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At the end of the Second World War, Lovell attempted to continue his studies of cosmic rays with an ex-military radar detector unit, but suffered much background interference from the electric trams on Manchester's Oxford Road. He moved his equipment to a more remote location, one which was free from such electrical interference, and where he established the Jodrell Bank Observatory, near Goostrey in Cheshire. It was an outpost of the university's botany department. In the course of his experiments, he was able to show that radar echoes could be obtained from daytime meteor showers as they entered the Earth's atmosphere and ionised the surrounding air. With university funding, he constructed the then-largest steerable radio telescope in the world, which now bears his name: the Lovell Telescope. Over 50 years later, it remains a productive radio telescope, now operated mostly as part of the MERLIN and European VLBI Network interferometric arrays of radio telescopes.
In 2009, Lovell claimed he had been the subject of a Cold War assassination attempt during a 1963 visit to the Soviet Deep-Space Communication Centre (Eupatoria). Lovell alleged that his hosts tried to kill him with a lethal radiation dose because he was head of the Jodrell Bank space telescope when it was also being used as part of an early warning system for Soviet nuclear attacks. Lovell wrote a full account of the incident which, at his determination, was only published after his death.
In 1958, Lovell was invited by the BBC to deliver the annual Reith Lectures, a series of six radio broadcasts called The Individual and the Universe, in which he examined the history of enquiry into the solar system and the origin of the universe.
Beyond professional recognition, Lovell has a secondary school named after him in Oldland Common, Bristol, which he officially opened. A building on the QinetiQ site in Malvern is also named after him, as was the fictional scientist Bernard Quatermass, the hero of several BBC Television science-fiction serials of the 1950s, whose first name was chosen in honour of Lovell.
In later life Lovell was physically very frail; he lived in quiet retirement in the English countryside, surrounded by music, his books and a vast garden filled with trees he himself planted many decades before. Lovell died at home in Swettenham, Cheshire on 6 August 2012.
^Lovell, A. C. B. (1936). "The Electrical Conductivity of Thin Metallic Films. I. Rubidium on Pyrex Glass Surfaces". Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences. 157 (891): 311-330. Bibcode:1936RSPSA.157..311L. doi:10.1098/rspa.1936.0197.
^Appleyard, E. T. S.; Lovell, A. C. B. (1937). "The Electrical Conductivity of Thin Metallic Films. II. Caesium and Potassium on Pyrex Glass Surfaces". Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences. 158 (895): 718. Bibcode:1937RSPSA.158..718A. doi:10.1098/rspa.1937.0050.
^Lovell, A. C. B. (1938). "The Electrical Conductivity of Thin Metallic Films. III. Alkali Films with the Properties of the Normal Metal". Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences. 166 (925): 270-277. Bibcode:1938RSPSA.166..270L. doi:10.1098/rspa.1938.0092.
^Lovell, A. C. B.; Clegg, J. A. (1948). "Characteristics of Radio Echoes from Meteor Trails: I. The Intensity of the Radio Reflections and Electron Density in the Trails". Proceedings of the Physical Society. 60 (5): 491. Bibcode:1948PPS....60..491L. doi:10.1088/0959-5309/60/5/312.
^Renn, D. F.; Steeds, A. J. (June 1976). "The British Association for the Advancement of Science: Annual Meeting 1975, Guildford". Journal of the Institute of Actuaries. 103 (1): 113-115. doi:10.1017/s0020268100017790. JSTOR41140365.