Exploring Earth & the Universe Using Radio Waves
Adult Enrichment / Curious Minds -
Staff at the MIT Haystack Observatory: Dr. Colin J. Lonsdale (Director), Dr. Jens Kauffmann (Observational Astronomer), Dr. Kazunori Akiyama (Astrophysicist and winner of the 2020 Young Astronomer Award from the Astronomical Society of Japan)
Every single thing in the universe emits radio waves, from manmade radio transmitters such as wireless phones to naturally-occurring radio waves that can be used to better understand our planet and the universe. Get an overview of the radio science research being done at the MIT Haystack Observatory, a local radio science research center, before diving deeper into the topic of radio astronomy and the radio view of our universe. We’ll discuss capturing signals from various cosmic objects, from icy cold gas clouds where new stars are born, to incredibly hot material heated by black holes. The final session will focus on the most exotic objects in space: black holes. Learn about this year’s Nobel Prize, awarded to a group of scientists studying supermassive black holes hiding in the center of galaxies, and see the first pictures of a black hole photographed with the Event Horizon Telescope.
Photo: MIT Haystack Observatory, radio science research center in Westford, MA
Kazunori Akiyama was born and educated in Japan, receiving his undergraduate degree in Physics from Hokkaido University. He completed his M.Sc and Ph.D. programs in Astronomy at the University of Tokyo in 2012 and 2015, and started at MIT Haystack Observatory as a postdoctoral fellow in 2015, and as a research scientist in 2020. He primarily studies black holes, working on the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) project since 2010. A resident of Arlington, he is also the winner of the 2020 Young Astronomer Award from Astronomical Society of Japan.
Dr. Jens Kauffmann is responsible for the overall development of the astronomy program at Haystack Observatory. As part of this effort he leads efforts to make radio dishes at Haystack available for research and education in astronomy. He is interested in understanding star formation across the cosmos based on lessons about young stars learned in the Milky Way. He has spent long periods at high and dry sites in, for example, Spain, Chile, and California to collect data for his work.
Colin J. Lonsdale
Dr. Colin Lonsdale is the Director of MIT Haystack Observatory and Chair of the EHT directing board. He helped to develop techniques and software systems for short-wavelength VLBI in the 1990s and 2000s, supporting early Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) efforts, and was extensively involved in the establishment of the international EHT Collaboration. Dr. Lonsdale is a radio astronomer, with decades of research experience in the study of active galactic nuclei, astrophysical masers, and solar radio emissions. His contributions to the field include a range of advanced radio astronomy instruments, as well as work advancing the technique of very long range baseline interferometry (VLBI).