back to article Manchester Uni wins radio telescope HQ

The University of Manchester's Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics has been chosen as the headquarters for the next generation radio telescope, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). The SKA project, with a budget of €1.5bn, involves astronomers and engineers in 17 countries. It will be comprised of thousands of small antennae …


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  1. Leon Markham

    Jodrell Bank

    When I was at Manchester studying Physics I heard an old tale that the building of the original large radio telescope went massively over budget - to the extent that the Vice Chancellor of the University and the head of the Science Faculty were to be invited to answer questions in the House of Lords, with criminal proceedings threatened.

    Apparently around this time Sputnik was launched, and this was the only facility in the Northern Hemisphere capable of tracking it. All of a sudden threats of incarcerations were exchanged for pats on the back and the people who built the telescope became heroes.

    I don't know how true it is but it sure sounds nice - can any other Reg readers corroborate?


  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Jodrell Bank

    Cheshire rhyming slang...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It seems every new telescope/radio telescope/x-ray detector/particle accelerator/kitchen sink "will provide a test bed for Einstein's theories". What about Newton? Why can't we test Newton's theories once in a while?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sounds like a massive waste of resources to me....

    Exploring no where in the hope of finding something.

    One wonders how much this is going to cost, and how much the tax payer, who clearly has no choice in the matter is going to have to pay towards this.

    Perhaps we should consider our priorities, health care, education, CHAV extermination etc etc before we go sniffing for other peoples "problems"

  5. Tawakalna


    essentially, you are correct. it did go way overbudget (but what big science or civil engineering project doesn't?) and it was only the fortuitous intervention of the Soviet's and their grand achievement for the Progressive forces of Worker's Democracy, realised in the Socialist Technological miracle of Sputnik, that saved Jodrell Bank's proverbial bacon. Tracking Sputnik for the neo-fascist Imperialist warmongers of the West offset the construction debts, and the kudos from the same secured the careers of those concerned.

    or so I seem to recall from my contemporary issues of Pravda, although mostly I used to just do the Crazy Pravda Bingo.

  6. Luther Blissett

    Which Einstein theories?

    General Relativity which Hilbert solved for him? Or perhaps the photo-electric stuff, for which Millikan did all the work? Or the ones for which he paid his first wife off with the entire proceeds of his Nobel prize, after somehow her name dropped off the byline between manuscript and publication?

    I think it's time people were told.

  7. Matthew Smith

    Big bridge

    Yes, it was all over budget and saved by the commies. The construction company was more used to building suspension bridges, and assumed that this would be the same. It also received the first picture signals from the soviet moon probes and so they were published first in western newspapers before the people in Moscow received them. The Russians accused Jodrell Bank of theft.

    This is all written about at Jodrell Bank, which well worth a visit along with the neighbouring arboretum. You also go right past/ under it on the main western train line south of Manchester. Its a right monsta thing on the Cheshire plain.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Sounds like a massive waste of resources to me....

    Yeah, just imagine, finally someone is able to contact some aliens and get some messages and they all talk like amanfrommars...

  9. Curtis W. Rendon

    @Jodrell Bank

    JPL had it by the 2nd pass according to the NASA press releases of the last few days.

    And since the old Soviet was also northern hemisphere...

  10. Morely Dotes

    @ Anonymous Coward

    'Perhaps we should consider our priorities, health care, education, CHAV extermination etc etc before we go sniffing for other peoples "problems"'

    Yes, and we shouldn't spend all that money on developing new machinery when we can send navvies down to dig up coal for the old machines, and what's all this nonsense about "microscopic animals" causing diseases? Everyone knows that diseases are God's way of punishing sinners, by sending demons to possess their bodies.

    You Luddites ought to go live someplace that has nothing that was developed using modern scientific research. You'd probably love Tehran, Rangoon, or Wales. Your inability to grasp that science *always* develops useful things (by accident, or so it seems most if the time) simply proves that not *all* humans have evolved; some are still stuck in the "you talk words me no get, me use rock, break bones" stage of development.

  11. Leon Markham

    @Morely Dotes

    Dear Mr Dotes

    Easy on the "You'd probably love Tehran" - my brother just went to a Physics conference in Tehran and by all accounts the quality of the science and the scientists was top notch.

    Admittedly there was a whole lot more dancing being banned and religious police busting parties than I am used to in West London. But there was a lot more cheap cashew nuts as well.


  12. Anthony Horton

    Square Kilometre

    The square kilometre in the name Square Kilometre Array refers to the total collecting area of all the dishes rather than the amount of land area required to site them all, so it's not that misleading really.

    While Manchester Uni/Jodrell Bank have a lot of experience with this sort of thing it still seems a surprising choice for the the location of the SKA HQ as it's going to be built (assuming it can keep the funding going) either in South Africa or Western Australia. Being in Manchester would make it a bit difficult to pop out of the lab to check on the progress of the building work, but more to the point if you were a radio astronomy boffin where would you want your office sited? Manchester or Perth?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Manchester or Perth?

    Western Australia or South Africa - why assume Perth rather than Cape Town?

    Been to Manchester and Perth, and both were crawling with targets for the chav extermination project mentioned above. Admittedly the Perth in question was the one on the A9 though.

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