Southern Hemisphere Again!

Hey gals and guys!! My name is Raul Monsalve, Chilean, and this is my first post on the ASU Explorers blog. Just like the other contributors, I will show you some of the exciting things we do at ASU as part of the cutting-edge research endeavors.

I am currently a Postdoctoral Scholar; my undergrad degree is in electronics engineering and my PhD is in Physics, where I worked on a CMB polarization experiment called QUIET. With that background, it is obvious that I like instrumentation for radioastronomy and that is why I am enjoying a lot working at ASU in the exciting field of Low-Fewquency Cosmology.

As you know by now (especially with all the experiences shared by José in previous posts), astronomy is a discipline conducted at an international level for several reasons, and therefore if you want to join this field you will become a world citizen sooner or later.

As an example, last week I traveled to Chile to a conference on astronomical instrumentation organized and hosted by the Chilean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and several universities. Being one of the most developed countries in South America, Chile hosts an important amount of world-class telescopes because of its clear skies in several frequency ranges. Among others, telescopes such as ALMA, E-ELT, GMT, VLT, CTIO, CCAT, QUIET, CBI, APEX, ASTE, NANTEN, ACT, POLARBEAR, TAO, CLASS, have chosen Chile to observe from. Astronomy is indeed becoming the focus of Chilean support in the R&D department.

Some of the ALMA antennas at an elevation of 16,500 feet in the Chilean Atacama desert.

VLT optical and infrared telescope at an elevation of 8,645 feet in the Chilean Atacama desert.

During this trip I did not visit any telescope because all my time was devoted to the conference. It was the first meeting of its kind in the country, and had the purpose of introducing the efforts of teams from several universities working on instrumentation. Government representatives also attended in order to present the different financial instruments available for astronomy research. They stressed the fact that support has been increasing year by year, and encouraged (young) people to make use of it. Many Chilean astronomers, engineers and students attended, as well as internationally renowned scientists. This gave everybody the opportunity to network and broaden their perspective.

I gave a talk the third day of the conference about what we do best: Low-Frequency Cosmology. It served as an introduction to the topic to Chilean scientists, and also proposed the idea of the participation of Chilean institutions in this kind of studies, possibly in collaboration with ASU. From people’s reaction, I can say that the talk and the idea were very well received, and that people from important institutions are very interested in participating. In that sense, the trip was a total success!!.

My talk on low-frequency cosmology at the Chilean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with part of the audience.

Round of questions after the talk.

Chilean government palace, “La Moneda”, in Santiago. The view is from the top of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs building, where the conference was held.