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“Here’s the key to the school telescope. Go and fix it up.” And it was this old telescope, this early s telescope, and it had lots of things, lots of moving parts that were fascinating to us and we got the telescope going and we took a picture of a lunar eclipse, and we started a little astronomy club at school and I went to college after that and heard about neutron stars, and once I found out about those, I knew that’s what I wanted to study. I would have had nothing to do with him if I’d met him like years ago. Yes. That would have been it. Oh! We work here in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. We’re next-door neighbours, aren’t we? Yeah, our offices are right next door and it’s typically really useful. We can just, you know, pop in and out, so it saves us a lot of time. See you. All right, then. Have a good day. You, too. Occasionally we have disputes. I’m in control of the temperature in both offices, and so I like it really warm, and Duncan likes it a lot colder. So we have occasional arguments, but generally it’s really useful being right next to each other. Sometimes you bang your feet on the wall and I have to tell you to stop. But generally it’s really nice. It’s good. We like it. In the summer of , Duncan and Maura began a project searching historical data for the Park’s radio telescope. So we’d just arrived at West Virginia University. We wanted to find some data that already existed to get working on a project straightaway. So we kind of like bandied around some ideas for good projects, and one of the things we thought of was re-analysing the data from an old survey taken, like, in the late s, of the small Magellanic cloud and this large Magellanic cloud, to look for pulsars that had been missed before. The project involved painstakingly searching hundreds of data plots, work Duncan delegated to student. Every week my student would come to me with the results of his analysis from the previous week, and sometimes those would be known pulsars, sometimes we would see sources of interference or just noise. But one week, I remember it very clearly, he came to me and showed me this plot with a signal that was so bright and apparently so far away that it was completely unlike anything we’d ever seen before. So this is the plot that my student David brought to me, and you can see straightaway this is the pulse that he found. This big dark feature here. This is a graph of telescope time along the horizontal axis, so this is almost two hours of observation here. And on the vertical axis is basically distance. You can see the background of noise from the telescope and the sky, these little dots here. So this feature really stands out because it’s so bright and so far up the plot here, which indicates that it’s a bright source that’s very, very far away. Quite frankly, it was unlike anything I’d ever seen before. Yet, it had all the hallmarks of a signal that was coming from deep space. The signal, or “fast radio burst” Duncan had discovered became affectionately known as the “Lorimer Burst”. When people started calling it the Lorimer Burst,



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