RGZ Team Spotlight: Lawrence Rudnick

Meet Larry Rudnick, Project Advisor for Radio Galaxy Zoo. Larry is often seen chatting to volunteers on RGZ Talk; now he’s written a bit more of an introduction.

Lawrence (Larry) RudnickI’m a Distinguished Teaching Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Minnesota. But before I was distinguished, I grew up in Philadelphia, where I decided in 6th grade that I would go into science while I was helping my grandfather pour molten lead into molds to make fishing sinkers. My bachelor’s and PhD degrees are in physics, but astrophysics was what really kept me up thinkng at night. I’ve worked mostly in the radio part of the spectrum, using telescopes all over the world, plus some work in X-rays and infrared. I’ve studied radio galaxies, since the late 70s when Frazer Owen and I introduced a classification system for tailed radio galaxies. Identifications were pretty painful then, taking about an hour each to get the radio and optical photographs lined up. We’ve come a long way! My students and I also spent some years studying the radiation from the supernova remnant Cassiopeia A and others, producing the first 3D image of an explosion. Today, my work focuses on clusters of galaxies and their connections with large scale structure.

The most interesting course I teach is one called “Nothing” where we explore everything from the vacuum, to the number zero, to blind people seeing nothing, to placebos, to King Lear. I’ve done a lot of K-12 work, training teachers in using hands-on science activities, and do a lot of public education, through lectures, radio and TV interviews, and working with our local Planetarium. Radio Galaxy Zoo is my first citizen science project, and I’m really looking forward to how much we’re going to learn.

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2 responses to “RGZ Team Spotlight: Lawrence Rudnick”

  1. billkeel says :

    Hey, Larry! Great to see you’re with the RGZ team. (He was one of the staff when I was a summer student at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, back when their array in New Mexico was but a Pretty Big Array, and shares responsibility for what I managed to learn about radio astronomy). Hint from my own Zoo experience – keep a watch for participants reporting weird things, some of them are really interesting.

  2. Lauren says :

    Hi, Larry, my name is Lauren, nice to meet you here! I am an outreach staff from ASIAA, Taiwan (the Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics), currently working on translating the Radio Galaxy Zoo to Chinese. One question: are there any hands-on activities you which would like to recommend to some K12 teachers who are interested in showing RGZ to kids in classes?

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