March 15, 2004

Jodrell Bank

Six miles off the M6, down winding country roads, sits Jodrell Bank, bowl pointing straight up to the heavens. On the last day of our tour of the Midlands, Bob and I drove up from Stafford to check it out.

I've been there before, years ago. A lot of things remembered from childhood appear to have shrunk but it still seems pretty big. It bought to mind something my friend Ansuman Biswas once said in connection with radio telescopes, that they are like a monks bowl quietly waiting for whatever might fall into them.

Perfectly still under the low grey clouds, carefully sculpted to collect whatever information might fall from the far flung reaches of the universe, it radiated a patient tranquility.

By contrast the visitors centre had all the charm of a motorway service station restroom. The mysteries of cosmology are overshadowed by the question as to how they managed to turn such inspiring subject matter into such a mess.

The website is probably a better bet . . . these timelapse movies for example : 1 2 3

DM Bob phones home.

Posted by Jem Finer at March 15, 2004 1:46 PM