Physicist Sir Bernard Lovell dies

Celebrated physicist and radio astronomer Sir Bernard Lovell has died at the age of 98, the University of Manchester has said.

Sir Bernard was the university's Emeritus Professor of Radioastronomy and the founder and first director of Jodrell Bank Observatory in Cheshire.

In a statement, the university said his "legacy is immense" and added that he was "a great man, he will be sorely missed".

Jodrell Bank is dominated by the 250ft (76m) Lovell Telescope, conceived by Sir Bernard.

He began working with engineer Sir Charles Husband to build the telescope in 1945 and it has since become a symbol of British science and engineering and a landmark in the Cheshire countryside.

A hugely ambitious project at the time, the telescope was by far the world's largest when it was completed in 1957 and within days tracked the rocket that carried Sputnik 1 into orbit, marking the dawn of the space age.

It is still the third largest steerable telescope in the world and a series of upgrades mean it is now more capable than ever, observing phenomena undreamed of when it was first conceived. Today, the Lovell Telescope plays a key role in world-leading research on pulsars, testing our understanding of extreme physics including Einstein's general theory of relativity, the university said.

Last year, Jodrell Bank Observatory was placed on the UK Government's shortlist for World Heritage Site status, recognising its important role in research and education.

A tribute published on the Jodrell Bank website said: "In person, Sir Bernard was warm and generous. He retained a keen interest in the development of science at Jodrell Bank and beyond. Indeed he continued to come in to work at the Observatory until quite recently when ill-health intervened.

"Sir Bernard's legacy is immense, extending from his wartime work to his pioneering contributions to radio astronomy and including his dedication to education and public engagement with scientific research. A great man, he will be sorely missed."