Radio Astronomy Subunit


Radio Astronomy, by J.L. Pawsey and R.N. Bracewell, was published by Oxford University's Clarendon Press in 1955. Pawsey, who headed the Radiophysics Laboratory at Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization of which Bracewell was a member, asked him to be co-author, and Bracewell surmised in retrospect that this was partly a device to get him more interested in the subject. The book was one of the earliest texts on radio astronomy, which the Preface called, "a completely new branch of science." In spring 1958 Pawsey and Bracewell corresponded with Clarendon Press, considering a reprinted or revised edition, deciding to work towards a 2nd edition after the upcoming Paris Symposium on Radio Astronomy. Pawsey proposed asking J.P. Wild to collaborate on the new edition. Although some revision and rewriting was begun, the authors were all involved in other projects, and, with Pawsey's illness and death in 1962, efforts to publish another edition ended. This unit includes notes and drafts of chapter 8 ("Thermal Radio Waves from the Moon") from the original edition, 35mm negatives of original edition illustrations, along with page proofs with mark-up for the entire book. Materials relating to the proposed second edition include correspondence, an outline indicating which chapters were to be written and/or revised by Bracewell or Wild, notes and drafts for chapters 2 and 3 ("Technique for Observations of Extraterrestrial Radio Waves" and "Theory of Radio Waves in Ionized Gases"), and materials for chapters 2 and 3 returned to Bracewell by Wild in 1965. Material is dated 1951-1965. 


Papers of Ronald N. Bracewell



Start Date


End Date



Bracewell Publications Series


Books Unit

Size of Item

1.0 linear feet plus one filmstrip canister


Papers of Ronald N. Bracewell, “Radio Astronomy Subunit,” NRAO/AUI Archives, accessed February 25, 2024,