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. 

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