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Society, Government, and Radio Astronomy in America and Elsewhere Bernard F. Burke, MIT Leiden, 11 June, 2013.

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Presentation on theme: "Society, Government, and Radio Astronomy in America and Elsewhere Bernard F. Burke, MIT Leiden, 11 June, 2013."— Presentation transcript:

1 Society, Government, and Radio Astronomy in America and Elsewhere Bernard F. Burke, MIT Leiden, 11 June, 2013

2 Discussions with George What you freely assert, I freely deny Defend yourself Understand the difference between assertion and demonstration

3 The Way Science Works Often starts with assertion Usually implemented by order-of-magnitude calculations and incomplete demontration Understanding of demonstrations to be made Ability to translate concept into practice

4 What Astronomy Needs Educated Talent and Money! Talent comes from the Universities Where does the money come from? The Public! Where do the scientific ideas come from? How do greet telescopes get built?

5 The Structural Support Society > Government; Science on boundary The Community of Science Formerly, private support Since WW2, primarily the government Support depends on the confidence of donors In the Netherlands, Oort had that confidence Confidence depends on communication

6 Beginnings Jansky > Grote Reber > Leiden (3 years late) Jan Oort > Henk van de Hulst (Shklovsky) Muller & Oort, Purcell & Ewen, Kerr & Hindman The Dwingeloo 25-m Groote Spiegel The Benelux Cross

7 The New Era In 1962, Martin Ryle properly formulates aperture synthesis. Elements: earth rotation, modern computers, fast Fourier transform Recognition that, for an array of small elements, aperture synthsis could map the sky within the primary beam in the same time that a single dish with diameter equal to the maximum baseline would take. Except for the FFT, all the basic elements were well-known!

8 Oort Acts Benelux gone! Westerbork Synthesis Array in! The project backing comes from all of the Netherlands, but action was primarily at Leiden. The design and construction is centered at Leiden, with contributions from Groningen. Note: the dimension was one metric mile

9 Meanwhile, in America, … While the US lingered after WW2, England, Netherlands, Australia, France, and Italy forged ahead. A small group of American physicists and astrophysicists started promoting its promise to US funding agencies, led by Merle Tuve, Bart Bok, and Jesse Greenstein.

10 The Washington Conference In January 1954, at the CIW, Tuve and Greenstein organized a conference to review radio astronomy. Ambitious radio observatories were founded. The groundwork was laid for a national radio observatory, the NRAO. Green Bank Wva chosen, and 140-ft construction begins A major break from the past!

11 The VLA After several years, when Dave Heeschen was the shadow director, he became Director in 1962. The NRAO became increasingly oriented toward interferometry In the late 1960s, the outrigger of the 3-element interferometer demonstrated the feasibility of stable interferometry over a 40-km baseline. Heeschen formed a project. He was the leader. He set the basic spec: 1 arc-second at 21 cm.

12 The Greenstein Decadal Survey Al Whitford headed a survey to recommend major initiatives in astronomy for the 1960s A major contest arose between the NRAO, MIT, and CalTech. The NRAO won.

13 Building the VLA Ground was broken in the Plains of St. Augustine in 1972 Estimated cost: $84 million, 1980 completion Completed on time, within budget! Not without problems; after 10 antennas had been completed: Congressman Boland said no more money E-systems said no more antennas without another $15 million These are known as management challenges!

14 IRAM A 30-m mm-wave dish in Spain vs. a mm interferometer on the Plateau de Bure Helpful intervention by the CNRF and MPG The Three Wise Men review the situation In a pleasant Paris restaurant, Paul Wild invents IRAM.

15 The SKA Peter Wilkinsons modest proposal: need for an array with collecting area of a square km. The naïve working groupThe Hague, 1994. Leiden, 1997: technically sophisticated, but fiscally naïve Sydney 1997: Wim Brouw and I insert realism. First steps toward a formal organization

16 Progress toward the SKA Formation of the SKA Consortium, led by Richard Schilizzi Consolidation under David Diamond Problem: Decadal Survey for 2010 The continuing budget estimate problem The contining American absence problem Ken Kellermann: The SKAn suffers from too much democracy.

17 ALMA The results achieved by the array at Hat Creek, Owens Valley, and the Plateau de Bur, plus the various mm-wave dishes of IRAM, NRAO, UK, and CalTech generated a push for a large mm-wave array at an optimum site. A bilateral arrangement was made betwee NRAO and the ESO to manage ALMA construction at a high site above San Pedro de Atacama in the high Andes. The project has been successful, but is not regarded as a management model.

18 Lessons Learned Evolution from university-based research to institute-based research Curious problem of setting directions; increasing role of central bureaucracy Vital role of strong central management

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