Grote Reber, US radio astronomer

Grote Reber, US radio astronomer

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Credit: EMILIO SEGRE VISUAL ARCHIVES/AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Grote Reber (1911-2002), US radio astronomer. Reber was born in Wheaton, Illinois. He studied radio engineering and worked for various radio operators between 1933 and 1947. In the 1930s he decided he wanted to work at an astronomical observatory studying cosmic radio waves, after reading Jansky's articles about extraterrestrial radio 'noise'. He was, however, unable to get a job due to the Great Depression and instead built the world's first radio telescope in his back yard in 1937. With improved models over the next few years he was able to confirm Jansky's discovery, make a radio-frequency sky map (completed in 1941) and uncover the mystery of the predominance of low-energy radio signals, which was only explained by synchrotron radiation in the 1950s. Photographed in August 1947.

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