The NRAO Archives is pleased to announce a new Internet resource, Early Radio Astronomy Courses, which currently includes lecture notes for courses taught by Hendrik C. van de Hulst (1918-2000) and by Kevin C. Westfold (1921-2001).
The first known academic course specifically on radio astronomy was taught by van de Hulst, first at Leiden in Fall 1950, then again in Spring semester 1951 as Astronomy 241b at Harvard University, where van de Hulst was a Visiting Professor. By chance, it was during this very period that H.I. Ewen and E.M. Purcell discovered the 21 cm hydrogen line that van de Hulst had predicted in 1944. Professor van de Hulst notes in his introduction that, "The lectures were intended to make graduate students in astronomy and physics appreciate the problems and possibilities of radio astronomy and to give them a survey of the results."
Another early course in radio astronomy was given at the California Institute of Technology in both the Spring and Fall terms of 1958 as Astronomy 133 by Westfold, then a Visiting Professor on leave from the CSIRO Radiophysics Division, Sydney. These notes focus much more on the theoretical aspects of radio emission.
The NRAO Archives thanks Drs. Barry Clark, W. Miller Goss, and Woodruff T. Sullivan III for their help in making these courses available. We would be pleased to add additional early radio astronomy course notes to the Web page; please contact Ellen Bouton, Archivist, to discuss the potential addition of other course notes.