Jodrell Bank telescope threatened by British government

This BBC video from Britain is called Historic Jodrell Bank telescope fears closure.

By Robert Stevens:

Britain: Science cuts threaten Jodrell Bank radio telescope

17 April 2008

The Labour government of Prime Mister Gordon Brown is pushing ahead with unprecedented cuts in the UK science budget, with many critical programmes and facilities now threatened. In March, the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) outlined a Programmatic Review listing all the science projects it funds in order of priority.

The review followed the STFC’s December 11 budget announcement proposing severe cuts to the budgets of critical physics research and astronomy projects in the UK. The council cited an £80 million shortfall in its £670 million triannual budget as the reason for the cuts.

The report divides scientific projects into High, Medium-High, Medium-Lower and Lower categories. Scientists fear that funding may be withdrawn from those facilities deemed to be “Lower Priority” and some of those listed as “Medium-Lower Priority.” Some 18 projects are listed as “Medium-Lower Priority” and a further 25 as “Lower Priority.”

Among the many projects described as being of “Lower Priority” are the following:

* MERLIN, e-MERLIN and “Jive”—The Multi-Element Radio Linked Interferometer Network (MERLIN) is an array of radio telescopes centred on the world-famous Lovell telescope at Jodrell Bank in Cheshire and is operated by the nearby University of Manchester. The array is distributed around Britain, with separations of up to 217 km. The project is preparing to complete a full £8 million upgrade to fibre-optic cables, enabling the full use of each dish to be made. The latter is known as e-MERLIN. …

Immediately following the publication of the STFC review, there were protests throughout the astronomy and physics communities and among scientists in general. Sir Bernard Lovell, who founded and oversaw the construction of Jodrell Bank and who still works there at the age of 96, said, “We are all astonished. I’m sure some solution will be found. It is the wrong time to close it. The work is of such fundamental importance. It would just not be sensible for them to pull the plug now.”

Meanwhile, the British government spends lots of money on bailing out rich bankers (see also here); on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; on paranormal pseudo-science to find those unfindable weapons of mass destruction in Iraq; etc.

Italy Lacks Money to Interpret Data From New Telescope in Chile: here.

5 thoughts on “Jodrell Bank telescope threatened by British government

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