Advisory Board

We have a scientific advisory board who provide direction and advice on an ad-hoc basis. The current advisory board comprises:

Ken Tapping, Dominion Radio Astronomy Observatory

Born Erith, Kent, UK
Got into backyard radio astronomy at High School – Still Doing it.
BSc Mathematics (University of London, UK)
MSc Space Physics (University College London, UK)
PhD Astrophysics, (University of Utrecht, Netherlands)

1968-75: Worked as a radio astronomer with UK Science Research Council
1975-Present: National Research Council of Canada (Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics)
1985-Present Head of the Solar Radio Monitoring Programme

Amara Graps, Planetary Science Institute

Baltic Space Entrepreneur. Small planetary bodies science researcher. Amara Graps has 12 years of experience specializing in the charging and dynamics of circumplanetary dust, with 35 years total experience working in astronomy, astrophysics, and planetary science research, at Deep Space Industries (Latvia/Europe/USA), the University of Latvia, Planetary Science Institute (USA), Southwest Research Institute (USA), National Institute of Astrophysical Observatories (Italy), Max Planck Institute of Nuclear Physics (Germany), NASA-Ames, Stanford University, the University of Colorado and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Since moving to Latvia, Graps has shifted to developing planetary projects to increase the space-oriented capacities in the Baltic region, increasing the unexplored links between research, education and industry in her new country and being an interface  between asteroid scientists and asteroid mining engineers.

Paul Shuch, Director Emeritus, SETI League

Dr. SETI ®, as H. Paul Shuch is known to his intimates, is something of a cross between Carl Sagan and Tom Lehrer (he sings like Sagan and lectures like Lehrer).* The aerospace engineer credited with the design of the world’s first commercial home satellite TV receiver now directs his microwave interests toward the search for life in space. Dr. Shuch received his Ph.D. in Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. Now Executive Director Emeritus of the grassroots SETI League, he has served as a professor of physics, astronomy, and engineering on various campuses for over three decades. Within the New Warrior community, Paul’s teaching background earned him the name “Patient Owl.”

Paul is the author of more than 450 publications. His honors include the National Space Club’s Dr. Robert H. Goddard Scholarship, the American Radio Relay League Technical Achievement Award, a Hertz Foundation Fellowship in the Applied Physical Sciences, the Hertz Doctoral Thesis Prize, the Central States VHF Society’s John T. Chambers Memorial Award, and the Dayton Hamvention Technical Excellence Award. He has won for The SETI League two AAS Small Research Grants, and two CPaCCIT Technology Achievement Awards. He is a Fellow of the British Interplanetary Society, the Radio Club of America, and the European Radio Astronomy Club; serves as a fellowship interviewer for the Hertz Foundation, a manuscript reviewer for several peer reviewed journals, is a Corresponding Member of the International Academy of Astronautics, webmaster and co-vice chair of its SETI Permanent Study Group, has been an advisor to the National Science Foundation, and is a military program evaluator for the American Council on Education.

Born in 1946 (among the first of the Baby Boomers), Paul lives on a radio-quiet hilltop just north of Williamsport PA with several radio telescopes, an Ovation Legend Classic guitar, his biologist wife, Muriel Hykes, and two of their seven recombinant DNA experiments. He travels to his various gigs in his much-modified 1970 Beechcraft A24-R Sierra. Recognizing that the most dangerous part of flying is the drive to the airport, Paul tempts fate by riding there on his trophy-winning 1989 Honda PC-800 Pacific Coast motorcycle.

A Vietnam-era Air Force veteran and active instrument flight instructor, Paul is a member of the Society of Wild Weasels and the AACS Alumni Association. He serves as an FAA Safety Team Representative, has been an Airport Commissioner, was once voted Flight Instructor of the Year by his FAA district office, and is part owner of the Frazier Lake Airpark, Hollister CA. He founded Microcomm Consulting in 1975, designed the patented BiDCAS aircraft anti-collision radar, which won the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Safety Achievement Award, and holds a patent for the microwave phasing technique being used in the Very Small Array radio telescope.

An Extra-class radio amateur first licensed in 1961, N6TX has been operational in 20 different ham bands between 1.8 MHz and 24 GHz. He is currently Director of Education for AMSAT. Paul has chaired the VHF/UHF Advisory Committee of the American Radio Relay League, served as Technical Director and Board Chairman of Project OSCAR, Inc., and as Director of Education for its successor organization, AMSAT. He has served on the Boards of Directors of the Central States VHF Society, AMSAT, Society of Amateur Radio Astronomers, and SETI League, and as Membership Officer and Executive Committee member for Central PA Mensa. Paul has been the Banquet Speaker or Guest of Honor at several ARRL Division Conventions and AMSAT Annual Meetings, various regional VHF Conferences, numerous meetings of professional societies, quite a few Science Fiction conventions, and the Dayton Hamvention.

Dr. Shuch is listed in a whole bunch of Who’s Who publications. His academic portfolio appears here.

Trond Trondsen, President, Keo Scientic

Dr. Trondsen started his career in the field of scientific imaging at the University of Tromsø, Norway in 1988. There, he designed, implemented, and characterized a computer controlled digital all-sky camera system (Ramfjordmoen All-Sky Imager) for autonomous observation of the aurora borealis. He wrote the real-time control and acquisition software as well as a complete image processing suite at a time when no such program suite was commercially available.

He took part in the design of the European Space Agency’s AURIO visible and ultra-violet auroral satellite-based CCD imagers. He participated in the design of the far ultra-violet (FUV) auroral imagers on the Swedish satellite Freja, successfully launched in October 1992. He assisted in the design of the Polar Camera (PoCa), a set of two weatherproof imager pods for dual-wavelength observations of the aurora from Eureka, Ellesmere Island. This work included research into weather-proof enclosures, portable and robust data-loggers, image compression algorithms, writing low-level software handling data communication between computer and camera controllers, writing an ephemerides software package, as well as performing the complete mechanical design of the camera units.

He is a Participating Scientist on the NASA IMAGE mission (the first MIDEX mission) and assisted with the design of the Wideband UV Imaging Camera (WIC). Dr. Trondsen graduated in 1998 from the University of Tromsø, Norway with a PhD in Cosmic Geophysics, after having conducted all his PhD related research at the Institute for Space Research, University of Calgary. For his PhD dissertation, he developed (optics, electronics, hardware, software) a highly portable intensified imaging system — The U of Calgary Portable Auroral Imager — and applied it to outdoor-based high-resolution (narrow-field) auroral studies in the Canadian north and Norwegian arctic, publishing his findings (especially on “black aurora”) in refereed scientific journals. From 1998 to 2010, Dr. Trondsen worked as an Imaging Specialist at the University of Calgary’s Institute for Space Research, designing the NORSTAR (CGSM) multispectral all-sky imaging system (based around Keo Consultants’ all-sky cameras), including writing all control and real-time monitoring software. He was Principal Investigator of the Enhanced Polar Outflow Probe (ePOP) mission’s Fast Auroral Imager, where he spearheaded the optical design, sensor and filter selection, and design of low-noise readout and processing electronics. He was also a member of the U of Calgary-led ground-based segment for the NASA THEMIS mission, which involved deploying and networking an array of 20 all-sky cameras spread out across northern regions.

Dr. Trondsen has been a licensed ham radio operator (VE6NOR, Advanced Class) since 1983, and used the observation of Langmuir-wave induced plasma-lines to address and characterize signal-losses in waveguides at the European Incoherent Scatter Scientific Association (EISCAT), while working on his MSc in Engineering Physics. As well, he worked with riometers, ionosondes, and partial reflection experiment (PRE) radars. He is, as part of his many cultural interests, co-founder of the Masters of Cinema organization (and the Masters of Cinema Film Series) and co-producer and co-director of photography of the award-winning documentary film Magnetic Reconnection. Dr. Trondsen is a Norwegian citizen who holds permanent residency status in Canada. He is President of Keo Scientific Ltd.

Stan Kurtz, UNAM, Mexico

Stan Kurtz received his PhD in physics from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1993. His dissertation was on the topic of radio observations of galactic high mass star formation regions. Seeking to broaden his horizons, he declined several offers of postdoctoral positions in the U.S., choosing instead to do a postdoc abroad. He accepted an appointment at the National University of Mexico in Mexico City in 1993.

When his postdoc was finished, he was invited to join the newly formed Center of Radioastronomy and Astrophysics that the National University had opened in the provincial capital of Morelia. Since 1996 he has been a researcher at this institute. His research program continues to be directed primarily toward galactic high mass star formation, studying in particular hot molecular cores, ultra and hyper compact HII regions, and interstellar masers.

He is active in the American radio astronomical community, serving on various committees and advisory groups for the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. His teaching duties include graduate and undergraduate physics and astronomy, and he recently co-wrote an undergraduate level textbook on radio astronomy. Currently he is developing a laboratory for radio instrumentation whose projects include a digital spectrometer for installation on the Mexican Large Millimeter Telescope and the fabrication of an X-band feed horn for the Goonhilly telescope in England.