tireless work championing and facilitating Australian astronomy in the government.

Mr Luchetti has been a key advocate for Australian astronomy and has played a central role in facilitating Australia’s engagement with a number of large scale international astronomy projects.

For the past six years he has directed the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Project, an intergovernmental project to build the world’s largest radio telescope. The SKA telescope is one of the largest scientific endeavours in history, with the infrastructure co-hosted between South Africa and Australia.

Mr Luchetti is currently leading negotiations on behalf of the Australian Government on an Indigenous Land Use Agreement with the Wajarri Yamatji for the location of the SKA telescope in Western Australia. This agreement will better develop cultural ties and bring a wide range of benefits to the Wajarri community. Previously, Mr Luchetti represented Australia on the European Southern Observatory Council and has provided advice to the government on infrastructure needs for astronomy research in Australia.

“Mr Luchetti has worked tirelessly with the astronomy community for many years. He has successfully communicated government expectations to the community in terms of industry and community engagement, and has worked helpfully with the astronomy community in its endeavours to engage with international partners on world-class astronomical projects,” said the Chair of the Academy’s National Committee for Astronomy, Professor Lister Staveley-Smith.

“His endeavours in supporting Australia on the international scientific stage have been first class and have been well beyond normal duties.”

The IAU is an international organisation of leading astronomers from around the world. The Academy is Australia’s National Adhering Organisation to the International Astronomical Union, through the National Committee for Astronomy (NCA). Mr Luchetti was nominated for recognition by the NCA to acknowledge and thank him for his work with the committee and the astronomy community in general.

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