Byrne Seminar: Radio Astronomy: Jersey Roots, Global Reach
Fall 2013

Prof. Andrew Baker
Serin W309
Phone: 732-445-5500 x2544
Email: ajbaker[at]
Office hours:
Tuesday 4:00-5:30 (Serin 401)
Friday 3:00-4:30 (Scott Hall 121)

Wednesday (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 4, featuring an introduction to the field of radio astronomy) and the last class (October 30, 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. Several students chosen at random will also serve as "observing assistants" who organize the acquisition and analysis of data for the observing project.

1 Sep 4    
2/3 Sep 11 Chapter 1 Mike
    Chapter 2 Marc
    Chapter 3 Josh
    Chapter 4 Daniel
4/5 Sep 18 Chapter 5 Matt
    Chapter 6 Nicole
    Chapter 7 Rohit
    Chapter 8 Adam
6/7 Oct 2 Chapter 9 Josh
    Chapter 10 Damian
    Chapter 11 Daniel
    Chapter 12 Rachel
8/9 Oct 9 Chapter 13 David
    Chapter 14 John
    Chapter 15 Sowmith
    Chapter 16 Adam
10 Oct 30    

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 properties of the Milky Way, collect the data, and analyze the results in time for a discussion at the last class.

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Last updated September 30, 2013.