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University of Iowa News Release

May 21, 2003

UI Students Chosen For National Radio Astronomy Summer Program

Four students in the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences have been chosen by staff members of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) to participate in the NRAO summer program at sites in Socorro, N.M., Green Bank, W.Va., and Charlottesville, Va.

The students, listed by hometown and including year in school, are:


Ames, Andy Cohan, senior.

Des Moines, Laura Spitler, junior.

Iowa City, Christine Roark, senior.


Buffalo Grove, Aaron Geller, senior.

In the program, students participate in research programs of NRAO staff, work on hardware and software systems for radio telescopes and attend lectures on the science and engineering of radio astronomy. The program is intended to train the next generation of scientists and engineers.

Steven Spangler, professor of astronomy and a former NRAO staff member said, "It is highly unusual, if not unique, for one university to place so many students in one year. I believe this large representation reflects very favorably on our students and the kind of training we can provide here at Iowa." He added that former professor Stanley Shawhan initiated radio astronomy research and teaching at Iowa around 1970, and the program later was expanded. Professor Robert Mutel has led the program for the past 28 years. A major boost to Iowa radio astronomy came last year with the hiring of professor Cornelia Lang, an experienced NRAO observer. Since its inception, the UI radio astronomy group has emphasized the involvement of undergraduate students in research projects.

The NRAO is one of the world's premier research facilities for radio astronomy. The NRAO operates powerful, advanced radio telescopes spanning the western hemisphere and used by scientists worldwide to probe fundamental questions in astronomy and physics.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Gary Galluzzo, University of Iowa News Services 319-384-0009,