Great discoveries in Radio Astronomy and Key questions today


Prof. Govind Swarup, FRS

Friday, 01st May 2009



I firstly plan to describe some of the great discoveries made by radio astronomers that have revolutionized our understanding of the Universe. Discovery of powerful radio galaxies and quasars during 1950s and 1960s eventually indicated the presence of supermassive Black Holes of millions of solar masses at the centres of many galaxies. Discovery of Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation has provided strong support to the Big Bang origin of the Universe. Pulsars have yielded extremely accurate clocks providing tests of the General Theory of Relativity. Over a hundred molecules have been found in the interstellar space, providing a key input to the origin of life in the Universe. During the second part of my talk I will describe some of the major results obtained by Indian scientists using the world class Ooty Radio Telescope and the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope. Finally, I shall describe briefly the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project, 100 times more powerful than any existing radio telescope, being planned by 17 counties including India for answering some of the key questions today."

About the Prof. Govind Swarup :

Professor Govind Swarup obtained his M.Sc. In Physics from Allahabad University and Ph.D. from Stanford University. During 1963-70, he conceived, designed and directed construction of a cylindrical radio telescope of a unique design at Udhagamandalam (Ooty) in South India. During 1987-97 he completed the design and construction of the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) proposed by him. GMRT is the world's largest radio telescope operating in the frequency range of about 130 MHz to 1430 MHz. He has several awards and honours to his credit: S.S. Bhatnagar Award (1972), Padmashree (1973), Meghnad Saha Medal (1987), Third World Academy of Sciences (1988), C.V.Raman Medal (1993), Grote Reber Medal (Australia, 2007), DAE Lifetime Achievement Award (2007), to list a few.

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