back to article Jodrell Bank offloaded on eBay

Following the recent news that the government's popular Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) has decided to pretty well destroy UK radio astronomy, we're saddened to note that Jodrell Bank observatory is up for sale on eBay: Jodrell Bank auction on eBay The blurb elaborates: "Despite the fact that $8 million has …


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  1. Mad as a Bat

    your chance to have your voice ignored...

    Sign the e-Petition to save Jodrell Bank and have your voice ignored by our Gordon.

    Mine's the white lab coat.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    It still beggars belief...

    We spent 100 billion on bailing out a badly run bank; we spend about one and a half billion quid on consultants for the government, and yet we can't spend 2.5 million quid on one of the world's best scientific instruments.

    PH as she understands the true value of Science.

  3. Richard


    Is way too close to STFU for comfort.

    Given HM.Gov's odd priorities, the other dishes from e-Merlin could be joined together in another way: as a giant Olympic logo with the other 2 painted with London and 2012.

    Clearly the lizard army from Rigel don't want us looking

  4. Ed
    Thumb Down


    Has there been a single petition on the PM's site where they've said "Good point, we'll do something about that?" Every single one I've signed they've fobbed you off and said how wonderful they are.

  5. Andrew Smith

    I want to be ignored....

    So i signed the petition.

    Perhaps I buy the dish and run SETI from my garden. Cut out the middle man.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Is there any mileage in getting the Yanks involved ...

    tell them JB would make echelon 10x better ?

  7. Tom

    Just what I need

    for my satelite destroying death ray!!

  8. peter

    Standard Petion reply

    In response to removing funding for [Insert Field]

    The Chairman of STFC, Peter Warry, said “I would like to thank the STFC Science Board and its sub-committees for carrying out a complex task to such a high standard and I recognise that, as always, prioritisation can be a difficult process. The STFC will have a programme moving forward that addresses some of the most exciting scientific questions facing us today”.

    Sir Peter Knight, chair of STFC Science Board, said,’ Science Board and its advisory committees had to make some difficult decisions, particularly when presented with a wide range of exciting science projects and in the knowledge that our recommendations will set the course for our future research programme. I am convinced that the resulting programme will ensure the UK remains at the forefront of global research’.

    STFC Council emphasised that the underlying funding for [ Insert Field ] grants would remain broadly level in the next financial year. This follows large increases in [ Insert Project ] funding last year and would mean that there would be no major reductions in [Insert Field] funding.

  9. Hedley Phillips

    This is criminal

    What does G Brown think he is doing to our country?

    We can afford a war where single vehicles are costing a quater of a million pounds each but we can't afford science, hopsitals, schools, prisons, road, etc etc.

    I get the feeling our country is being run into the ground.

  10. Christoph

    How to encourage science

    "The future of our country depends critically on our scientific skills, but not enough people are studying science. How can we encourage them?"

    "How about, to save a minute fraction of the kind of money we spend invading other countries and paying off our chums, we trash all the country's advanced science projects - the kind that excite kids and make them want to do science? And make it clear that this kind of thing has no future at all, and they'd be out of their minds to study science?"

    "Great idea! Let's do it!"

  11. Andy Enderby
    Thumb Down


    ....and will the last scientist to leave the country kindly switch off the lights.

    No to worry though, because with no industry to speak of, no engineering going on, no research etc... before long the STFC will have become an irrelevance and will in turn lose all its funding.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Who is making these decisions?

    If the world was run by bean counters from the beginning they would be practicing their anal-retentive art in a cave with stones. You cannot predict or put a price on progress through hard science. When the laser was invented no one knew what to do with it and as they say, the rest is history. One thing is for sure the cost of loosing Merlin will be huge but to the bean-counter is does not exist because its not on a balance sheet.

    We in the real world have to stop this madness, before the carbon credits and carbon futures become the way to solve global warming instead of hard science.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    And then there were two

    Now there are two petitions about JB

    has been around for a while....

    Don't split the vote!

  14. Anonymous Coward


    Science Tight For Cash?

    Satellite Toils in Financial Crisis?

  15. Matt


    come on... what is happening... £2.5 mil is a drop in the ocean... HMRC can spunk £1.4m on a flipping 2 word logo, but one of our major scientific establishments is gonna be scrapped??

    My taxes go up, my standard of living and country goes down... with the demise of industry, science, and any sort of social standards, plus the rise in organised crime, the over population of our prisions. I can france plugging the tunnel, and the world hiving off the UK and leaving it as 'Escape from NY' style prison colony

  16. Paul Kinsler

    can I just point out...

    That the STFC is £80m short, and has no choice but to cut funding somewhere. Since science in this country isn't awash with money, anything that gets its funding cut at this point is going to give ugly results.

    From the reporting I've read, it is far from clear that the STFC should be blamed for the £80m shortfall. So, while inventing insulting acronyms for STFC might pass the time in an amusing fashion, it is unlikely to encourage the relevant people (eg the government) to fix the problem. In contrast, I imagine the government are quite happy to pass the blame on this one -- even though simply ignoring the problem is already doing quite well as a strategy.

  17. michael

    I know where the funding ccould come from

    scrap the e petitions they are not read anyway

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just looked on eBay

    And the current bid is now £700,099.01

  19. D L Clements
    Dead Vulture

    Merger of PPARC and CCLRC at fault

    When STFC was formed last year it inherited a roughly 80M shortfall from CCLRC. This was meant to be sorted in the CSR but it wasn't. The merger has been botched, thanks to GB, whose idea it was in the first place as Treasurer at the time, and AD who failed to fund it in the CSR, aided and abetted by DIUS who seem to have ignored what warnings came from STFC about the damage from the shortfall.

    It's a clusterfuck and while the blame gets passed around real damage is being done. Jodrell is just the start - UKIRT, the ING telescopes, the whole of ground-based Solar Terrestrial Physics and much more are on the line, and there's similar damage to particle and nuclear physics.

  20. Chris Collins

    Yay, Pseudosocialism

    I suggest we all just become dole-scroungers en masse. Then let's see where they can stick their tax increases.

  21. simon

    maon to your MP ...

    go to , find your MP and get them to send a letter to the STFC. you would be suprised how hard people work if there job is on the line ...

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wonder how much...

    ...the bidding will get to.

  23. Alex


    Have you seen the number of muppetry petitions that have been banned?? (particularly like the Ban the PS3 one!)

    Anyway, technically speaking, the correct petition is actually:

    keep it going..

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    Its obvious really, we already know the agenda of those in power.

    S cience

    T rashed

    F or

    C hrist

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @m[oan]n to your MP ...

    Sadly this is not much more use than 'e-petitions'. I wrote to my MP once on the subject of finger printing children for library books/dinners/etc. I got what looked like a template letter back (on very very fancy paper, so that's where the money is going) which may as well have said "don't you worry yourself little voter, big mr. government knows best".


  26. Anonymous Coward

    It's hard to understand why they are doing this ...

    UNLESS there is something they don't want JB and Merlin to find out and tell us about.

    Seriously, £2.5 million is nothing. Its paperclip cash. There is something rotten going on here.

  27. Adrian Challinor
    Paris Hilton

    Solve the funding crisis in three easy stages

    1) Ban all MP's for making blatantly fraudulent expense claims. If I tried anything like that I would have HMRC down on me like a ton of bricks demanding back tax, interest, etc. But being MP's, they are allowed to do this;

    2) Can the ID card nonsense. The saving on consultants alone will pay for the short fall in the STFC funding hole.

    3) Cancel the Olympics. No-one I know wants them. The chance of the current funding levels being even close to realistic is laughable, and these are, what, upto 10 Bn now? And all the time, projects like Merlin, JB, even my friend researching in to cancer and birth defects have had their funding slashed.

    PH - she could run a country better than this load of muppets.

  28. Anonymous Coward

    hopes against hope

    With any luck, some extremist nut-job will do us a favour and blow parliament up with the mp's still in there. We then get to start from scratch and stopped getting brain/money/rights raped by our government!

  29. Steve King

    @Anonymous Coward

    People who really believe that they will be answerable after their death for what they did during their life don't tend to invade other countries.

    Just because I am a Christian doesn't mean I want to see science funding cut. Don't patronise me by telling me what you consider I should think.

    I believe that truth is a goal to persue wherever it leads (allowing for a debate on ethics if relevant), and I hope that most people could agree with that. Every person of faith I've ever asked would agree with it as well.

    Your cheap shots just help those who would do anything it takes to get more contracts for Haliburton. Next stop Iran, and then Syria.



  30. Michael Sheils

    I really want to be ignored

    So I signed both petitions.

  31. David Shaw

    STFC =

    Scientific Technology Funding Crisis....... (again)

    I remember when the UK blamed the dropping of projects on 'unforeseen movements in the value of the Swiss Franc' ...

    Jodrell's a bit old ~(who isn't), so might make a few quid in scrap value, but I have friends who were hoping that the UK would do a bit more than just help design the forthcoming future International Linear Collider (31kilometres of vacuum and a bit of radiofrequency and magnets) <>

    some STFC background at <> also note the 25% cut in University PP and astrofizz funding!.

    We should lobby the Chancellor, not AD he'll be replaced soon enuff, but Ed Balls who's dad is actually a genuine CBE MA DPhil FIBiol, and thoroughly nice chap.

    come to think of it, are there ANY MP's who aren't former journalists or lawyers and understand that a bit of mildly expensive blue-skies research might get you something useful later on...?

    /global warming penguin icon to represent the inevitable carbon tax in the budget tomorrow!!

  32. Anonymous Coward

    Invisible Petition?

    I've tried twice now to get the link for the petition to work, I've even googled for the thing....

    if it's a genuine petition, why does the page return:

    "no input file specified"?

    Have I been Jordaned?

    Or maybe the black helicopters *are* finally coming home to roost?

    Mine's the anorak, with the tinfoil-lined hood.

    Dumb f***ing bean counters strike again. A couple of million squid... FFS & JHC!

  33. Anonymous Coward

    But if Jodrell Bank goes,....

    How will we detect the Vogon Constructor fleet before it arrives? (We've tried logic with these civil servant fuckers, we might as well try humour).

  34. Highlander

    After the fall of Empire...

    ...Comes the vanishing without a trace.

    Jodrell Bank is/was one of the most famous, if not renowned, names in radio astronomy and an icon to the British science community. It's featured in countless science fiction tales and now because of a lack of imagination and ambition shown by the junior PM appointed to replace the Blair it is to be lost, forever.

    Pathetic. I left the UK in 2001 having married an American. When I got here I was continually amazed and disillusioned by the innumerable petty ways in which I considered the US to be beneath contempt. Over the last two or three years the pace of my disillusionment with the US has fallen to almost nothing as the UK has time after time out done the 'achievments' of the Dubya Years in the US. It actually makes me both angry and very sad to read stories about the rapidly fading light that was once the United Kingdom.

    Gordon Brown, well what do you expect? Is it any wonder that a man of finance doesn't bat an eyelid at bailing out a bank with 10's of billions, and yet can't even consider a tiny fraction of that to save fundamental aspects of scientific research? Gordon Brown, a man who makes even John f*cking Major look dynamic and interesting. John Major at very least had the distinction of actually being a nice guy. Gordon Brown's only distinction appears to be the ability to sound pompous while announcing a budget. What a disaster as PM.

    Paris, because a vapid heiress with highly questionable morals still has more principle than Gordon Brown and the rest of the Blair cronies running what passes for a government on the eastern side of the big pond.

  35. Jon

    Listed building

    I thought JB was a listed building, if not it should be.

    If we get it listed then there will be less of an incentive to sell it off. perhaps then it may be used again when certain people are the first against the wall come the revolution

  36. Rob Uttley

    Revenue from sponsorship....!

    That quip about Sky gives me an idea....

    ...why not get Rupert Murdoch to sponsor it? Biggest satellite dish in the UK, image rights (he could paint a Sky+HD logo in the middle of the dish I guess), a couple of million a year is nothing to him (look at what Sky must spend on advertising now - I'm currently a Sky+ customer and every month they send me two or three leaflets imploring me to 'come back to Sky').

    In all seriousness though, what a farce. At the risk of sounding like a Daily Mail journo, 'Is This The Kind Of Shambolic Country We Want To Live In?'. :-(

  37. Anonymous Coward


    I think we should start a new petition agreeing with the government that science is worthless and that we do not want the UK to lead the world in technology and science. All universities must be forced to run travel and tourism and call centre degrees. Any courses dealing in mathematics, science or technology must be withdrawn!

    flamable - because it's about time someone poured some petrol on this!

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Pretty typical

    At the risk of backing Gordo Broon (and getting flamed for it) he and AD aren't the first to screw over ScienceUK, I remember science budgets getting well and truly shafted during Major's PMship - but I realise that this is no excuse. (And don't get me started on Bliar's stint in no. 10)

    As to the Merlin/Jodrell item - why the heck can't they divert some of the money they just threw away on Northern Rock (or if this is an "investment" can we get some of it back early?).

    Better still, cancel that stupid boondoggle in London - the 2012 sponsored spot-a-drug-cheat-athon, and use a small fraction of the money that would have been urinated against a wall for that to support something of far more obvious benefit to the nation, (yes the whole nation - not just the bit below Luton!)

    Meanwhile - for all the good it'll do - I've signed the petition.

    Paris Hilton icon because even she couldn't come up with stupider ideas than seem to be policy at the moment. Anyone want to support a "Katie Price for PM" campaign? ;)

  39. Anonymous Coward

    Good innit?

    Something we actually lead the world in (for some considerable time) is to be stopped because they can't/won't bung it a few quid. Surely it's time to raid the lottery. Just think, if an asteroid goes astray and destroys this pitiful little island, Sir Bernard would probably say we could've tracked that.... Not only that, where are we gonna blast off to in order to escape infinite surveillance, ID Cards, etc etc?

    Mr Brown should be showing MORE respect.

  40. Anonymous Coward

    Poltical Vampirism

    We left the shores of the UK 5 years ago to move to a new job over here in the US. Despite living in a country that voted in quite possibly the most inept and corrupt president in the nation's history, I am aghast at what's happening to the UK.

    With every day that passes, our desire to move back to Blightey lessens. In fact, our desire to return went into negative numbers relatively quickly. We don't miss the British down-trodden view of life. We don't miss the yob culture. We don't miss the vandalism, litter, graffiti and filth. We don't miss paying more in taxes than we take home.

    And we most certainly don't miss a country seemingly willing to allow its government to decimate the accomplishments for which the UK should be so proud. The closure of JB is, for me, just a rotten cherry on a mouldy cake.

    Whilst the US has a very great deal wrong with it, I am just supremely thankful that each preseident can only run for two terms before relinquishing his/her post to someone else. Without credible alternatives, UK Prime Ministers can stay in power for DECADES.

    I got my coat several years ago and won't be hanging it on any British coat hooks any time soon.


  41. Anonymous Coward

    Where is all the money going?

    Signed up to both in the vain hope someone in government might listen...


    But where is all the money going that this government raises every year? What is it spent on?

    The UK spends more than £100bn on the NHS but we get dirty hospitals and GP appointments two weeks after we need them.

    £70-80bn on education yet we are producing fewer and fewer scientists and engineers (lots of sports science, tourism and business graduates though) and children who can't read or count and happily write reports in 'text speak'.

    The UK Government happily invades another country but is also quite happily cutting back defense expenditure to the extent soldiers can be sent to a war zone without body armour. 80+% of UK trade comes and goes by sea yet our navy will soon be no more than a coastal defense force.

    We can't find £80m of science funding?? Out of a government budget of nearly £600bn? WTF!

    £12bn on ID cards, another £12bn on the NHS database, £10-15bn on the Olympics not to mention consultants and gold plated civil servant and MP pensions (paid out of our taxes not from investments like a private pension would need to be, plenty of accountants say the total bill for this is at least £700bn. Gulp).

    Plenty of press that everyones taxes will be going up again tomorrow though...

    /end of rant...

  42. Tim

    National Science Week

    You all know that it's National Science Week, right? I just want to cry. £2.5 million... It's nothing, an accountant's fart, and we can't even find that.

    But this is a joke isn't it? Isn't it?

  43. Werner McGoole

    @Andrew Smith

    Perhaps we should start a petition to the PM urging him to ignore our petition? That'd get the blighter! Maybe he'd self-destruct with screams of "does not compute, does not compute!".

    Ah, dreams...

    Mine's the one with the mobius strip for a belt.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Paint it silver, tell your politicians there is money at the pointy end...

    and aim it at the sun.

  45. Chika


    Sorry, but I always thought it meant "Shut The F*** Up". Perhaps this is the message we should be sending to our (sic) illustrious leader?

  46. Phill Key

    Will anyone listern?

    I have added my signature for what it’s worth; wonder if Dr Brian May and Sir Patrick Moore will sign? We should have this site as a national heritage monument to 1) show how Great Britain was, and 2) that Dr “Tom Baker” Who regenerated there….

  47. Fox

    STFC: Surely Time For Change

    'nuff said

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    How much of our hard earned dosh have the morons thrown at their ID card fiasco?

    It's all a matter of priorities you see.

  49. John Benson
    Paris Hilton

    Growing up in the Sputnik era...

    ...of George Pal rocketship sagas and Walt Disney's Tomorrowland space-travel edutainment hosted by genial old Werner von Braun, us American kids were exposed over and over again to pictures of Jodrell Bank whenever somebody wanted to underscore that we were living in a time of great scientific curiosity directed outward, away from the Earth.

    The image still conjures up some of that excitement and wonder, just as the Northrop Flying Wing and Vulcan move some of us in ways that the more capable Stealth Bomber never will.

    My guess is that if budgetary concerns don't kill it, the lawyers will. Can you say "attractive nuisance"?

  50. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    It's a scam...

    ...Jodrell Bank isn't in fucking Altrincham so there'll be nothing to collect! eBay really ought to check up before putting the general public at risk!

    Mine's the well-worn Harrington, ta.

  51. Anonymous Coward

    JB was in a Dr Who Episode once

    All Dr Who sites should be preserved for eternity and for British pride.

    Mine's the overcoat with the extra long scarf.

  52. Anonymous Coward

    Petition's address

    You seem to have wrong idea about the petition. You don't send it to Gordon Brown. You send it to David Cameron under the header: If you save Jodrell Bank, we the signatories will never vote for labor again...

    That will get their attention.

  53. TeeCee Gold badge

    Look on the bright side.

    The record for World's largest Wok is there for the taking now.

    Coat please, I've got 200 tons of Kung Pao Chicken to make up and I need to put some loo roll in the freezer.

  54. John Parker
    Thumb Up

    I'm with Rob Uttley - revenue from Sky sponsorship!

    The Sky sponsership isn't such a bad idea :) isn't it only £80m their short of? Sky could perhaps spare that from their coffers for the image rights of having the Sky_ HD painted on it... then they could use it as the cutscene betweeen shows, and have a web addresss where people could find out more.

    Then the other TV companies might even start funding their own scientific projects to compete!


  55. Wayland Sothcott

    Science already knows everything... why do we need instruments to look for more stuff?

    The fact is that the more you know, the more there is to know. You can't tell where knowledge might lead, which might be scary for the government. It's unlikely that £2.5 Million would scrap this if there was not an adgenda to do so.

    I have signed the petition

    and expect to be ignored. I think that must be the point of these. Get's you to feel like you have done something when you have really done very little.

  56. Anonymous Coward

    melt it down...

    they could always melt it down and sell it as scrap and use the money to recover 0.001% of the money being spent in Iraq each day. Idiots!

    I like the Sky sponsorship idea. I wonder if it's legal? If hope so! Is the JB entirely goberment funded? I can see the adverts now, to get the "Sky+++" package you need a dish like this!!! :-)

  57. avatastic


    Stop The F**king Country! I want to get off!

  58. John

    Uni Of Manchester

    I spoke to my tutor about this last week (physics department) who is heavily involved with Jodrell and he was pretty bloody pissed off about it. He did say there is a lot of behind the scenes arguing going on and that there is funding to last like 18 months or so, but they will fight the whole way.

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Swindon Town Football Club

    is the name the cut-and-shut job that is STFC acquired internally at CCLRC (don't know about at PPARC, they seem generally to have been ignored - as everybody predicted because funding councils have a fetish for bricks and mortars under central control, not distributing research grants to Universities).

    (If you didn't realise, Swindon is the Siberia to which Whitehall has decided the research councils must be exiled).

    The budget cuts are an interesting contrast to the money apparently around for "commercial" projects at STFC it would seem, like business parks on the CCLRC site....

  60. John

    you can still buy it here!

    The last time I looked the current bid was £910,946.00.

    It's now in London though. I'm not sure how they got it there, surely someone would've noticed it was missing.

    GO because this may have more effect than e-petitions.

  61. Mark SPLINTER

    vote with your suitcase

    I pay my taxes to the Lithuanian Mafia because they are less corrupt than ;)

  62. John

    you can still buy it here! (part 2)

    See previous comment for the link. Current bid so far is: £1,000,100.00.

    Not long to go now. 13-Mar-08 23:21:46 GMT (1 day 1 hour) :(

  63. Robin Layfield

    Jodrell Bank...

    the only bank the UK govt won't bail out....

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    I had a thought this afternoon

    I was sitting outside earlier on and came up with the following;-

    Radio Astronomy monitors stuff in outer space, such as the Sun and stuff like that. Sir Patrick Moore said that in 2003 (when record temperatures were set) that it was solar activity (gamma and alpha as well as X-ray bursts, i.e. nuclear explosions on the surface of the Sun) that was causing the atmosphere to heat up. As a layman, I believe that Sir Patrick knows his stuff and being the man he is, wouldn't be inclined to tell lies. This doesn't really fit in with government policy on climate change, and Sir Patrick's explanation didn't get much press. It seems the classic "fit our solution to the problem (even if it is wrong, unworkable or way off the mark)" stamp of inept government. It is more than probably this that has led to funding cut.

  65. John

    that e-bay result in full

    Winning bid: £9,999,999.99. That should sort it out.

    see previous comment for the link.

    A smiley cos it made me laugh.

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