Library JournalLovell 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.
BooknewsFor years, the world's most powerful instruments for probing the depths of space were the Jodrell Bank telescopes in England. This autobiography by the man responsible for the telescopes describes the development of the new science of radio astronomy out of the crucible of British radar research during World War II. It also looks at the promise and pitfalls of Big Science at the dawn of the Space Age. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Bernard Lovell started out in school working to become a physicist. However, he increasingly found that areas he was studying in physics were overlapping with recent developments in astronomy. Under the guidance of one of his professors from the University of Manchester, Patrick Blackett, Lovell turned toward astronomy and helped develop a new field within the area ¿ radio astronomy. Using his knowledge of physics and radar from his involvement in World War II, Lovell created a new type of telescope that was the most powerful of its time. Named the Jodrell Bank telescope, the observatory it resides in still draws in thousands of visitors each week and helped with discoveries of Edwin Hubble, the building of the Hubble satellite and a greater understanding of the universe. Lovell felt compelled to write his autobiography in part to explain how much World War II changed how scientists did work and research for all the physical sciences. Lovell wanted to show how World War II forced scientists to work together more on larger projects, and that this mindset stuck with scientists after the war. Without this change in the research, large-scale projects like the Jodrell Bank telescope would never have been possible. Also, Lovell tries to touch on how he melds his belief in God as Creator of the world and the factual evidence he has found that supported a more secular development of the universe. Despite some of the difficult concepts presented in Lovell¿s autobiography, the book flows well and reads quite fast. He is an entertaining writer who is unafraid to talk about his own personal reasons for paths he has taken in his life, often which have their own section within a chapter which he calls ¿The Personal Factor.¿ The book is a very interesting read for anyone interested in the personalities of Lovell and the men he worked with, such as Blackett. The book is complete with pictures and helpful glossary at the back of the book for some of the more scientific terms he uses, making the book a good read even for people with no previous knowledge of physics or astronomy.