With help from physics professors Matthew Price and Bruce Thompson, students Chris Stathis ’11 and Ivan Tso ’15 constructed the electronics for a new radio telescope, which now sits near the Clinton B. Ford Observatory on campus.
A radio telescope looks similar to a large satellite dish and detects and collects information from radio sources in space.
What began as a senior thesis project will soon give physics students an opportunity to use the telescope to gather data and conduct hands-on research. Recently the team was excited to witness the telescope’s “first light,” or signal from the sun.
With the telescope right on campus, students will learn to set up and fix the equipment themselves—practice that will make students competitive when applying to graduate school or breaking into the industry.
“We may not discover something Nobel Prize worthy with our radio telescope,” Price says, “but we will be training scientists who may go out and do something Nobel worthy.”
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