The National University of Colombia is to create the country’s first doctoral programme in astronomy.
The move comes as part of a drive to increase knowledge in the astronomical sciences and boost technological development for Colombia. Almost 20 years in the making, the new programme has been designed by professors at the National Astronomical Observatory, based at the Bogotá university’s Faculty of Sciences.
The programme is aimed at physicists, astronomers and professionals with relevant training and will be supported by researchers working across astronomy, astrophysics and cosmology. Successful students will work on the development of celestial mechanics, stellar astrophysics, solar physics, galactic kinematics, gravitational lenses and the physics of black holes, to name a few.
Additionally, owing to the interdisciplinary nature of this programme, research groups from other areas will contribute to its development, among them the Planetary Science and Astrobiology Group and the Research Group on High Frequency Electronics and Telecommunications.
“The graduates of the programme will satisfy the research demand that Colombia requires in astronomy, will contribute in the interdisciplinary work to develop the local and global science and will strengthen the technological development of the country, in the same way as the astronomers have benefited [other] countries of high development,” the university said in a statement to local news website, Semana.
The quest for astronomy in Colombia dates back to 1783, the university noted, when the former King of Spain Charles III asked his advisers to improve their cartography to gain better knowledge of the colonised area.
The development of the new programme aims to eventually make Colombia a world leader for astrophysical research.