Radio Astronomy, Whatever that May be

The Marginalization of Early Radio Astronomy
  • Richard Jarrell
Part of the Astrophysics and Space Science Library book series (ASSL, volume 334)


Today we see radio astronomy as a fully-integrated part of astronomy; it is now just one of several available wavelength regimes and many astrophysicists who use radio data are not radio astronomers themselves. At the beginning, it was very different. Between 1946 and 1960, radio astronomy emerged as an important speciality but it was an area little understood by mainstream astronomers. Radio astronomers rarely published in astronomical journals, gave papers at astronomical conferences or were accorded much notice. The pioneers in the field were not astronomers themselves and had little in common with astronomers. In this paper I note the various ways in which radio astronomy was alienated from the mainstream in its first decade and some of the reasons this alienation occurred. I will also speculate on when and how the integration began to occur.

Key words

Radio astronomers optical astronomy astrophysicists history and philosophy of science 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Jarrell
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Natural Science, Faculty of Science and EngineeringYork UniversityTorontoCanada

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