Barney J. Rickett
Prof Emeritus, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Radio astronomy, electromagnetic waves, and space science.
By recording radio signals from pulsars and quasars, Professor Rickett probes not only pulsars and quasars but also the interstellar plasma through which their waves have travelled. Research interests include wave propagation through random media, in particular in radio astronomy where the irregular plasmas of the solar wind and the interstellar medium cause serious perturbations. His discovery of interstellar scintillation in 1969 has been followed by a thorough exploration of how waves are delayed and scattered on time scales ranging from microseconds to years. He continues to analyze such perturbed radio waves and explores the turbulence in both the solar wind and interstellar plasma over an astronomical range of scales. His expertise also includes analysis of stochastic signals and general radio astronomy. He teaches electromagnetism (including antennas) and circuits. His current research involves observations from the major international radio observatories, from which he studies both the sources of the waves (quasars and pulsars) and the interstellar plasma.
After a degree in physics from the University of Cambridge (UK) in 1961, Barney (Barnaby) Rickett worked as a microwave engineer designing low noise amplifiers in the United Kingdom and the United States. He then took a fellowship at the Jodrell Bank Radio Observatory, where he studied radio waves from pulsars and completed a Ph.D. in 1969 (from the University of Manchester, UK). In 1969, he came to UCSD as a researcher and has been a faculty member in the ECE Department since 1974.