Podcaster: Allen Versfeld
Description: Episode 10 of the Urban Astronomer Podcast features an interview with Deon Bester. Deon is an engineer, who worked on the Southern African Large Telescope for many years, designing the control systems that keep the telescope working through the night. In our conversation we cover many topics. Deon’s experience as a test engineer, working with Labview, led to him getting employed by the SALT project. We discuss the teething troubles that plagued the telescope when it was first built, and how multi-element mirrors such as used in modern big telescopes present their own engineering challenges. We chat about whether software engineers are the same as real engineers, and look to the future: Once you’ve worked on a big telescope, is it ever possible to move on to something else?
Bio: Allen is an amateur astronomer, an IT professional, a podcaster, a father of five beautiful kids and a barely competent chess player. He is also the director of the Astrophotography Section of the Astronomical Society of South Africa, where he coordinates and promotes the activities of people who are far better photographers than him.
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365 Days of Astronomy
The 365 Days of Astronomy Podcast is produced by Astrosphere New Media. Audio post-production by Richard Drumm. Bandwidth donated by libsyn.com and wizzard media. You may reproduce and distribute this audio for non-commercial purposes. Please consider supporting the podcast with a few dollars (or Euros!). Visit us on the web at 365DaysOfAstronomy.org or email us at info@365DaysOfAstronomy.org. This year we will celebrate more discoveries and stories from the universe. Join us and share your story. Until tomorrow! Goodbye!