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Brit astronomer Sir Bernard Lovell dies at 98

London, August 8 (ANI): Radio astronomer, sir Bernard Lovell died peacefully surrounded by his family at home in Cheshire, on Monday. He was 98.

Bristol-born Bernard is best known for establishing the University of Manchester’s Jodrell Bank Observatory, whose Lovell radio telescope was used to conduct pioneering research into rays of charged subatomic particles from outer space.

Professor Brian Cox, who knew Sir Bernard, said he was “an inquisitive scientist all the way”.

He was born in Oldland Common, Gloucestershire, in 1913 and studied at the University of Bristol before joining the University of Manchester’s Department of Physics in 1936.

During World War II he led a team developing radar technology, for which he was later awarded an OBE.

Following the war, he returned to the university and set about planning the observatory.

His iconic 76m (249ft) telescope was completed in 1957. Within days of it becoming operational, it tracked the rocket that carried Russia’s Sputnik 1 into orbit.

The structure remains the third largest steerable telescope in the world and plays a key role in global research on pulsating stars, testing extreme physics theories including Einstein’s general theory of relativity.

He was knighted in 1961 for making the telescope and for his other contributions to radio astronomy.

“Bernard Lovell ranks as one of the great visionary leaders of science,” the BBC quoted Lord Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal, as saying.

“He had the boldness and self-confidence to conceive a giant radio telescope, and the persistence to see it through to completion, despite the risk of bankruptcy.

“What is even more remarkable is that, more than 50 years later, this instrument (after several upgrades) is still doing ‘frontier’ science,” he said.

A spokesman for the university said that the physicist was “warm and generous”.

He said the astronomer had “retained a keen interest in the development of science at Jodrell Bank and beyond.”

“Indeed he continued to come in to work at the Observatory until quite recently when ill health intervened,” he added.

He is survived by four of his five children, 14 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. (ANI)