National Research Council Canada-NRC

National Research Council Canada-NRC


September 25, 2010 15:30 ET

National Research Council Receives Technology Milestone Recognition

Today's global technology inspired by past achievement

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Sept. 25, 2010) - The National Research Council Canada (NRC) Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory (DRAO) today received the IEEE Milestone in Electrical Engineering and Computing during a ceremony held at the annual DRAO Open House. The Milestone was awarded in recognition of the 1967 first successful radio astronomical observations using Very Long Baseline Interferometry or VLBI. 

VLBI combines the signals of widely separated telescopes in order to form a very high resolution image. In the experiment recognized today, the separation of the telescopes was an impressive 3074 km between two NRC telescopes in Penticton, British Columbia and Algonquin Park, Ontario. 

"Our government supports science and technology to create jobs and economic growth, and to improve the quality of life of Canadians, said Mr. Ron Cannan, Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country, attending the ceremony. "Canada is recognized internationally as a world leader in astronomy and astrophysics research and people all across our country can be proud of our record of achievement." 

During the ceremony, two bronze plaques attached to the base of the 26-m radio telescope used during the historic experiment were unveiled.

"We are proud to be recognized by IEEE for NRC's pioneering work on the occasion of the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory 50th anniversary." said John R. McDougall, President of the National Research Council. "And, while we are proud of our past achievements, NRC continues to look toward the future with innovations on key science and technology areas for the benefit of Canadians through collaborations with universities and industry both in Canada, and around the world."

Prof. David G. Michelson, chair of IEEE Vancouver section and a member of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of British Columbia, said, "With the first successful demonstration of VLBI in 1967, both radio astronomy and geodesy were forever changed. Today, VLBI observations define the reference frame used by GPS navigation systems that many of us have come to depend on. It is therefore difficult to overstate the significance of this accomplishment."

IEEE Milestone designations are awarded following a careful evaluation, by the IEEE Board of Directors, of the historical significance and global uniqueness of the accomplishment.

The IEEE Milestones in Electrical Engineering and Computing program honours significant technical achievements in areas associated with IEEE. The Milestones Program was established in 1983 as part of IEEE's Centennial Celebration in 1984.

About the National Research Council of Canada

Recognized globally for research and innovation, Canada's National Research Council is a leader in the development of an innovative, knowledge-based economy for Canada through science and technology. For more information, please visit

About IEEE

IEEE, the world's largest technical professional association, is dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. Through its highly cited publications, conferences, technology standards, and professional and educational activities, IEEE is the trusted voice on a wide variety of areas ranging from aerospace systems, computers and telecommunications to biomedical engineering, electric power and consumer electronics. Learn more at

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