Radio Astronomy at TIFR, some highlights and reminiscences

G. Swarup*
NCRA-TIFR, Pune University Campus, Ganeshkhind, Pune 411007, India

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Radio astronomy research was initiated at TIFR fifty years ago. In this historical article, I firstly trace my initiation in the field of radio astronomy during 1953-55 in the Radio Physics Laboratory of CSIRO in Australia and later during 1956-63 in USA. In September 1961, four radio astronomers working abroad wrote to a number of scientific organizations in India with their desire to start radio astronomy research in India. Soon thereafter Dr. Homi Bhabha, the founder Director of TIFR, approved the formation of a radio astronomy group therein. I joined TIFR in April 1963. During the last 50 years, TIFR has built two of the world’s largest radio telescopes, namely the 530m long and 30 m wide parabolic cylinder equatorially mounted on a hill at Ooty in South India during 1960s and the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope near Pune, consisting of 30 nos. of fully steerable parabolic dishes of 45 m diameters during 1990s. Fifty years of radio astronomy research at TIFR is briefly highlighted here.

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