MU’s ‘Faces of Physics’ series continues April 12 with lecture on building radio telescopes

HUNTINGTON — Marshall University’s Faces of Physics virtual speakers series continues at 7 p.m. Monday, April 12, with an online presentation by radio astronomer Pranav Sanghavi. His talk, “On Building Radio Telescopes: From Radio Astronomy for Classrooms to Detecting Fast Radio Bursts,” is free and open to all and can be accessed at:

Sanghavi is a physics Ph.D. student at West Virginia University with undergraduate training in engineering. His research focuses on radio astronomical instrumentation to detect Fast Radio Bursts. For his doctoral work, he has built a prototype radio interferometric array at Green Bank Observatory in West Virginia, designed to work in tandem as a Very Large Baseline Interferometer outrigger to the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME/FRB) instrument.

Since 2017, Sanghavi also has helped run the “Research Experience for Teachers – Digital Signal Processing in Radio Astronomy” (RET-DSPIRA) program to help bring radio astronomy to high school classrooms, allowing students to build radio telescopes from scratch, including the digital signal processing backend. As he completes his doctoral studies, he continues to work on data analysis from the prototype and the development of the upcoming CHIME/FRB outrigger to be built and commissioned at Green Bank Observatory.

Virtual audience members will get a chance to pose questions after Sanghavi’s discussion about his research. The Faces of Physics talks are held virtually through YouTube Live and are free and open to the public, and are appropriate for all ages. To stay up to date on information pertaining to the event, sign up for the mailing list at or follow Marshall University Physics on Facebook (@MUPhysicsDept).

Coming up in May is a presentation by Bob Lutz, from the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, who will speak at 7 p.m. May 12.

The series is sponsored by the Marshall University Society of Physics Students and the American Institute of Physics to highlight outstanding research being done, especially by underrepresented groups in the world of physics. The organizers are SPS President Jackie Sizemore and SPS Vice President Ellie White.

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