[Dick Thompson, 1973]
Thompson, 1973. NRAO/AUI image


[Cover, Interferometry and Synthesis in Radio Astronomy, 2nd ed]
Interferometry & Synthesis in Radio Astronomy, 2nd ed (Wiley)


[VLA]
VLA. NRAO/AUI image


[Dick Thompson, 2007]
Thompson, 2007. NRAO/AUI image


[Fort Davis VLBA antenna]
Fort Davis TX VLBA antenna. NRAO/AUI image


NATIONAL RADIO ASTRONOMY OBSERVATORY ARCHIVES

Finding Aid to the Papers of A. Richard Thompson, 1963-2010

See also the Papers of Woodruff T. Sullivan III, which include a 70 minute oral interview with Thompson conducted in 1978.

Contents:

Location of collection: National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Archives, 520 Edgemont Rd., Charlottesville, VA. Phone: 1-434-296-0203, email: archivist at nrao.edu

Title and dates of the collection: Papers of Anthony Richard Thompson, 1965-2010

Size of the collection: 8.0 linear feet

Papers/records created by: Anthony Richard Thompson, 1931-

Short description of collection: These papers document the work of A. Richard Thompson, beginning with his 1973 appointment at National Radio Astronomy Observatory, and including his work on both the Very Large Array (VLA) and Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) during their construction, as well as his work with national and international groups concerned with radio frequency allocations and radio interference. Also included in the collection are manuscripts, notes, and correspondence related to the publication of the several editions of Interferometry and Synthesis in Radio Astronomy, by A.R. Thompson, J.M. Moran, and G.W. Swenson (Wiley 1986, 2nd ed. 2001; Russian translations, Mir 1989 and 2003; Kreiger 1991, 1994 and 1998 reprints of 1st edition).

Top

Selected search terms:

  • Interferometry and synthesis in radio astronomy
  • Thompson, A. R. (Anthony Richard), 1931-
  • Very Large Array
  • VLA
  • Very Long Baseline Array
  • VLBA
  • Radio frequency allocation
Top

Biography: A. Richard Thompson was born in Hull, Yorkshire, England, on April 7, 1931. He received the B.Sc degree with honors in physics from the University of Manchester, England. From 1952 to 1956 he was engaged in graduate studies in radio astronomy at Jodrell Bank Experimental Station of the University of Manchester, and in 1956 received his Ph. D. degree.

From 1956 to 1957 he worked with E.M. I. Electronics Ltd., Feltham, Middlesex, on missile guidance and telemetry problems. He joined the staff of Harvard University, and was Research Associate until 1961 and Research Fellow from 1961-1962. He worked in solar radio astronomy at the Fort Davis, Texas, Radio Astronomy Station of Harvard College Observatory. He was at Stanford University from 1962-1972, where he was involved in design and construction of the five-element synthesis array, and from 1966-1972 held a concurrent visiting appointment at Owens Valley Radio Observatory.

In January 1973 he joined the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. He was Project Engineer for the VLA Project until February 1974, and from February 1974 through February 1978 was Assistant-Head and then Head of the VLA Projectís Electronics Division. From January 1975 through December 1980 he served as Deputy Project Manager for the construction phase of the VLA Project. From June 1978 to August 1984 he was Systems Engineer and Frequency Coordinator for the VLA Project. While working on the VLA Project, Thompson was at various times responsible for the detailed design of parts of the IF and local oscillator sub-systems, performed systems studies to determine design tolerances in many areas of electronics; after the array was completed in December 1980, he was responsible for testing and investigation of systems problems, and for frequency coordination. In August 1984 Thompson moved from Socorro NM to Charlottesville VA to work on the VLBA Project, first as Head of the VLBA Electronics Division (August 1984-1986), then as Systems Engineer (March 1986-1988), and from July 1987 through 1992 was Deputy Manager of the VLBA Project. He was responsible for the system design, construction, and testing of the receiving electronics for the VLBA, including management of the engineering group involved. From July 1988 until his retirement on July 30, 1999 he was Scientist with Continuing Appointment, and served as Deputy Head of the Central Electronics Laboratory, 1992-1998. In November 2001 he was awarded the title of Emeritus Scientist.

From 1978 forward he has been active in frequency coordination for radio astronomy through the International Telecommunications Union R (ITU-R) [formerly CCIR, International Radio Consultative Committee], Committee on Radio Frequencies (CORF) of the National Academy of Sciences, and Interunion Commission on Frequency Allocations for Radioastronomy and Space Science (IUCAF), and served from 1986-1989 as the American Astronomical Societyís representative to the U.S. National Committee of the International Union of Radio Scientists (URSI). He chaired CORFís Radio Astronomy Subcommittee from 1980-1986, and was IUCAF Secretary from 1982-1988. He was the International Astronomical Unionís representative to ITU-R (November 1985-2000) and to IUCAF (August 1991-August 2000).

He chaired the Local Organizing Committees for IAU Symposium 97 on Extragalactic Radio Sources, held in Albuquerque NM in 1981, and for the NRAO Workshop on Synthesis Imaging held in Socorro NM in 1982.

With co-authors George W. Swenson and James M. Moran, he wrote two editions of Interferometry and Synthesis in Radio Astronomy (A.R. Thompson, J.M. Moran, and G.W. Swenson. Wiley 1986, 2nd ed. 2001; Russian translations, Mir 1989 and 2003; Kreiger 1991, 1994 and 1998 reprints of 1st edition).

Top

Accession history: Materials donated to National Radio Astronomy Observatory Archives in January 2006; additional materials received in 2007 and 2011.

Top

Access to collection: No restrictions. The Archives are open part-time; contact the Archivist for appointment.

Top

Restrictions on use of collection: Copyright on Interferometry and Synthesis in Radio Astronomy and on any material that forms a part of the published text is held by the publisher, John Wiley and Sons. Copyright on the Russian translation is held by Mir (Moscow). No restrictions on the remainder of the collection.

Top

Publication rights: All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Archivist. Copyright has been assigned to The National Radio Astronomy Observatory, with the exception of material that forms any part of the published texts of Interferometry and Synthesis in Radio Astronomy, for which the copyright is held by the publishers. Permission for publication of material forming a part of those texts is given on behalf of The National Radio Astronomy Observatory Archives as owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holders, which must also be obtained by the researcher.

Top

Preferred citation: [Identification of item, box, and file], Papers of A. Richard Thompson. Archives, National Radio Astronomy Observatory / Associated Universities, Inc. / National Science Foundation. After the initial citation, abbreviations may be used: A.R. Thompson Papers, NRAO Archives, NRAO/AUI/NSF.

Top

Processing notes: The collection was processed by Ellen N. Bouton. Arrangement, description, indexing, foldering and boxing of this material was done in 2006 and 2011.

Top

Scope and Contents of Collection

These papers document the work of A. Richard Thompson, beginning with his 1973 appointment at National Radio Astronomy Observatory, and including his work as Deputy Manager of the VLA program during the initial construction period, as Head of the VLBA Electronics Division and then Deputy Manager of the VLBA Project, and his work with national and international groups concerned with radio frequency allocations and radio interference. Also included in the collection are manuscripts, notes, and correspondence related to the publication of the several editions of Interferometry and Synthesis in Radio Astronomy, by A.R. Thompson, J.M. Moran, and G.W. Swenson (Wiley 1986, 2nd ed. 2001; Russian translations, Mir 1989 and 2003; Kreiger 1991, 1994 and 1998 reprints of 1st edition).

See also the complete listing of Thompson's publications, 1954-present.

Top

Interferometry and Synthesis in Radio Astronomy Series: This series covers the period 1982-2001 and includes drafts, notes, correspondence and other materials related to the writing and publication of the 1st edition of Interferometry and Synthesis in Radio Astronomy (by A. Richard Thompson, James M. Moran, and George W. Swenson; Wiley, 1986), the 1991, 1994 and 1998 Krieger reprints of the 1st edition, the Russian-language 1st edition (translation by L. I. Matveenko; Mir, Moscow, 1989), the 2nd edition (Wiley, 2001), and the Russian-language 2nd edition (translation by L. I. Matveenko; Mir, Moscow, 2003). This series has been divided into four units:

  • Interferometry and Synthesis in Radio Astronomy, 1st edition, Original drafts: Handwritten and typed notes and drafts for chapters 1-8, 10-12, and 14-15. Chapters 9 and 13 are not included as they were written by James M. Moran. Size: 0.5 linear feet.

  • Interferometry and Synthesis in Radio Astronomy, 1st edition, First typed manuscript: First typed version of manuscript, chapters 1-15, annotated with author notes, comments, and corrections. Size: 1.0 linear feet.

  • Interferometry and Synthesis in Radio Astronomy, 1st edition, Notes and Correspondence: Notes and correspondence related to publication of the 1st edition, the Krieger reprints of the 1st edition, and the Russian translation of the 1st edition, including correspondence between the authors and between the authors and the publishers. 1982-1990. Size: 0.5 linear feet.

  • Interferometry and Synthesis in Radio Astronomy, 2nd edition, Notes and Correspondence: Notes and correspondence related to the publication of the 2nd edition and the Russian translation of the 2nd edition, including extensive correspondence between authors about additions and corrections to the 1st edition, and correspondence between the authors and the publisher. 1993-2001. Size: 0.5 linear feet.

Top

Memos and Correspondence Series: This series covers the period 1969-2009, and is a chronological file of Thompson's internal and external correspondence. There is extensive correspondence on the planning for and development of the VLA, including hiring, hours, transportation, personnel policies, facilities management, early operations, development of electronics, antenna configuration, early telescope operations, procurement plans, and cost estimates. There is a similar set of correspondence on planning for and development of VLBA electronics, as well as correspondence on ALMA electronics. Extensive correspondence related to Thompson's work on radio frequency allocations and interference through CCIR, CORF, IUCAF, and the ITU is included; see also the Frequency Coordination Series below for further reports and correspondence on this topic. Other memos and correspondence topics include VLA support of the Voyager at Neptune project, Synthesis Imaging summer schools, IAU Symposium 97, and Thompson's publications and meeting talks. All correspondence related to editions of Interferometry and Synthesis in Radio Astronomy is included with that series. Size: 2.0 linear feet.

One set of correspondence has been organized as a separate unit:

  • Papers and Memos Correspondence Unit: This unit includes correspondence related to published papers and numbered memos authored or co-authored by Thompson. Publications include Emerson and Thompson (Relative Sensitivity of Full-Wave and Half-Wave Detectors in Radiometry, Radio Science 38 no. 1, 1016, doi:10.1029/202 RS002721 2003), EVLA Memo 88 (Quantization Noise, Thompson and Emerson, 2005), ALMA Memo 561 (Delay Errors in Single- and Double-Sideband Interferometer Systems, Thompson et al, 2006), Thompson et al (Convenient Formulas For Quantization Efficiency. Radio Science, 42, RS3022, doi:10.1029/2006 RS003585, 2007), Thompson (The Harvard Radio Astronomy Station at Fort Davis, Texas, J. Astron. History and Heritage, 13, 17-27, 2010), and Thompson and Frater (Ronald N. Bracewell: An Appreciation. J. Astron. History and Heritage, 13, 172-178, 2010). Size: 0.5 linear feet.

Top

VLA Design Series: This series covers the period 1972-1974 and includes Thompsonís notes, papers, tables, charts, and calculations on various aspects of the VLA design, including the IF RX system, digital units, phase shifters, mixers, amplifiers, filters, relays and power splitters, local oscillator, integrated circuits, antennas, front ends, local oscillator and waveguide system, IF and multipliers, computer system, specifications, MEC study, and digital system. Size: 0.5 linear feet.

Top

Millimeter Array (MMA) Series: This series includes notes, correspondence, meeting minutes and other materials dated 1992-1998 related to the MMA, particularly the MMA Systems Working Group which Thompson chaired. Also included is a 1984 Millimeter Array Technical Advisory Committee report with covering letter from Robert W. Wilson to Morton S. Roberts. Size: 2 folders.

Top

Square Kilometer Array (SKA) Series: This series includes notes and correspondence dated 2001-2006 related to the SKA. Size: 1 folder.

Top

Frequency Coordination Series: This series has been divided into 10 units. A copy of a document written by Thompson summarizing his frequency coordiniation activities is filed at the before the CCIR and ITU-R Unit. The cumulative series size of all units listed below is 1.75 linear feet. For additional materials on frequency coordination, see also the Papers of John W. Findlay, as well as Thompson's Correspondence series above.

  • CCIR and ITU-R Unit: In January 1979 Thompson became the U.S. representative on the International Radio Consultative Committee (CCIR) working on the protection of spectrum for radio astronomy observations. Prior to 1990, the CCIR documentation generated by the study groups consisted of Reports, which provided information on the general requirements of the various services, and Recommendations, which specified decisions of the CCIR and required a higher level of agreement. Thompson chaired U.S. CCIR Study Group 2D. In 1990, the international system was reorganized and the CCIR became the ITU-R (Radiocommunication Sector of the International Telecommunication Union) and the radio astronomy working party became 7D. Thompson continued as chair of Working Party 7D until January 1999. When the system was reorganized, the CCIR reports were discontinued. Most of the material in the Reports was rewritten in the form of Handbooks. CCIR Report 224, which contained the essential information on the threshold levels of interference to radio astronomy, became the basis for the new Recommendation 769 as well as Ch. 4 of the ITU-R Handbook on Radio Astronomy. Thompson took responsibility for drafting chapters 1, 4, and 6 of the first edition of the Handbook, which was published by the Radiocommunication Bureau, Geneva, in 1995. A revision of the Handbook, for which Thompson was the editor, was produced in 2003. This unit includes notes and correspondence dated 1973-2008 related to CCIR and ITU-R activities, to ITU-R Recommendation 769, and to the ITU-R Handbook on Radio Astronomy. Size: 3 folders.

  • Cloud Radar Unit: In about 1996 NASA began developing a project using radar system and satellites operating at a frequency of 94 GHz to provide detailed measurements of cloud-coverage profiles. Coordination was required to make sure radio astronomy antennas were not pointed near zenith suring satellite overpass This unit includes notes and correspondence dated 1996-2004 related to cloud radar. Size: 1 folder.

  • Iridium Satellite System Unit: Correspondence, reports, and memoranda of understanding dated 1992-2001 related to the Iridium satellite system, including the tests made in cooperation with Motorola at the beginning of the system's operation, and 2001 material on the new Iridium after Motorola sold the system to a new company just before the Iraq war. Size: 0.5 linear feet.

  • IUCAF Reports and Correspondence Unit: The Inter-Union Commission on Frequency Allocations for Radio Astronomy and Space Science was founded in 1960 to represent the interests of the International Astronomical Union (IAU), the International Scientific Radio Union (URSI), and the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR). Thompson was IUCAF secretary from 1982 to August 1988, and from August 1991 to August 2000 was the IAU representative to IUCAF. This unit includes correspondence and reports from March 1987-January 1988 reflecting concerns of IUCAF during the period, and includes material on the Glonass-M satellite network from 1992 and 1993. Size: 2 folders.

  • NRAO Frequency Coordinators Meetings Unit: This series includes minutes from the NRAO Frequency Coordinators meetings, held approximately bi-monthly. The bulk of the minutes are from the period January 1992-April 1997 when Thompson chaired the meetings and distributed minutes. There are only three sets of minutes from November 1998 through July 2001. Size: 2 folders.

  • Reports to CORF Unit: From 1979-1999 Thompson was the U.S. representative from the Committee on Radio Frequencies (CORF) of the National Academy of Sciences to the International Radio Consultative Committee (reorganized in 1990 as the Radiocommunication Sector of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU-R)), working on protection of spectrum for radio astronomy observatories. This unit includes Thompson's reports to CORF on CCIR and ITU-R meetings and activities from 1980-1998. Size: 2 folders.

  • Working Notebooks Unit: This unit includes notebooks on frequency coordination activities for the period 1979-2001, including CCIR, IUCAF, CORF. Size: 6 notebooks.

  • X-Percent Question Unit: The X-percent question was discussed in order to determine the tolerable percentage (X-percent) of time lost to interference in an allocated radio astronomy band. Correspondence and reports are dated August 1999-March 2000. Size: 1 folder.

  • Frequency Correspondence Unit: This unit includes correspondence and memos on frequency and spectrum management matters dated 1994-2005. Thompson separated this group of correspondence and his separate grouping was retained; see also frequency-related correspondence in other units in this series, as well as in the general Memos and Correspondence Series above. Size: 1 folder.

  • Miscellany Unit: This unit includes material dated 1972-1983 on spectral line protection and a 1975 report titled Interim Report of the Ad Hoc Working Party on Interference to Radio Astronomy. Size: 2 folders.

Top

Miscellany Series: This series includes Thompson's 1963-1968 file from his 1965-1968 service on the NRAO Visiting Committee, a newspaper clipping about Phillip Morrison's 1981 VLA visit and speech, a photo of Thompson, David Morris, and Harold Weaver at the August 1960 AAS meeting, as well as notes, reports and correspondence related to his trips to the Soviet Union (September 1988) and India (February-March 1989). Size: 5 folders. Note: The 1960 photograph is 11"x14" and is stored on range 1 in a box of oversized materials from several collections.

Top

 

Modified on Wednesday, 12-Mar-2014 09:57:31 EDT by Ellen Bouton