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ThunderDawg
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Joined: 14 Apr 2002
Posts: 18602
Location: Where Summer Spends the Winter

Post Posted: Sat Feb 20, 2010 5:30 pm   Post subject: Without whom none of this would have been possible Reply with quote Back to top  

This man's accompishments blows every modern celebrity - dead or alive - out of the the water.

Engineer who built Arecibo Obervatory dies



Quote:
William Gordon, the engineer who designed, built and managed the world's biggest radio telescope, the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, has died at the age of 92.

Gordon was working on a radar system to study the Earth's ionosphere in the late 1950s when he realized his designs could also incorporate a new area of study -- radio astronomy. Sponsored by Advanced Research Project Agency, he designed a telescope with a 1,000-foot fixed spherical reflector and a movable focusing system suspended above the reflector.

The telescope, built in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, was completed in 1963. It is so wide the Empire State Building could fit in it sideways. It's so deep that the Washington Monument could stand in it, says Cornell University.

The radio telescope was instrumental in several discoveries, including determining Mercury's rotation period, studying radio pulsars (rotating neutron stars) and finding the first binary pulsar.

It has also played an important role in the public's idea of what science looks like. It was an important part of the 1997 movie "Contact" and used in the 1995 James Bond film "GoldenEye."
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