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Haystack’s Alan Rogers wins Reber Medal

Alan Rogers
Alan Rogers

The 2010 Grote Reber Gold Medal for outstanding and innovative contributions to radio astronomy was presented this month to Alan Rogers, a research affiliate at MIT’s Haystack Observatory. The award recognizes Rogers’ many pioneering developments in radio and radar interferometry, radio spectroscopy, and for his application of radio astronomy techniques to society.

Rogers received his BSc degree in mathematics and physics from the University College of Rhodesia in 1962, and his SM and PhD degrees in electrical engineering from MIT in 1964 and 1967, respectively. Following a year as a lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe in 1968, he worked at the Haystack Observatory until his retirement in 2006.

Rogers is best known for his contributions over many decades to the techniques of very long baseline interferometry. More recently, he developed an innovative radio array that he successfully used to detect the 327 MHz line of interstellar deuterium, capping a 40-year quest for this important astrophysical atomic gas. Currently, Rogers is searching for the low-frequency signature characteristic of the cosmic epoch of reionization using a digital spectrometer and a compact broadband dipole. He was also the leader of a program to apply radio astronomy techniques to locate emergency calls from mobile telephones.

"Alan Rogers not only changed the course of radio astronomy but, unlike most research scientists, he devoted considerable time and his unique skills to making life a bit safer for all of us," said Ken Kellermann of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory.

The 2010 Reber Medal was presented to Alan Rogers during the annual meeting of the Astronomical Society of Australia earlier this month. The Reber Medal was established by the Trustees of the Grote Reber Foundation to honor the achievements of pioneering radio astronomer Grote Reber; the award is administered by the Queen Victoria Museum in Launceston, Tasmania.

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