Four Pillars of Radio Astronomy

Mills, Christiansen, Wild, Bracewell

Friday 9 February 2018, The Refectory, Holme Buildling, Science Rd, University of Sydney

Four Pillars of Radio Astronomy is the story of Bernie Mills, Chris Christiansen, Paul Wild and Ron Bracewell, members of a team of radio astronomers that would lead Australia, and the world, into the new field of research - radio astronomy.  Each of the four is remembered for his remarkable work:

  • Mills for the development of the cross type instrument that now bears his name
  • Christiansen for the application of rotational synthesis techniques
  • Wild for the masterful joining of observations and theory to elicit the nature of the solar atmosphere
  • Bracewell for his contribution to imaging theory.

They are remembered for creating a remarkable environment for scientific discovery and for influencing the careers of future generations.  Their pursuit of basic science helped pave the way for technological developments and underpinned the foundations of modern cosmology and astrophysics.


Left to Right: Bernie Mills (courtesy of the Royal Society), Chris Christiansen (courtesy of the University of Sydney Archives), Paul Wild (courtesy of the CSIRO Radio Astronomy Historical Photographic Archives) and Ron Bracewell (courtesy Stanford 1997 – credit Stanford News, Stanford University).

The University of Sydney Physics Foundation, the Sydney Institute of Astronomy, the ARC Centre of Excellence for All-Sky Astrophysics (CAASTRO) and CSIRO invite you to attend the launch of Four Pillars of Radio Astronomy: Mills, Christiansen, Wild, Bracewell and celebrate the achievements of these pioneers of Australian astronomy.  The day's program will include a series of talks from the authors and leading radio astronomers, lunch and the launch of the book.

Preliminary program available here.

Venue map can be found here.

General registration for this meeting is now CLOSED.

If you have received an invitation by email, please reply directly to Helen Sim (

10:30    Arrival tea/coffee
11:00    Welcome: celebrate the achievements of four pioneers of Australian Astronomy
11:15    Science program
13:05    Lunch
14:00    Science program continued
14:55    Official launch
15:15    Celebratory drinks and canapés and celebratory drinks. Books will be available for sale and authors will be signing copies.
16:30    Close

Goss, Wendt and Frater, 2014, CSIRO Lindfield

Upper Image: Book Cover: The cover photograph is a small section of the Ron Bracewell sundial at the VLA site, with two VLA antennas in the background. The Four Pillars (as well as the first author of this book and Joseph Pawsey, “the Grand Old Man of Radio Astronomy”) had each signed one of the piers from the Rob Bracewell Stanford Array used to creat this  sundial.  Their signatures can be found on the pillars of this sundial.
Event page tile image: the signatures of the Four Pillars as well as the signatures of Joe Pawsey, the father of Australian Radio Astronomy, and Bob Frater who is one of the authors.