As an astronomy buff and physics minor, Charles Kopec was fascinated
with astronomy. As a member of the Physics Club, he became acquainted
with Earl Shaw, and learned of the need for a telescope in the
Rutgers-Newark campus. Under Professor Shaw's guidance, Charles took the
lead on the project two years ago, and today, the campus' telescope has
become a valuable resource for Rutgers-Newark, NJIT, and Newark high
school students. "Dr. Shaw is great to work with because he encourages
me to take things to the next level and to explore my ideas. He gave me
the freedom to try out my ideas to make the telescope work. Working with
him has been very rewarding, and I never imagined that the telescope
could have become such a success."
As a former Bell Labs scientist and chair of the Physics Department at Rutgers-Newark, Earl Shaw is accustomed to finding creative ways to get things done. Bringing a telescope to the Rutgers-Newark campus was a challenge, and he was able to mentor Charles Kopec, and other students, through the process. Since the telescope became operational two years ago, it is used for a summer program for Newark high school students. Students and faculty from NJIT also use the equipment, as do scientists from the Newark Museum planetarium and other astronomy buffs.
"This telescope is operated by sophisticated software that can control the instrument's position at the touch of a button. In an urban environment, issues such as light and vibrations add to the complexity of manipulating the equipment and obtaining quality images," he explained. "Charles took the lead, and as a professor, it was rewarding for me to observe him as he approached the challenge and suggested his own creative solutions."