The Rise of Radio Astronomy in the Netherlands: The People and the Politics

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Springer, Nov 23, 2016 - Science - 240 pages
Radio astronomy was born during the Second World War, but as this book explains, the history of early Dutch radio astronomy is in several respects rather anomalous in comparison to the development of radio astronomy in other countries. The author describes how these very differences led the Netherlands to become one of the world leaders in radio astronomy. Dominated by the Leiden astronomer Jan Hendrik Oort, the field embarked on an era of success, and to this day, the country still holds a leading position.
To tell this story, the book focuses on three key events in the period 1940-1970, namely the construction of the radio telescopes in Kootwijk (1948), in Dwingeloo (1956), and in Westerbork (1970). These projects show that Dutch radio astronomers must not be seen as merely scientists, but also as strategic lobbyists, networkers and organizers in a specific political and economic context. It was in the process of planning, designing and constructing these instruments that the interests of the astronomers, industrial partners, politicians and lobby groups merged to create today's existing research centers for radio astronomy.
 

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Contents

1 Introduction
1
An Astronomers Matter
7
3 The Making of the Dwingeloo Radio Telescope
61
4 Joining Forces with the Belgians
117
5 The Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope
169
6 Conclusion
228
Index
237
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About the author (2016)

Astrid was born in Deurne, a district of Antwerp (Belgium) on 28 July 1979. She attended the Sint-Ludgardisschool in the centre of Antwerp. After having completed secondary school, she started studying history at the University of Antwerp where she obtained her bachelor’s degree. She continued her studies at the Free University of Brussels where she obtained her master’s degree (magna cum laude). As she developed a strong interest in history and philosophy of science, she also completed the postgraduate studies in logic, history and philosophy of science (magna cum laude ) at Ghent University. Her thesis was on experiments in Descartes’ Les Météores.
Having completed her studies, Astrid was offered a job as a researcher at Leiden University and started work on her PhD on the history of Dutch radio astronomy. She presented the findings of her PhD research at several conferences in the Netherlands as well as abroad, in Phoenix, San Diego, Indiana, Aberdeen, Exeter, Brussels and Aarhus. She was a member of the Huizinga Institute, the national Dutch research network for cultural history, and devised and taught a seminar Science and the Public for graduate students together with some colleagues. Her work resulted in two scholarly articles as well as several contributions in conference proceedings and popular scientific magazines, book reviews and journalistic articles.
In addition to her research in Leiden she worked as a volunteer researcher at the Museum for the History of Science of Ghent University and became the author of two publications accompanying the exhibitions. Astrid obtained an additional degree in applied linguistics (journalism) from the Erasmus University College Brussels. She is currently teaching Dutch as a second language at the Institute for Language and Communication (Linguapolis) of the University of Antwerp.

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