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The survival of Jodrell Bank
Bernard Lovell Astronomer
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There are a few things I ought to say about the whole of this, in view of what is happening now at Jodrell Bank. The government had become deeply involved financially in the, via the, what was the DSIR– by that time we were another body, Science Research Council, I’ll mention it in a moment– and deeply involved financially, and it was, and the vice chancellor pointed out to me that did I realise that if this telescope was built, then it would probably mean the end of Jodrell as it existed, and I objected and he said- it’s no good your objection, he said- if you want, if you want to be certain that Jodrell will continue, you can have the telescope, but I warn you, that what you propose is a national facility and with modern techniques, such a national facility can be controlled from, not only the place where it is, or from Jodrell, but from Manchester or London, or anywhere in the country, and I’m afraid, that is the agreement. So the young people at Jodrell who are worrying today about a move that is taking place of the academic staff to the centre of Manchester, may like to know that this nearly happened 20 years ago and was saved from happening by the abandonment of which would have been a very famous telescope.

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: Jodrell Bank, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, Science Research Council, Manchester, London

Duration: 1 minute, 42 seconds

Date story recorded: January 2007

Date story went live: 05 September 2008