GBT@20 – The Celebration

Twenty Years of Innovation and Discovery

First light – that moment when a telescope starts taking observations – is always an exciting day, and for the Green Bank Telescope that day was August 22, 2000. Right away, the Green Bank Telescope (GBT) started observing planets (Venus on March 24, 2001) and pulsars, and to this day, continues to produce exceptional scientific data and results.

To celebrate this event, we are organizing a conference and virtual meeting. We are pulling together recollections, interviews, and stories from the people who were there, and are sharing all of these on our web site.

Interviews & Archival Video

Watch interviews with scientists, engineers, and key staff who were instrumental with the development and construction of the GBT.

The “Go-getter Maverick” George Seilestad

Post Doc to Project Manager Mark McKinnon

GBT Construction Time Lapse

Across Time & Space (unreleased GBT construction documentary)

GBT Dedication Ceremony

Image Contest

GBT users were invited to create data-based visuals including:

  • radio/composite emission images
  • animations
  • data visualizations
  • 3D models

See the winners here!

Official contest rules

Art Contest

View submissions from artists of all ages from the contest.

GBT Design Challenge

Can you design your own GBT at home? Try this fun activity from our education team. Watch the video here.

Galaxy Gift Shop

Love the GBT? Find t-shirts, hats, mugs, magnets, key chains, books, and specialty items made onsite in the Observatory machine shop!


Subject to change

Wednesday April 21

Session 1, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

A Telescope for All (complete session video)

Moderator: Mark McKinnon

What to Build and How to Build itSpeaker: Paul Vanden Bout
Reflections on the beginningPanel: George Seielstad, Jay Lockman, Larry D’Addario, Ken Kellermann, other members of the external committee
A Dynamic TelescopeSpeaker: Mark Clark
The DedicationPanel: Phil Jewell, Mark McKinnon, Tony Beasley, Mike Holstine, Sue Ann Heatherly
Telescope Stories: Sharks!Panel: Dana Balser, Ron Maddalena (slides), Frank Ghigo
Telescope Stories: GBT OutfittingPanel: Rich Lacasse, Bob Simon
GBT Science in 1989Speaker: Jay Lockman

Session 2, 2 – 3:30 p.m.

Science Case: Pulsars, Stars & the Solar System (complete session video)

Moderator: Ryan Lynch

Pulsars discoveriesSpeaker: David Nice (slides)
Radar discoveriesSpeaker: Jean-Luc Margot
Business of Making the GBTSpeakers: Mike Holstine, Bill Porter (slides)

Session 3, 4:30 – 5:30 p.m.

Good Ole Hydrogen (complete session video)

Moderator: Jay Lockman

Galactic HydrogenSpeaker: D.J. Pisano
Extra Galactic HydrogenSpeaker: Brent Tully (slides)
 Panel: Brent Tully, Karen Masters (slides), D.J. Pisano, Jay Lockman

BYO Happy Hour 7 p.m.

SETI ChatDan Wertheimer (slides)

Thursday April 22

Session 4, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Science Case: Molecular Spectroscopy (complete session video)

Moderator: Ron Maddalena

Molecular SpectroscopySpeaker: Tony Remijan (slides)
 Panel: Amanda Kepley, Larry Morgan
Telescope StoriesSpeaker: Dave Parker: The view from the 300’ Building
Commissioning: Active Surface/PTCSPanel: Tim Weadon (slides), Todd Hunter (slides), Rich Lacasse, Bojan Nikolic, Pedro Salas

Session 5, 2 – 3 p.m.

Science Case: Continuum & Multi-pixel Cameras (complete session video)

Moderator: Dave Frayer

MUSTANGSpeaker: Brian Mason (slides)
KFPASpeaker: Rachel Friesen
ArgusSpeaker: Dave Frayer

Session 6, 4 – 5:30 p.m.

Science Case: VLBI

Moderator: Frank Ghigo

History of VLBI with GBTSpeaker: Frank Ghigo
Maser ScienceSpeaker: Jim Braatz
Space VLBISpeaker: Yuri Kovalev (slides)
VLBI StoriesPanel: Ken Kellerman, George Seielstad, Glen Langston

BYO Happy Hour 7 p.m.

GBT: The Next 20 Years

Moderator: Karen O’Neil

GBT- The Next 20 yearsSpeaker: Karen O’Neil
Fresh ScienceSpeaker:  Jay Lockman
GBT and ngVLASpeaker: Tony Beasley (slides)