Lovell | Sir | Alfred Charles Bernard | b1913 | radio astronomer, pioneer of radar and radio telescopes

Biographical Information

Occupation, Sphere of Activity

Bernard Lovell studied physics at the University of Bristol under the physicist Arthur Mannering Tyndall (1881-1961). After graduating in 1934, Lovell went on to do research for two years. In the autumn of 1936 Lovell moved to Manchester where he was appointed assistant lecturer in physics for one year. The following year he became a member of the cosmic-ray research team, working in this capacity until the outbreak of World War II in 1939, when he published his first book, Science and Civilization. During the War Lovell worked for the Air Ministry conducting valuable research in the use of radar for detection and navigation purposes, for which he was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1946.

After World War II, with the assistance of James Stanley Hey, he was able to obtain an ex-army mobile radar unit for use in his research on cosmic rays. After discovering that electric trams within the city of Manchester were causing interference he moved the equipment to Jodrell Bank, an open field outside Manchester, in order to study transient radar echoes. Soon afterwards the University of Manchester agreed to provide him with a permanent establishment at the site, and also to sponsor the construction of his first radio telescope. In recognition of his work Lovell was appointed by the University to the posts of senior lecturer in 1947, reader in 1949 and then finally professor of radio astronomy in 1951, a position he held until 1980. Due to the mass appeal and plaudits that Jodrell Bank and its director garnered, the BBC invited Lovell to give a series of radio talks in 1958 known as the Reith Lectures, these were published a year later under the title of the Individual and the Universe. Bernard Lovell has received a number of honorary memberships from a range of organisations and has been awarded many honorary degrees from various academic institutions. He was knighted in 1961 for his pioneering work in radio astronomy.


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Other Significant Information

Notable publications:

Science and Civilisation, (1939)

Word Power Resources and Social Development, (1945)

Radio Astronomy, (1952)

Meteor Astronomy, (1954)

The Story of Jodrell Bank, (1968)

Out of the Zenith, (1973)

Emerging Cosmology, ( 1980)

The Jodrell Bank Telscopes, (1985)

Voice of the Universe: Building the Jodrell Bank Telescope, (1987)

Astronomer by Chance, ( 1990)

Honours, Qualifications and Appointments

1946: Appointed Officer, Order of the British Empire

1955: Elected Fellow, Royal Society

1960: Awarded Royal Medal

1961: Awarded Knighthood

1964: Appointed Officer, Order of the British Empire

1964: Elected Honorary Fellow, Society of Engineers

1969-1971: Appointed President, Royal Astronomical Society

1970: Appointed Vice President, International Astronomical Union

1974: Elected Member, American Philosophical Society

1975-1976: Appointed President, British Association

1981: Awarded Gold Medal, Royal Astronomical Society


List of sources for the biographical information:

Who's Who 1976, ( Great Britain, A and C Black Ltd, 1976)

, and Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc: Lovell, Sir (Alfred Charles) Bernard, (, 1999-2000)

, Columbia Encyclopedia, (, 2000)

, Eric W Weisstein, (, 1996-2000)