Will UNESCO dish the love to Lovell's big dish?

Britain’s famous radio telescope observatory, Jodrell Bank, was named today as the UK's nomination for a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The observatory in the heart of the Cheshire countryside, dominated by the stunning Lovell Telescope, is run by the University of Manchester. The official government nomination will now go forward in January for a final decision by UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.

The observatory has just celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Lovell Telescope, which, when it was completed in 1957, was  the world’s largest telescope with the dish spanning a diameter of more than 76 meters. Nowadays it's more powerful as a symbol of 20th century science and engineering.

Professor Teresa Anderson, director of Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre said: ‘We have been preparing the case for the World Heritage Site inscription for Jodrell Bank Observatory for some years, so it’s absolutely fantastic to reach this milestone. The Lovell Telescope, in particular, has become an icon for science and engineering, and we look forward to showcasing the rich scientific heritage of this and the wider site on an international stage.”

In preparation for inclusion in the World Heritage list, the site is working on a project to create a spectacular new gallery space that will celebrate the "can do" story of the creation of radio astronomy.

Professor Michael Garrett, director of the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics, said: “Jodrell Bank has played a leading role in radio astronomy for over seventy years. This rich history is still being written with the execution of state-of-the art astronomical research programs on the Lovell Telescope.”