The project aims to conserve and restore the heritage of the Jodrell Bank site and create a spectacular new space in which visitors can engage with and learn about the journey to explore our place in the Universe.
Development funding of £784,800 has also been awarded to help the University progress their plans to apply for a full grant at a later date.
Jodrell Bank is an internationally important place in the heritage of astronomy. It is the single site now remaining, worldwide, that shows the whole history of the development of radio astronomy – the first step towards the field of modern astrophysics that we know today. Its story includes revolutionary scientific discoveries, amazing feats of post-war engineering, the dawn of the Space Age and the creation of the Grade I listed Lovell Telescope, an icon of UK science and engineering.
Dr Teresa Anderson, Director of the Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, said: "We are absolutely delighted that HLF is supporting the First Light project. Jodrell Bank epitomises a ‘can do’ approach to science and engineering and this funding will allow us to tell the story of all the amazing men and women who (sometimes, with help from younger family members!) created the Observatory from scratch. Our mission is to inspire the scientists of the future, key to which is understanding that scientific discovery needs grit and determination, just as much as it needs creativity and inspiration!"
Professor Brian Cox, University of Manchester Physicist and Broadcaster, said: "I am really pleased to hear that HLF is supporting Jodrell Bank. The rich scientific history of the UK is a key part of our culture and Jodrell Bank is the stand-out icon of UK science and engineering. When I was young, visiting Jodrell Bank was one of the things that inspired me to become a scientist. This new project will inspire many more young people to carry on our great tradition of science and engineering."
Notes to editors
About Jodrell Bank Observatory, The University of Manchester
Jodrell Bank Observatory is the home of the Lovell Telescope and operates e-MERLIN, the UK's national radio astronomy facility comprising up to seven radio telescopes spread over 217km and connected by an optical fibre network. It also hosts the International Headquarters of the Square Kilometre Array, an ambitious project to build the world’s next large radio telescope in South Africa and Australia.
Jodrell Bank is a world leader in radio astronomy-related research and technology development with a research programme ranging from the study of stars and planets to the origin of the Universe in the Big Bang.
The Jodrell Bank site is also home to the Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, which welcomes visitors to the Observatory and engages them directly with research happening at the site. The Centre features exhibitions on topics from cosmology to the search for life, including the work of the Lovell Telescope and others around the world. It offers opportunities to meet the scientists, short courses and other events including in literature, music and the arts. Visitors can also explore extensive gardens and enjoy the award-winning café.
Katie Owen, HLF Press Office, on tel: 020 7591 6036 or 07973 613820.