Detecting the light of the Big Bang: ESA's cosmic microwave backgro und satellite Planck and Jodrell Bank's contribution to its detectors

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A Public Lecture by Professor Richard Davis (Jodrell Bank).


The lecture starts with explaining what ESA’s Planck is designed for and its main aims.  It is compared to the other missions and its international nature is explained. We then move on to the specific involvement of Jodrell Bank in part of its construction and what is required to go into space and be space qualified.

This is then integrated onto the satellite and launched. Some of the results from the Planck mission are then shown and discussed.


Professor Richard Davis was the UK PI for the Low Frequency Instrument of the Planck Surveyor Space mission launched on Ariane 5 in 2009, a telescope designed to see the variations in the Cosmic Microwave Background, the remnant of the Big Bang, to the most detailed level yet. From Jodrell Bank, he led the design of the receivers for this space observatory, which were the most sensitive receivers ever constructed at these frequencies.

Professor Davis has also been Project Scientist for the MERLIN array of radio telescopes and Principal Investigator for the Very Small Array. He is a Fellow of the RAS and has been awarded an OBE by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for services to science.