ARECIBO, P.R. — William E. Gordon, the father of the world’s largest
and most sensitive single-dish radio telescope at the Arecibo
Observatory, will deliver the 40th anniversary keynote address on
Nov. 1.

Gordon will present his talk, "The Arecibo Story," at 4 p.m. at the
Angel Ramos Foundation Visitor and Education Center at the

The unique design of the telescope, with its 300-meter-diameter
(1,000-foot) dish antenna, was based on the efforts of Gordon,
beginning in 1958, when he was a professor of engineering at Cornell
University, to build an instrument that would use radar to study the
ionosphere, part of the Earth’s upper atmosphere, and objects in the
solar system. Between 1948 and 1966, Gordon conceived and supervised
the design and construction of the Arecibo Observatory and directed
its early.

The telescope’s radar transmitters and sensitive electronic systems
for picking up and analyzing weak signals have since produced a host
of significant scientific results, from the discovery of the first
binary pulsar and confirmation of gravitational radiation to detection
of ice on the surface of Mercury.

The National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center at Cornell University,
Ithaca, N.Y., manages the Arecibo Observatory for the National
Science Foundation.

Currently a consultant for Northwest Research Associates on large
radar facilities and an adviser to the U.S. Air Force and Navy,
Gordon served in the Air Force during World War II. He earned a Ph.D.
at Cornell University in 1953, eventually joining the faculty and
remaining until 1966.

At Rice University, from 1966 to 1986, he was professor of space
science and electrical engineering. He also served as dean of
sciences and engineering, as provost and as vice president. He is now
a distinguished professor emeritus. He is a member of the National
Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering and a
fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American
Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Geophysical
Union and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers.

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