Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Thank you Sir Bernard

The world has lost a wonderful astronomer today.  Sir Bernard Lovell was a great visionary who opened up the new branch of radio astronomy.  I looked across the Cheshire plain in July and took this photo from the Staffordshire hills about 10 miles away.  What an impressive telescope Jodrell Bank is - the brainchild of Sir Bernard.  We have learnt so much about the universe because of his great ideas.

And a special family link.  Sir Bernard realised there was a possibility of developing a radio telescope because of the work he was involved with in developing radar during World War Two.  My father was at Worth Matravers in Dorset, helping to protect the very secret work.  Then he moved to Malvern as Churchill realised the secrets could be too easily grabbed being so close to the coast.  Dad's war was very much shaped by this work.

The great thing is that Sir Bernard Lovell has shaped the future of Astronomy.  By looking at radio waves, others realised that other bands of the electromagnetic spectrum needed to be investigated as well - leading to X-ray and gamma ray work.  What an incredible legacy Sir Bernard has left us all. 

Monday, 6 August 2012

Starlearners land on Mars

Incredible - but true.  Starlearners are on board Curiosity.  Over two years ago NASA invited people to add their names to a list to be placed on a microchip on board the craft.  I added my name and Starlearner students to the list - and we arrived on Mars this morning.  Here's my certificate.

Well done to NASA for a great landing and for the first images sent back to Earth.

                                Curiosity on the end of a parachute

                                A wide angle view around Curiosity

Pictures : NASA

Olympic STARS

As part of Team GB, we were at Weymouth to see Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson claim the silver medal in the STAR class that started our sailing medal haul.  Well done to them.  Our photo shows the pair in action on the Nothe course.

Then the star Ben Ainslie claimed gold.  An incredible four golds in four Olympics (not forgetting a silver as well).  Ben is seen flying the flag high after a very tense medal race.
If we have been a little slower than usual replying, please forgive us.  Normal service will be resumed after the Olympics.