NATIONAL RADIO ASTRONOMY OBSERVATORY ARCHIVES
Papers of Ronald N. Bracewell
The Archives at The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is the repository for Ronald N. Bracewell's papers on radio astronomy. All other materials related to his career and activities at Stanford University are held by the Stanford University Special Collections and University Archives.
See also the complete listing of Bracewell's publications, 1942-2006.
Papers of Ronald Newbold Bracewell, 1921-2007. Bracewell was born in Sydney in 1921. He received a B.Sc. in mathematics and physics from University of Sydney in 1941, then worked under Joseph L. Pawsey and Edward G. Bowen on development of microwave radar at the Radiophysics Laboratory of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. After World War II he received his PhD in physics from Cambridge University, then returned to the Radiophysics Laboratory where he focused on long wave propagation and radio astronomy. At Otto Struve's invitation, he lectured on radio astronomy in 1954-1955 at University of California Berkeley, and he joined the Stanford University Electrical Engineering faculty in 1955. He retired in 1979, but continued active until his death.
At Stanford, Bracewell constructed in 1961 a 32-dish microwave spectroheliograph which automatically produced daily temperature maps of the sun for eleven years (one solar cycle). A second major radio telescope, an interferometer of five 60-ft dishes, was designed and built in 1971 to conduct solar and galactic studies.
In 1955, Pawsey and Bracewell co-authored Radio Astronomy, the first textbook in the field. Bracewell's Fourier Transform and Its Applications was published in three editions and translated into tens of languages. His interest in imaging in astronomy led to his involvement in the development of computer-assisted X-ray tomography; Bracewell was on the founding editorial board of Journal of Computer-Assisted Tomography, lectured regularly on imaging, and in 1995 published Two-Dimensional Imaging. Bracewell's interest covered a broad range of topics outside astronomy and imaging: in 2005, for example, the Stanford Historical Society published his book on Trees of Stanford and Environs.