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Bernard Lovell

Bernard LovellAKA Alfred Charles Bernard Lovell

Born: 31-Aug-1913
Birthplace: Oldland Common, South Gloucestershire, England
Died: 6-Aug-2012
Location of death: Manchester, England
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Astronomer

Nationality: England
Executive summary: Radio astronomer at Jodrell Bank

English radio astronomer Bernard Lovell's study of cosmic rays at the University of Manchester was hampered by radio interference from the city, so he trucked his minimal war-surplus equipment to an open meadow some twenty miles away, called Jodrell Bank. There Lovell studied transient radar echoes, showing their cause to be the ionized trails of meteors, and designed and oversaw construction of the Transit Telescope in the late 1940s. His further studies allowed the tracking of previously unknown meteor showers occurring during daylight, and demonstrated the elliptical orbit of meteors, adding to the evidence that meteors are part of the local solar system.

After construction of a much larger radio telescope at Jodrell Bank in the 1950s, Lovell and his staff were at the forefront of astronomical developments, including research into flare stars, gravitational lensing, interferometry, pulsars, quasars, and galactic and extragalactic radio emission. Jodrell Bank was a key tracking station for virtually all space exploration programs after Sputnik. The telescope itself -- renamed the Lovell Telescope in 1987 -- was the largest steerable radio telescope in the world when it was built; it is now the third largest after the Green Bank and Effelsberg telescopes.

Prior to his work at Jodrell Bank, Lovell was deeply involved in the development of radar during World War II, working with Patrick M. S. Blackett, whose Royal Society biography was written by Lovell. He recruited R. Hanbury Brown to Jodrell Bank, and frequently said that without Brown the facility would never have been built. Lovell was knighted in 1961, and died in 2012.

Wife: Mary Joyce Chesterman (teacher, m. 1937, two sons, three daughters)

    High School: Kingswood Grammar School, Kingsfield, Bristol, England
    University: BS Physics, Bristol University (1933)
    University: PhD, Bristol University (1936)
    Teacher: Physics, University of Manchester (1936-37, 1945-51)
    Scholar: Cosmic ray research, University of Manchester (1937-39)
    Professor: Radio Astronomy, University of Manchester (1951-80)
    Administrator: Director, Jodrell Bank Observatory (1945-80)

    Royal Astronomical Society Gold Medal 1981
    Knight of the British Empire 1961
    Royal Medal 1960
    Officer of the British Empire 1946
    International Astronomical Union
    Royal Society 1955
    Royal Astronomical Society President (1969-71)
    Asteroid Namesake 8079 Bernardlovell (discovered 1985; named 2000)

Author of books:
Science and Civilization (1939)
Electronics and Their Application in Industry and Research (1951)
Radio Astronomy (1952, with J. A. Clegg)
Meteor Astronomy (1954)
The Exploration of Space by Radio (1957)
The Individual and the Universe (1959)
The Exploration of Space by Radio (1962, with R. Hanbury Brown)
Discovering the Universe (1963, with Joyce Lovell)
Our Present Knowledge of the Universe (1967)
The Explosion of Science: The Physical Universe (1967)
The New Universe (1968)
The Story of Jodrell Bank (1968)
Pathways to the Universe (1988, with Francis Graham-Smith)
Astronomy (1970)
Out of the Zenith (1973)
Man's Relation to the Universe (1975)
P.M.S. Blackett: A Biographical Memoir (1976)
A contemporary view of man's relation to the universe (1977)
In the Center of Immensities (1978)
Emerging Cosmology (1981)
The Jodrell Bank Telescopes (1985)
Voice of the Universe: Building the Jodrell Bank Telescope (1987)
Astronomer by Chance (1990, memoir)
The Echoes of War: The Story of H2S Radar (1991)


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