a story lives forever
Sign in
Form submission failed!

Stay signed in

Recover your password?
Form submission failed!

Web of Stories Ltd would like to keep you informed about our products and services.

Please tick here if you would like us to keep you informed about our products and services.

I have read and accepted the Terms & Conditions.

Please note: Your email and any private information provided at registration will not be passed on to other individuals or organisations without your specific approval.

Video URL

You must be registered to use this feature. Sign in or register.


Release from the army and my desire to get back into research


My paper on the story of the magnetron
Bernard Lovell Astronomer
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments

I... a few years ago now, probably the last paper I shall ever write, it was published I think by the Royal Society two or three years ago in 2003 or 2004, something like that and I'd dealt with this remarkable story of the Germans knowing about the Magnetron but not using and it and of the American opposition. And I made this point about the different attitudes to scientists in the two countries, and I calculated that the belief in the secrecy of the Magnetron held up the operation of our equipment by six vital months. And I don't think it made all that difference to Bomber Command, because they had OBOE and GEE working then, but it made a vital difference to Coastal Command, because in those six months I calculated that we lost nearly one million tons of merchant shipping, that we would not have lost if the Germans had not been... if we had changed the frequency of the Coastal Command equipment and... Sorry. If the Germans had not been so slow in detecting that we had changed the frequency, and if we could have used that six months earlier, I think we would have saved about one million tons of shipping, but of course, that's just calculation.

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: Royal Society, Bomber Command, Oboe (navigation), Gee (navigation), Coastal Command

Duration: 1 minute, 56 seconds

Date story recorded: January 2007

Date story went live: 05 September 2008