From Appleton to Arecibo and Beyond.

Authors: J. D. Mathews

Source: FERMAT, Volume 01, Communication 3, Jan_Feb, 2014

Abstract: It started before Maxwell, Marconi helped it along, and Einstein gave fundamental insights. Then, what we came to call radar, was used by Appleton to directly detect the ionosphere (Kennelly-Heaviside Layer) in 1925. Further early geophysical uses of radar included the development of ionospheric sounders and the study of radar meteors. World War II led to significant advances in radar techniques including powerful RF transmitter tubes and display devices such as oscilloscopes. After WWII surplus military radar equipment and the new engineering techniques led to radio and radar astronomy with the development of the Jodrell Bank Experimental Station. With this rich and rapidly developing engineering and scientific environment we come to Arecibo Observatory (AO) at its 50th anniversary. The reasons William E. (Bill) Gordon developed the 305 m Arecibo dish are briefly reviewed. It is particularly appropriate to review the intellectual history that led to the 305 m dish and to summarize some of the innovative radar-based geophysical research that has resulted. In understanding how AO came to be and the many resulting developments that are embodied in the hundreds of PhDs and thousands of journal papers that have resulted, we look to the future of AO.

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From Appleton to Arecibo and Beyond.