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back to article Jodrell Bank spared the chop

The UK's celebrated Jodrell Bank has been granted a reprieve by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), the BBC reports. The STFC had proposed to axe the annual £2.5m public funding for eMerlin - an upgrade to the Multi-Element Radio Linked Interferometer Network between the UK's seven radio telescopes, run from …

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Stop

get rid of it!

or at least make the visitor experience better, good grief, it's dismal - like stepping into some 1950's government laboratory...

awful, awful, awful..give it a lick of paint at the least..

anyone been to the national space centre?

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Heart

@ richard

Yeah, because the visitor experience is the most important thing, eh? What a pillock.

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Flame

Er...

@Richard: Here's your coat...

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Unhappy

Decline of the UK

Wow, a Police State, CCTV with no interest in science, technology and engineering. You know you can't run a nation on the income of a couple of overpaid bankers in the City.

But then you keep voting Labour or Conservative.

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Anonymous Coward

it's a telescope

not a visitor center - it's for science not faggotry.

Wow, if we dumped the ID card fail, we could fund this for like 600 years (unless I added a rogue zero then it's 60 years)

I prefer the science myself.

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Alien

@ richard

Yes, I've been to the National Space Centre. Reminded me of a cross between the basement kids section in the Science Museum and a branch of Toys'R'Us. Science for morons....

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Paris Hilton

@Richard

Why not give Stonehenge a nice patch up and paint job at the same time? All those rough edges must really get on your nerves!

I bet St Pauls could do with a nice bit of wallpaper and some coving, maybe? How about a conservatory?

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Happy

Why did it take so long...

...to decide this? It only needed twenty minutes worth of the petrol tax.

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The country has no physics teachers,

So I am not shocked that we therefore have no interest in science as well.

The governemt should hang (it's head) in shame but what can you do.

The government are mainly bankers and lawyers, hardly any actually have a science degree or a background in academia that has merit. The city is filled with bankers and they make more money short term than actual learning and science and the needs of the country. So no shock the government leans towards that area.

Oh wait the economy is in tatters???? and the banks are all in trouble???... What, the government has no back up plan, no forward thought as to how we can keep up our science and technology when we really need that cancer cure, petrol replacement, food tech. Remember Comrade brown said GM food was the way forward... but not in this country it seems... We will have to buy in the stuff from overseas at vast expense...

Oh well... welcome to the UK 2008, ten years of labour killing education standards and burying the farming industry. Are we now surprised science is following it.

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Go

aw come on...

Surely the best reason to keep it is for its Cockney Rhyming Slang value ?

Generations of children may grow up never knowing why their parents start sniggering when they come home from school and inform that they're off for a Jodrell...

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@ richard

I remember it as a kid - and it was wikid. Richard - dont beleive the visitor centre is really designed for adults, its a ways to get children into the whole idea of science, engineering etc. Cant say it worked for me, however, it was fun as a child. I think they should keep plowing more money into it; i mean they keep doing that for the NHS, recycling, and almost every other public service, so why not 'the bank'? At least more good can come from it in the future..

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Paris Hilton

Poor cousins...

Unfortunately Richard has a point... up to a point. The condition of the JBVC will no doubt (I haven't been) reflect the derisory attitude and low regard the British Establishment have to scientific and technological achievement vs. the humanities. It's ancient, class-based and summed up in the old insult... 'Northern Chemist'.

I bet you wouldn't find a visitor centre any facility in the US looking like a 50's throwback rubbish tip.

Paris... because she's, er, such a dish....

Taxi!

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Coat

@Richard

The visitor center was worth it for me just to really appreciate the size of teh Lovell telescope's dish. Which, incidentally had been painted recently.

white coat, obviously.

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Unhappy

The visitor experience...

....is dismal.

I was all set to be excited and thrilled by the whole thing, and was very disappointed. No wonder kids get turned off science. As I remember the visitors centre is miles from the big scope, and might as well be on a trading estate for all the play it makes of its actual location.

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Go

Jodrell Bank shouldn't even waste time with a visitor centre

Its a scientific establishment and should be judged by results not fancy schmancy Disney World-esq science stuff.

I don't know what it does but if it investigates space, is still relevant and no one else in EU has a better one then it should stay fully funded.

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Coat

Heard something similar

Yeah read something similar the other day regrading the Arecibo Telescope in Puerto Rico, it's the one they gather data from for "SETI", was to lose a major amount of funding also it seems looking for Alien life isn't a priority anymore. It's managed to secure some more funding also. I could see the decline in the sciences when they started to introduce "general science" in to the curriculum and I could see it was a totally dumbed & water down version of the 3 subjects. Science can be fun but sometimes you just have to get the paper and pencil out and work it out by hand what's going on..

Mines the one with the "SETI - 2500 WU's Completed" on the back.

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Re : The visitor experience..

"As I remember the visitors centre is miles from the big scope"

I wasn't when I was there, so no - unless it moved temporarily during the refurb. It's right next to the dish.

Ok - it's not Disney World or DreamWorks - in fact it *did* look knackered when I went, but I thought it ok... the kids seemed to be enjoying it too.. I spent most of time just looking up at the telescope anyway - 'kin massive that boy.

I've not seen it since they revamped the visitor centre but even so, I didn't forsee the universal end of childhood interest in science because it used to be a bit shabby.

How much money did you put in the contribution box to help with making it better David ?

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Anonymous Coward

@ add

The old visitor centre with the planetarium and the steerable solar dish was knocked down a few years ago on grounds of elf'n'safety or somesuch nonsense. The new one is a not very inspiring. But that's not what the place is primarily for, of course.

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Rob
Flame

@Philip

If the British Establishment are valuing humanities above science, perhaps their priorities are in the right place (even if not for the right reasons). Maybe science has already developed a bit too far ahead of the humanities in a world that's managed to nearly nuke itself to bits several times, and still is nowhere near out of the woods in that respect alone.. To say nothing of all the other problems technology's brought to this short-sighted, immature bunch of scared children called the human race.

Anyhoo. Enough high level simplistic babbling. Nobody ever got paid for saving the world. I'm off to make some more mobile phone software.

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Go

About time too!

It's all very well taking a pop at the bean counters in uk.gov but the deadhead who made the original decision were supposed to be scientists (with competing vesting interests natch!). Still at least sanity has prevailed in the short term - mind you they haven't said who just got shafted to pay for this!

The visitor experience is pretty awful (but that ain't the point) compared to what it used to be - some dingbat thought it was easier to demolish the old (brilliant) one rather than build a few disabled access ramps - duh!

@David Bates - I don't know which visitor centre you went to. You more or less fall over the guidance rails for the main dish as soon as you step out the door - and you can walk all the way round if your minded to do so.

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Darren Sandford

your missing my point which is that the visitor experience is poor. i love science/technology and history, but the UK visitor experience to places like jodrell is stuck in the past, the yanks do it so much better. st pauls is beautiful as it is, and have you visited stonehenge? one of the most disappointing visitor experiences in the UK.

and Duncan Hothersall. the visitor experience is the most important thing if you are a paying visitor, yes. it has to be done in an exciting, inspirational manner which i didn't find at jodrell bank. i love space and science but was left deflated by the experience. hope you understand, pillock.

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Coat

vistor center

You're all ranting about the vistor center,it is a bit disappointing but its not the point. When I visited it was magnificant just to see the telescope up close, its part of a network of telescopes that do important work. the central hub (or at least the most visual) of astromony in the UK, government keep ranting on about less and less people taking science up as a career, yet they keep pulling the plug and budget until pretty soon the only science you'll be able to do in the UK is study the fungus growing in the half mug of tea using a biro stolen from argos.

If people wanting to study science and astromony as a career i want signs that it was a positive exciting future instead of all this bull**** from the type people who cannot see past the visitor center and see the true worth. did somebody high up the government chain decide its time had ended because he spent 20 mins walking around the thing?

if a million pound+ budget has to be blown on a visitor center, rather than on the actual science and research, let it be a visitor center that earns money for the greater cause.

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Visitor centres and paint jobs for Stonehenge?

Speaking of the most dismal of British tourism experiences, I'd indeed get rid of Stonehenge first.

You can spend a rainy uncomfortable night at an atrocious (Trave)lodge, then saunter 45 rainsodden minutes along a motorway to see some misaligned pillars and beams (that started an English engineering tradition, hence historically important) from behind a fence. All this joy on a roundabout among busy traffic. Then you can shelter for a while in the depressing tat shop, but most probably you'll be walking back the 45min to a busstop barely speaking to your (now) ex-lover.

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The ubiquitous visitor centre

It's a depressing testament to the UKs national sense of priorities that anything that doesn't explicitly make a profit has to have a visitor 'experience' attached to it, presenting a dumbed down version of what it does to bored and disinterested children on a wet holiday afternoon. It seems to be the modern incarnation of the hair shirt or dunces cap for institutions; a sign that, unlike Tesco, BT and the Jesus phone they are tolerated rather than revered and considered more of a national embarrassment than an asset.

Still, the visitor experience does give work to goatee sporting designers and the manufacturers of translucent coloured plastics, so it's really worthwhile after all, I suppose.

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Silver badge

Syins=teh sux

I agree with Rob!

If we turn down the hated science a bit and wait a few years, all the humanities types will be dead of incurable variations on diseases that should have been funded out of existence two decades ago (the scientists and technicians, driven underground, will use real medicines instead of premier-spouse approved "alternatives" and keep up their vaccinations, as scientists do, and thus avoid the coming lethal Para-Athlete's Foot plague and the inevitable Hypermeasles Pandemic).

Then, with the chaff weeded out, maybe we can get on with inventing the flying car and Moonbase Alpha for the benefiit of the newly-emergent science-elite instead of wasting much-needed R&D monies on stupid art "installations", funding the dole for chavs, ASBO enforcement and rewriting history so it doesn't offend anyone.

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@Philip

Ranting at an imaginary cabal of humanities graduates cackling over their latest blow against science is all good fun, but you'd do well to remember that the politician who did the most damage to UK science was Margaret Thatcher - admittedly a Midlands rather than a Northern Chemist (Oxford MSc.)

I wonder why she found right-wing politics more congenial than the UK chemicals industry? Actually, I know a couple of "Northern Chemists" (have you ever actually heard that phrase used seriously? I haven't) who also got out of what's left of that industry, usually into finance. So the current mess the markets and hence all of us are in can, in fact, be entirely blamed on former chemistry graduates slotting into the neoliberal vanguard in politics and banking!

QED

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Coat

Angel of the...

Bloody hell! I can't even believe these debates even took place!

1) Its a science centre.

O.k.. Science has gone to shit, turned into a branch of politics, Jodrell Bank, and the memories of Concord, Colossus, the XK-E, the Spitfire (no not the Triumph!) the QEII, the Harrier and a few other things can remind us of when this godforsaken island prison was Once a "first class" nation.

2) Its not a visitor centre.

Sure it has one, but it should be more or less irrelevant.

3) Its cool!

Driving up the depressing Volvo-infested wastes of the M6, Jodrell Bank rises magnificently, causing strains of "Jerusalem" to waft in to my mind, and the Union Jack to flicker in the imaginary winds of my retina.

It makes me proud to be British.

Not exceptional? Until you realise I'm a rampant Welsh Nationalist!

Mine is the white coat, with either my left hand in the pocket, or sleeves tied behind, depending...

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Visitors' centres - pah!

I tend to avoid anything with a visitors' centre. It's a bold admission that the so-called "attraction" isn't really all that interesting. Either that, or access is so restricted that you won't see the interesting stuff (like at Stonehenge, where you used to be able to clamber all over it).

No reason for Jodrell to have one in my view. Better to open a public footpath that goes up close to the dish. A lot cheaper since seeing the telescope is really the only reason to go there. If you want to learn some radio astronomy, the www has all you need.

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Alien

I apologise..

It was about 15 years ago that I went, so the exact distance between dish and the visitors centre has obviously grown in my memory over the years....

Does'nt change the fact that it struck me as a massive missed opportunity.

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@ Richard

A message from the STFC: STFU!

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Alien

Lost all faith...

...in Jodrell Bank when they claimed to have tracked the (clearly faked) lunar landings. They are clearly part of the conspiracy.

O

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Paris Hilton

2 year reprieve is not enough

We gotta keep Jodrell Bank - at least until they look right through the huge yellow slab like somethings... that hang in the air exactly the same way that birds don't.

Can't see through Paris.

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Paris Hilton

my bad

the astute among you will be doubled up in fits of laughter at my misquote above. Birds... WTF is he thinking?... indeed - BRICKS. True, so true. I came back to the thread today just to see if any additions had been made and saw the gaff in all it's glory. Sadly, a brain that works at over 200 words per minute can't slow down sufficiently to accomodate fingers that can only manage about 40.

Paris has nice fingers.

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Stop

@ Orionman

Clearly Faked where they? Been reading all that crap from people who think they know what they are talking about? -- "There are no stars on the pictures taken on the moon"

I bet you believe that the attacks on the US on 11th Sept. 2001 where a conspiracy too.

Get real

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Go

According to the local paper

It is the 3rd largest steerable RT in the world, and took quite a while to get off the ground. It was also the *ONLY* thing around that could track Sputnik at the time, so if it hadn't been there a lot of (now) historical stuff such as the imaging of the dark side of the moon wouldn't have happened. (@detractors) I can just imagine: Google Moon: This image not available. Just where do you think all the info for Google Earth comes from? A Kodak Instamatic? Or should we just get rid of it and replace it with a few shops selling 3rd world tat? At least then we'd be all fashionable.

@Fragula. The trip to it is weird. Did it in the dark once, which was quite mental as it was everywhere and nowhere at the same time.

@ Orionman: Isn't there a transmitter on the moon (it's still transmitting data) to disprove your nonesense?

We might all be sat in the dark cos the government has scared itself to death over mad scientists building "dirty" bombs, (something that is yet to happen AFAIK). Now they want Saudis (where Bin Laden hails from) or Iranians (alleged axis of evil) to build nuke power stations because we no longer have the expertise to do so.

Go because this is probably the last bit of proper science left

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Boffin

Richard's Image Problem

Of course, if any kind of institution is planning on communicating what it does to the public, it should try and do so effectively. However, JB's old visitor centre was pretty good, and if you'd studied any astronomy then a lot more of it made sense. Sure, some of the stuff was old - not a problem, given its *historical* importance.

The big problem with Royston Vasey, erm, Great Britain these days is that it's all about image. Instead of actually doing stuff, it's all about standing in front of a blue screen flailing one's arms and legs and shouting, "Whoosh! I'm off into outer space!" Instead of actually going there or sending stuff there.

Great Britain: rapidly becoming the superfluous marketing department of Planet Earth.

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