“Instrumentation and antennas are the coolest things in the world.” Dr Nipanjana Patra works in the field of precision observational cosmology and is looking into the past to try and understand the evolutionary history of our Universe. During her PhD, she built a single element radio telescope called SARAS (Shaped Antenna measurements of background RAdio Spectrum). The successor telescopes called SARAS 2 & SARAS 3 became projects for other PhD students to also investigate the Epoch of Reionisation.
“There are only about ten experiments worldwide to find the glitch in background radiation that is the beginning of the Universe.”
Dr Patra was project lead of HYPERION while she worked at UC Berkeley, and is now building a second generation global 21cm radio telescope that implements the most advanced techniques to detect the global 21cm signal via radio background measurement.
Dr Patra believes there is an important role to play between engineers & astronomers and enjoys being able to bridge the gap between what the scientists want to measure and what the engineers will be able to build. She is also keenly interested in laying the groundwork to design a radio telescope that can be sent on space missions for redshifted 21cm cosmology.
“I most enjoy designing and building radio telescopes while working on various aspects of optimizations, theoretical modelling, statistical RFI mitigation technique, and data analysis.”