Bernard Lovell
(1913)

 

English radio astronomer, director 1951-81 of Jodrell Bank Experimental Station (now Nuffield Radio Astronomy Laboratories).
During World War II Lovell worked on developing a radar system to improve the aim of bombers in night raids. After the war he showed that radar could be a useful tool in astronomy, and lobbied for the setting-up of a radio-astronomy station. Jodrell Bank was built near Manchester 1951-57. Although its high cost was criticized, its public success after tracking the Soviet satellite Sputnik I 1957 assured its future.
Lovell was born in Gloucestershire and studied at Bristol. His academic career was spent at Manchester, where he became the first professor of radio astronomy 1951.
In 1950, Lovell discovered that galactic radio sources emitted at a constant wavelength and that the fluctuations ('scintillation') recorded on the Earth's surface were introduced only as the radio waves met and crossed the ionosphere.
His books include Radio Astronomy 1951 and The Exploration of Outer Space 1961.


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