A chance event in 1939 changed the young Bernard Lovell's life and led him to become one of the pioneers of radio astronomy. From an idea that radar used for detecting enemy aircraft might have larger potential, he developed a telescope capable of investigating the distant regions of the universe. His famous telescopes at Jodrell Bank have played a critical role in the discovery of unknown objects in the universe and led to questions that lie at the heart of contemporary astronomy and astrophysics. Bernard Lovell's story is one of chance, tenacity and infinite resourcefulness in the face of technical and bureaucratic difficulties. To read his account is also to see how the image and reality of science have changed in his lifetime, partly through his own work.
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Lovell writes in highly readable prose about the important bench marks of his life--his fascination with electric arcs, which enticed him into a career in physics; his work for the British war effort, including the creation of night radar; and his post-World War II career in the new field of radio astronomy, culminating in the invention of the powerful Jodrell Bank telescopes, the first of which he built with his own hands. In the last chapter, Lovell reconciles his religious beliefs with scientific theory. More reflective and complete than his Voice of the Universe: Building the Jodrell Bank Telescope (Praeger, 1987), this is recommended for astronomy and science biography collections.
- Doris Lynch, Oakland P.L., Cal.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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