Byrne Seminar: Radio Astronomy: Jersey Roots, Global Reach
Fall 2012

Prof. Andrew Baker
Serin W309
Phone: 732-445-5500 x2544
Email: ajbaker[at]
Office hours: Thursday 1:40-3:00 (or by appointment)

W (1:40-4:40) in Serin 401

The only required textbook is The Invisible Universe: The Story of Radio Astronomy by Gerrit Verschuur, copies of which should be available in the bookstore.

Here's the official course catalog listing:
"Just like Rutgers, the field of radio astronomy - the investigation of the universe and its contents through observations of radio waves - has 'Jersey Roots, Global Reach.' This seminar will introduce students to the history of radio astronomy in New Jersey, which includes the construction of the first radio telescope and the discovery of the cosmic microwave background (i.e., the afterglow of the Big Bang). Students will also learn about the scientific and technical advances made by modern radio astronomers, and will obtain and analyze their own observations of atomic hydrogen gas in the Milky Way using an on-campus telescope."

The first class (September 5, featuring an introduction to the field of radio astronomy) and the last class (October 31, focusing on the results of the observing project) will only run from 1:40-3:00pm. The four classes in between will run for a double period (1:40-4:40pm with a 10-minute break midway through). During each of these four classes, we will discuss four chapters from the textbook. At the beginning of the semester, one student will be assigned to lead the discussion of each chapter. Four students drawn at random (Alexandria, Ben, Claire, Robel) will also serve as "observing assistants" who organize the acquisition and analysis of data for the observing project.

1 Sep 5    
2/3 Sep 19 Chapter 1 Ashley
    Chapter 2 Tim'
    Chapter 3 Tim
    Chapter 4 Asad
4/5 Oct 10 Chapter 5 Matt
    Chapter 6 Kung
    Chapter 7 Amanda
    Chapter 8 Roelle
6/7 Oct 17 Chapter 9 Phil
    Chapter 10 Ryan
    Chapter 11 Clare
    Chapter 12 Ben
8/9 Oct 24 Chapter 13 Alexandria
    Chapter 14 Robel
    Chapter 15 Roelle
    Chapter 16 Amanda
10 Oct 31    

Your course grade will be based on a combination of two elements:

In this course, "discussion leadership" has several elements: The observing project will use the Small Radio Telescope on the roof of Serin Laboratory to make observations of atomic hydrogen gas in the Milky Way. The class will collectively devise a strategy for obtaining data to measure and/or explore some property or properties of the Milky Way, collect the data, and analyze the results in time for a discussion at the last class.

Other items

Last updated September 19, 2012.