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The Australia Telescope National Facility Colloquium
15:30-16:30 Wed 20 Dec 2006

ATNF Marsfield Lecture Theatre

Ron Ekers


A colloquium for everyone! - Paths to discovery: the role of innovation and serendipity in science with examples from radio astronomy- Ron Ekers Colloquium

Ron Ekers was awarded the 2005 Matthew Flinders Medal and this colloquium will be an amended version of his acceptance lecture.

The Matthew Flinders Medal and Lecture recognises scientific research of the highest standing in physical sciences, and honours the contribution of Australia's early scientific researchers. Recipients of the award are Academy of Science Fellows only.


One of the most important events in twentieth century astronomy was the birth of radio astronomy. For the first time ever astronomers were able to view the Universe in a region of the electromagnetic spectrum outside the narrow optical window. Individual scientists and engineers built very unconventional "telescopes". These early pioneers discovered a plethora of cosmic phenomena that revolutionized our knowledge of the Universe.

How did Australia play such a disproportionately large role in these early discoveries? What are the opportunities now for Australia to participate in cutting edge big science as an International partner?

Modern observations of some of these discoveries, such as the relic radiation from the big bang, are still the most exciting research areas in modern astronomy and are driving the development of a new radio telescopes, such as the SKA, which are planned for the twenty first century?

More information


Ilana Feain

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