Reber, Gröte, 1911–2002, American radio engineer, b. Chicago, Ill. After graduating from the Armour Institute of Technology (now the Illinois Institute of Technology) in 1933, Reber worked for several radio manufacturers and radio stations. Intrigued by Karl Jansky's discovery of cosmic radio waves emanating from the galactic center, Reber built (1937) a 31.4–ft (9.6–m) dish antenna in his backyard—the first radio telescope dedicated to astronomy. After two years of developing and testing receivers he published a series of articles about his findings, marking the beginning of radio astronomy as a science. Reber was the first to systematically study the sky by observing something other than visible light, the first to express received radio signals in terms of flux density and brightness, the first to find evidence that cosmic radiation is nonthermal, and the first to produce contour radio maps of the sky. In 1951 he settled in Tasmania where he conducted very-long-wavelength radio astronomy through holes in the ionosphere unique to that region.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.