Professor James Aguirre Builds Radio Telescope with Community H.S. Students

For most people, “radio” is something that is listened to. For physicists and astronomers, however, “radio” is something that is seen.

A dozen local high school students did just that this summer, as part of Penn’s Summer Science Academy Program. At the Experimental Physics Research Academy, they worked with James Aguirre, associate professor in the School of Arts & Sciences’ Department of Physics and Astronomy, to turn a decommissioned TV satellite dish on the roof of The Enterprise Center in West Philadelphia into a 30-foot radio telescope, dubbed the Philadelphia Community Radio Telescope. Penn News Spotlights

Aguirre is laying the foundation of a science project that, despite having several tons of hardware at its heart, nevertheless has components that can be taken to local schools in a backpack. Using electronics kits that can be assembled without tools, students are getting a look at a side of the universe that’s invisible to the naked eye.