The Very Large Array Radio Telescope
While driving through New Mexico, I happened to pass the VLA site (https://public.nrao.edu/telescopes/VLA/)
This one of the great Radio Telescope systems in the world. It was the feature point of the movie "Contact" and even prior to knowing about that, it had an influence on my life.
In the mid 1970's, I happened to be working with one of the great acoustic scientists of the world as we studied the understanding of "Beam-forming" as it applied to underwater acoustic systems.
The math we were applying came from work done with Radio Telescopes as they attempted to "Beam-Form" radio wave transmissions from space. In our case, we were "Beam-Forming" acoustic transmissions within the oceans of our earth.
The basic math is the same, only working at different frequency ranges. It was work that carried me through the 1907's, 80's and 90's in different ways as I transitioned from Acoustic Towed arrays through Arctic acoustic analysis and in the 90's building a software tool to model acoustic systems of all types.
While my life has moved on to dealing with architecture of complex military combat systems, the foundation knowledge I gained in those years has stayed with me as I deal with a wide range of different sensor systems being integrated for tracking and targeting.
I still make use of what I have learned as I write my Sci-Fi books and apply the wide range of my life events to the stories I create.