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Day of Infamy
Photo of John Kraus It was a day of infamy in December 1982 when Ohio Wesleyan betrayed my trust and sold the land out from under the "Big Ear" to a developer who wanted to demolish the telescope for a golf course. It was a unique world class telescope which I had designed and built with my students using federal funding. Students and staff using it made the largest radio sky survey complete with maps resulting in many important discoveries including the discovery of the most distant known objects in the universe at a distance of over 12 billion light years where one light year is 9,000,000,000,000 kilometers. The telescope also detected the famous "WOW" signal, a possible artifact of an extra-terrestrial intelligent civilization. In addition, the telescope was used by the Ohio State University ElectroScience Laboratory for extensive measurements vital to our national security. What other discoveries and measurements might have been made if the telescope had not been demolished in 1998?

John Kraus

Written by John Kraus on April 5, 2004 and last modified on April 8, 2004. Permission was given by him to Jerry Ehman on that original and subsequent dates to use this text here.
Additional Comments
By: Jerry Ehman

John Kraus, in his book "Big Ear Two" (Cygnus-Quasar Books, 1995, page 318 ff), notes that he first heard about the sale of the land on December 28, 1982 when Dr. Terry Roark, Assistant Provost of the Ohio State University, called John to let him know of the sale. John told me that he understood this sale to be "a done deal", i.e., that Ohio Wesleyan University (OWU) had already sold the land without informing John or the public. In other words, the then President of OWU did not have the courtesy to talk with John (or anyone else associated with the radio observatory) prior to the sale. The public in central Ohio and then around the world soon learned of this "Dastardly Deed" (my words) and raised an uproar. It wasn't long afterward that the President of OWU resigned.

What was the date of the "Day of Infamy"? Was it the day when Ohio Wesleyan University sold the land, or the date when John Kraus heard that the land had been sold? In John's article above, he considers it to be the former. However, at this point, I have not been able to determine the date of the sale, but we do know that the date when John Kraus first heard of the sale is December 28, 1982. The actual sale of the land was probably a few days earlier.

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