Orewa Conference January 2013

Our two day conference in Orewa at the end of January on “New Zealand and the Beginnings of Radio Astronomy – A Process of Discovery” was a great success.  It was opened by Vice Chancellor Derek McCormack and Auckland City Mayor Len Brown.  The historic perspective meant that we had a mix of active and retired astronomers from around the world plus family members of early pioneers.

With events before and after the conference it was a busy and varied five days.

We began with a public lecture by Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell (Oxford) at AUT Akoranga Campus on “We are made of Star Stuff”.  Dame Jocelyn who discovered pulsars, is a very engaging presenter and her talk was well received by the packed lecture theatre.

The conference acknowledged the significant contribution made by two pioneers, John Bolton and Gordon Stanley, who conducted “cosmic noise” experiments at Leigh and Piha in 1948.  On the day after the conference we visited our Radio Astronomical Observatory at Warkworth and then travelled on to Leigh where a plaque was unveiled at the Marine Laboratory.

The final day was a trip to the old radar site at Piha where a similar plaque was unveiled in 2011.  It was an appropriate conclusion to our programme considering the developments in radar during WW2 fuelled the early discoveries in radio astronomy.

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