jrasc june 1998 final - The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada

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jrasc june 1998 final - The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada

An aerial view of the observatory, taken following construction of the T-shaped 22-MHz array.his hand on a switch that would transfer the loud speakersystem to the tape recorder if the live signal failed. Fortunatelyit did not.The opening was followed by a 2-day symposium entitled“The Objectives of Radio Astronomy.” As I recall, it was at thatsymposium that the possibility of a Canadian Long BaselineInterferometer was first discussed.Carman Costain had arrived from Cambridge with thoughtsof making low frequency observations atWhite Lake. Consequently, very soon afterthe opening, a proposal was forwarded toOttawa for construction of a low frequencytelescope. A plea for quick approval wasbased on the argument that there wouldbe a sunspot minimum in 1966, at whichtime interference would be at a minimum.Approval was quickly received.In those early days we could not havemanaged without the support and cooperationof the people of the OkanaganValley, and we quickly felt a part of theircommunity. Some residents must have hadreservations, however, for, under picturesof Ed Argyle and Carman Costain , thePenticton Herald felt compelled to write:“Who are these scientists who chart the course of the universe?Well they are all normal, healthy Canadians. And they all arevery much concerned with man’s welfare. Few, if any, earn muchmore than a well-paid professional man. All are married, havechildren, hobbies. They golf, curl, tinker around home, go fishin’and hunting, worry about the Dodgers and Canada’s OlympicHockey Team.”Following graduation from the University of Toronto, Jack Locke joined the Dominion Observatory and was Officer-in-Charge of the DominionRadio Astrophysical Observatory from 1959 to 1962. In 1966 he joined the National Research Council and was the first director of the HerzbergInstitute of Astrophysics, until retirement in 1985.FROM THE PASTAU FIL DES ANSOFFICIAL OPENING OF THE DOMINION RADIO ASTROPHYSICAL OBSERVATORY,WHITE LAKE, PENTICTON, B.C., JUNE 20, 1960On the afternoon of Monday, June 20 th , in fine weather but with a stiff breeze troubling the speaker a little, the Hon. Paul Comtois,Minister, Department of Mines and Technical Surveys, formally opened the Department’s new Observatory, to be known as the DominionRadio Astrophysical Observatory, before an audience of over 150 scientists and other guests from both Canada and abroad. The Ministeremphasized the importance with which the Government regards fundamental scientific research and contrasted the unprejudiced andinternational manner of science with the unsatisfactory nature of mankind’s achievements in the more general fields of internationalrelations and mutual tolerance. The Dominion Astronomer, C. S. Beals, traced the history of astronomical research in Canada, andshowed how the need for a large radio telescope developed from the general galactic researches already pursued and showed thecontinuity of this new effort with instrumental developments in the past. The President of the National Research Council, E. W. R.Steacie, speaking as a chemist, gently rebuked his astronomical colleagues for their ill-concealed pride in the very large and costlyapparatus they require, with the advent of space explorations becoming costlier than ever, and in their ability to choose beautiful sitesfor their studies. He referred to the fact that science and politics are now inextricably connected, giving rise to many very difficultdecisions but also leading to a great increase in governmental scientific effort. The officer-in-charge of the new observatory, J. L. Locke,described the search for a suitable site and enlarged on the eminently satisfactory qualities of the valley in which we found ourselves,both aesthetically and for the purposes of radio astronomy. The problems of the structure and motion of gas-clouds in the Galaxy andthe existence of large-scale magnetic fields would be vigorously pursued with the new telescope, one of the finest such instrumentsin operation, he said.Not to be forgotten was the comment of his Worship, Mayor Oliver of Penticton, “what a tourist attraction!”114JRASC June/juin 1998

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