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2011 AAPT Summer Meeting
July 30-August 3, 2011
Omaha, Nebraska

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EE04:

The Radio Astronomy Laboratory: Another Way to Learn Physics and Astronomy
  Location: SS 105
  Date: Tuesday, Aug.2
  Time: 2:25 PM -2:35 PM
  Author: Victor Migenes, Brigham Young University
(801) 422-2233, vmigenes@byu.edu
  Co-Author(s): Daniel Blakley
  Abstract: The field of Radio Astronomy was founded essentially by unemployed military radar engineers after World War II. Radar research had left unanswered questions and unsolved problems. The 1950-60s saw a big growth in the design and construction of radio antennas by universities and private laboratories. In the 1970-80s new developments in the area of interferometric radio astronomy and synthesis arrays created instruments that increased the spatial resolution and sensitivity of the observations. National Laboratories was born. The 1990s radio interferometry added baselines to a radio antenna in Earth orbit. New exciting instruments and opportunities will be available in 2015-2020 such as ALMA and SKA. National observatories in the U.S., Europe, Australia, and Japan (among other countries) offer wonderful opportunities to conduct research, in basically all the research fields known, with the latest technology available. Radio Astronomy is an interesting and exciting way to teach physics and astronomy concepts to intermediate and upper-level undergraduate students and even graduate students. It also offers the opportunity for "hands-on" experience in research. Setting up a small Radio Astronomy laboratory is an easy and cheap way to expose K-12 students to physics and astronomy, and research work. We present our efforts, so far, in establishing a Radio Astronomy Laboratory at Brigham Young University and involving undergraduate and graduate students in class and research work.
  Footnotes: None
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