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Dr Rob Adam was appointed Director of the South African Square Kilometre Array (SKA). Radio Telescope project in 2016 and became Managing Director of the SA Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO) when this new National Facility was declared by the Minister of Science and Technology in 2017.
Rob matriculated from Bishops in Cape Town in 1972 and graduated from the University of Cape Town with a first class Honours in Chemistry in 1978. In 1982 he was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for activities undertaken on behalf of the then banned African National Congress.
While in prison he studied, obtained Honours and Masters degrees in Theoretical Physics and submitted his PhD thesis in 1990 after his release, following the unbanning of the ANC and other movements.
From an academic perspective, Rob has held teaching and research positions in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and South Africa. He has co-authored over 40 refereed articles in theoretical physics, chemistry and astronomy, published widely on science and technology policy and co-authored a book on science and technology in the Republic of Chile.
He has also been a Professor of Physics at both the University of Pretoria and the University of South Africa and has served on the Council of the Academy of Sciences of South Africa.
In 1995, after the first democratically elected South African administration assumed office, Rob joined government. In 1999 he was appointed Director-General of the Department of Science and Technology and held this position until 2006, when he was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa), South Africa’s statutory nuclear technology company. In 2012 Rob joined the private sector and became Group Executive:
Nuclear at Aveng, a publicly listed multinational infrastructure company, from where he moved to his current positions at SARAO and the SKA. He is a member of the Board of the SKA (representing South Africa) and has chaired or served on numerous other Boards and Councils.