Martin Ryle

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Sir Martin Ryle (27 September 191814 October 1984) was the Astronomer Royal of the United Kingdom and won the Nobel Prize for physics.


  • The benefits of medical research are real - but so are the potential horrors of genetic engineering and embryo manipulation. We devise heart transplants, but do little for the 15 million who die annually of malnutrition and related diseases. Our cleverness has grown prodigiously - but not our wisdom.
  • If we are to survive, we must not accept the official indoctrination of the purpose of nuclear 'power' stations, radiation health risks, the 'need' for further nuclear weapons and the reality of nuclear war.
    • p 29 of Towards the Nuclear Holocaust (1980) Menard Press, London.
  • We must put our energies into solving the difficult problems, in many disciplines, which are involved in renewable sources - on which both the developed and the developing countries must eventually depend.
    • p 500 of Electronics and Power (1982) Vol 28 Issue 7/8.

About Ryle

  • [The steady-state theory] was a minority view, but [Hoyle] and a few like-minded theorists were able to keep the plate spinning for years. Another Cambridge luminary, Martin Ryle, finally brought it crashing down. An irascible, hardheaded experimenter, Ryle thought theorists like Hoyle were daffy. In a colloquium on sunspots, Mitton reports, Ryle became so incensed by Hoyle's speculations that he dashed to the blackboard and angrily erased the equations.
    • George Johnson, New York Times, quoted here.
  • The glorious years of discovery in radio astronomy in the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge were dominated by the personality of Martin Ryle.
  • [Ryle] lived through an epic period of scientific history, starting his career in the turmoil of wartime electronic countermeasures, and turning eventually to a deep concern about the future of mankind in the age of nuclear power and warfare.
    • p 497 of Francis Graham-Smith, Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society (1986), vol 32.
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