Byrne Seminar: Radio Astronomy: Jersey Roots, Global Reach
Spring 2017

Prof. Andrew Baker
Serin W309
Phone: 848-445-8887
Email: ajbaker[at]
Office hours:
Tuesday 5:00-6:20pm

Wednesday (1:40-3:00pm) in Serin 401

The only required textbook is The Invisible Universe: The Story of Radio Astronomy (third edition) by Gerrit Verschuur, copies of which should be available in the bookstore. Note that the third edition has more chapters than previous editions of this book; please be sure to get the correct version!

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 and practice of radio astronomy with a special emphasis on discoveries made right here in New Jersey, which include 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 scientific and technical advances made by modern radio astronomers, including those on the faculty at Rutgers, and will have the opportunity to work with real data from a radio telescope."

The first class (January 25) will feature an introduction to the field of radio astronomy, and the last class (April 19) will focus on the results of the observing project. All classes in between will feature discussions of 2-3 chapters from the textbook. At the beginning of the semester, one student will be assigned to lead the discussion of each chapter.

1 Jan 25    
2 Feb 1 Chapter 1 MC
    Chapter 2 AG
3 Feb 15 Chapter 3 TN
    Chapter 4 PL
4 Feb 22 Chapter 5 DL
    Chapter 6 PL
5 Mar 1 Chapter 7 MC
6 Mar 8 Chapter 8 TN
    Chapter 9 SPa
    Chapter 10 SPo
7 Mar 22 Chapter 11 SPo
    Chapter 12 DL
    Chapter 13 DT
8 Apr 5 Chapter 14 GBY
    Chapter 15 DT
9 Apr 12 Chapter 16 AG
    Chapter 17 SPa
    Chapter 18 GBY
10 Apr 19    

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

In this course, "discussion leadership" has several elements: The observing project will use archival observations of atomic hydrogen gas in the Milky Way that were taken with the Small Radio Telescope on the roof of Serin Laboratory. The class will collectively devise a strategy for analyzing the data to draw conclusions about the distribution of gas in the galaxy in which we live.

Other items

Last updated March 2, 2017.