Lovell, Sir Bernard

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Lovell, Sir Bernard

Sir Bernard Lovell (Sir Alfred Charles Bernard Lovell), 1913–2012, English radio astronomer, b. Oldland Common, Gloucestershire, England, Ph.D. Univ. of Bristol, 1936. He was a member of the cosmic-ray research team at the Univ. of Manchester, and was occupied with radar research during World War II. He led a team in the development of H2S, an airborne radar system that guided British bombers to their targets. In 1946 he showed that radar echoes could be obtained from daytime meteor showers, which are invisible, using optical astronomical techniques. Lovell was the leader of the team that built at Jodrell Bank, near Manchester, England, what was then the largest steerable radiotelescope (completed 1957). Finished just in time to track the first artificial satellite, Sputnik I, the telescope has been instrumental in pinpointing the exact locations of manned and unmanned satellites and space probes, though this was not its intended or primary use. The 250-ft-diameter (76-m) telescope (since surpassed in size) is now a part of the Jodrell Bank Observatory, which Lovell directed (1945–81). He was the author of more than two dozen books and published lectures, and he frequently appeared on British television. Among his publications are Science and Civilization (1939), Radio Astronomy (1952), Meteor Astronomy (1954), The Individual and the Universe (1959), The Story of Jodrell Bank (1968), Emerging Cosmology (1980), and an autobiography, Astronomer by Chance (1990). He was knighted in 1961.

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