Our logo is inspired by the Lovell telescope at the Jodrell Bank Observatory. This iconic structure was voted “Britain’s Greatest Unsung Landmark” in a 2006 BBC Poll and is the central defining feature of the Jodrell Bank Observatory, itself declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2019. The telescope symbolises the scientific and cultural heritage of the North West: a tool for discovery and a centre for international collaboration and communication.
Heritage and meaning to match to our mission
The UK has 33 properties on the World Heritage List, 28 of which are listed on grounds of their cultural significance. The Jodrell Bank Observatory is unique amongst these in that it is a living, working site. It represents world leading activity as a symbol of the region, rather than serving merely as a representation of past glories. It demonstrates the continuing cultural and scientific significance of the North West, rather than resembling a Theme Park Britain site, as is often our international perception. The UNESCO citation gives a number of reasons for the inclusion of Jodrell Bank on the List:
- Jodrell Bank Observatory is a masterpiece of human creative genius related to its scientific and technical achievements.
- The scientific work at Jodrell Bank is at the heart of a global collaborative network.
- Jodrell Bank Observatory represents an outstanding example of a technological ensemble which illustrates a significant stage in human history.
- Jodrell Bank Observatory is directly and tangibly associated with events and ideas of outstanding universal significance.
This is a clear match to the Bylines Network’s objectives in promoting a progressive and internationalist stance to discourse.
The Lovell Telescope
The most obvious feature of the Jodrell Bank Observatory, the Lovell Telescope, was the vision of Sir Bernard Lovell, a pioneer in the field of radio astronomy. Lovell established his equipment in the quiet rural location of Jodrell Bank on land originally bought by the University of Manchester for its Botany department, the first radio telescopes built by Lovell and his team being stationary and made from scaffolding. The concept of developing a telescope with a diameter of 73 metres (250 feet), one that could be steered to investigate objects in the same manner as used by optical telescopes, was daring and revolutionary for its time.
The design work started in 1950 with construction beginning two years later. The telescope was completed in 1957 and comprised the largest steerable dish radio telescope in the world. Today, it is the third largest such dish and is part of the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics in the University of Manchester.
It is an imposing feature in the Cheshire landscape and visible from Greater Manchester and the Peak District. It remains in daily use and is a key part of the Multi-Element Radio Linked Interferometer Network (MERLIN) linking radio telescopes across the UK, from Cheshire to Cambridgeshire, to synthesise a virtual telescope with an effective length of 217 km, which provides a resolution comparable with the best optical telescopes.
Jodrell Bank Today
Jodrell Bank is now a major centre for international collaboration in astronomy. It serves as the headquarters of the Square Kilometre Array, a multinational collaboration between 16 partner countries and eight further African partner countries, which is constructing an ambitious radio telescope facility in the Southern Hemisphere. This international focus and outreach to the scientific communities in developing nations aligns closely with the mission of the Bylines Project.
The co-located Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre is an important resource in the North West for outreach in the STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), all of which underpin the region’s heritage as a cradle of the industrial revolution and development of the modern world, with pioneering work in the fields of aviation, computing and medicine. It is also the site of the Blue Dot Science and Music Festival, which combines Music (often with a North West flavour) with science, communication and education focused on the theme of Space and Astronomy, while incorporating contemporary concerns such as climate change and the human impact on the environment.
We believe that our North West Bylines logo, inspired by an internationally renowned organisation located in the region, provides a striking image that captures the essence of our mission as a vehicle for cutting edge journalism that is locally based, but with an international and progressive outlook. Many thanks to the hard work of Jayson Winters from Brace Design, for transforming the idea into the final logo, which we all love.
For an account of the creation of the Lovell Telescope, see Story of Jodrell Bank by Bernard Lovell
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