The Bruce Medalists


  Photo 1974, courtesy Cambridge University
Martin Ryle
27 September 1918 1974 Bruce Medalist 14 October 1984

Martin Ryle, a graduate of Bradfield College and the University of Oxford, helped develop radar countermeasures for British defense while working at the Telecommunications Research Establishment during World War II. Afterward, at the University of Cambridge, he was a leader in the development of radio astronomy. With his aperture synthesis technique of interferometry he and his team located radio-emitting regions on the sun and pinpointed other radio sources so that they could be studied in visible light. Ryle’s 1C to 5C Cambridge catalogues of radio sources led to the discovery of numerous radio galaxies and quasars. Ryle’s counts of radio sources versus brightness supported evolving universe cosmologies, and he became a leading opponent of the steady state model proposed by H. Bondi, T. Gold, & F. Hoyle. Ryle’s development of earth rotation synthesis and construction of radio interferometers up to 5 km long eventually allowed radio astronomers to surpass optical astronomers in angular resolution. The first professor of radio astronomy in Britain, he was an influential member of many boards and committees involved in the organization of British astronomy, and he served as Astronomer Royal for a decade. In his later years he encouraged alternative sources of energy, designing a new wind generator with his students, and he spoke out in opposition to nuclear power and nuclear weapons.

Presentation of Bruce medal
Mercury 3, 5, 24 (1973).

Other awards
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Morris N. Liebmann Memorial Award, 1971.
National Academy of Sciences, Henry Draper Medal, 1965.
Nobel Foundation, Nobel prize, physics, 1974.
Royal Astronomical Society, Gold medal">Gold Medal, 1964, presented by Richard Wooley, QJRAS 5, 103-05 (1964).
Royal Society, Hughes Medal, 1954; Royal Medal, 1973.
Franklin Institute, Michelson Medal, 1971.
International Union of Radio Science (URSI), Balthasar van der Pol Gold Medal, 1963.
USSR Academy of Sciences, A.S.Popov Gold Medal, 1971.

Some offices held
United Kingdom, Astronomer Royal, 1972-82.

Biographical materials
Graham-Smith, Francis, Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society 32, 496-524 (1986).
Ryle, Martin, Autobiography on receiving the Nobel Prize.

Graham-Smith, F. , Sky & Telescope 69, 123 (Feb 1985).
Lovell, Bernard, QJRAS 26, 358-65 (1985).
Pooley, G.G., Observatory 104, 283-84 (1984).
Smith, F. Graham, Nature 312, 18 (1984).

AIP Center for History of Physics
Friedman, Jon R., Portrait Sketch
University of Frankfurt.
On a postage stamp from Gabon

Named after him
Minor Planet #12136 Martinryle
The Martin Ryle Trust
The Ryle Telescope

More references

The Bruce Medalists

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