The University of Manchester
British physicist and radio astronomer Bernard Lovell, who founded the Jodrell Bank Observatory of the University of Manchester, UK, died on 6 August aged 98.
Lovell directed the observatory from 1945 to 1980, and in 1957 oversaw the construction of its iconic telescope — then the world’s largest fully steerable radio telescope — which opened in time to track the launch of the first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1. He also worked on radar and cosmic rays, and was knighted in 1961 for his contributions to radio astronomy.
In the short story “The Moon Match” (from Summer Days: Writers on Cricket), Lovell writes how cricket punctuated his memories of Russia’s Luna 2, the first satellite to reach the surface of the Moon. Just after Saturday lunchtime on 12 September 1959, he had set off for a cricket match when — according to the story — a child signalled that he stop his car: “You must come back, you’re urgently wanted on the phone.”
It was a reporter asking what Jodrell Bank was doing about the launch that Moscow had just announced. “I am going to play cricket,” Lovell replied — and he did. At the tea break, he arranged to check back at the observatory that evening. He unlocked his office to find a message from Moscow on the telex machine, the paper “streaming out on the floor”, giving him all the details to track Luna 2 ‘s Moon impact the next day.
More details about Lovell’s life and career in the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics announcement of his death.Bernard Lovell, jodrell bank observatory, The University of Manchester, steerable radio telescope <BR/>