Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London
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Reminiscences and discoveries: The Blackett-Eckersley-Lovell correspondence of World War II and the origin of Jodrell Bank

    1. Introduction During the transference of my papers to the archive of the John Ry lands University Library of Manchester, I discovered a letter from T. L. Eckersley to P. M. S. Blackett that had a vital bearing on the early development of Jodrell Bank. Blackett had shown me this letter shortly after the end of the war but I had believed that he had just received it. In fact, the letter is dated 12 March 1941 and concerns a paper by Blackett and myself published in the Proceedings o f the Royal Society in 1941. Eckersley suggested that we had omitted a factor in the calculations which might influence our conclusions. Indeed, when I investigated this, I discovered to my dismay that, by omission, we had introduced an error of many orders of magnitude which invalidated our proposed research. Evidently if we had been able to give attention to Eckersley’s letter in 1941, the incentive for the proposed post-war research would have vanished and Jodrell Bank would not exist today.

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