Destry Saul

Columbia University, PhD Candidate

Hearing Cosmic Static: The Accidental and Amateur Birth of Radio Astronomy

'Cosmic Static', or radio waves from space, was discovered accidentally in a telegraph experiment by a young man named Carl Jansky. A different young man, Grote Reber, completed the first detailed study of these radio waves in suburban Chicago - in his backyard. Neither were astronomers. Neither knew what was causing the static coming from outside our solar system. But these two men founded a branch of astronomy that has revealed much about our universe.