Public Talk, June 6

I’ve agreed to give a talk on June 6 to the Eastbay Astronomical Society. The title and abstract are:

Exploring the Invisible Universe: The Past and Future of Radio Astronomy

Visible-light astronomy has been practiced for millennia. Astronomical observations of radio waves are, in comparison, still a novelty. Over its short lifespan, however, the field of radio astronomy has still managed to produce some of the most impressive results of modern science, including the discovery of extrasolar molecules and the detection of cosmic microwave background radiation, the key piece of evidence for the Big Bang. In this talk I’ll discuss the basics of radio astronomy, what can be seen in the radio sky, and the different ways in which astronomy is done at optical and radio frequencies. I’ll also talk about what we can expect from radio astronomy in the near and not-so-near future: an exciting convergence of recent technological advances promises do as much for radio astronomy as the invention of the CCD has done for visible-light astronomy. Special focus will be put on the Allen Telescope Array, a new telescope jointly operated by UC Berkeley and the SETI Institute, which exemplifies some of these advances.

This will be my first public talk as well as my first hour-long talk. I think I know what I want to talk about, and I’m pretty sure I can string it all together in a non-boring way, so I’m looking forward to it. I’m not so much looking forward to how much time it’ll take to prepare everything, but I want this to be good so I’ll take the time to do it right.