Astro Night – September 1

Fri, September 02, 2016

Parsons profile


Doors: 7:00 pm
Talk: 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Stargazing*: 8:30 pm – 10:00 pm

Exploring the Universe with Paperclips and a Supercomputer

Thirteen billion years ago (just a few hundred million years after the Big Bang), the first stars and galaxies began lighting up.   Finding the "Cosmic Dawn" of our universe is one of the top goals of astronomy in this decade, and one of the most powerful techniques available takes us back to the origins of radio astronomy eighty years ago.  Now, using cutting-edge digital supercomputers, we are revisiting the earliest chapters of radio astronomy.  Parsons is leading an effort to build a low-frequency radio telescope in the Karoo desert of South Africa capable of seeing thirteen billion light-years away into the early history of our universe.  The Precision Array for Probing the Epoch of Reionization (PAPER) and the Hydrogen Epoch of Reionization Array (HERA) are part of an exciting program underway at the UC Berkeley Radio Astronomy Laboratory that is combining the latest technology with radio astronomy's ancient lore to answer fundamental questions about our


Bio: Dr. Aaron Parsons is currently an Associate Professor in the Astronomy Department and a member of the UC Berkeley Radio Astronomy Laboratory. He received an A.S. from Colorado Northwestern Community College in 1998 while in high school, and a B.A. from Harvard in 2002 in physics and mathematics working with Paul Horowitz. He then worked as a developer engineer at the Space Sciences Laboratory from 2002 to 2004 with Dan Werthimer. In 2009, he received his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley working with Don Backer, spending the years from 2007 to 2009 as a predoctoral researcher at Arecibo Observatory. He spent two years as an NSF postdoctoral fellow and honorary Charles Townes fellow at UC Berkeley before joining the faculty here at Berkeley in 2011. 

*NOTE*: Stargazing is dependent on weather conditions; lectures will always occur as scheduled. For more information please visit the Astro Night event page.