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Antony Hewish

Antony Hewish

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Antony Hewish FRS  is a British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 radio astronomer
Radio astronomy
Radio astronomy is a subfield of astronomy that studies celestial objects at radio frequencies. The initial detection of radio waves from an astronomical object was made in the 1930s, when Karl Jansky observed radiation coming from the Milky Way. Subsequent observations have identified a number of...

 who won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1974 (together with fellow radio-astronomer Martin Ryle
Martin Ryle
Sir Martin Ryle was an English radio astronomer who developed revolutionary radio telescope systems and used them for accurate location and imaging of weak radio sources...

) for his work on the development of radio aperture synthesis
Aperture synthesis
Aperture synthesis or synthesis imaging is a type of interferometry that mixes signals from a collection of telescopes to produce images having the same angular resolution as an instrument the size of the entire collection...

 and its role in the discovery of pulsar
Pulsar
A pulsar is a highly magnetized, rotating neutron star that emits a beam of electromagnetic radiation. The radiation can only be observed when the beam of emission is pointing towards the Earth. This is called the lighthouse effect and gives rise to the pulsed nature that gives pulsars their name...

s. (Controversially, the prize was not shared with Jocelyn Bell Burnell
Jocelyn Bell Burnell
Susan Jocelyn Bell Burnell, DBE, FRS, FRAS , is a British astrophysicist. As a postgraduate student she discovered the first radio pulsars with her thesis supervisor Antony Hewish. She was president of the Institute of Physics from October 2008 until October 2010, and was interim president...

, Hewish's graduate student, although she was the first to notice the stellar radio source that was later recognised as a pulsar.) He was also awarded the Eddington Medal
Eddington Medal
The Eddington Medal, named after Sir Arthur Eddington, is awarded by the Royal Astronomical Society nominally once every two years for investigations of outstanding merit in theoretical astrophysics.- Recipients :* 1953 Georges Lemaître...

 of the Royal Astronomical Society
Royal Astronomical Society
The Royal Astronomical Society is a learned society that began as the Astronomical Society of London in 1820 to support astronomical research . It became the Royal Astronomical Society in 1831 on receiving its Royal Charter from William IV...

 in 1969.

Early life


He attended King's College, Taunton. His undergraduate degree at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge
Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge
Gonville and Caius College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, England. The college is often referred to simply as "Caius" , after its second founder, John Keys, who fashionably latinised the spelling of his name after studying in Italy.- Outline :Gonville and...

 was interrupted by war service at the Royal Aircraft Establishment
Royal Aircraft Establishment
The Royal Aircraft Establishment , was a British research establishment, known by several different names during its history, that eventually came under the aegis of the UK Ministry of Defence , before finally losing its identity in mergers with other institutions.The first site was at Farnborough...

, and at the Telecommunications Research Establishment
Telecommunications Research Establishment
The Telecommunications Research Establishment was the main United Kingdom research and development organization for radio navigation, radar, infra-red detection for heat seeking missiles, and related work for the Royal Air Force during World War II and the years that followed. The name was...

 where he worked with Martin Ryle
Martin Ryle
Sir Martin Ryle was an English radio astronomer who developed revolutionary radio telescope systems and used them for accurate location and imaging of weak radio sources...

. Returning to Cambridge
University of Cambridge
The University of Cambridge is a public research university located in Cambridge, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest university in both the United Kingdom and the English-speaking world , and the seventh-oldest globally...

 in 1946, Hewish completed his degree and immediately joined Ryle's research team
Cavendish Astrophysics Group
The Cavendish Astrophysics Group is based at the Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge. The group operates all of the telescopes at the Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory except for the 32m MERLIN telescope, which is operated by Jodrell Bank.The group is the second largest of three...

 at the Cavendish Laboratory
Cavendish Laboratory
The Cavendish Laboratory is the Department of Physics at the University of Cambridge, and is part of the university's School of Physical Sciences. It was opened in 1874 as a teaching laboratory....

, obtaining his Ph.D. in 1952. Hewish made both practical and theoretical advances in the observation and exploitation of the apparent scintillation
Interplanetary scintillation
In astronomy, interplanetary scintillation refers to random fluctuations in the intensity of radio waves of celestial origin, on the timescale of a few seconds. It is analogous to the twinkling one sees looking at stars in the sky at night, but in the radio part of the electromagnetic spectrum...

s of radio sources due to their radiation impinging upon plasma
Plasma (physics)
In physics and chemistry, plasma is a state of matter similar to gas in which a certain portion of the particles are ionized. Heating a gas may ionize its molecules or atoms , thus turning it into a plasma, which contains charged particles: positive ions and negative electrons or ions...

. This led him to propose, and secure funding for, the construction of the Interplanetary Scintillation Array
Interplanetary Scintillation Array
The Interplanetary Scintillation Array was built at the Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory in 1967 and originally covered four acres . It was extended in 1978 to nine, and re-furbished in 1989. It operates at 81.5 MHz , and is made up of 4096 dipoles in a phased array. 14 beams can map the...

, a large array radio telescope at the Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory (MRAO)
Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory
Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory is home to a number of large aperture synthesis radio telescopes, including the One-Mile Telescope, 5-km Ryle Telescope, and the Arcminute Microkelvin Imager...

, Cambridge
Cambridge
The city of Cambridge is a university town and the administrative centre of the county of Cambridgeshire, England. It lies in East Anglia about north of London. Cambridge is at the heart of the high-technology centre known as Silicon Fen – a play on Silicon Valley and the fens surrounding the...

 in order to conduct a high time-resolution radio survey of interplanetary scintillation
Interplanetary scintillation
In astronomy, interplanetary scintillation refers to random fluctuations in the intensity of radio waves of celestial origin, on the timescale of a few seconds. It is analogous to the twinkling one sees looking at stars in the sky at night, but in the radio part of the electromagnetic spectrum...

.

Nobel prize


In the course of this survey, one of his graduate students, Jocelyn Bell
Jocelyn Bell Burnell
Susan Jocelyn Bell Burnell, DBE, FRS, FRAS , is a British astrophysicist. As a postgraduate student she discovered the first radio pulsars with her thesis supervisor Antony Hewish. She was president of the Institute of Physics from October 2008 until October 2010, and was interim president...

, discovered the radio source which was ultimately recognised as the first pulsar
Pulsar
A pulsar is a highly magnetized, rotating neutron star that emits a beam of electromagnetic radiation. The radiation can only be observed when the beam of emission is pointing towards the Earth. This is called the lighthouse effect and gives rise to the pulsed nature that gives pulsars their name...

. The paper announcing the discovery had five authors, Hewish's name being listed first, Bell's second. Hewish and Martin Ryle
Martin Ryle
Sir Martin Ryle was an English radio astronomer who developed revolutionary radio telescope systems and used them for accurate location and imaging of weak radio sources...

 were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics
Nobel Prize in Physics
The Nobel Prize in Physics is awarded once a year by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. It is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Alfred Nobel in 1895 and awarded since 1901; the others are the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Nobel Prize in Literature, Nobel Peace Prize, and...

 in 1974. The Nobel award to Ryle and Hewish without the inclusion of Bell as a co-recipient was controversial, and was roundly condemned by Hewish's fellow astronomer Fred Hoyle
Fred Hoyle
Sir Fred Hoyle FRS was an English astronomer and mathematician noted primarily for his contribution to the theory of stellar nucleosynthesis and his often controversial stance on other cosmological and scientific matters—in particular his rejection of the "Big Bang" theory, a term originally...

. It is now universally recognized that Jocelyn Bell's
Jocelyn Bell Burnell
Susan Jocelyn Bell Burnell, DBE, FRS, FRAS , is a British astrophysicist. As a postgraduate student she discovered the first radio pulsars with her thesis supervisor Antony Hewish. She was president of the Institute of Physics from October 2008 until October 2010, and was interim president...

 supervisor and head of department "won the Nobel prize for Physics for a discovery which was essentially hers. Some people call it the No-Bell, Nobel prize because they feel so strongly that Jocelyn Bell-Burnell should have shared in the award." http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b016812j

Subsequent career


Hewish was professor of radio astronomy at the Cavendish Laboratory
Cavendish Laboratory
The Cavendish Laboratory is the Department of Physics at the University of Cambridge, and is part of the university's School of Physical Sciences. It was opened in 1874 as a teaching laboratory....

 from 1971 to 1989, and head of the MRAO
Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory
Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory is home to a number of large aperture synthesis radio telescopes, including the One-Mile Telescope, 5-km Ryle Telescope, and the Arcminute Microkelvin Imager...

 from 1982 to 1988. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society
Royal Society
The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, known simply as the Royal Society, is a learned society for science, and is possibly the oldest such society in existence. Founded in November 1660, it was granted a Royal Charter by King Charles II as the "Royal Society of London"...

 in 1968. He developed an association with the Royal Institution
Royal Institution
The Royal Institution of Great Britain is an organization devoted to scientific education and research, based in London.-Overview:...

 in London when it was directed by Sir Lawrence Bragg, giving one of the Christmas Lectures and subsequently several Friday Evening Discourses and was made a Professor of the Royal Institution in 1977

Hewish is a fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge
Churchill College, Cambridge
Churchill College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge, England.In 1958, a Trust was established with Sir Winston Churchill as its Chairman of Trustees, to build and endow a college for 60 fellows and 540 Students as a national and Commonwealth memorial to Winston Churchill; its...

. He is also a member of the Advisory Council for the Campaign for Science and Engineering
Campaign for Science and Engineering
The Campaign for Science and Engineering is a non-profit organization which promotes science and engineering in the UK. It focuses on arguing for more research funding, promoting a high-tech and knowledge-based economy, highlighting the need for top-quality science and maths education at all...

.

Awards and honors


Hewish has Honorary degrees from 6 universities including Manchester, Exeter and Cambridge, is a Foreign Member of the Belgian Royal Academy
The Royal Academies for Science and the Arts of Belgium
There are two Royal Academies for Science and the Arts in Belgium, corresponding to the two main languages of the country, Dutch and French . The Academies are located in the Palace of Academies in Brussels....

 and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
American Academy of Arts and Sciences
The American Academy of Arts and Sciences is an independent policy research center that conducts multidisciplinary studies of complex and emerging problems. The Academy’s elected members are leaders in the academic disciplines, the arts, business, and public affairs.James Bowdoin, John Adams, and...

 and the Indian National Science Academy
Indian National Science Academy
The Indian National Science Academy , New Delhi is the apex body of Indian scientists representing all branches of science & technology.-History:...

. His prizes include:
  • Eddington Medal, Royal Astronomical Society
    Royal Astronomical Society
    The Royal Astronomical Society is a learned society that began as the Astronomical Society of London in 1820 to support astronomical research . It became the Royal Astronomical Society in 1831 on receiving its Royal Charter from William IV...

     (1969)
  • Dellinger Gold Medal, International Union of Radio Science
    International Union of Radio Science
    The International Union of Radio Science is one of 26 international scientific unions affiliated to the International Council for Science.- History and objectives :...

     (1972)
  • Albert A. Michelson Medal, Franklin Institute
    Franklin Institute
    The Franklin Institute is a museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and one of the oldest centers of science education and development in the United States, dating to 1824. The Institute also houses the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial.-History:On February 5, 1824, Samuel Vaughn Merrick and...

     (1973, jointly with Jocelyn Bell Burnel)
  • Nobel Prize for Physics (jointly) (1974)
  • Hughes Medal
    Hughes Medal
    The Hughes Medal is awarded by the Royal Society of London "in recognition of an original discovery in the physical sciences, particularly electricity and magnetism or their applications". Named after David E. Hughes, the medal is awarded with a gift of £1000. The medal was first awarded in 1902 to...

    , Royal Society
    Royal Society
    The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, known simply as the Royal Society, is a learned society for science, and is possibly the oldest such society in existence. Founded in November 1660, it was granted a Royal Charter by King Charles II as the "Royal Society of London"...

     (1977)

Religious Views


Hewish has argued that religion and science are "complementary". In the forward to "Questions of Truth
Questions of Truth
Questions of Truth is a book by John Polkinghorne and Nicholas Beale which offers their responses to 51 questions about science and religion...

" Hewish writes, "The ghostly presence of virtual particle
Virtual particle
In physics, a virtual particle is a particle that exists for a limited time and space. The energy and momentum of a virtual particle are uncertain according to the uncertainty principle...

s defies rational common sense and is non-intuitive for those unacquainted with physics. Religious belief in God, and Christian belief...may seem strange to common-sense thinking. But when the most elementary physical things behave in this way, we should be prepared to accept that the deepest aspects of our existence go beyond our common-sense understanding."

Personal life


He married Marjorie Richards in 1950. They have a son .

External links