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NEXT STORY

The Americans' reaction to the magnetron

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Bernard Lovell Astronomer
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I think we had persuaded Cherwell that we would never make the bombing equipment work with a Klystron and that we must be allowed to use the Magnetron, so a decision was made about a month or so after this meeting with the Prime Minister that we would abandon all attempts to use EMI equipment with the Klystron and concentrate on the Magnetron. Now that did make the situation much easier and I was reinforced by two or three excellent people who helped with the flying. I had two flight lieutenants, two flying officers, Ramsey and Hillman and a Canadian flight lieutenant, Richards, and an American from the United States Air Force and they were all marvellous. They took over a lot of the brunt of the flying and so by sheer, by sheer activity and constant adjustment of the scanner when flying at high altitude, which fortunately was beginning to be borne by these more experienced flying people, we gradually improved the equipment.

Bernard Lovell (1913-2012), British radio astronomer and founder of the Jodrell Bank Observatory, received an OBE in 1946 for his work on radar, and was knighted in 1961 for his contribution to the development of radio astronomy. He obtained a PhD in 1936 at the University of Bristol. His steerable radio telescope, which tracked Sputnik across the sky, is now named the Lovell telescope.

Listeners: Alastair Gunn Megan Argo

Alastair Gunn is an astrophysicist at Jodrell Bank Observatory, University of Manchester. He is responsible for the coordination and execution of international radio astronomical observations at the institute and his professional research concerns the extended atmospheres of highly active binary stars. Alastair has a deep interest and knowledge of the history of radio astronomy in general and of Jodrell Bank in particular. He has written extensively about Jodrell Bank's history.

Megan Argo is an astronomer at the University of Manchester's Jodrell Bank Observatory researching supernovae and star formation in nearby starburst galaxies. As well as research, she is involved with events in the Observatory's Visitor Centre explaining both astronomy and the history of the Observatory to the public.

Tags: Electric and Musical Industries, United States Air Force, Lord Cherwell

Duration: 1 minute, 21 seconds

Date story recorded: January 2007

Date story went live: 05 September 2008