So apparently Brian Cox is coming to Arecibo to do a program on pulsars and wants to interview my Dad. This is funny and a bit sad, because he wanted to interview Mum on Biochemical Astronomy a year ago, but she said no because the interview clashed with my graduation.

Because of this, I am now having a long conversation with my Mom about what Dad’s work has been over the years.

I knew about Dad making the best maps of the radio sky as for his graduate thesis, and he is currently working on an updated version at a higher frequency. I know that he mapped supernova remnants and wrote extensively on the polarization of Cosmic Background Radiation. He wrote some of the earliest software to make radio sky maps on computers at the VLA in New Mexico. He helped set up several then-new telescopes in India and became involved in mapping Radio-galaxies. He made the first millimeter map of the moon, though the person he worked with sniped the kudos for that paper. He helped with the planning and testing of the GBT telescope, while mapping double radio-sources. He was the Head of Astronomy at Arecibo when it had its huge upgrade and worked out how to make it switch between equipment very quickly, convinced NASA to donate us our first Hydrogen Mazer, and set up the telescope’s VBLI system along with my Mum. (Which she has now completely taken over and updated, the brilliant lady.)

I didn’t know that sometime in the middle he discovered 5 pulsars. (Number 35-40, it seems.) Apparently he is being interviewed by Brian Cox about this. I dunno, seems like the least cool part of his work to me. Every radioastronomer of his generation seems to have found a pulsar or two.

Still, holy shit.

Astronomy radio astronomy personal brian cox Arecibo Observatory

  1. medea-and-morticia posted this