Olivia was introduced to radio astronomy at the age of six when passing by a giant satellite dish in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Pocahontas County, West Virginia. She was awestruck by the size of the massive dish, which she later found out was the Green Bank Telescope at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO). Little did she know that the telescope sighting was going to set her on a path of astrochemistry research.
In 2011, Olivia began her undergraduate studies at Dickinson College, initially interested in chemical ecology or food chemistry research. After a visit to the NRAO the summer before she began her studies, however, she also became interested in exploring the invisible universe herself. In 2013, Olivia worked as a summer student at the NRAO in Green Bank looking at HI (neutral hydrogen) absorption against pulsars. There, she also attended numerous lectures where she first heard the term "astrochemistry." Wanting to learn more, she sought astrochemistry research experiences for the following summer and worked with the Öberg Astrochemistry Group at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) in Cambridge, MA.
After graduating from Dickinson College in 2015 with a B.S. in Chemistry and Mathematics, Olivia moved to Köln, Germany, where she worked as a Fulbright research fellow with the Cologne Laboratory Astrophysics Group at the Universität zu Köln. She is a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellow at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) where she studies complex organic molecules (COMs) in the interstellar medium (ISM).
When she's not struggling to remember how to write Python scripts, Olivia enjoys hanging out with her husband Alex and son Günther at a coffee shop or at a National Park.
About the Website
The Sky is not the Limit was created to provide students with information about radio astronomy, one of the subdiscplines of astronomy and astrophysics. Radio astronomy, most eloquently described as "exploring the invisible universe" (visitors to the National Radio Astronomy Observatory receive stickers that say, "I explored the invisible universe!", with each tour), is the study of astronomical objects and phenomena at the long wavelengths in the radio domain. Although radio astronomy is a global discipline that often relies on international collaborations, there is not yet a cohesive resource for the subject. The Sky is not the Limit aims to connect information about research, telescopes and education pertaining to radio astronomy for easy access.
This website was created and is maintained by Olivia Harper Wilkins. She would like to acknowledge the Digital Humanities at Dickinson College, to whom she is grateful for training and resources in digital media acquired through their Digital Bootcamp.
About the Content
The telescopes page exhibits maps of radio telescope distribution around the world. It also contains links to pages that provide lists of telescopes and descriptions of select telescopes on each of Earth's continents as well as off-planet (i.e. telescopes that are in orbit).
Research opportunities includes information about research experiences, scholarships, and fellowships for both undergraduate and graduate students interested in radio astronomy. If you know of a research experience, scholarship, or fellowship that is not listed on these pages, please send the name of the opportunity and a website URL (if applicable) to firstname.lastname@example.org or use the contact form at the top right of this webpage. Help with expanding resources for students is greatly appreciated!
Scoping out radio astronomy is a blog that tells the stories of radio astronomy's history—key people in the development of the field, the development of new observatories and telescopes, and discoveries that changed the way we understand our Universe.
- Hey, James Stanley
- Jansky, Karl
- Jodrell Bank
- Lovell, Bernard
- NRAO (National Radio Astronomy Observatory)
- Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie
- Milky Way
- Parkes Observatory
- Radio frequency interference (RFI)
- Reber, Grote
- The Sun
A (Ful)bright future is a blog from Olivia's year as a Fulbright research fellow at the Universität zu Köln where she worked with the Cologne Database for Molecular Spectroscopy (CDMS). Topics range from research and Fulbright events to travel and culture.
- Berlin Seminar 2016
- Interstellar molecules
- Laboratory astrophysics
- Language course
- Radio astronomy
- Sankt Goar
- The Netherlands