Frontiers in Radio Astronomy

Echoing the first FRA meeting in 2012, we are excited to announce the second international science symposium “Frontiers in Radio Astronomy” to be held in Guiyang, China between July 29th and 31st, 2015.  This meeting will focus on most recent development in radio astronomy and to explore the promises of FAST early science operation. It is hosted by National Astronomical Observatories of China and Guizhou Normal University, with  support from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, National Natural Science Foundation of China, and the Ministry of Science and Technology of China.

The Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST) is a Chinese “mega-science” project (arXiv:1105.3794) funded by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and managed by the National Astronomical Observatories (NAO) of Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). Incorporating a series of innovative engineering concepts and designs, FAST will be the largest radio antenna upon the finishing of its construction. FAST also represents Chinese contribution to the international efforts to build the square kilometer array (SKA). Being the largest single dish radio telescope, FAST will enable astronomers to make significant strides toward many science goals, such as surveying the neutral hydrogen in the Milky Way and other galaxies, detecting faint pulsars, searching for the most distant masers, hearing the possible signals from other civilizations, etc. The building of FAST has attracted worldwide attention and been widely reported in international media, such as the Nature magazine, the Sky & Telescope magazine, and the New York Times.

Sited in the Guizhou province in southwestern part of China, FAST is expected to produce first light toward the end of 2016.  To support science preparation and train young radio astronomers with first hand experience, the Ministry of Science and Technology granted a fundamental science program (program 973) titled “Frontiers in Radio Astronomy and FAST Early Science” between 2012 and 2016. Based on the capacity and science drivers of FAST, the 973 program aims to integrate six interdependent and complementary subjects with the observational techniques of FAST.

The six subjects to be discussed during the conference are:

  1. Radio observations and theoretical studies of Pulsars;
  2. From atoms to stars:  radio studies of the interstellar medium and the star formation;
  3. Galaxy structure and evolution;
  4. Cosmology and dark matter;
  5. Radio spectroscopy and Masers;
  6. Low-frequency multi-beam receivers and the design of VLBI systems.

With this second FAST science symposium, we hope to bring together international experts in these and related fields to foster frank discussion and help refine the science goals of FAST.