File: Robert Hanbury Brown

Scope and Content

An important file containing Lovell's personal correspondence with Hanbury Brown from his appointment at the University of Manchester until the 1980s. Hanbury Brown was first appointed as an ICI fellow in 1949, becoming a senior lecturer in 1952, reader in 1956 and professor in radio astronomy in 1969. In 1964, he left the Observatory to take a chair at the University of Sydney, where he worked on the Narrabri Stellar Intensity Interferometer until 1974.

The file contains:

  • papers on Brown's initial researches at Jodrell Bank.
  • correspondence concerning RHB's research at the radiophysics labs, University of Sydney 1952.
  • correspondence concerning the election of RHB to the Royal Society (he was finally elected in 1960).
  • correspondence between RHB and Lovell concerning his work at Narrabi, 1962-1964. Initially, RHB was on secondment from JBO, but in early 1963, he decided to relocate permanently yo Australia to work on the project. In a letter to Lovell, 13 March 1963, he explains his decision to leave Jodrell Bank for Australia "I am sure that you appreciate that just to build the thing [the interferometer] and show it once is not enough. One must also carry out a significant observational programme and set up some organisation to carry it on". In a further exchange of 30/31 July 1963, RHB discusses problems with the interferometer's performance, and Lovell shares his concerns about the future of JBO, caused partly by a loss of senior staff.
  • correspondence from the late 1960s concerning the Anglo-Australian Telescope project, supported by Lovell and RHB. In a letter of 24 August 1968, RHB expresses scepticism about the feasibility of the Mark V.
  • a letter of 20 May 1968 from RHB to Lovell where he says he would take post of Director of the RGO if offered (along with the associated post of Astronomer Royal); failing this would consider a post at Imperial College. Lovell was enquiring at the time whether a Royal Society research professorship could be found for RHB so he could return to the UK (he repeated this attempt in 1972, when RHB was visiting the UK).
  • a letter of 12 August 1974 where RHB gives his reasons for staying in Australia to get a new interferometer set up.
  • a bundle of letters relating to Rex Moore's successful support for RHB to be awarded a Companion of the Order of Australia (1981).
  • correspondence relating to an unsuccessful attempt by Lord Blaker (RHB's cousin), supported by Lovell, for RHB to be awarded a knighthood (1990s).
  • miscellaneous copies of obituaries of RHB and order of service for his funeral, 25 Jan 2002.

Acquisition Information

This file was transferred separately in 2004.

Related Material

See also JBA/OBI/7/1 and JBA/CS8.