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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant portrait of a great man., 28 Dec 2013
This review is from: Space Has No Frontier: The Terrestrial Life and Times of Bernard Lovell (Hardcover)
This compelling book is readable from the start. Not only is it a fascinating portrait of a brilliant man but it also makes science accessible to beginners. It is a human story about a man who was engaging in every way and had so many interests apart from Science. I could not put this book down.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Space Has No Frontier, 27 Dec 2013
This review is from: Space Has No Frontier: The Terrestrial Life and Times of Bernard Lovell (Hardcover)
This is quite simply the best biography I have read for many years. What a wonderful man Bernard Lovell must have been. I could not put the book down and was very sad to have finished it. I would recommend it to everyone.
Judy Francis
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Man For All Seasons, 19 Dec 2013
By 
Mr. M. J. Reynolds "M J Reynolds" (Nantwich, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Space Has No Frontier: The Terrestrial Life and Times of Bernard Lovell (Hardcover)
Sir Bernard Lovell excelled in so many different ways. As a husband, a father to 5, a scientist, a musician and a horticulturalist. It seems almost unfair to those of us far less gifted in even our main sphere of activity. Yet one can't resent him. He was a traditional English gentleman. He could be a bit impetuous and often naïve. However he was a genuine hero and is immortalised by the Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank, which continues to be at the forefront of modern cosmological research.

This book is the perfect biography for Sir Bernard. It attempts to portray the whole man and not just the famous scientist. For this reason one shouldn't feel that the book is unapproachable. It is aimed at the layman and whilst you may at times get lost in the detail the overarching story remains gripping. I often laughed out loud. It's that good.

Sir Patrick Moore described him as the Isaac Newton of radio astronomy. See if you agree.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A must read., 13 Jun 2014
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A well written and fascinating insight. Such a tribute. It should absorb, inform and entertain a wide audience. A must read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superman was never this "good"....., 9 May 2014
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This review is from: Space Has No Frontier: The Terrestrial Life and Times of Bernard Lovell (Hardcover)
Just a well paced and informative book on one of Britain's scientific giants of the last 200 years. Shows the 'establishment' & 'academic big wigs' for what they were when they tried to delay, cancel and divert blame for one of the greatest research tools ever developed being 'over budget'. Thank goodness for Bernard's drive and grit to see it through. Also enthralling to read his pivotal role in war time Britain and the defence and attack capabilities of radar.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Space Has No Frontier, 7 Nov 2013
This review is from: Space Has No Frontier: The Terrestrial Life and Times of Bernard Lovell (Hardcover)
Space Has No Frontier: The Terrestrial Life and Times of Sir Bernard Lovell
John Bromley-Davenport Bene Factum (2013)
He made waves in radio astronomy, founded the UK-based Jodrell Bank Observatory and was an `incidental' cold-war spy. Bernard Lovell, who died aged 98 in 2012, emerges as complex and brilliant in John Bromley-Davenport's biography. There is much to savour, from Jodrell Bank's use both in anti-Soviet defence and in tracking the Soviet satellite Sputnik; Lovell's risky, newly revealed 1963 visit to the Soviet Deep Space Network; and the observatory's latest role as control centre for the Square Kilometre Array radio telescopes.

3 1 O C T O B E R 2 0 1 3 | VO L 5 0 2 | N AT U R E | 6 2 1

In Brief Magazine

Bernard Lovell was a fascinating man and this is a particularly enjoyable biography, taking the reader through a life spanning an interesting and important period of history (this review contains spoilers).

It can be assumed that scientists will be interested in reading this book. However, a glance at its chapter list hints at the full range of Lovell's diverse interests, which should broaden the book's appeal to include normal people. His fascinations were not merely radar and astronomy, but also included cricket, music and gardening. Cricket fans will note that as well as being an impressive batsman, he proposed a ball-tracking system long before HawkEye's, and invented the light metering system used at Old Trafford cricket ground. Musicians' jaws will drop (as mine did) on reading his diary notes of the concerts he attended: Cortot playing Chopin, Schnabel playing Beethoven, Horowitz playing Liszt! Gardeners have an entire chapter to themselves.

The main thrust of the book, however, follows Lovell's many scientific and technical achievements. The tales of his wartime projects, and post-war involvement in the space race are almost unbelievable. The aircraft-mounted radar system he worked on during World War Two is credited with significantly shortening hostilities. Developed to enable bombing raids to accurately hit their targets, it was later adapted to discover (and force the retreat of) submerged U boats blockading the Atlantic, and to identify coastlines during the Normandy landings. After the war he tracked the US Apollo missions to the Moon. He helped both sides in the Space Race, and thus became unwittingly involved in the Cold War. When the Soviets launched their first Sputnik mission, it was Lovell who helped them find their booster rocket afterwards. They later paid him back by (it is alleged) trying to poison him with radiation. You couldn't make it up.

Lovell's greatest peacetime achievement was surely the Jodrell Bank radio telescope, in which he reused his own wartime developments, and much now-surplus military equipment, for the pursuit of peaceful scientific research. In doing so, he created a new scientific discipline: Radio Astronomy. As radio observations are possible without clear skies, and even in the daytime, he allowed the UK to become a world leader in astronomy despite our terrible weather.

But even this story had many twists. The struggle to get the telescope completed amid spiralling costs resulted in newspaper scandal, gagging orders, withheld documents and Lovell being shamefully misled with the threat of debtors' prison (a century after its abolition). Not to mention the stern wigging he got at his local Rotary club.

Writing this book was clearly a labour of love. The scientific descriptions where they appear, betray the author's keen enthusiasm and formidable technical knowledge. While these descriptions might not always be totally accessible to all readers, they can be glossed over without detriment to the flow of what on occasion reads like the plot of a thriller.

Filled with anecdotes and pages of photographs, this biography can be recommended to all with an interest in learning more about an extraordinary life's work.

Peter Bispham, PhD
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Space Has No Frontier: The Terrestrial Life and Times of Bernard Lovell
Space Has No Frontier: The Terrestrial Life and Times of Bernard Lovell by John Bromely-Davenport (Hardcover - 30 Oct 2013)
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